Party welcomes High Court ruling

RTCThe Workers Party has welcomed this morning’s High Court Ruling that abortion legislation in Northern Ireland is in breach of human rights law but has expressed regret that this decision had to come through the courts rather than via  the Assembly.
“As a society we must support a woman’s right to choose and recognise that women have the right to control their own bodies, including their fertility, and to pursue all reproductive choices. This is fundamental to any reasonable concept of gender equality”, the Party statement said.

‘Reclaim the Night’


Party members march to ‘Reclaim the Night’

Several hundred people marched though Belfast city centre on Saturday evening  to high light late night violence against women, in particular, the LGBT community and others.

The ‘Reclaim the Night’ movement started almost forty years ago and is now a world wide camapign. Saturday night’s march in Belfast was designed to raise awareness on street harassment and gender violence and was part of the United Nations campaign for  16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

For more information on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence click:

Party serves ‘Petition of Concern’ on DUP


Workers Party members at DUP Headquarters

The  Workers Party has has served  a Marriage Equality ‘Petition of Concern’ on the DUP.

A  Party delegation presented the letter to the DUP’s  Gavin Robinson at their east Belfast headquarters this morning – a protest designed to co-incide with the 37th anniversary of the murder of Harvey Milk the United States’ first openly gay elected politician.

Equality                                                                                                           Workers Party representatives  Lily Kerr and Gemma Weir pointed out to Mr Robinson and the DUP  that it was  particularly poignant that almost forty years after an elected representative in San Fransisco was murdered for being gay, that we are still struggling to secure equality for the LGBT community in Northern Ireland.

‘Offensive’                                                                                                        Motions on marriage equality have now been brought before the Assembly on five occasions but have failed each time because of a DUP veto using the Petition of Concern mechanism.

Lily Kerr described as ‘offensive’ the DUPs use of the Petition of Concern to block social policy which had the support of the majority of people in Northern Ireland and the majority of MLAs at Stormont

Majority                                                                                                            Recent opinion polls have found that 68% of adults in Northern Ireland support marriage equality,  a majority of MLAs has voted in favour of introducing marriage equality and more than  20,000 people marched through Belfast earlier this summer to demand the necessary change in Northern Ireland law. This is now the only part of these islands where marriage equality is denied.

Concern                                                                                                            The DUP has consistently used the Petition of Concern to block legislation in the Assembly. Today we are turning the tables on them and raising our concern and the concerns of the majority of people in Northern Ireland on the anniversary of the murder of Harvey Milk”, Gemma Weir added.


Lily Kerr and Gemma Weir present the Workers Party’s ‘Petition of Concern’ to the DUP’s Gavin Robinson

Tories, Sinn Fein and the DUP serve business not working people

tax credits

Business benefits at the expense of ordinary people

The Workers Party has warned against celebrating the withdrawal of plans to cut family tax credits, pointing out that both the Tories at Westminster and the Sinn Fein / DUP coalition at Stormont are committed to supporting the rich and big business at the expense of ordinary people.

The Tories are ideologically committed to benefiting the well off by penalising  working people and people in receipt of benefits. Shifting the focus from family tax credits only means that those cuts will surface somewhere else.

At Stormont  Sinn Fein and the DUP  have led the charge to reduce Corporation Tax for multi national firms with out the guarantee of one single new job while at the same time thousands of local people remain caught in the poverty trap.


Profit the only concern of private healthcare

Simon Hamilton

Minister must scrap privatisation plans

‘Transforming Your Care’ – the blueprint for the future of health and social care services needs to be scrapped in the light of the closure of seven nursing homes by one of the biggest private residential/ nursing home providers  in Northern Ireland.

Party spokesperson Lily Kerr said, “What clearer proof does the minister need than this announcement  to realise that if the private sector can’t make a profit they are not interested in providing care”?

“By the ministers own admission ‘Transforming Your Care’ is predicated on the provision of residential, nursing and domiciliary care moving  to the private and voluntary sectors.  He must now accept that our elderly and vulnerable citizens are not commodities to be bought and sold and accept that profit making has no place in the delivery of health care”, Lily said.

” I am calling on all those political parties who rushed to support ‘Transforming Your Care’ to now publicly call for its ending and support the Workers Party in our call for an open honest and transparent debate on the provision of  our most important service”, Lily concluded.

Standing up to sectarian intimidation

Everyone has a right to a home

Everyone has a right to a home

Workers Party representative Gemma Weir has hit out strongly at attempts to intimidate residents of the Felden area in north Belfast and has called for a ‘united community response’ to recent threats.

‘There can be no excuse and no justification for the intimidating and sectarian graffiti that has been daubed on walls around the new Felden housing development, or for the flags on lamp posts at the entrance to the estate’, she said.

‘People have a right to live peacefully, free from threat wherever they choose to set up home. There can be no exceptions.  Along with Party colleagues I have been delivering that message in a leaflet drop in Felden, Graymount, Bawnmore and surrounding areas this weekend’, Gemma said

‘In recent months I have also held a number of meetings with local groups and agencies to discuss the best ways to counter these threats and to help re-assure residents and families.

The best way we can stand up to sectarianism and intimidation is to unite in support of all the families in Felden”, stated Gemma

 ‘There can be no room for those who seek to bully and pressurise people out of their homes and out of their neighbourhoods. That message must come from the entire local community’.

‘The Workers Party will work with anyone and everyone who opposes sectarianism, stands up to bully boys and believes that people have a right to a home in the area of their choice – regardless of their beliefs, their ethnic background or their political opinions, Gemma concluded .

Attacks must not deter progress

Attacks are the result of a culture of sectarianism, confrontation and provocation.

Attacks are the result of a culture of sectarianism, confrontation and provocation.

Workers Party representative Chris Bailie has condemned the recent attacks in the Ardoyne / Crumlin Road area of Belfast but has called for continued progress towards removing local  ‘peace’ walls.

‘The recent attacks on homes in the Crumlin Road area are sectarian hate crimes. They are horrific and they age wrong.’ he said

‘They are the result of a culture of sectarianism, confrontation and provocation which for some time now has been the sole agenda of a number of groups in north Belfast.

‘There are people throughout north Belfast who are opposed to progress and the removal of ‘peace’ walls because they need them to sustain difference and division in an attempt to justify their own existence’, Chris said.

‘The progress which has been made on the removal of barriers and gates must not be thwarted by random acts of terror by elitist paramilitaries’, Chris commented.

‘All agencies and groups in the area should meet to confirm progress towards the removal of the walls and present a united front against this type of terror and intimidation’ said Chris.

‘That is the only way forward’, he added

Standing Against Austerity


Party President Michael Donnelly addressing the conference

The Workers Party’s Northern Ireland Conference has heard calls for a rejection of the Sinn Fein / DUP Coalition and its ‘home grown’ austerity measures.

Party members were joined by trade union speakers in an assessment of the nature and impact of the austerity measures already implemented and those proposed under the Stormont House Agreement.

Unite The Union’s Regional Co-ordinator Kevin McAdam told the conference that cuts to public services, job loses and redundancies were being paid for by the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society. There is no corresponding increase in tax on the wealthy to re-balance the economy. The rich are getting rich and the poor are getting poorer’, he said.

Speakers also highlighted the austerity measures contained in the Stormont House Agreement and the coalition which Sinn Fein and the DUP have formed to implement them.

Conference also discussed Integrated Education, Racism, Sectarianism and Homophobia, the Health Service, Marriage Equality and water Charges.

An emergency motion called on the Justice Minister to resign in the wake of the recent report of the state of Northern Ireland’s prisons .

Health inequalities must be addressed


Health must be the Assembly’s No.1 priority

Workers Party health spokesperson, Lily Kerr, has welcomed the announcement that the Health and Social Care Board is to be done way with as part of the most recent review of health and social care services but has criticised the lack of consultation with staff and unions.

 “This decision is long overdue”, Lily said ” Although we are now going through yet another structural review of services in only a matter of years, this morning’s announcement that the Health and Social Care Board will no longer be a part of our health and social care structures is to be welcomed”.

“I would now welcome conformation from the Minister that this spells the end of the disastrous policy of ‘purchaser/provider’ split’, she said

Health inequalities persist

“Despite the fact that our health and social care services have been through several re-organisations over the past forty years and millions of pounds have been squandered on new structures – each one having a detrimental effect – report after report indicates that health inequalities have not improved. Monitoring reports make it clear that “…the absence of a whole systems approach in Northern Ireland has resulted in Health Inequalities persisting at the same level or worse for the previous ten years‟, said Lily.

Open and transparent debate

The Workers Party believes that what is needed is an open, transparent, and courageous debate on the type of health and social care services that are required to deliver quality health outcomes, and deal with decades of inequalities. That debate must challenge vested interests, inside and outside health and social services and be prepared to think big”.

Number one priority

“Health can be fixed, but it requires the political will to do so. The Northern Ireland Assembly and the Executive have to reinstate Health as the number one priority within the programme for government”,  Lily concluded.