The future of the Harland & Wolff shipyard is not just about the 130 jobs currently at risk. It is about how the the economy of Northern Ireland is organised and the absolute necessity for a centrally planned, publicly owned, strategic approach to local manufacturing and economic development.
The fact that the work force at the Yard has been left with no option but to take matters into their own hands and occupy the premises, is a brutal indictment of the main political parties and their failure to form a functioning Executive.
For over two and a half years we have been without a government. Workers at Harland and Wolff have taken more positive action in one afternoon than Sinn Fein and the DUP have done in over 30 months.
Northern Ireland industry needs development and investment. Our local skills base needs protection and expansion. Only a hands on, government led, industrial strategy can ensure that – secure jobs and develop an indigenous manufacturing base.
Harland & Wolff, and Bombardier Aerospace, needs to be taken back into public ownership. They should be nationalised – to preserve jobs and skills and to secure their future.
The workforce at Harland’s has taken a decisive and progressive step. They deserve our full support and immediate state intervention
The current threat posed to the future of Harland and Wolff and the precarious position of Bombardier Aerospace demonstrate clearly the urgent need for a strategic economic plan for Northern Ireland.
The failure of the main parties to form an Executive exacerbates the problems and makes a local rescue plan extremly unlikely.
Northern Ireland industry needs development and investment. Our local skills base needs protection and expansion. Only a hands on government led industrial strategy can ensure that, secure jobs and develop an indigenous manufacturing base.
Both Harland and Wolff and Bombardier Aerospace should now be taken into public ownership. They should be nationalised – to preserve jobs and secure their future
Today’s news, and the ongoing refusal to form an Executive, further underlines Sinn Fein and the DUP’s arrogant and contemptuous disregard for working class people families and children.
A fully functioning Executive committed to active economic intervention and the development of a state sponsored economic plan is the only way in which the local manufacturing sector can be saved, secured and developed.
The prospect of significant changes to the laws on same sex marriage and abortion legislation in Northern Ireland are to be welcomed.
Votes in the House of Commons this afternoon amended the bill on extending the deferral of new Assembly elections until at least the autumn, to include caveats which mean that unless an Executive is formed by October 21 this year that legislation on same sex marriage and changes to the abortion laws in Northern Ireland would be enacted.
This is progress but not as we envisaged it.
It would be much better, politically and socially, if these advances had been introduced and adopted by a functioning Assembly. Two and a half years after Sinn Fein collapsed the Executive that looked, and remains, a very remote possibility.
The difficulty with this legislation being enacted through Westminster, welcome as the outcomes are, means that ‘creeping direct rule‘ gains a stronger hold and the incentive for Sinn Fein, in particular, to thwart a return to devolution here is strengthened.
Perhaps now is the time for all social, cultural, civic and political groups in Northern Ireland to step up the pressure on the DUP and Sinn Fein to restore an Executive to debate the economy, integrated secular education, health, housing, workers rights, welfare reform, the growing demand on food banks, in a local Assembly without the need for Westminster to intervene.
Gemma Weir, Workers Party representative in North Belfast and former Hazelwood integrated College pupil, has congratulated The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education and the Integrated Education Fund on the news that they may be in the running for a Nobel Prize for their work.
“Formal recognition and commendation of the work of both these bodies, and the whole integrated schools network across Northern Ireland, is long overdue”, Gemma said.”I hope that this accolade, should it be awarded. will help to re-focus attention on the purpose and necessity of integrated education in Northern Ireland and on the urgency to progress its full implementation”, she said
“The work of both these bodies and of the parents, staff and pupils across the integrated sector over the years has helped to keep the movement alive. This is in sharp contrast to the work of the Assembly which has abdicated its statutory responsibility to assist in the implementation of integrated education , has sought to thwart its development and has deliberately and cynically diluted the concept with the false notion of ‘shared education’
“I wish the entire integrated education movement well and hope that should this award come to pass that it serves to redouble the efforts of all of us who believe in and understand the value and necessity of a fully funded, government driven integrated education system in Northern Ireland”, Gemma concluded.