Category Archives: Statements

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




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

“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


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


Significant and emphatic YES!


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

Twenty years since saying ‘Yes’


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.






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