Category Archives: Latest News

Workers Party event at Ranfurly House, Dungannon to mark the Civil Rights Movement’s 50th anniversary 

The Workers Party will mark the 50th anniversary of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association with a meeting in Ranfurly House, Dungannon on Friday 24th August 2018 at 7pm – the date of the first civil rights march from Coalisland to Dungannon in 1968.
Speakers include Marian Donnelly and Eamon Melaugh both of whom were actively involved in the civil rights campaign fifty years ago and historian and academic Dr Ultan Gillen of Teesside University,  author of the booklet ‘Civil Rights – reform or revolution?’
The evening will also feature a specially commissioned video highlighting the role played by the Party in the formation and development of the civil rights movement.
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Fifty year journey for Maghera 4

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Fifty years on: (L:R)Tony Crilly, John Mulholland, Gerry Mulholland and Will Gribben
 Four members of the then Republican Clubs from Maghera who travelled together to the march that day in a 1950’s Ford Popular car will also be come together again at Ranfurly House to mark the anniversary. 
Technical issues permitting they also intend to arrive in that same car, fifty years on.
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Where is it?
Ranfulry House is located at
26 Market Square, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone BT70 1AB

Call to take up cancer screening appointments


People living in socially deprived areas are also 10% more likely to contract cancer
than people in more affluent areas

Almost 30% of women do not take up the offer of free cancer screening services: despite the fact that the disease accounts for almost a third of deaths here.

Now,the Workers Party’s  Joanne Lowry  is urging all women between 25 and 64 years of age to take regular cervical smear tests and to attend for breast screening when called.

“Research by the McMillan Cancer organisation and Queens University has shown that the diagnosis of a number of cancers, including cervical cancer, is higher in west Belfast than in other areas of Northern Ireland”, she said.

Social deprivation                                                                                              “People living in socially deprived areas are also 10% more likely to contract cancer than people in more affluent areas”, Joanne said.

“Screening is one way in which cervical and breast cancer can be identified at an early stage. The earlier the detection, the better chance there is of overcoming it.

“Cervical smear tests prevent 75% of diseased cells from developing. These can be lifesaving appointments”, she said

“However, nearly 30% of women miss their screening appointments. The tests are free, they are offered to all women in the „at risk‟ age groups and they can save lives”.

“I would urge all women to go along, have the screening tests and look after their health and well-being”, said Joanne .

Awareness                                                                                                                    I have been in touch with the Public Health Agency (PHA) to ask them to consider ways of raising awareness amongst local women about the availability and importance of these screenings”,

They have told me that they intent to:

“…raise awareness by highlighting the availability and importance of attending cervical screening and breast screening appointments through the PHA’s social media channels this Autumn and also in the New Year”.

“In addition to this activity they will be promoting the importance of looking out for changes and being aware of symptoms in between screening appointments (breast awareness) through posters which will be distributed to pharmacies and GP surgeries in October”, Joanne  concluded



The Left mostly whispers

Left Speaks.jpg

Talking class politics: Workers Party’s Gemma Weir with panel chairperson Fergus O’Hare 

Billed as ‘The Left Speaks’,  it should have been one of the showpiece debates of the West Belfast Festival / Feile an Phobail. It was more of a whimper than a bang.

Five parties were represented on the panel: the Greens, Sinn Fein, People Before Profit, Progressive Unionists and the Workers Party.

In her opening remarks the Party’s representative Gemma Weir set out a position that was to put the other parties on the back foot.

One of the main ‘difficulties’ about being the Left is that anyone can claim to be so and many do” she said.   

“The acid test, the touchstone and the confirmation  comes not with the claims but with the realities.  It’s not what people and parties claim to be – it’s what they are that counts. Don’t listen to the rhetoric – examine the policies”, argued Gemma.

The left credentials of the other panelists were exposed by questions from the audience and by their own admissions.

People Before Profit, the Greens and the PUP could not understand how demonstrations  like PRIDE, abortion rallies and the result of the Same Sex Marriage referendum in the Republic had not translated into major political change: mistaking a desire for social evolution with radical class based politics.

Sinn Fein was repeatedly challenged about its socialist credentials, its support for lower corporation tax and its collapsing of the Executive.  It’s representative, Senator Niall O’Donnghaile, was less than convincing as he effectively apologised for his Party’s position on tax breaks for big business and bluffed his way through a response on Sinn Fein’s socialist credentials. The audience was largely unimpressed by his efforts.

While comfortable with the trappings and rhetoric of socialism it was clear that only one of the panel understood the realities of class politics and the nature of the struggle.

Summing up, Gemma said, “It is class politics that differentiates the left from all other political philosophies and class politics that differentiates between those who claim to be on the left and those who actually are. It is class politics, not identity or cultural politics, which really shape our world”

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The Left Speaks panel: Fergus O’Hare (Chairperson), Niall O’Donnghaile, (Sinn Fein). Brian Smyth (Greens), Gemma Weir (Workers Party), Matthew Collins ( People Before Profit) and Hugh Ennis (Progressive Unionists)


Gemma’s opening remarks:  The Left Speaks

Why PRIDE will always be important

Image result for pride 2018 belfast

The struggle for equality goes well beyond same sex marriage

It’s a fun-filled day, but it carries many important messages.

Northern Ireland is the only part of these islands where same sex marriage is neither recognised nor an option.  More than 150 homophobic attacks were reported to the police last yea. Verbal abuse and discrimination against the LGBT community is commonplace.

Fifty years after the start  of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland much remains outstanding. Among that list are the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They are citizens of this country: they deserve the same legal protections,  safeguards and rights as everyone else.

PRIDE is a celebration but it is also a protest at the inequalities and hatred which still persist.

The struggle for equality goes well beyond same sex marriage. Protection from discrimination in employment, health and  housing, access to  goods and services must be secured. Family rights must be safeguarded and upheld. Sexual orientation and gender identity should never be a case for abuse or prejudice.

Northern Ireland still has no Bill of Rights. That in large measure is down to the continuing refusal of the DUP and Sinn Fein to implement one. It is a major human rights issue for everyone in Northern Ireland and everyone including the LGBT community should contribute to the camapign for its introduction.



Civil Rights campaign ‘deliberately cut short’


‘Opportunities were missed and opportunists have left us with a sad legacy’, Hugh Scullion

A meeting in west Belfast has heard claims that the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland was deliberately cut short to justify what became known as ‘The Troubles’

Speaking at a public debate on ‘Civil Rights – Lost Opportunities’ as part of the West Belfast Festival / Féile an Phobail, Hugh Scullion of the Workers Party said

Unjustifiable                                                                                                         Had the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and other progressive forces been allowed to pursue their legitimate demands, then those who engaged in the bloody and unnecessary carnage inflicted over three decades could never have purloined the issue of civil rights as a pretext to justify their despicable and unjustifiable campaign of terror.

Thousands of lives were lost as was the opportunity for a united approach to tackling the social injustices of our society”

Divided community                                                                                     Opportunities were missed”, he said “and opportunists have left us with a sad legacy. Fifty years on, our community is still divided: segregated education and segregated housing are still with us. Thirty per cent of our children are living in poverty. Low income homes are the norm, and forty percent of the population is blighted by fuel poverty. Life expectancy is a postcode lottery.

Socialist society                                                                                                “NICRA won many reforms but the fundamental change required to bring about real equality has yet to be realised. That can only come with the creation of a new future, based on a united working class, a bill of rights that rejects sectarianism and racism and that builds a democratic, secular and socialist society”, he concluded

Full Text: Civil Rights_Missed Opportunity

Belfast Newsletter

Civil Rights-Lost Opportunty.jpg

Panel members: Nelson McCauseland, Brid Rodgers, David McCann (Deputy Editor of the Slugger O’Toole website), Francie Molly and Hugh Scullion

NICRA – the struggle for democracy

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At the ‘Billy McMillen Memorial Lecture’: Gerry Grainger, Eamon Melaugh, Marian Donnelly, Mickey McCorry  and Tom Gillen

Marion Donnelly and Eamon Melaugh, both key figures in the early civil rights campaign, were guests speakers at a Workers Party event to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association*.

Both gave personal accounts of their involvement, of the politics and the issues of the time and of the struggle for democracy Northern Ireland

The event, the Billy McMllen Memorial Lecture,was preceded by the showing of a  documentary film made by the Party to record and review the civil rights movement.

*Organised as part of the West Belfast Festival / Feile an Phobail

“The calling card of politically bankrupt gangsters…”

attacks sf homesWorkers Party condemns bomb attacks

The Workers Party has condemned last night’s attacks on the homes of two members of Sinn Fein.

It has never been acceptable to bomb people, their families or their homes – it never will be.  Irrespective of who committed these acts they are repugnant acts of terror and the work of people who have nothing whatsoever to offer our society.

This is the calling card of politically bankrupt gangsters.

They should desist immediately whether they are targeting homes in west Belfast or orchestrating sectarian violence in Derry.

Anyone with any information should get in touch with the PSNI before serious injuries are inflicted or lives are lost.


Naked sectarianism in action

Derry riotng

A blatant and orchestrated orgy of sectarian violence

“There can be no excuses for the events in Derry over recent days. They are quite simply inexcusable”, the Workers Party has said.

What we have been witnessing is a blatant and orchestrated orgy of sectarian violence.

This cannot be diluted, dismissed or downgraded to ‘community tensions’ or ‘seasonal civil unrest’  as some commentators, media outlets and politicians have attempted to do.

This is an outright, planned and resourced sectarian assault on the Fountain area of the city and its residents. It is now also the  attempted murder of police officers.

Ultimately, it will be the united actions of the community which will overcome this bigoted onslaught and those who plan and perpetrate it.

This is not a time for pandering or platitudes. This is naked sectarianism in action. There are no excuses, there can be no compromises.

Anyone and everyone with any information about these  sectarian attacks or planned attacks should pass that information to the PSNI without delay.

Celebrating and defending the NHS at 70

NHS It's not safe

A clear message: the NHS is not safe in private hands

A health and care system under attack                                                                  We hear it that often that there is a real danger than people will  start believing it:

“…we can’t afford the NHS anymore”,  ” …there are too many old people”, “…the system is being abused by ‘health tourists'” , “…obese people shouldn’t get treatment”, “…people with addictions only have themselves to blame” and. of course,“…it would be better off being run privately because people would value it more”!

Newspapers, media. commentators, government and of course local political parties all repeat the same false message – “We can’t afford the NHS”

Bought and sold                                                                                                    But driving that camapign are the multinational healthcare companies, the pharmaceutical industry, the private consultants, the care-home owners, the venture capitalists,  the get rich quick investment companies and, of course, the right wing supporters of the  free-market economy.

To them, health and care is just another commodity to be bought. sold and profited from – exactly the same as any other resource or service they can get their hands on.

The NHS is not safe in private hands                                                                       A properly funded health and social care service designed to deliver quality outcomes is central to a humane and decent society: but those principles are far from safe and secure.

There must be an end to ‘creeping privatisation’, to the outsourcing of health and care services and jobs to the private sector. Vested interests, including the vested interests of private healthcare, must be confronted and challenged.  

Austerity and privatisation                                                                             Report after report shows that health inequalities in Northern Ireland have been persisting at the same level or worse for the past ten years.

Health inequalities have a number of root causes, but poverty, unemployment, low pay, educational under- achievement and the lack of decent public housing all feature as key factors. All of these factors are compounded by a political programme of austerity and privatisation

Reclaiming health and social care                                                                          We can continue to ignore our health needs and watch hospital admissions grow out of control, patients die on trolleys and be abused in private care homes and the system go into melt down, or we can address the problem by reclaiming our health and social care services and bringing them back into full, publicly funded, public ownership.

If we can afford nuclear submarines,  rocket attacks on Syria, and waging war on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya then we can afford a first class, publicly funded health and social care service, free at the point of delivery  – and we can afford to value those who deliver it.



Ballysillan parade changes welcomed


Kilcoole parade: ‘an example of  how to handle a potentially difficult situation’, Gemma Weir

Ballysillan parade changes welcomed

The Workers Party has welcomed the measures taken by Cavehill Temperance LOL 1956 ahead of its ‘Floating of the Banner’ parade on July 6th.

The Lodge shortened the original parade route and leafleted the Kilcoole / Mountcoole / Duncoole area to explain its decision, and the purpose of the parade to local residents.

“I think this is a sensible decision and one that I hope will allay any local apprehensions. The officers of the Cavehill Lodge have demonstrated maturity and civic responsibility” the party’s local representative Gemma Weir said.

Parades Commission                                                                                               “I met with the Parades Commission last week to discuss the proposed route and make them aware of concerns that had been brought to my attention”, she said

“The shortening of the parade and the willingness to engage with the local community are an excellent example of how to handle potentially difficult situations.

“The positive and sensitive actions of the Cavehill Temperance Lodge are in stark contrast to the the alarmist, provocative and extremely unhelpful stance taken by a number of local politicians and some sections of the media”, Gemma said.

“I now hope that we can all look forward to a peaceful and enjoyable  summer – especially in North Belfast”, Gemma concluded


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