Joint letter spells out the harsh realities

The Workers Party’s six Assembly candidates have written a joint letter to the editors of Northern Ireland’s three daily newspapers questioning how the election results will change, for the better, the lives of working class people, the young, the old and the vulnerable.

Dear Editor,

The major parties and most of the media have hailed the outcome of the Assembly elections as one of major change. How have they come to that conclusion?

Exactly the same parties that were elected the last time have been returned this time. The same parties that, when they weren’t collapsing the Executive, were responsible for growing waiting lists, a lack of public housing, economic stagnation and pay cuts to public sector workers.

Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O’Neill even went as far as claiming that the election results were “…  a defining moment for our politics and for our people. Really?

Throughout the election campaign we made the point that, when the polls closed, the priorities for working class people would remain the cost of living, health, education and low pay. That certainly hasn’t changed.

Given the re-election of the same parties, and in most cases the same people, there seems little chance that it will.

The hype, the self-congratulations and the media circus will fade and the realities of the outcome will kick in. Twenty-four years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement we still have no Bill of Rights, we continue to educate our children separately, we have developed a low wage, part time, zero hours economy, our public services are run down, underfunded and fragmented and we are living with a mental health crisis.

The task of socialists and progressives must to continue to present the alternatives, stay on the backs of the new Executive, if one is ever formed, and hold them to account at every turn.

Eoin MacNeill, Nicola Grant, Hugh Scullion, Patrick Lynn, Patrick Crossan and Lily Kerr

Education, the NHS, Cost of Living, Why Vote and Votes @ 16

Eoin MacNeill (East Belfast) addressed measures to alleviate the current cost of living crisis but pointed out that only a socialist programme for government can deliver for working class people. Workers Party Belfast East

This day week we have an opportunity to do something about it. Let’s make sure we take it – said Lily Kerr (North Belfast) as she spelt out the importance of voting for the Workers Party. Workers Party Belfast North

Paddy Crossan (West Belfast) made the case for votes at 16, arguing that 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. Workers Party West Belfast

‘Education, education and education’ was the message from Newry & Armagh candidate Nicola Grant setting out the socialist programme from pre-school to third level Workers Party Newry and Armagh

Hugh Scullion (Mid Ulster) has warned tbat the NHS is not safe from sell off, fragmentaion or privatisation and that, having helped to beat Covid, the battle is on to save the NHS itself. Workers Party Mid Ulster

The chronic shortage of public housing was highlighted by Patrick Lynn ( South Belfast) calling for a compehenisve building programme and the reinstatement of the Housing Executive as the lead agency. Workers Party Belfast South

Environment, Assembly, Benefits, Poverty and Public Ownership

Sinn Fein’s appalling poverty record in West Belfast was top of Paddy Crossan‘s agenda Workers Party West Belfast

Nicola Grant (Newry & Armagh) was highlighting the ‘environmental insanity ‘ of jeopordising 200 year old oak trees. Workers Party Newry and Armagh

In MId Ulster, Hugh Scullion was warning of the ongoing threat to the Sperrins posed by mining exploration and the need for renewed vigilance to safeguard this area of oustanding natural beauty. Workers Party Mid Ulster

Taking ferry services and othef infrastructure into public ownership was called for by Eoin MacNeill in East Belfast . Workers Party Belfast East

Patrick Lynn in South Belfast was calling for the reform of the DLA and PIPs systems and the unnecessary burdens the application and renewal processes place on famiies of children with Downs. Workers Party Belfast South

Lily Kerr ( North Belfast) was setting out the case and the necessity for the reform of the Assembly’s structures including the ending of mandatory coalition . Workers Party Belfast North

Treatment of migrants is ‘cynical, callous and cruel’

The UK government’s proposal to send migrants, who arrive in Britain without a permit, to Rwanda has been condemned as “cynical, callous and cruel”, by Workers Party candidate in East Belfast Eoin MacNeill.

£50 million in new funding has also been announced to pay for boats, aerial surveillance and military personnel to prevent those seeking asylum from attempting to cross the Channel in small boats.

“These proposals have been condemned by the United Nations refugee agency and refugee action groups”, Eoin said

“People who are the victims of war, interventions, oppression and exploitation by reactionary regimes have the right to seek a safer life in other countries. The UK government proposal deliberately ignores the causes of mass migration. It is importnag to expose the exploitative system which gives rise to mass migration and work unceasingly to end it”, he said.

“The UK and the European Union, together with their allies in the US and NATO, have created the conditions where people are forced to flee their own countries. War, poverty, exploitation and oppression have forced people to risk their lives and safety to seek a better life which they cannot achieve at home”, said Eoin. 

“Fortress Europe”, with its closed borders, fences, quotas and prison camps is no solution. Refugees must be treated with dignity and compassion and with full respect for the Geneva Convention and international law”, Eoin argued.

“Those rights arising from refugee status and those seeking asylum must be recognised and respected for all nationalities and repressive measures against refugees must immediately cease”.

“Governments must provide decent and suitable facilities to ensure appropriate accommodation, medical care and documentation. These duties cannot be outsourced to third countries where refugees and asylum seekers will be faced with social, economic and language problems and exposed to the risk of exploitation and abuse”, Eoin warned.

“Consult with people first”, says Crossan

The announcement that the ‘Phone First’ system for contacting a GP is to be made permanent has been heavily criticised by Workers Party West Belfast candidate Patrick Crossan

“I am appalled”, he said “that the Royal College of GPs has taken this decision without either reference to, or seeking the opinions of, the thousands of local GP patients that will be affected by it”

“Our health services are under extreme pressure through lack of investment and there is also significant pressure on our GP services. We all know that from our personal experience, particularly over the last two years”, Patrick said.

“GP services are central to our health and care system; they are at the heart of the community. This is no way to manage that service and shows a serious disregard for the thousands of people who regularly rely on their GP surgery”, Patrick claimed.

“I am calling for an immediate reversal of this dangerous decision and for a period of public consultation – in which everyone’s views can be taken into account – on how best local GP services can be delivered”, he said

“Part of that discussion has to be about ending the private contractor status of GPs and making them NHS employees”, Patrick added

Workers Party stands candidates in six constituencies

The Workers Party will be standing candidates in six constituencies in next month’s Assembly elections

The election campaign is being fought in the face of the worst cost of living crisis in decades, and all that that means for working class people and their families.

That crisis has been made worse, and contributed to, by the dysfunctional Stormont Executive. A Stormont Executive that has failed, failed and is set to fail again.

With families, the vulnerable and the elderly particularly affected, the main political parties have, yet again, put their own interests ahead of the community and working people.

Only the Workers Party candidates will be presenting a radical socialist alternative to the electorate

On Friday the 6th of May – the day after polling day – we will all be confronted by a number of issues that will fundamentally affect all our lives, the lives of our families our children our neighbours and our friends:

And they won’t be: A Border Poll, the Protocol, Flags, Culture Wars or Community Identity

The issues facing the vast majority of people and particularly working class families will be the Cost of Living, the Health Service, Housing, Education, Low Pay and the Environment

If golf clubs can receive cash subsidies and businesses be supported to the tune of over £22 billion then working-class people, families, single parents, the elderly and the vulnerable can also be provided for.

This election gives the opportunity to re-write the political script in favour of working-class people and their needs.

The Workers Party, the party for working class people, provides that platform

The Party’s Candidates

North Belfast Lily Kerr

South Belfast Patrick Lynn

East Belfast Eoin MacNeill

West Belfast Patrick Crossan

Mid Ulster Hugh Scullion

Newry & Armagh Nicola Grant

Nethier Brexit nor Border Poll

Workers Party Local Government Election Statement

This community is scarred by poverty, inequality, zero hours contracts, housing crisis and the effects of Sinn Fein and the DUP’s welfare reforms.

Some parties would like to make this election about Brexit. Some would like to use it to advance a Border Poll, but the reality is that it’s about neither.

For this election to have any real meaning it must send a message to the main political parties that they have failed to deliver government and governance , and that they continue to fail ordinary people through the rundown of public services, the privatisation of  public assets and utilities, the erosion of the public space and the pursuit of  corporate  business approval.

If we were to call for a second referendum or for a ballot on Irish ‘unity’, we would doubtless attract more media attention, but that is not how the Workers Party sees the current social, economic and political priorities.

Reality of life                                                                                                            Nor does it reflect the reality of life for the thousands of people desperately seeking secure well-paid employment, families struggling to find and pay for local childcare or those growing older in an age unfriendly society.

Nor are border polls and ‘people’s votes’ the priority of the thousands of children and their parents living in poverty and low income homes, those on zero hours contracts or the young girls and women who face the monthly indignity of period poverty because, in 21st century Belfast, they cannot afford sanitary products.

Developers’ mindset                                                                                             Nor are attempts to transform our public spaces into homages to corporate America either relevant to or reflective of local life. The recent proposal to name the redeveloped Lower North Street area of Belfast ‘Tribeca’ in deference to an area in Lower Manhattan gives a glimpse into the mindset of the developers and the council alike.

Councils across Northern Ireland should be delivering for local people and acting as advocate and champion for improved housing, better mental health services, introducing a universal living wage, reversing welfare reforms and offering advice, assistance and direction to those in need of support.

A poor second                                                                                                          But that has not been the case. Sinn Fein and the DUP have used Belfast Council and its resources to build up their power bases through a sectarian carve up of this city. Poverty, employment, public services and opportunities come a very poor second to bonfire diversion schemes, and the funding of divisive cultural and historical projects.

This city is scarred by poverty, inequality, zero hours contracts,  housing crisis and the effects of Sinn Fein and the DUP’s welfare reforms.

The manner in which ordinary people, their lives, their needs and their futures have been abandoned by the main parties is an outrage and a disgrace. It verges on the criminal.

The interests of ordinary people                                                                            A vote for any of those parties on May 2nd will condemn the ordinary people of this city to yet more hardship, deprivation and suffering. It will also condemn another generation of young people to lives of underachievement and hopelessness. That is the price we all pay for the maintenance of sectarian political elites.

Only a party committed to class politics and the interests of ordinary people can make the kind of changes that are needed to secure a better life for all.

The Workers Party is that party.


The Workers Party s fielding seven candidates: six in Belfast and one in the Mid Ulster area

The Belfast candidates are:

Chris Bailie (Oldpark)

Conor Campbell (Black Mountain)

Paddy Crossan Collin)

Joanne Lowry (Court)

Paddy Lynn (Botanic)

Gemma Weir (Castle)

Hugh Scullion, is representing the party in the Moyola area of Mid Ulster Council

Local Elections: only a party committed to class politics can deliver the change we need

Chris Bailie (Oldpark), Paddy Crossan (Collin), Paddy Lynn (Botanic)
Conor Campbell (Black Mountain), Gemma Weir (Castle), Joanne Lowry (Court) and Hugh Scullion (Moyola)

Seven candidates wll be representing the Workers Party in next months local government elections.

North Belfast- Gemma Weir (Castle) and Chris Bailie (Oldpark) West Belfast: Joanne Lowry (Court), Paddy Crossan (Collin) and Conor Campbell (Black Mountain) South Belfast: Paddy Lynn (Botanic), and Mid Ulster: Hugh Scullion (Moyola)

Class politics

The Party is focusing on the legacy of deprivation, poverty and abandoned areas left by Sinn Fein, the DUP. The Pary’s election message is that only a party committed to class politics can deliver the changes needed to turn around the social decline, hopelessness and despair that characterises many working class areas of Northern Ireland .

Sectarian carve up

Sinn Fein and the DUP in particular have overseen a sectarian carve up of community funding and resources and have used that to sustain and develop their respective camps. In some areas of Northern Ireland child poverty is running at well over 30%, fuel poverty is even more prevalent, thousands of children leave school with low or no qualifications and mental ill health remains at crisis level.

The socialist alternative.

Among the initiatives included in the the Party’s programme are proposals for accessible, affordable local childcare, universal adoption of the Living Wage , a youth apprenticeship programme, well paid, well trained jobs with a career path for local care workers , the implementation of integrated education, access to appropriate talking therapies for people experiencing mental illness, improved public transport for our rural communities – especially to hospital appointments, the restoration of the Housing Executive as the primary provider of publicly owned housing, a public infrastructure programme building homes, roads, hospitals and schools and additional resources to support women and long term unemployed back into work.

Low breastfeeding rates must be tackled


Only 7% of local babies are fed to six months

Workers Party candidate Gemma Weir has called for ‘ a complete re-think’ on how we support mothers to breastfeed after figures emerged which show that only 7% of babies here are breastfed up to six months.

“Recent research shows that 44% of babies left hospital without having tried breastfeeding and that a staggering 93% of children in Northern Ireland are not breastfed for the full first six months.

Clearly we need an urgent re-think on our attitudes to breastfeeding and our understanding of the benefits”, Gemma said

“As a mother who has breastfed I cannot overstate the benefits,. It helps protect baby from infant  illness and develops strong healthy bones and long term resilience. Breast feeding is also beneficial for mum helping to speed up recovery from delivery.

Not only is it healthier, it’s also cheaper than formula milk products and by joining up with a local breastfeeding support group there’s  the chance to get support and meet up with other mums”, added Gemma

“I believe there may also be issues of conflicting advice from healthcare professionals which contributes to the very low rates that have been identified.

I plan to contact staff at the local maternity unit in the Mater Hospital to listen to their views on how we can encourage and support many, many more mothers in north Belfast to breastfed’, Gemma concluded.