Sectarianism has nothing to offer

Sectarianism in the Assembly plays out on the streets

Sectarianism in the Assembly plays out on the streets

Party spokesperson in East Belfast, Kevin McNally, has condemned a spate of sectarian graffiti and an attack on a memorial in the Willowfield and Newtownards Road areas.

‘This is as lamentable as it is predictable’ said Kevin ‘ as we start into another summer the same old sectarian tribalism is dragged onto our streets to heighten tensions, mark out territory and lay the groundwork for community confrontation’

‘The people behind the sectarian graffiti and the attacks have absolutely nothing positive to offer the people of east Belfast. What we are witnessing on our streets is a mirror image of the sectarian dogfight that passes as politics in the Assembly.’,  Kevin added.

‘The reality is that the ‘lead’ given by the main political parties in Northern Ireland continues to play out with potentially deadly consequences on our streets’,  Kevin concluded.

See also: https://workerspartyelection.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/workers-party-condemns-glengormley-flags-and-graffiti/

Saying ‘No’ to TTIP – Saving the NHS

Saying NO to TTIP

Saying NO to TTIP

Party members have joined with trade unionists, the Peoples NHS NI group and other concerned individuals in a protest at the European Commission office in Belfast  against the secret  transatlantic trade deal – TTIP. (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)

TTIP has its sights set on a number of public services, especially the NHS. One of the main aims of TTIP is to open up Europe’s public health, education and water services to US companies.

This could essentially mean the privatisation of the NHS.

Under the terms of TIPP international companies and corporations would also be able to sue governments if they make public policy decisions which could harm their future profits. Regulation which currently protects people, public services and the environment could be removed.

See also: https://workerspartyelection.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/supporting-public-services/

Workers Party condemns Glengormley flags and graffiti

Tribalism and triumphalism

Tribalism and triumphalism

The Workers Party has condemned the spate of lamppost flags and graffiti which have appeared in the Glengormley / Netwownabbey areas in the past few days as

‘an attempt to raise community tensions and an extension of the sectarian campaigns waged by Sinn Fein and the DUP during the recent Westminster election campaign’

Party representative Gemma Weir said “This has nothing to do with culture or national identity. It has everything to do with tribalism, triumphalism and fomenting community conflict. ‘Given the nakedly sectarian stance of Sinn Fein and the DUP during the recent election campaign it is little wonder that we are now witnessing this type of behaviour on our streets’, she said.

‘Tribal spokesmen will attempt to justify their actions but the reality remains that this is all designed to be confrontational, territorial and sectarian’ Gemma said

‘I have been in touch with the PSNI Community policing team in the area to discuss the Workers Party concerns about increasing tensions and those discussions will be on-going. In the meantime those responsible for the graffiti and the flags on lampposts have the opportunity to reflect and draw back and I would urge them to do so’, urged Gemma.

‘These loyalist and nationalist gangs are hijacking the public space to wage their petty sectarian squabbles. They are neither wanted nor welcome’, concluded Gemma.

Civil Marriage Equality

Civil Marraige EqualityThe overwhelming support for a ‘Yes’ vote in the recent referendum on civil marriage equality in the  Republic of Ireland means  that Northern Ireland is the only region in these islands where same sex marriage is not recognised.

The Workers Party will be supporting Saturday’s rally (June 13) in support of  Civil Marriage Equality but does not believe that a referendum is the answer in Northern Ireland. Firstly the outcome of a referendum would not be legally binding, the Assembly has the power to introduce the relaxant legislation but given its recent record that is highly unlikely.

A Petition of Concern would almost certainly be used to block legislation.  Given those circumstances  only a legal challenge will end the unlawful discrimination which sees a same sex couple married in one part of the UK but that marriage not recognised in Northern Ireland.

The recent Yes vote in the Republic’s referendum marked a sea change in people’s  attitudes and opinions and a thirst for further social change. That social revolution and the desire for change is also increasingly evident in Northern Ireland.

However, the attitudes of the main political parties in Northern Ireland are fundamentalist, conservative and out of touch. Saturday will be an important day in demonstrating just how out of touch they are.

Racism condemned

Racist graffiti in Prtadown

Racist graffiti in Portadown

Workers Party Upper Bann representative, Damien Harte, has strongly condemned a series of racist graffiti attacks in the Portadown area.

‘This type of racist abuse serves only to intimidate and create fear and divisions within the community. We must all be very clear about our response – there must be no room for racists and no room for racism’ Damien said.

‘The immediate impact of these attacks can be addressed by providing the PSNI with the information they need to secure arrests and conviction. Racially motivated crimes in Northern Ireland have been on the rise. According to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), in the 12 months to June 2014 racist incidents rose by 36%, from 830 to 1,132. In the same period, racist crimes increased by 51%, from 525 to 796″.

‘There is a longer term problem to address but withholding information about racist attacks tells those involved that the community is prepared to let them get away with it. We must all clearly demonstrate that that is not the case’, added Damien

Community Transport cuts in Craigavon / Banbridge

Transport cuts will have devastating impact on the most vulnerable

Transport cuts will have devastating impact on the most vulnerable

The Workers Party representative  in  Upper Bann, Damien Harte,  has described the  scale and scope of cuts to local community transport services as “…an abominable crime against the most vulnerable in society”

The cuts will impact on the most vulnerable and will greatly increase the potential for further social exclusion and isolation throughout the Craigavon & Banbridge area.

‘In real terms, the 28% cut to the budget available for rural and urban services equates to around 650 journeys per month. The shocking impact of these cuts is that we are now witnessing vulnerable people including older people and people with disabilities losing their only independent access to specialised transport and access to essential services’ , Damien said.

‘The  Workers Party has been quite clear about its opposition to austerity. We offer solidarity to those affected and their families and will be lobbying to reverse this cold, cruel and disproportionate attack on the most vulnerable  members of our community”, added Damien  

Party welcomes Asher’s decision

Pleased that equality laws have been upheld

Pleased that equality laws have been upheld

The Workers Party has welcomed today’s court decision in the Ashers Bakery case.

This is a clear message that religious belief does not provide a defence to a claim for discrimination.

As a Party committed to a secular society we are pleased that equality laws have been upheld and that the decision of the Equality Commission to pursue this case, in the face of a concerted campaign against it, has been justified and vindicated

Comments touch a nerve with Telegraph Editor

'Demeaning and offensive  article - but not according to the paper's editor

‘Demeaning and offensive article – but not according to the paper’s editor

The letter written by Party General Secretary John Lowry criticising an article in the Belfast Telegraph as ‘demeaning and offensive to women’ has clearly hit a nerve with the paper’s editor, Gail Walker.

The article entitled ‘So which Northern Ireland candidates are topping the poles?’ prioritised four female candidates, among them the Party’s north Belfast candidate Gemma Weir, and commented on their looks, their clothes and their make up.

In her response Ms Walker chooses to ignore the original criticisms and instead launches a vitriolic attack on Workers Party economic policy!

See Gail Walkers response here:

Reply from Gail Walker, Editor of the Belfast Telegraph

See the Party’s letter of complaint here:

https://workerspartyelection.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/party-demands-apology-and-retraction/

Working people will pay the price

ballot-boxThis election was about standing up to austerity. The Workers Party took that stand and brought that message to the voters.

With the return of a Tory government we will feel the full brunt of further cuts to public services, redundancies and a withdrawal of funding for the community, leisure and arts sectors. Our health service will suffer and opportunities in training and education will be lost.

Of course it is disappointing to see parties who have signed up to an austerity agenda secure large numbers of votes and win seats. In the months and years ahead Northern Ireland will pay dearly for last night’s results. Those who have been elected have an opportunity to oppose further cuts, reductions in benefits and tax breaks for the rich – but the reality is that they won’t. They are already implementing that agenda at Stormont and if unchallenged will continue to do so.

The quality of people lives, their opportunities and their futures are too important to be ignored or left to the mercy of the Sinn Fein / DUP Coalition at Stormont or the Tories in Westminster.

We thank everyone who voted Workers Party and who helped out with our campaign in any way. We will continue to present a class analysis and the socialist alternative and campaign on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland.

Poling Day Statement

Standing Up To Austerity

Standing Up To Austerity

Voters know ‘the main parties are to blame’

‘Voters in this election know that cuts to public spending are the direct result of the decision by the five main parties and the business community to seek a reduction in Corporation Tax’ – the Workers Party has claimed in its polling day statement.

‘The Stormont Executive Parties cannot pass everything off as the responsibility of the Tories at Westminster’ the Workers Party said.

‘Since the Stormont budget was passed in January on a daily basis we have had daily announcements about how the cuts are affecting local education, health, community and voluntary services and of course the loss of 20,000 public sector jobs as a direct result of the Stormont decision to ‘rebalance’ the local economy’ the statement added.

The party has urged voters to reflect on that before they cast their vote on Thursday. ‘Instead of borrowing £700m to fund job losses the monies should be used to fund a programme of building badly needed new homes, creating jobs in the construction industry and boosting the local economy’ the Party said.

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