Author Archives: workersparty.northern ireland

U.S. immigration policy ‘a form of child abuse’

Weir Immigration

US immigration policy is child abuse

“The US Government is guilty of child abuse and an appalling demonstration of cruelty and inhumanity”, Gemma Weir of the Workers Party has said.

“In a six-week period more than 2,000 children have been forcibly removed from the arms of their parents and legal guardians and placed in wire mesh cages.

Read full statement:  US immigration policy and human rights

 

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Refugee Week 2018

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Party member Lily Kerr (centre) at the launch of Refugee Week 2018

NICRAS – the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees & Asylum Seekers – launched its 2018 Refugee Week in the City Hall on Monday.

NICRAS supports the integration process of refugees and asylum seekers into local communities throughout Northern Ireland and raises awareness of the issues, problems and difficulties faced by refugees and asylum seekers in Northern Ireland.

There are thought to be around 200 applications for asylum each year and around the same number of refugees seeking to settle in Northern Ireland.

Asylum seekers come from countries  around the world that are experiencing war,
conflict and human rights abuses. In Northern Ireland, asylum applicants are most
commonly from China, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

The Workers Party was represented at the NICRAS Refugee Week launch by Lily Kerr.

Link to NICRAS website: http://www.nicras.btck.co.uk/

 

‘Women Can’t Wait’

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Choice: Free, safe, legal and accessible

“The focus on the reform and decriminalistion of abortion services in Northern Ireland has been sharpened by the result of the recent referendum in the Republic”.  Workers Party representative Gemma Weir has claimed

“That momentum should now be translated into nothing short of locally available, safe, legal and accessible abortion services in Northern Ireland”, she said

The Workers Party is opposed to  direct rule and has consistently called for the restoration of the Assembly and the Executive.

“However, the refusal of Sinn Fein and the DUP to form an administration means that the only viable option available is for Westminster to legislate for abortion services for Northern Ireland. 

The reality is that women can’t wait.”, Gemma said

“The DUP and Sinn Fein continue to inflict a great disservice on local politics and the people of Northern Ireland.

“The human rights, health, well-being and choices of local women don’t even feature in their diversionary and on-going discussions.

“While local politicians choose to ignore it , Westminster must now acknowledge and respond to the suffering and plight of women in Northern Ireland who seek to have an abortion.

“The legislation must be comprehensive, unambiguous and immediate. It must legislate for free, safe, legal and accessible abortion services with pre and post information and support services” Gemma concluded

Significant and emphatic YES!

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Referendum result: a step towards becoming a truly secular republic, by removing the 8th from the constitution once and for all.”

The Workers Party in Northern Ireland has welcomed the outcome of the referendum in the Republic of Ireland and the resounding rejection of the 8th Amendment.

“This is a very significant and emphatic statement by the people of the Republic of Ireland”, Gemma Weir said.

“It is testament to the thousands of women and men who have never given up on this issue making sure that politicians have not been allowed to forget the thousands of women each year forced out of their own country to access basic healthcare.” said Gemma

Free, safe, legal and accessible                                                                               “It should now be translated into nothing short of free, safe, legal and accessible abortion services in the Republic and that momentum should be mirrored in Northern Ireland,” she added.

“Women have the right to control their own bodies, including their fertility, and to pursue all reproductive choices. This is a fundamental principle of gender equality”, Gemma said.

“Today’s referendum result signals a yet another major change in social attitudes in these islands.  That now needs to be reflected in Northern Ireland.

Quality care                                                                                                                  “We need to secure sufficient care, secular counselling and support for women who wish to continue to full term.

“For women who wish to terminate their pregnancy the Workers’ Party supports the provision of free, safe and accessible abortion in her own country which will include practical facilities to support women seeking an abortion and quality post-abortion care”, Gemma concluded

 Party statement on reproductive rights: Free, safe, legal and accessible

Workers Party Cllr. Eilis Ryan commenting on the outcome of the referendum

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDPR9QMW4BA&t=12s

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

 

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.

 

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