Sperrins mining – Public Inquiry a must


‘Sperrins mining plan must be subject to a full public inquiry’ Hugh Scullion

Local Workers Party  representative Hugh Scullion has added his voice to calls for a public inquiry into plans for a gold mining scheme in the Sperrins.

‘The work of the ‘Save Our Sperrins’ group has helped to bring this issue to the fore and their insistence on a public inquiry into plans by mining company Dalraidan Gold is an absolute must and should be undertaken without delay’, Hugh said.

‘It is almost beyond  belief that a mining operation involving the use of cyanide in a location  officially designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be allowed to proceed without even a comprehensive environmental impact assessment’, added Hugh

‘At any one time  the company plans to store between five and twenty tonnes of cyanide on site and return the water it uses in the extraction process back into the local watercourse after on site processing’.

‘The relentless pursuit of profit at any price  must be exposed and halted in its tracks. The fact that the DUP, through one of its local Councillors, is supporting the scheme should be sufficient cause for alarm on its own’, Hugh said

‘During November, 10,000 snow geese were killed by toxic waste from a former mine in British Columbia Canada. The Sperrins are home to a host of wildlife including otters, salmon and fresh water mussels’, said Hugh

‘The recent drilling operations at Woodburn Forest outside Carrickfergus took place beside a water reservoir  without a full environmental impact assessment’ Hugh pointed out, ‘and were finally halted by public protest and pressure.It seems that the same pressure and protest will be needed in the face of this scheme’, he said.

‘This mining scheme cannot be allowed to proceed with out a full public inquiry into its processes, the risks and the potential impact on the environment. That announcement should be made immediately and unambiguously by the Infrastructure Minister’, Hugh concluded

‘Foster must step aside for a full public enquiry’ – Kerr


Empty barns and buildings are heated for profit while fuel poverty in Northern Ireland continues to rise

‘Supreme arrogance and contempt for both public opinion and the political process have led to a situation where only a full and impartial enquiry will now be able to uncover the facts behind the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme’, Workers Party representative Lily Kerr has said.

‘The facts behind this debacle could have been aired much earlier and without the drip, drip release of information that we have seen over recent weeks’, she said

‘Arlene Foster and a string of DUP spokespersons have attempted to minimise the scale of this issue, hide its financial implications and play down the impact it will have on the people of Northern Ireland,  Lily said.

‘It is unforgivable that as levels of fuel poverty continue to rise an Executive programme pays people to heat empty barns and buildings. It is reprehensible that those responsible should seek to avoid accountability with arrogance and contempt’.

‘Just one year ago the same DUP was demonising people in receipt of benefits and refusing to even consider presenting an alternative to the welfare cuts agenda.  However, they have had no difficulty in burning millions of pounds of taxpayers money’, she added.

‘Arlene Foster must now step aside and allow a full public enquiry to establish and publish the facts, including the details of those who joined the scheme in its final weeks’, Lily concluded

Debate generating more heat than light


Assembly priorities created these conditions

The debate over the renewable heating initiative is generating more heat than light, Workers Party representative Lily Kerr has claimed.

‘There are of course questions to be answered but it is the Assembly’s political priorities which should be coming under public scrutiny’, Lily said.

The media debate is focusing on finding someone to blame and making them pay the consequences but in doing so it is completely ignoring the Assembly’s  priorities and policies which have created a climate in which this kind of scandal can thrive’

‘Commentators are also queuing up to point the finger at the public sector – conveniently ignoring the near collapse of the economy and the need to bail the banks out with public money just a few years ago’, Lily said

‘If civil servants were negligible in administering this scheme, or in the commissioning of the new Strangford ferry, then explanations must be forthcoming.

However, responsibility ultimately rests with, and must be accepted by, the Ministers involved’.

However it was the Assembly which took the decision to borrow millions of pounds to delivery thousands of civil service redundancies as part of the ‘Fresh Start’ deal. You cannot take thousands of experienced staff out of the system and expect that it will perform as normal’, said Lily

‘They also decided that there was no money to offset welfare cuts but had no difficulty in finding the £400 million the renewal heat initiative is estimated to be costing.

‘This winter children, families and older people will wake up in cold homes, trapped by fuel poverty. They don’t feature in the  Assembly’s priorities. Nor do the thousands of people affected by welfare cuts, many who although working require benefits to help them make ends meet’, she said.

‘There must of course be transparency and accountability in public policy but there must also be a set of priorities which address fuel poverty, benefits cuts and the maintenance of a viable public sector’, Lily concluded

‘Affordable public housing key to homeless crisis’ – Weir


The Northern Ireland Housing Executive must be allowed to be the lead body in tackling the housing crisis

‘Any initiative which helps homeless people, even temporarily, should be welcomed  but the Stormont Executive  has a responsibility to deliver affordable, publicly owned housing and it should not be let off the hook’ Workers Party representative Gemma Weir has said.

Gemma was responding to news that the charity Extern is to buy a number of houses in north and west Belfast to help homeless people over a two year period.

‘The charity and voluntary sectors make a welcome and telling contribution to the lives of homeless and vulnerable people’, she said ‘but there are serious problems in relation to the provision of public housing and levels of homelessness have remained at historically high levels in Northern Ireland since 2005/6′.

 It is already a matter of public shame that in a period of a few weeks earlier this year four people in Northern Ireland lost their lives sleeping on the streets. 

‘Over the years the Executive has overseen the gradual privatisation of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.  The NIHE must be maintained as the primary public housing body in Northern Ireland for both the provision of new homes and as landlord of public sector tenants.  Our homelessness crisis cannot be properly addressed without the reinstatement of the NI Housing Executive as the lead housing agency’, Gemma concluded.

Read Gemma’s comments in full at:


Wreath laying marks Fidel’s life and work


Veteran Party member Dennis Toner is joined by the Party’s International Secretary Gerry Grainger(left) and Ciaran McGeough of the Party’s Belfast Secretariat as he lays a wreath in recognition of the life and work of the late Fidel Castro

The Party’s International Secretary, Gerry Grainger has spoken of the ‘real Fidel Castro’ – not the one portrayed in the media over the past week.

Despite being a small country faced with a US led economic blockade Cuba has constructed a global programme of extensive development aid and humanitarian assistance and has sent thousands of teachers, doctors and medical staff across the world’ he said

He was speaking at a wreath laying ceremony in Belfast organised by the Workers Party to mark the life and work of the former Cuban president.

There will be no monuments, statues or busts of Fidel, no streets or parks named after him – because that is what he wanted – no personality cult’.

‘Fidel belonged not only to Cuba but to the entire world. He was our comrade. He was one of us and that is how we remember him’, Gerry said.

Book of Condolence


Extending condolences to the Cuban People

Workers Party members have signed a book of condolences to the Cuban people on the death of former President and Commandant of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro.

Pictured are Party representatives Lily Kerr Gemma Weir and Gerry Grainger signing the book of condolences in Belfast today following a wreath laying ceremony to mark the life and work of the Cuban leader.

Womens Committee Fundraiser


Organisers of the fundraisnoing Christmas Fayre

Members of the Party’s Womens Committee have held a Christmas Fayre to help raise money for a number of planned events around International Womens Day next year.

Included among the projects which the Womens Committee are planning are the extending invitations to a number of international guests to join Workers Party members in celebrating  International Womens Day next March.