‘We will be heard’ says Gemma Weir
‘Trust women’ says Weir
Gemma Weir has spoken on behalf of the Workers Party at this evening’s rally at Belfast City Hall in support of a woman’s right to choose.
‘It is a disgrace that time after time we have to stand here on the streets demanding that women have the right to make choices about their own bodies and their own fertility’, Gemma said.
‘ We will not go away until we get the rights that we should have’ , she added.
‘Unfortunately we need to shout louder, but we will be heard’ said Gemma
The Workers Party believes in a woman’s right to choose and supports the provision of free and safe abortion in her own country which will include practical facilities to support women seeking an abortion and safe post abortion care.
Read the Party’s submission to the Department of Justice on ‘The Criminal Law on abortion’ – Consultation by the Department of Justice on Amending the Law (Jan 2015)
‘Gary Lineker should be applauded – not hounded by social media and the press’
Workers Party representative Lily Kerr has come to the defence of football commentator Gary Lineker who is being subjected to on-line and media abuse for comments he made in support of refugees.
Commenting on the way in which young refugees arriving from Calais are being treated, Lineker said
‘The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless’
Lily Kerr, who earlier this week debated this issue on Radio Ulster’s ‘Talkback’ programme said ” Gary Linekers comments are absolutely spot on and he should be applauded not hounded on social media and attacked in the press”.
The use of descriptions like ‘The Jungle‘, to describe the refugee camp at Calais and calls for refugees to have their teeth checked to ascertain their age are obscene, offensive and racist. Gary is right”, she said.
‘Level playing field‘
The problem is further compounded by media reporting which would have us believe that all arguments and points of view are equal, that it is a level playing field and people are entitled to their opinions”, Lily said
“That approach might give media pundits and presenters the pretense of a discussion, but the harsh reality is that not all views are equal or acceptable. People who want to examine refugees teeth are racists. Their argument is racist and to excuse their attitudes by claiming ‘ balance in the debate’ is not only unhelpful but is creating a space for these type of bigoted and xenophobic rants to be aired”, Lily concluded.
‘Hate crimes take their lead from the culture we create’ – Gemma Weir
“Attacks on the LGBT community are a direct result of the political, social and religious culture in Northern Ireland which says gay people are not equal, should not have equal rights and should be marginalised”, Workers Party representative in North Belfast Gemma Weir has said.
Her comments follow last weekend’s homophobic attack on a man near Belfast city centre.
“Year upon year the hate crime figures in Northern Ireland continue to rise”, Gemma said
“We cannot go on acting as if this is a coincidence or a naturally occurring phenomenon”, she said.
“Hate crimes, whether they are homophobic, racist or sectarian, take their lead from the culture we create. In Northern Ireland we continue to send out a clear message to the LGBT community that they are less than equal and last weekend’s attack is just one of the outcomes of that philosophy”, Gemma said.
“The impact of that inward, insular and ultimately dangerous philosophy is also felt by those who stand with the LGBT community. The refusal of local church elders to work with their fellow elder David Ford because of his support for marriage equality sends a negative message to the entire community and further compounds a culture in which homophobes flourish”, Gemma added.
“It will be a long and difficult struggle to eradicate homophobia and hate crime in Northern Ireland but it is the responsibility of us all to ensure that it happens.
“The introduction of legislation for same sex marriage by the Assembly would be a significant start. It would reflect the mood and the will of the majority of people in Northern Ireland, it would signal to the LGBT community that their rights are as important as everyone else’s and it would begin the process of challenging and overcoming the current culture of homophobia and hate.”, Gemma concluded.
Parties must be held to account for the culture they foster
Workers Party North Belfast representative Chris Bailie has condemned last night’s arson attack on a flat in the Ligoniel area and warned against complacency in underestimating the levels and causes of sectarianism in Northern Ireland society.
“This was a vile attack which could easily have resulted in serious injury or death”, Chris said.
“While it is important to denounce these types of incidents it is also important that we do not simple go through the motions of condemning them and forgetting about the underlying culture which feeds them”.
“Over 2,000 sectarian incidents and crimes were recorded last year”, said Chris.
“Given that our political structures and major parties are based on, and are sustained by, sectarian division that figure is not surprising. Tackling sectarianism in society is a major and pressing issue but it is not one that will be solved by ‘cross community’ initiatives – important as many of them are – or by token gestures”
“Northern Ireland society needs to be reformed from the top down and those parties which trade in sectarianism and division must be held to account for the culture which they foster”, Chris concluded.