A discussion at the West Belfast Festival / Féile an Phobail has asked ‘Can the Left solve Ireland’s problems?
The Workers Party was represented by CEC member Gerry Grainger
It is clear that just because a group or party is described (or describes itself) as “Left” does not mean that that is the case”, Gerry told an audience of almost 200 people
“Working people are confronted with rising unemployment, precarious work, a dramatic decrease in real income, increasing prices for food and the essentials of life, decreasing expenditure on health, education, housing, welfare and social services, raised retirement ages, attacks on pensions, increased levels of poverty, homelessness, hunger and emigration”, he said.
“So what can we do about that”? , Gerry asked. “We must address the immediate problems confronting the working class but we must offer permanent, sustainable solution”, he said.
Outlining what that entails Gerry said, “It means putting forward a programme of progressive demands – demands which include permanent and stable work for all, with full social insurance, working and wage protection, full occupational, health and safety measures and full trade union rights; social protection for the sick, disabled, pensioners and the unemployed; obligatory public, universal social protection; the satisfaction of health, education, welfare and housing needs, including a quality public, universal and free system of health and medical care; free, compulsory public, secular education; a reduction in the retirement age (while abolishing a default retirement age), the payment of adequate pensions; democratic rights and trade union freedoms; an end to privatisation of public assets; the maintenance of strategic sectors of the economy by the state including energy, communications, education, transportation and environmental protection”.