‘Intimidating people can never be justified, nor can forcing them to leave their home’s , the Workers Party in south Belfast has said.
The condemnation follows the sectarian intimidation of a number of families from the Cantrell Close area.
‘Shared housing development initiatives are an essential part of securing a single united community’, the Party said.
‘Everyone must have the right and the opportunity to live where they wish. Every political party must state that clearly and publicly condemn these recent incidents.
Those who have made these threats should retract them immediately’, the statement concluded.
Launching the ‘Votes@16’ camapign
The Workers Party has pledged its support for the ‘Votes@16’ campaign launched this morning by the Northern Ireland Youth Forum.
Sixteen year olds in Northern Ireland can leave school, work full-time, leave home, pay
taxes, get married and join the armed services: but they can‟t vote in elections.
If Northern Ireland is to be a fully participative democracy the involvement, and active participation of 16 and 17 year olds is essential to that process.
Research has shown that this age group are even more likely to vote than 18-24 year olds. At a time when voter turnout continues to fall that is an encouraging sign.
Of course this has to be about more than extending the franchise. Unless young people critically assess the nature of society and use their votes and their voices to challenge sectarianism, segregated education and inequality and work actively to replace our current social and economic system, then this initiative will compound our problems not help to overcome them.
16 and 17 year olds in the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey have voting rights and Scotland also extend that right during the independence referendum.
Northern Ireland can and must do the same.
The Workers Party has condemned threats levelled at Probation staff by nationalist terrorists.
The threats, identified as ‘substantial’ by the PSNI, follow previous bomb attacks on Probation service staff and offices and numerous threats against other public sector workers in recent years.
‘These are yesterday’s men’, the Party said, ‘ and their actions represent an attack on workers , an attempt to heighten sectarian tensions and division and are repugnant to the concept of class politics’.
‘At a time when public sector workers, providing valuable services to the community, are already facing pay freezes and cuts, they also face physical attack from people who won’t even show their faces’
‘No one should have to live with is type of threat and anyone with any information about those responsible or their actions should contact the police without hesitation’, the Party statement concluded.
The Workers Party is supporting local campaigners and the ‘No Arc 21’ group as they consider their legal options, including judicial review, in the light of yesterday’s surprise decision by the Department of Infrastructure to give the go-ahead to a waste incinerator plant at Mallusk.
Party spokesperson Gemma Weir said, ‘despite over 4,000 objections to this project it is proceeding without either a Ministerial or an Executive decision’.
‘There was absolutely no need to take this unaccountable decision ‘, Gemma said ‘Northern Ireland has many urgent and pressing problems which need immediate action but this is not one of them’.
‘This irrational and potentially dangerous course of action has been taken in the absence of a functioning Assembly at Stormont. While the condemnation of both the DUP and Sinn Fein on this issue is to be welcomed, it is also hypocritical of both parties to point the finger at civil servants when they have repeatedly failed to form the very Executive that should be taking control of this situation’, said Gemma.
‘I have written to the Department of Infrastructure asking that it immediately suspends its approval for this project. I am also calling on both Sinn Fein and the DUP to live up to their responsibilities,form an Executive and allow us all to get on with taking our own decisions on our health, our environment and our waste management’ Gemma concluded
‘The restoration of a fully functioning Executive remains the absolute political priority”.the Workers Party has said.
‘Health, education and other public services are in crisis, budgets cannot be set, projects signed off or jobs and funding secured”, the Party said.
‘Some parties are happy to find reason after reason why a new Executive should not be formed but there are more pressing reasons why it should: hospital waiting lists, school budgets, housing schemes, eliminating unemployment, infrastructure projects, jobs, wages, benefits and quality of life are but a few’.
‘Sinn Fein won’t take their seats at Westminster and since last January they haven’t taken their seats at Stormont. They continue to display an arrogant and contemptuous disregard for working class people, families and children’.
‘While those people bear the brunt of crumbling public services Sinn Fein’s undisguised disdain continues to place their own political ambitions front and centre regardless of the price paid by working class people’.