Category Archives: Statements

NATO warships not welcome

NATO flotilla

NATO wars have left hundreds of thousands dead and injured

The Workers Party has condemned the presence of a flotilla NATO warships in Belfast this weekend as  ‘a blatant propaganda stunt to normalise the ugly face of war’.

The force includes vessels from the navies of Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.

NATO is an aggressive military alliance representing the extension of US military power and acting exclusively in the interests of imperialism. The history of NATO cannot be separated from the history of foreign interference in the affairs of other nations and war. NATO promotes the militarisation of Europe, the continuation of the arms race and increases the threat of war and nuclear terror.

It urges all member states to increase military spending to at least 2% of GDP at a time when those states should be spending money on hospital, education and the welfare of their people.

NATO’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya have left hundreds of thousands dead and injured; destroyed these countries’ infrastructure and worsened the lives of millions of ordinary working people. Millions of people have been forced to become refugees and flee their homes in search of a safe place for them and their families to live.

The presence of such a force in Belfast is a matter for shame. No to war and aggression! No to NATO!

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Health Inequalities remain the big issue

Heallth continuum

Health & social care must remain publicly funded and free at the point of delivery

Workers Party representatives have addressed  all five of today’s Health and Social Care Board Meetings in Belfast, Downpatrick, Craigavon, Derry and Ballymena.
 
Party representatives criticised the ‘shambolic and cynical way’ in which the Department of Health released an additional £40 million of funding just days after the end of a public consultation on cuts to services, saying ‘…it is either gross incompetence or cynical political manipulation to call for cuts to services while knowingly sitting on millions of pounds of available money’ .
 
They also attacked the privatisation of services and identified the eradication of health inequalities as a major priority

Principles                                                                                                               The Party’s statement to Trust Boards emphasised the need for health and social care to remain publicly funded and free at the point of delivery.  ‘These principles are far from safe and secure’ the statement said.

Health inequalities, most notably in working class communities, continue to be the biggest determinant of our health and well-being yet are largely ignored in health care planning.

‘We cannot continue to privatise community care and watch hospital admissions grow out of control, patients die on trolleys and the system go into melt down’.

Halting privatisation                                                                                         There must be an end to “creeping privatisation”, to the outsourcing of health services and jobs to the private sector. Vested interests, including the vested interests of private healthcare, must be confronted and challenged. The Workers Party believes that a properly funded health service designed to deliver quality health outcomes is central to a humane and decent society.

 Engagement                                                                                                     ‘There must be direct democratic engagement with working people, both as patients and users of the service as well as the workers who deliver the service and their trade union representatives’, the Party said.

‘This is the only way to develop a cohesive health and social care strategy, including community care, which tackles existing health inequalities and accords a proper level of funding to meet the needs of all citizens.

A Party delegation will also be addressing the Health and Social Care Board meeting on Tuesday 17th October

 

 

Housing must be free from sectarian threat

1CantrellClose001‘Intimidating people  can never be justified, nor can forcing them to leave their home’s , the Workers Party in south Belfast has said.

The condemnation follows the sectarian intimidation of a number of families from the Cantrell Close area.

‘Shared housing development initiatives are an essential part of securing a single united community’, the Party said.

‘Everyone must have the right and the opportunity to live where they wish. Every political party must state that clearly and publicly condemn these recent incidents.

Those who have made these threats should retract them immediately’, the statement concluded.

Party condemns threats to Probation staff

Nothing to offerThe Workers Party has condemned threats levelled at Probation staff by nationalist terrorists.

The  threats, identified as ‘substantial’ by the PSNI, follow previous bomb attacks on Probation service staff and offices and numerous threats against other public sector workers in recent years.

‘These are yesterday’s men’, the Party said, ‘ and their actions represent an attack on workers , an attempt to heighten sectarian tensions and division and are repugnant to the concept of class politics’.

‘At a time when public sector workers, providing valuable services to the community, are already facing pay freezes and cuts, they also face physical attack from people who won’t even show their faces’

‘No one should have to live with is type of threat and anyone with any information about those responsible or their actions should contact the police without hesitation’, the Party statement concluded.

 

Incinerator: ‘Executive must take decisions’ says Weir

NOARC21The Workers Party is supporting local campaigners and the ‘No Arc 21’ group as they consider their legal options, including judicial review, in the light of yesterday’s surprise decision by the Department of Infrastructure to give the go-ahead to a waste incinerator plant at Mallusk.

Party spokesperson Gemma Weir said, ‘despite over 4,000 objections to this project it is proceeding without either a Ministerial or an Executive decision’. 

There was absolutely no need to take this unaccountable decision ‘, Gemma said ‘Northern Ireland has many urgent and pressing problems which  need immediate action but this is not one of them’.
‘This irrational and potentially dangerous course of action has been taken in the absence of a functioning Assembly at Stormont. While the condemnation of both the DUP and Sinn Fein on this issue is to be welcomed, it is also hypocritical of both parties to point the finger at civil servants when they have repeatedly failed to form the very Executive that should be taking control of this situation’, said Gemma.
‘I have written to the Department of Infrastructure asking that it immediately suspends its approval for this project. I am also calling on both Sinn Fein and the DUP to live up to their responsibilities,form an Executive and allow us all to get on with taking our own decisions on our health, our environment and our waste management’ Gemma concluded

‘Restored Executive the absolute priority’

stormont

‘The restoration of a fully functioning Executive remains the absolute political priority”.the Workers Party has said.

‘Health, education and other public services are in crisis, budgets cannot be set, projects signed off or jobs and funding secured”, the Party said.

‘Some parties are happy to find reason after reason why a new Executive should not be formed but there are more pressing reasons why it should: hospital waiting lists, school budgets, housing schemes, eliminating unemployment, infrastructure projects, jobs, wages, benefits and quality of life are but a few’.

‘Sinn Fein won’t take their seats at Westminster and since last January  they haven’t taken their seats at Stormont. They continue to display an arrogant and contemptuous disregard for working class people, families and children’.

‘While those people bear the brunt of crumbling public services Sinn Fein’s undisguised disdain continues to place their own political ambitions front and centre regardless of the price paid by working class people’.

 

‘Integrated public housing the priority’, says Bailie

Chris Bailie

Hillview decision is wrong

Chris Bailie (Workers Party, Oldpark) has criticised the decision of the Council Planing Committee to grant permission for the  commercial  development of the  vacant  Hillview site on the Crumlin Road.

“This is not just a bad decision, it’s the wrong decision”, Chris said.

“This is the site of a failed retail development  – a failed retail development – yet the Planning Committee  gives the go ahead for more of the same”

“That in itself defies logic”, said  Chris, “but to do this in the face of an acute shortage of public housing is irrational and verging on the incompetent”

“The Hillview site should be re-zoned immediately for public housing, It should also be designated as an integrated development as part of the Housing Executive’s Good Relations Strategy.” argued Chris.

“This decision is not one taken in the interests of the people of North Belfast but rather of narrow sectional interests. Integrated public housing developments are the best way to address community need not fast food restaurants and car show rooms”, Chris concluded

 

‘Unwanted legacy’ must be addressed

August 2017

The rioting, bonfires and violence of recent days has been branded “the unwanted legacy of paramilitaries”

Workers Party North Belfast representative Chris Bailie said , “what we have witnessed this week is reminiscent of the worst days of the troubles. There was no excuse for it then and there is no excuse for it now”

“What we are witnessing”, said Chris “is the disaffected youth of today mimicking the actions and behaviours of paramilitary gangs from the 70s, 80s and 90s”

Ironically those former paramilitaries and those who support them have now moved on. They have pulled the ladder up behind them and are now happy to sub contract the resolution of problems they helped to create.

Condemning the burning and destruction in North Queen Street and other areas across the city Chris said, “there can be absolutely no justification for what we have seen and experienced this week”

“We are looking at a generation of disaffected youth with all the problems that involves. These issues can only be resolved by investment, jobs, training and the development of the community infrastructure.”, said Chris

“Many of the affected areas have been represented by Sinn Fein Councillors and MLAs for well over twenty years.

“To think that these issues can be addressed by  appointing contractors and calling for evictions is the response of a party that cares for little other than itself alone”, Chris concluded

 

Still much to be done

PRIDE 2017(2)Workers Party members joined this year’s Pride Parade in Belfast and marked our public support for the event going back to 1991 when we marched through the city with only a handful of people to champion the cause of LGBT rights.

Much has changed in the intervening years but much still needs to be done.

Northern Ireland still refuses to legislate for same-sex marriage despite overwhelming and growing public support. Members of the LGBT community are still verbally bused, physically assaulted and subject to discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

Legislation will address one of the issues but we need to work to achieve a sea change in social attitudes and opinions.This is not an academic argument. It goes to the very core of the type of society we are and the type of society we need to become. Lives are being ruined, prejudices are being ingrained and hurt and suffering are being borne  in pain and isolation.

The open participation by uniformed members of the PSNI in this year’s parade is a welcome signal from law enforcement agencies to the LGBT community.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are full citizens of Northern Ireland, and have every right to expect the same level of protection, support and legal safeguards as everyone else. That is a socialist perspective on what is essentially a human rights issue.

Much still needs to be done. We knew that in 1991. We know it now.

 

‘Not welcome, not wanted’

BRITAIN-FIRST

‘Britain First’ leader Paul Golding

Workers Party representative Chris Bailie has criticised the organisers of a rally to be held in Belfast next week saying that it has little to do with supporting victims and everything to do with providing a platform for racism and homophobia.

Two members of the far right group ‘Britain First’ – including its leader Paul Golding – are due to speak at the event billed as  a rally in support of the  victims of terrorism. Britain First was founded by members of the far right British National Party (BNP).

‘Britain First’  is a right wing racist gang whose sole objective seems to be to raise racial tensions and attack the LGBT community. Both they and the organisers of this demonstration have nothing to offer the people of Belfast and beyond, except an ultra nationalist racist diatribe  and they will use any platform and any opportunity to peddle their hate”, Chris said.

“They single out and blame minority communities for causing economic problems and creating social issues which are none of their making. They oppose humanitarian responses to refugees and asylum seekers but not the air strikes, bombing and wars which forced them to leave their countries in the first place”, added Chris

“This rally and these speakers should be shunned by the people of Belfast. Their appeal is to society’s lowest common denominator. They are neither wanted nor welcome“, Chris concluded

 

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