A Food Bank Free Future

Applauding the services provided by local foodbanks, Workers Party representative Nicola Grant said,

“There can be absolutely no doubt that emergency food parcels, provided by volunteer organisations in the Newry and Armagh area, continue to serve as a lifeline for many local families and children”.

“Figures provided by one of the largest local networks continue to show a significantly increasing need year after year: a 25% increase last year and an increase of almost 200% since 2018. There is also a marked increase in the number of families in rural areas depending on food bank support and as many as one in five people in employment having to rely on food banks to help feed their families”, Nicola said.

“No-one, regardless of their circumstances, should be forced to go hungry.” Nicola said. “Twenty six percent of children in the Newry and Mourne area are believed to be growing up in poverty – many from working families. We have also seen how many NHS staff are now relying on local foodbanks because they simply cannot make ends meet”.

“Food banks are a life line for many”, Nicola said, “but we must build a society where they are no longer needed, a society in which working people and their families are valued, rewarded and supported”

Thousands of working people have been forced into taking industrial action in recent months in defence of jobs, services, safe levels of provision and decent pay. While they stood on the streets, energy companies and transnational conglomerates raked up obscene levels of profits and paid out billions  of pounds to their executives and to their shareholders.”, said Nicola

“Food banks could be made unnecessary, almost overnight, with a major reform of the benefits system and if working people received the wages they needed to support themselves and their families.”

The money is there. Currently, it is just in the wrong hands”, concluded Nicola

It’s Food Poverty, Minister!

The Workers Party has written to the Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey , rebuking her and her department for the use of the phrase ‘food insecurity’

The Party’s South Belfast spokesperson, Patrick Lynn, said “…it is obscene, highly insulting and extremely derisory to attempt to disguise one of our greatest social problems with a meaningless verbal smoke-screen”.

“What the Minister should have said, but tried instead to camouflage, was that there is a food poverty crisis in Northern Ireland, that it is directly effecting the lives of thousands of children and that it’s happening on her watch”. Patrick said

“It’s Food Poverty. No one should be attempting to run away from that or to cover it up with corporate-speak”, he said

“The reality is”, said Patrick, “that more than 79,000 emergency food parcels were distributed to people facing crisis in Northern Ireland between April 2020 and March 2021, including 31,000 for children”. 

“That Minister, is Food Poverty. At least have the decency to call it as it is”, Patrick concluded.