The best way to honour integrated education is to implement it

The Assembly has deliberately sidetracked integrated education

Gemma Weir, Workers Party representative in North Belfast and former Hazelwood integrated College  pupil, has congratulated The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education and the Integrated Education Fund  on the news that they may be in the running for a Nobel Prize for their work.

Re-focus

“Formal recognition and commendation of the work of both these bodies, and the whole integrated schools network across Northern Ireland, is long overdue”, Gemma said.”I hope that this accolade, should it be awarded. will help to re-focus attention on the purpose and necessity of integrated education in Northern Ireland and on the urgency to progress its full implementation”, she said


“The work of both these bodies and of the parents, staff and pupils across the integrated sector over the years has helped to keep the movement alive. This is in sharp contrast to the  work of the Assembly which has abdicated its statutory responsibility to assist in the  implementation of integrated education , has sought to thwart its development and has deliberately and cynically diluted the concept with the false notion of ‘shared education’

Redouble

“I wish the entire integrated education movement well and hope that should this award come to pass that it serves to redouble the efforts of all of us who believe in and understand the value and necessity of a fully funded, government driven integrated education system in Northern Ireland”, Gemma concluded.

Ivan Cooper

Ivan Cooper: civil rights campaigner

The Workers Party has expressed its condolences to the family and friends of veteran civil rights campaigner Ivan Cooper, who died earlier today.

Ivan was an early member of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and a tireless campaigner for social justice. He was also a consistent and outspoken critic of terrorism and state violence.

His legacy will be the courageous and politically pioneering work he undertook in the late 1960s and early 1970s and his commitment to securing civil rights for all.

Outstanding Holiday Pay


Workers have always had to fight for their rights.
Nothing was handed to them on a plate

The recent decision by the Court of Appeal which upheld an earlier finding that thousands of PSNI officers and civilian staff are entitled to holiday back pay going back over 20 years, has implications for workers right across Northern Ireland

Should workers entitled to holiday back pay now receive that money? In a word ‘Yes’. Everyone has an entitlement to be paid for their work and to have their terms and conditions of employment honoured.

This is all the more important because this is not an isolated case of workers rights being eroded or ignored.

It comes against a backdrop of zero hours contracts, 51 week employment periods, struggles to secure even a minimum wage, unpaid internships, no pay trial shifts and a host of other dubious employment practices.

Contrast that economic culture with the immediate and unquestioning bail out of banks and other financial institutions to the tune of £955 billion. 

This is not a level playing field and we are not all in this together.

Find out more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-48704942

Nethier Brexit nor Border Poll


Workers Party Local Government Election Statement


This community is scarred by poverty, inequality, zero hours contracts, housing crisis and the effects of Sinn Fein and the DUP’s welfare reforms.

Some parties would like to make this election about Brexit. Some would like to use it to advance a Border Poll, but the reality is that it’s about neither.

For this election to have any real meaning it must send a message to the main political parties that they have failed to deliver government and governance , and that they continue to fail ordinary people through the rundown of public services, the privatisation of  public assets and utilities, the erosion of the public space and the pursuit of  corporate  business approval.

If we were to call for a second referendum or for a ballot on Irish ‘unity’, we would doubtless attract more media attention, but that is not how the Workers Party sees the current social, economic and political priorities.

Reality of life                                                                                                            Nor does it reflect the reality of life for the thousands of people desperately seeking secure well-paid employment, families struggling to find and pay for local childcare or those growing older in an age unfriendly society.

Nor are border polls and ‘people’s votes’ the priority of the thousands of children and their parents living in poverty and low income homes, those on zero hours contracts or the young girls and women who face the monthly indignity of period poverty because, in 21st century Belfast, they cannot afford sanitary products.

Developers’ mindset                                                                                             Nor are attempts to transform our public spaces into homages to corporate America either relevant to or reflective of local life. The recent proposal to name the redeveloped Lower North Street area of Belfast ‘Tribeca’ in deference to an area in Lower Manhattan gives a glimpse into the mindset of the developers and the council alike.

Councils across Northern Ireland should be delivering for local people and acting as advocate and champion for improved housing, better mental health services, introducing a universal living wage, reversing welfare reforms and offering advice, assistance and direction to those in need of support.

A poor second                                                                                                          But that has not been the case. Sinn Fein and the DUP have used Belfast Council and its resources to build up their power bases through a sectarian carve up of this city. Poverty, employment, public services and opportunities come a very poor second to bonfire diversion schemes, and the funding of divisive cultural and historical projects.

This city is scarred by poverty, inequality, zero hours contracts,  housing crisis and the effects of Sinn Fein and the DUP’s welfare reforms.

The manner in which ordinary people, their lives, their needs and their futures have been abandoned by the main parties is an outrage and a disgrace. It verges on the criminal.

The interests of ordinary people                                                                            A vote for any of those parties on May 2nd will condemn the ordinary people of this city to yet more hardship, deprivation and suffering. It will also condemn another generation of young people to lives of underachievement and hopelessness. That is the price we all pay for the maintenance of sectarian political elites.

Only a party committed to class politics and the interests of ordinary people can make the kind of changes that are needed to secure a better life for all.

The Workers Party is that party.

  

The Workers Party s fielding seven candidates: six in Belfast and one in the Mid Ulster area

The Belfast candidates are:

Chris Bailie (Oldpark)

Conor Campbell (Black Mountain)

Paddy Crossan Collin)

Joanne Lowry (Court)

Paddy Lynn (Botanic)

Gemma Weir (Castle)

Hugh Scullion, is representing the party in the Moyola area of Mid Ulster Council

The work of politically bankrupt gangsters

Lyra McKee: there can be no justification

Last night’s murder of 29 year old Lyra McKee was the tragic, but inevitable, outcome of recent violent activity and the ongoing attacks on the community by groups of politically bankrupt gangsters

There can be no justification for Ms. McKee’s murder, but doubtless there are those who will seek to explain it away in the coming days. Those who carried out this attack, and those who support them, have no contribution to make , bring no value and until they desist, have no place in this society.

We need to be very clear about the violent intent of these people and dismiss notions of the ‘lone gunman’: there is no such thing. People who bring weapons onto the streets have often a very sophisticated, support network of people who store their guns, transport them, provide them with cover and offer practical and moral support. Those people are as morally culpable for Lyra McKee’s murder as the person who pulled the trigger.

There is little point in appealing directly to those who carried out this murder – they are too self absorbed and self justifying to be even remotely interested . However, the community in which they skulk and hide can play a telling and crucial role. By ostracising these gangsters and their supporters they can be left without the cover they need to continue with their senseless and savage campaign of terror against the community.

We offer our deepest sympathy to Lyra’s family friends, and colleagues and call on anyone with any information about this murder to contact the PSNI and support them in their investigations

Local Elections: only a party committed to class politics can deliver the change we need

Chris Bailie (Oldpark), Paddy Crossan (Collin), Paddy Lynn (Botanic)
Conor Campbell (Black Mountain), Gemma Weir (Castle), Joanne Lowry (Court) and Hugh Scullion (Moyola)

Seven candidates wll be representing the Workers Party in next months local government elections.

North Belfast- Gemma Weir (Castle) and Chris Bailie (Oldpark) West Belfast: Joanne Lowry (Court), Paddy Crossan (Collin) and Conor Campbell (Black Mountain) South Belfast: Paddy Lynn (Botanic), and Mid Ulster: Hugh Scullion (Moyola)

Class politics

The Party is focusing on the legacy of deprivation, poverty and abandoned areas left by Sinn Fein, the DUP. The Pary’s election message is that only a party committed to class politics can deliver the changes needed to turn around the social decline, hopelessness and despair that characterises many working class areas of Northern Ireland .

Sectarian carve up

Sinn Fein and the DUP in particular have overseen a sectarian carve up of community funding and resources and have used that to sustain and develop their respective camps. In some areas of Northern Ireland child poverty is running at well over 30%, fuel poverty is even more prevalent, thousands of children leave school with low or no qualifications and mental ill health remains at crisis level.

The socialist alternative.

Among the initiatives included in the the Party’s programme are proposals for accessible, affordable local childcare, universal adoption of the Living Wage , a youth apprenticeship programme, well paid, well trained jobs with a career path for local care workers , the implementation of integrated education, access to appropriate talking therapies for people experiencing mental illness, improved public transport for our rural communities – especially to hospital appointments, the restoration of the Housing Executive as the primary provider of publicly owned housing, a public infrastructure programme building homes, roads, hospitals and schools and additional resources to support women and long term unemployed back into work.


PARTY DELEGATION MEETS WITH VENEZUELAN AMBASSADOR

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Members of the Party delegation which met with Rocío Maneiro,  the Venezuelan Ambassador to the UK and Ireland (right). L:R Helena Menéndez, Venezuelan Embassy official responsible for the Press, Party members Paddy Crossan, Gerry Grainger  (Workers Party International Secretary), Lily Kerr and Joanne Lowry

A delegation of party members has met with the Venezuelan Ambassador to the UK and Ireland, Rocío Maneiro, to convey the Party’s solidarity with the Venezuelan government and its peoples and to voice our condemnation of the US sponsored attempted coup and the ongoing attacks against the democratically-elected government of Nicolás Maduro.

The Ambassador outlined the current situation in Venezuela and the great dangers not only for Venezuela, but also the entire region, when long established principles of international law on non-interference and territorial sovereignty were being set aside.

Increasing aggression.

In welcoming the Ambassador and her colleague to Belfast the Party’s International Secretary, Gerry Grainger, expressed the Workers Party condemnation of the escalation in aggression against Venezuela.

“The international aggression against the Venezuelan government is being co-ordinated and supported by the United States, the European Union and the governments of the so-called ‘Lima Group’1, They are attacking the sovereignty and rights of Venezuela and the Venezuelan people”, he stated

“The Bolivarian government 2 of Venezuela, like the Republic of Cuba which also chose a development path in the interests of its people, has faced relentless hostility, threats of intervention and a planned strategy of embargo and economic war”, Gerry explained

 lnternational Solidarity

The Workers Party is calling for an immediate end to the interference and aggression against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, for respect for its sovereignty and independence and is appealing for International solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and the Venezuelan people.

Notes:

1The ‘Lima Group’ comprises 12 northern, central and southern American countries and is supported by the United States.It overtly condemned the presidential elections called for by the Bolivarian government, describing them as unobserved, unjust and undemocratic. Days before the planned election date, the Lima Group – alongside the United States and the European
Union – called for the cancellation of the election. Following the election which strengthened President Maduro’s position, the fourteen member nations of the Lima Group recalled their ambassadors from Venezuela.

2 The Bolivarian  Revolution is a political process in Venezuela that
was led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the founder of the Fifth
Republic Movement and later the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

The Bolivarian Revolution is named after Simón Bolívar, the early 19th-century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the Spanish American wars of independence in achieving the independence of most of northern South America from Spanish rule.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day: still relevant, still important

International Women’s Day remains an important date in the political calendar – not just because the struggles for equal rights, for equal pay and for the right to control reproductive choices still need to be fought, but because there is a lobby, made up mostly of the middle classes, that pretends that ‘women have never had it so good and we can all stop agitating now’.

Now more than ever those vicious myths need to be exposed, now more than ever those who want to pull the ladder up behind them need to be challenged.

That is why the Workers Party and other progressive forces will continue to
demand free, safe and legal abortion for all, not just the few, why we will campaign against the ruthlessness of zero hours contracts, the exploitative nature of much part time employment and why we will continue to struggle for full participation by women in all aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life .

That is why we continue to hold International Women’s Day to be an important date and an important event.

Party condemns latest attack on Belfast / Dublin rail link

Low level criminality directed against the entire community’

The Workers Party in Lurgan has condemned the latest in a series  of attacks on the Belfast / Dublin rail link.The hijacking and burning of a van in the Lake Street area has resulted in the closure of the line between Lisburn and Portadown.

The Party has challenged those responsible to come into the open to explain their actions and spell out exactly what  they think they are trying to achieve.

“This community, and the all those who depend on the rail link, have had enough.  These are the actions of faceless cowards with nothing to offer except destruction and disruption.

There is no purpose or political rationale involved: this is nothing more than low level criminality directed against the entire community. Those responsible, and those who direct them, deserve no cover, no sympathy and no hiding place”, the Party said

“Anyone with any information about this or previous incidents should contact the PSNI” , the statement concluded

Northern Ireland Progressive Women’s Forum launched

The inaugural meeting of the Northern Ireland Progressive Women’s Forum

Members of the Workers Party’s Women’s Committee have attended the inaugural meeting of the Northern Ireland Progressive Women’s Forum – launched on Monday to coincide with International Women’s Day later this week.

The Forum will provide a left wing platform for the discussion and advancement of women’s issues – in particular working class women’s issues.

The time is always right for a socialist critique of social, economic and political issues affecting women in Northern Ireland, but maybe no more so than at the moment.

The demand for free, safe and legal abortion remains a high priority, zero hours contracts, part time employment and participation in the political process by progressive women are all issues affecting women in real terms.

Party members have also been involved with the steering group which organised the Forum’s initial meeting. The meeting endorsed a set of aims and objectives and that work will now be built on over the coming months with the adoption of a formal programme of work.

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