There is a response to ‘Death riders’

Joanne L deathriders

This doesn’t happen on the Malone Road or Holywood Co. Down: we can’t ignore that.

Workers Party representative Joanne Lowry has condemned recent ‘death-riding’ incidents in the Lower Falls area.

Questioning the level of contribution which elected politicians have made to developing the area she has also called for a comprehensive regeneration plan to “turn this community around”

 

“The damage, misery and grief inflicted on the community by these types of incidents cannot and should not be underestimated”, Joanne said.

“Two recent events, in particular, – in Ross Road last week and in the early hours of Monday morning on the Grosvernor Road – have brought media and wider public attention to this problem , but it is an on-going and almost daily reality for many areas throughout West Belfast, with often serious and sometimes fatal consequences”, she said.

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The damage, misery and grief inflicted on the community by these types of incidents cannot and should not be underestimated

 

“It would be great to be able to say that there is an easy, quick and permanent solution to car theft, ‘death riding’ and all the destruction and misery that it brings. But there is not”.

“That doesn’t mean that we should do nothing and I know of some very positive work being undertaken by groups and individuals in this area to overcome these problems”.

 

 

Socially deprived areas                                                                                   Joanne pointed out that this level of destruction does not happen right across Belfast.

“Historically it occurs in socially deprived areas with high unemployment, where many young people have few if any qualifications, low aspirations and low self-esteem. Those factors are often further compounded by substance abuse”, she explained.

“Death riding and other anti-social activity is a direct result of living in some of the areas in West Belfast. This doesn’t happen on the Malone Road or Holywood Co. Down: we can’t ignore that. The roots of the problems are located in the social and economic conditions of these areas and some, but of course not all, young males, in particular, who feel they have no worth and no way out react as they do”, she said.

Outlining her approach to the problem she said,

“What we must tackle are the causes of their behaviour and our local elected representatives have questions to answer. What investment, opportunity and hope have they brought to west Belfast and to the Lower Fall area in particular?   Many will be queuing up to condemn these incidents – and rightly so – but what can they say that they have done to materially change conditions in these areas?  I think the answer is very little”.

No quick fixes                                                                                               “A united, focussed and long-term community response is required – and that needs to be funded, resourced and supported by all the statutory agencies: PSNI, education health and social care, housing and  the environment, working with the local community to turn areas like the Lower Falls around. There are no quick fixes and no amount of ‘punishment’ attacks will solve this problem: in fact they only make matters worse and bring further suffering to local families”, added Joanne

”I am now calling for on the Department for Communities to convene a series of meetings involving all the agencies and local communities throughout West Belfast with a view to producing a comprehensive community regeneration plan to bring jobs, social initiatives, investment and pride to this area, This is the best and only long-term way this community can respond”, she said

 

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Twenty years since saying ‘Yes’

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The Agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referenda

Twenty years ago  on May 22 1998 the electorates in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were asked, in simultaneous referenda, to endorse or reject the Agreement reached between the parties participating in the talks chaired by Senator George Mitchell and the British and Irish governments, which had concluded  just six weeks earlier on Good Friday.

To mark that occasion, and to reflect on what that meant, how it developed and where we are today, the Workers Party has brought together a range of views, opinions and reflections.

‘Twenty Years since saying Yes’  is a  booklet which reflects on that period and assess progress or otherwise since  the electorates in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland cast their votes

This booklet looks at what that means twenty years on.

https://www.flipsnack.com/workersparty1/twenty-years-since-saying-yes.html

 

 

 

 

 

Soldarity with Palestine

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Party members, supporters, banners and flags at the Palestine Solidarity rally

Workers Party members and supporters have taken to the streets of Belfast to participate in a massive demonstration of solidarity with the people of Palestine.

The focus of the demonstration was the recent Israeli atrocities which have claimed the lives of over 60 people and wounded thousands . It was also an opportunity to express support for the Great Return Home march which culminates on June 5th – the 51st anniversary of the illegal occupation of Gaza.

The Party’s International Secretary, Gerry Grainger, later briefed members on the current situation in Israel and Palestine calling for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador from Ireland and the UK, support for the  BDS boycott campaign, an end to the arming of  Israel, an end to the occupation , the demolition of the apartheid wall and support for the  Right to Return.

International statement in full here:

Solidarity with Palestine 19th May 2018

 

 

Slaughter in Palestine

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The latest killings follow a pattern of  massacres spanning  70 years

The Workers Party has condemned Monday’s murderous attacks on Palestinian civilians by the Israeli state. At  least 55 Palestinians have been killed and 2,400 wounded by Israeli forces on  the deadliest day of violence since the 2014 attacks on Gaza.

Expel Israeli ambassadors                                                                                      The Party’s International Secretary, Gerry Grainger, has called on the Irish and UK governments, to immediately expel the Israeli Ambassador from Ireland and the UK and impose sanctions against Israel to demonstrate that the people will no longer tolerate these murderous attacks.

Contempt for Palestinian lives                                                                              These events, which took place on the occasion of the hostile and provocative opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, are a continuing demonstration of Israeli contempt for the lives of Palestinians.

It follows a pattern of massacres from Deir Yassin in 1948, through Qibya, Nahalin and Kufr Kassem in the 1950s, Samu  and other villages in the 1960s and 70s and Sabra and Shatila in 1982 together with a systematic campaign of terror against Gaza in recent years and the killing and injuring of Palestinians  during and after recent  protests.

 

Party statement in full: Slaughter in Palestine

Marathon a test case for the public space

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Workers Party representative Gemma Weir has described as “insulting, short sighted and deeply offensive” suggestions that the Belfast Marathon and other events could be prevented from taking place because of legislation which seeks to penalise certain public events.

“This year almost 17,000 people from across Northern Ireland and the world took part in the 33rd Belfast Marathon. Changes to the Roads Act (NI) are designed to further limit the use of public space in this city by imposing unrealistic and unfair financial restrictions on event organisers and participants. This is insulting, short sighted and deeply offensive”, she said

Public use                                                                                                          “Public spaces and public roads are just that – public. They should be safeguarded, developed and enhanced for public use not commodified and exploited”, said Gemma

“The social, financial, cultural and health benefits derived from events like the Belfast Marathon are immeasurable. Countless thousands of citizens from Belfast and beyond have been inspired to take up exercise, contribute to charities and spectate and support the event over the years. That legacy must be valued, safeguarded and developed”, she said.

Protected                                                                                                               “The Department of  Communites and the Department of Health should demonstrate the worth of public events like the marathon by underwriting the required costs of policing and traffic management. Unless that public commitment is forthcoming we will soon see the introduction of charges for runs, club training sessions and family fun days in our local parks”.

“The public space, public roads and public access must be protected from people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing”, concluded Gemma

The media and May Day

May Day Collage
By Chris Bailie

Why is it that the local media choose to ignore the annual May Day march though Belfast city centre?

Last Saturday (May 5th) several thousand trade unionists, workers, political parties and numerous groups concerned with local people’s social and economic well being rallied behind the trade union call for ‘Better Work and  Better Lives’.

While people from across Northern Ireland demonstrated their resolve for a different and better life the most obvious absentee was the local media.

Why is it that May Day is being ignored and airbrushed from the public conversation?

Is it because one of the roles of the media is to protect us from reality?  Are we better off not mentioning unemployment, zero hours contracts, lack of child care, working people having to top up low incomes with benefits and firms paying less than the minimum wage?

Fortunately, the thousands of people who marched on May Day don’t think so.

 

May Day 2018

May Day 2018

Workers Party members marking May Day on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx

Fittingly the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx birth coincided with this year’s trade union May Day March in Belfast.

His writings defined the nature of capitalist society and continue today to provide the ideological framework for understadning and changng the society in which we live.

For working people that understanding and the need for revolutionary change has never been more pressing.

Poverty                                                                                                                      370,000 people in Northern Ireland are living in poverty. The percentage of people in work in Northern Ireland remains well below the UK average and is the lowest of all 12 UK regions.

Around 16,000 people here are on Zero Hours contracts. Zero-hours contract workers earn significantly less than regular employees, pay less tax and National Insurance and are more reliant on tax credits.

These jobs offer no security, no career path and no personal development. Irrespective of individual anecdotes the principle of Zero Hours Contracts is wrong – but the last Assembly and former Employment Minister Stephen Farry refused to do away with them.

Greater cuts                                                                                                                As the trade union’s ‘Better Work – Better Lives’ campaign points out, Northern Ireland  has been the subject of greater cuts than the majority of the other UK regions

  • We have lost 26,000 public servants (11.5%) since 2010
  • Since 2013 planned to 2019, a cap of a total of 1% increase a year has been imposed on public sector workers
  • Since 2010/2011, public service workers have seen their pay cut in real terms by at least 8%

‘Insecure’                                                                                                                     Over a quarter of a million people in Northern Ireland are in part time employment – two thirds of them women.  One in three jobs in Northern Ireland is considered ‘insecure’

At least 250,000 people of working age are in receipt of benefits because they are on low pay: Northern Ireland’s ‘working poor’

No accident                                                                                                              This is neither an accident nor a natural phenomenon. This is the outworking of a system based on capital, production for profit and wealth accumulation.  This is what 21st century capitalism does. It builds, enhances and protects the few at the expense of those who produce the wealth, the public services they need and the social supports they require.

Never has it been more important for a united and disciplined working class to initiate the revolutionary change required to replace capitalism with a socialist society

 

 

Karl Marx 200th Anniversary

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Party members in Belfast commemorating Marx’s 200th anniversary

Karl Marx was born two hundred years ago today. Fittingly the anniversary coincided with Belfast’s  annual May Day demonstration.

The influence of Karl Marx remains boundless. As a revolutionary thinker he continues to inspire workers across the world, offering hope to the poor, exploited and oppressed with the message of liberation and emancipation.

The Workers Party of Ireland is proud to be part of the celebrations around the world today commemorating the 200th anniversary of his birth.

As his loyal friend Engels stated after the death of Marx: “His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work.

Workers of All Countries, Unite!  

Read the Party’s statement on Karl Marx anniversary here:

Karl Marx 200th anniversary statement

 

Party opposes ‘criminal attack’ on Syria

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Workers Party members, joined by a number of Syrian’s living in Northern Ireland, protesting against the recent bombing raids carried out by the US,the UK and France

Workers Party members, and a number of Syrians living in Northern Ireland, have staged a protest against  last week’s missile attacks on Syria and an  escalation of imperialist aggression in the region under the pretext of an unproven allegation concerning chemical weapons in eastern Ghouta.

France and Britain at the behest of the US, and with the connivance of NATO, the EU and their member states, have embarked on a further dangerous intervention which increases instability in the region and brings us closer to the threat of a generalised war.

Statement in full:  Workers Party opposes imperialist attacks against Syria 

 Workers Party condemns attacks against Syria

US-military-launches-missile-strikes-in-SyriaThe Workers Party has condemned last night’s missile attacks on Syria as an escalation of imperialist aggression in the region under the pretext of an unproven allegation concerning chemical weapons in eastern Ghouta.

France and Britain at the behest of the US, and with the connivance of NATO, the EU and their member states, have embarked on a further dangerous intervention which increases instability in the region and brings us closer to the threat of a generalised war.

Link to full statement: 

Statement by the Workers Party on the attacks against Syria

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