Community Transport – a vital lifeline

One measure of a civilised society is how it treats and prioritises its elderly and people with disabilities. We are nowhere near the top of that league table.

The Assembly’s five-year Active Ageing Strategy concluded last year and has not been replaced or updated and the current Disability Strategy is falling far short of its objectives.

Both the elderly and people with living with disability have been sent a clear signal of their worth with the news that, from the end of April, the Department of Infrastructure will end its funding of schemes including Shop Mobility and Community Transport initiatives like the Dial A Lift service.

The services under threat provide a vital life line for some of the most vulnerable people in the community. They support social inclusion, help prevent isolation, loneliness and the mental health issues they can cause.

These services provide the reassurance and support for people who would not otherwise be able to keep GP or hospital appointments. They counter social isolation thorough access to supermarkets and other retail outlets. They enable elderly people and people with disability to continue to be an active part of society.

In the case of schemes like Shop Mobility they also support individual independence and dignity.

We have strategies which promise to ‘raise awareness and improve opportunities and services for disabled people by addressing the inequalities and to tackling the barriers they face in their daily lives’, but the lived reality is now very different.

Around 40% of people in Northern Ireland live in rural areas. Many rely on community transport to allow them to leave their homes. Withdrawal of funding will also directly affect the staff and volunteers who help deliver these transport schemes.

The funding for Community Transport and associated services must be extended to meet growing need and by ring fenced to protect it against future cuts. That is how we demonstrate that we value our vulnerable citizens, but only in a socialist society can that be delivered fully and guaranteed.


Children Need a Guaranteed Start in Life

‘Childcare services are in crisis: parents are being forced a give up work and the benefits of children’s early years development are being wasted’. says Workers Party representative Ursula Meighan.

In a plain-speaking assessment of current childcare, child minding and early years education, Ursula said, ‘an immediate and comprehensive investment in childcare services is essential if the current crisis is to be addressed.’ 

‘The years from birth to the age of five or six are accepted as the most important years in a child’s early development. Yet, childcare remains a major issue, and a financial burden, for many parents and a serious obstacle to employment, particularly for women’ she explained.

Not getting the results

‘Parents in England Scotland and Wales can avail of 30 hours childcare, free of charge, each week in term time, but not so in Northern Ireland.

‘Other schemes which are available locally, including child tax credits, are just not producing the required results. Parents are being priced out of affording the childcare they need to allow them to work.

The long-overdue, and yet to be delivered, ‘Early Learning and Childcare Strategy’, has to be a day one priority for any restored Executive,’ Ursula said, ‘and must be accompanied by a programme of investment which supports parents to access the childcare they need and to providers to deliver it’.

Ursula went on to say that the current uncoordinated nature of childcare services significantly impacts on the development of many young people at an early age and that disadvantage can stay with them for life.

Guaranteed start in life

‘Working class families, and working-class children are particularly affected’ she said. ‘The right to a guaranteed start in life must be available to all. We must make that a legal entitlement.’

‘Only when children’s early education and development is served by a high quality, centrally planned, publicly funded, accessible and flexible childcare system can we say that we are investing in our future. 

‘Only then will parents have the security to remain in work, training or education. Only then can our society and our economy fully realise the benefits of a skilled and confident workforce, secure in the knowledge that future generations are being given the best start in life’ Ursula concluded. 

#childcare #earlyyears #chikdcarestrategy

Tom French

Comrade Tom French – A Tribute

It was with a profound sense of loss and sadness that we learned of the passing of our comrade, friend, and former President of the Workers Party, Tom French – a loyal comrade, good friend and a true gentleman in the best sense of the word.

On behalf of our current Party President, Ted Tynan, and the Central Executive Committee of the Workers Party, I wish to express our sincere condolences to Tom’s family, to his wife Frances, his children and grandchildren and to the wider family circle.

Full text of the tribute to the late Tom French

Excusing Domestic Violence: if you want to complain…

Last Thursday evening BBC presenter Fiona Bruce trivialised and excused an assault by Stanley Johnstone on his wife. He broke her nose and as a result she had to be treated in hospital.

During her ‘Question Time’ programme Ms Bruce explained away the domestic violence by saying “It did happen… but it was one off”.

Trivial or Excusable?

In Northern Ireland last year the number of reported incidents of domestic abuse passed the 33,000 mark. Between 2017 and 2021 thirty four women and girls were murdered in Northern Ireland

One in four women in the Republic of Ireland have been the victims of domestic abuse. Last year almost 30,000 incidents were recorded. In the past twenty-five years, 249 women have died violently in the Republic of Ireland. at the hands of their current or former partner.

These are the brutal realities that Fiona Bruce chooses to trivialise and excuse.


If you are appalled or outraged by her comments, you should consider making a formal complaint to the BBC.

You can register your complaint by clicking on, or copying, the following link

#domestic violence #bbc question time

Lineker calls it right

Workers Party spokesperson Patrick Crossan has called for support for the stand taken by @GaryLineker in the latest row on immigration.

“Not only is Gary right to publicly criticise the government’s cruel and inhumane ‘Stop the Boats’ immigration policy”, Patrick said, “but he is doing what anyone with a social conscience should be doing and raising the kind of questions that the mainstream media spend all their time avoiding”.

“Last year the UK took in 137,000 refugees. That is fifteen thousand fewer than arrived sixty years ago in 1960. The UK takes in considerably less refugees and asylum seekers than almost every other European country’, Patrick said.

‘It is the fifth largest economy in the world. Not only can it absorb people from other countries, it needs them and the considerable economic benefits that come from their skills and labour.

We are not being ‘invaded’, and neither Britain nor Ireland is ‘full’ as the right-wing racists claim.’ he said

‘The best immigration policies are those that provide safe, humane and welcoming routes into the country.

Ultimately, immigration and refugee crisis will only be addressed when NATO, the United States and their allies stop their invasions, wars of aggression and proxy conflicts which are forcing thousands of people to be displaced in the first instance’, Patrick concluded.

Re-claiming International Women’s Day

As International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 approaches we should proudly acknowledge and celebrate its socialist roots.

We should also brace ourselves for an onslaught of commercially driven Facebook posts, tweets, pop up ads and Instagram photos all proclaiming the ‘empowerment of women’ and, of course, the opportunity to buy the advertisers products.

The creeping commercialisation of IWD, a fate which has now largely overtaken events like Pride, has been in process for some time.

Commercial Cancer

This Wednesday will see that commercial cancer ramped up even further with hypocritical, phoney and cringe worthy claims to support and empower women, many coming from companies with gender pay gaps, precarious employment practices and zero hours contract cultures.

Equality, rights and recognition have had to be fought for in every century, every decade and every day. Progress has been won, not conceded. That struggle continues, not just on International Women’s Day but on every day and across the world.

Defining realities

The issues defining woman’s position in society cannot, and must not, be defined in consumerist terms

Violence, murder, trafficking, exploitation misogyny, social barriers, uncertain employment contracts, access to the workplace, child care support, funding for women’s services, ensuring maternity rights, bodily autonomy, abortion services, access to period products: these are just some of the realities defining women’s lives.

Women are not commodities – commercial or otherwise. The socialist imperative in International Women’s Day needs to be re-stated and re-enforced. International Women’s Day needs to be reclaimed and its dignity and purpose re-established.

The Workers Party’s contribution to  that cause will be evident in our on-line panel discussion this Wednesday evening addressing Childcare, Women in Employment and Human Trafficking and Exploitation.


To Join the Zoom Meeting; Click the link below

Begins at 7pm on Wednesday 8 March – log in from 6.45pm onwards