‘Integrated public housing the priority’, says Bailie

Chris Bailie

Hillview decision is wrong

Chris Bailie (Workers Party, Oldpark) has criticised the decision of the Council Planing Committee to grant permission for the  commercial  development of the  vacant  Hillview site on the Crumlin Road.

“This is not just a bad decision, it’s the wrong decision”, Chris said.

“This is the site of a failed retail development  – a failed retail development – yet the Planning Committee  gives the go ahead for more of the same”

“That in itself defies logic”, said  Chris, “but to do this in the face of an acute shortage of public housing is irrational and verging on the incompetent”

“The Hillview site should be re-zoned immediately for public housing, It should also be designated as an integrated development as part of the Housing Executive’s Good Relations Strategy.” argued Chris.

“This decision is not one taken in the interests of the people of North Belfast but rather of narrow sectional interests. Integrated public housing developments are the best way to address community need not fast food restaurants and car show rooms”, Chris concluded


Pro-Eu parties fail to land a glove

Line Up

L:R Sean Harkin ( People Before Profit), Johnny Hanvey ( Progressive Unionst Party, Claire Bailey (Green Party) Gemma Weir (Workers Party), Gerry McCormick (SIPTU -Chair) and Jim McVeigh (Sinn Fein)

In a polished performance Gemma Weir has set out the  Party’s case for leaving the European Union at a debate entitled The Left Speaks on Brexit – part of this year’s West Belfast Festival  / Feile an Phobail

In her opening remarks Gemma said,

“The referendum is over  – we are leaving the European Union. But we are still Europeans and some of us still believe in the socialist project, the unity of working people in all countries and the overthrow of capitalism. What we don’t believe in is the EU”.

She then identified Five Reasons why a leave vote was the  position of principled socialists:

  • The EU is undemocratic
  • It is Irreformable
  • The EU is anti-worker
  • ‘Social Europe’ is a myth
  • Voting leave was an act of international solidarity

No self-respecting party of the left could do other than vote to get out“. she said.

Labour can wait                                                                                                     EU advocates Sinn Fein and the Green’s failed to impress with SF Councillor Jim McVeigh arguing that labour should wait . “Those battles are for another day” he said “Our focus should be on a united Ireland inside the European Union”.

He failed to respond when Gemma challenged Sinn Fein’s U turn on Europe having opposed membership right until the referendum to leave.

Both Sinn Fein’s and the Green’s position came in for robust criticism from the floor

Those who thought the debate – which was heated at times –  would be a push over for the ‘Remain’ camp  left disillusioned and perhaps a little wiser

Read Gemma’s opening address in full here: The Left Speaks on BREXIT


‘Unwanted legacy’ must be addressed

August 2017

The rioting, bonfires and violence of recent days has been branded “the unwanted legacy of paramilitaries”

Workers Party North Belfast representative Chris Bailie said , “what we have witnessed this week is reminiscent of the worst days of the troubles. There was no excuse for it then and there is no excuse for it now”

“What we are witnessing”, said Chris “is the disaffected youth of today mimicking the actions and behaviours of paramilitary gangs from the 70s, 80s and 90s”

Ironically those former paramilitaries and those who support them have now moved on. They have pulled the ladder up behind them and are now happy to sub contract the resolution of problems they helped to create.

Condemning the burning and destruction in North Queen Street and other areas across the city Chris said, “there can be absolutely no justification for what we have seen and experienced this week”

“We are looking at a generation of disaffected youth with all the problems that involves. These issues can only be resolved by investment, jobs, training and the development of the community infrastructure.”, said Chris

“Many of the affected areas have been represented by Sinn Fein Councillors and MLAs for well over twenty years.

“To think that these issues can be addressed by  appointing contractors and calling for evictions is the response of a party that cares for little other than itself alone”, Chris concluded


Still much to be done

PRIDE 2017(2)Workers Party members joined this year’s Pride Parade in Belfast and marked our public support for the event going back to 1991 when we marched through the city with only a handful of people to champion the cause of LGBT rights.

Much has changed in the intervening years but much still needs to be done.

Northern Ireland still refuses to legislate for same-sex marriage despite overwhelming and growing public support. Members of the LGBT community are still verbally bused, physically assaulted and subject to discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

Legislation will address one of the issues but we need to work to achieve a sea change in social attitudes and opinions.This is not an academic argument. It goes to the very core of the type of society we are and the type of society we need to become. Lives are being ruined, prejudices are being ingrained and hurt and suffering are being borne  in pain and isolation.

The open participation by uniformed members of the PSNI in this year’s parade is a welcome signal from law enforcement agencies to the LGBT community.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are full citizens of Northern Ireland, and have every right to expect the same level of protection, support and legal safeguards as everyone else. That is a socialist perspective on what is essentially a human rights issue.

Much still needs to be done. We knew that in 1991. We know it now.


Jarama remembered

Jarama Int Brig

Members of the XV International Brigade at Jarama, Spain 1937

Party members were amongst those who gathered at Belfast’s  Shankill Road Library, last week to commemorate the  80th anniversary  of the Battle of Jarama and the role played by the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.

Dublin historian Brian Hanley addressed the meeting on ‘The Radical Thirties’ and afterwards flowers were  laid at the International Brigade memorial in Writers Square.

The event was organised by the  Belfast’s International Brigade Commemoration Committee in partnership with the Greater Shankill Partnership, Belfast & District Trade Union Council, Shankill Library, Trademark and ICTU Youth Committee.

Int Brigade Memorial Trusthttp://www.international-brigades.org.uk/content/battle-jarama-river