Local parties should refuse invitations to the White House
The Workers Party has called on all politicians in Northern Ireland to make a pre-election promise that they will not accept an invitation to the White House for St Patrick’s Day.
The call comes in the wake of the Trump administration’s ban on immigrants and refuges from a number of countries and seeks to secure a commitment from all parties that they will not attend the White House while the ban remains in place.
“The vicious inhumanity of this ban cannot be overstated”, said Workers Party spokesperson Lily Kerr. “It is essential that it is met with a resolute, united and a global response – including Northern Ireland”, she said
“Thousands and thousands of individuals and families from these shores have made new lives in the United States. We now need to stand in support of the immigrants, refugees and others who have been denied that opportunity by this racist and reactionary order.
We need to add our voices to the progressive protesters across the United States who are saying ‘Refugees are Welcome’ and demonstrate our support by refusing to attend St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at Trump’s White House”, concluded Lily.
Older care must be freed from private profit
‘The care of older people should primarily be the responsibility of local health and social care trusts’, the Workers Party representative in Upper Bann has said.
Colin Craig was speaking following the closure of Glenview Private Nursing Home in Bleary, Portadown following a series of critical inspection reports.
‘I don’t believe the closure will have come as any surprise to the residents or their families’, Colin said
‘Since Margaret Thatcher pioneered the privatisation of Nursing Homes in the 1980’s the well-being of older people has been relegated to a distant second place behind the profit motive. It has become a commodity’, argued Colin.
‘When private care companies pull the plug because of falling profits or the failure to meet standards, it is the local health and social care trusts which have to step in and provide the care’.
‘It is incumbent on the next Assembly to urgently redress this situation by prioritising the care of our older people, by taking the entire care system back into public ownership’, Colin concluded.
Refugees must be made welcome – Lily Kerr
After a week in which many people’s worst fears about a Donald Trump presidency appear to have been realised, Worker’s Party representative Lily Kerr has expressed her ‘horror and utter disgust’ at Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
‘Trump is obviously not satisfied simply waging war on women, Mexicans, African-Americans and the American working class. He has chosen to prevent Muslim men and women, many of them legal residents in the U.S., from entering the country through his executive order.
This Order will tear families apart, destroy lives, and prevent those seeking refuge from gaining protection.’ Lily said
‘The so-called war on terror continues to be used by the government of the United States to target ethnic minorities in a sectarian, racist and xenophobic manner. These actions clearly violate the constitution of the U.S.A. and the values that America claims to have been built on’ she said
‘That this order was signed by Trump on Holocaust Memorial Day makes it all the more horrific. ‘ Lily added. ‘I am calling on all progressive forces in Northern Ireland and abroad to strongly, and unconditionally, condemn his latest actions’.
My thoughts are with all those Muslim men, women and children who will be affected by this Order. I am proud to publicly reaffirm my and my party’s committment by saying that Refugees Are Welcome Here!’, Lily concluded
‘These are yesterday’s men’ – Weir
Workers Party representative in North Belfast Gemma Weir tonight condemned ‘without reservation’ the wounding of a PSNI officer in a gun attack on the Crumlin Road.
‘Let there be no ifs and no buts about this type of activity.
This was the attempted murder of a police officer serving the local community. Those who shot him and those who assisted and supported them have nothing to offer to the people of north Belfast”, Gemma said.
‘This community has unambiguously rejected violence by an overwhelming majority yet there are still armed gangs who lurk in the shadows, disrupt the lives of residents and shoot people as they provide a service to the community’
“These are yesterday’s men’. she said.
Anyone with any information about tonight’s shooting should contact the PSNI. My thoughts are with the injured officer his colleagues and family’, Gemma said.
A number of Party members were amongst those who attended PANA’s first meeting in Northern Ireland
The Workers Party has welcomed the first meeting of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) to be held Northern Ireland
Founded in Dublin over twenty years ago the group advocates for an independent Irish Foreign Policy, defends Irish neutrality and promotes a reformed United Nations as the institution through which Ireland should pursue its security concerns.
The meeting – called to discuss the likely impact of the election of US President Donald Trump on American foreign policy and military interventions abroad – was addressed by Murad Quereshi of the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ and Roger Cole of PANA .
Part of the discussion focused on the role of Shannon Airport and the fact that over 730 US military flights landed at there in 2016. – more than two a day over the entire year. Of these, 413 were operated by the US Air Force, Navy or military, and the remainder were contracted troop carriers.
Discussions are to be held with a view to establishing a Northern Ireland branch of PANA .
Gemma Weir, the Party’s North Belfast representative this morning joined local teachers as they staged industrial action against the Education minister’s refusal to allocate a 1% pay rise.
Teachers have no option – Gemma Weir
‘Teachers are hard-working and committed public servants on whom we rely to help, develop, educate and prepare our children for later life. I know that they have not taken the decision to strike lightly, but I believe that they have been left with absolutely no choice in the matter”, Gemma said.
‘Education Minister Peter Weir has ‘offered’ a 0% pay increase for 2015/16. This is derisory and insulting. The Minister has been given the money to make a 1% pay offer but refuses to offer it’, added.Gemma
‘In addition to year on year pay cuts and excessive workloads teachers are also facing widespread job insecurity. This is not a small-scale dispute but a debate and a battle over the values this society holds and the value it places on its employees and children’s futures’ she said.
I am calling on the Minister to avoid further strike action and relieve the pressure on teachers, parents and pupils by immediately implementing the 1% rise and entering into serious and realistic negotiations with the teaching profession and their representatives’, Gemma concluded
Workers Party Election Statement
‘This election is unnecessary and will solve nothing unless people use it to pass judgement on all the parties in Stormont’, the Workers Party has said.
‘The two Executive parties, in particular, have been irresponsible, arrogant and contemptuous. Returning them to power to do the same thing again makes no sense at all.
There needs to be a root and branch reform of the Assembly structures. At a minimum we need the introduction of voluntary coalition or majority rule, the abolition of community designation requirements and the removal of the Petition of Concern mechanism.
Many of the outstanding requirements of the Good Friday Agreement which have been deliberately set aside must be introduced if devolved government is to continue to function. These would include a Bill of Rights, Integrated Education and the establishment of a Civic Forum.
What this election does offer is a chance for people to consider a socialist alternative. An alternative to political irresponsibility, arrogance, sectarianism and the Executive’s agenda of welfare cuts, lower corporation tax, zero hours contracts, attacks on workers’ rights, social backwardness and of course privatisation of public services .
That is the message that the Workers Party will be delivering and the choice we will be presenting to the electorate.
The Assembly parties will trade on sectarian fears and tribal instincts to maximise their votes. We have seen what that produces.
They need to be told that they‘ve had their day’.
Lily Kerr addressing the homelessness rally in Belfast
As a Dublin Court was refusing to grant a stay on the eviction order on the occupiers of Apollo House in Dublin, Workers Party representative Lily Kerr was one of a number of speakers addressing a solidarity protest outside Belfast City Hall.
The ‘Home Sweet Home’ group occupied Apollo House, a vacant building near Dublin city centre, last month and used it to provide accommodation and support services for a number of the city’s homeless people.
Speaking at the Belfast rally Lily Kerr said, ‘The occupation of Apollo House stands in the best traditions of the Irish Left.and of Housing Action Campaigns in Dublin, Cork and Northern Ireland in the 1960s’.
‘It is disgraceful that the Courts in Dublin are refusing to allow homeless people to remain in Apollo House until appropriate, satisfactory and dignified accommodation can be provided for them’, Lily said.
‘There is also a housing and a homeless crisis in Northern Ireland’, Lily said.
‘Levels of homelessness have remained at historically high levels in Northern Ireland since 2005/6 and it is a matter of public shame that in a period of a few weeks last year four people in Northern Ireland lost their lives sleeping on the streets’
‘ While empty barns and warehouses are being heated and profit made at the taxpayers expense people are left to sleep on the streets, in unsuitable accommodation and in hostels.
‘There is no profit to be made from homelessness. That’s why it is not a priority. That’s why it is not at the top of the agenda. That’s how capitalism works’, Lily said.