‘Unite to face down racism’

York Road

The Rahman family leaving their York Road  home

“Hate crimes and racist attacks are not what defines north Belfast and we must ensure that they never do”, Workers Party representative Gemma Weir said in response to last night’s attack on a family in the York Road area.

“There must be no room for racism in our community and  no ‘if’s and buts’ about just how abhorrent and vile these type of attacks are”,she said.

“The only response worthy of the entire north Belfast community is an unequivocal and public condemnation of all forms of racism and hate crimes, full and unqualified support for those affected and a united resolve to face down racists and racism”, Gemma said.

“Anyone with any information, no matter how small, about this or other attacks, should contact the PSNI or use the Crime Stoppers number to pass  that information on “,she concluded.

Photo Credit: Matt Mackey

Standing up to sectarian intimidation

Everyone has a right to a home

Everyone has a right to a home

Workers Party representative Gemma Weir has hit out strongly at attempts to intimidate residents of the Felden area in north Belfast and has called for a ‘united community response’ to recent threats.

‘There can be no excuse and no justification for the intimidating and sectarian graffiti that has been daubed on walls around the new Felden housing development, or for the flags on lamp posts at the entrance to the estate’, she said.

‘People have a right to live peacefully, free from threat wherever they choose to set up home. There can be no exceptions.  Along with Party colleagues I have been delivering that message in a leaflet drop in Felden, Graymount, Bawnmore and surrounding areas this weekend’, Gemma said

‘In recent months I have also held a number of meetings with local groups and agencies to discuss the best ways to counter these threats and to help re-assure residents and families.

The best way we can stand up to sectarianism and intimidation is to unite in support of all the families in Felden”, stated Gemma

 ‘There can be no room for those who seek to bully and pressurise people out of their homes and out of their neighbourhoods. That message must come from the entire local community’.

‘The Workers Party will work with anyone and everyone who opposes sectarianism, stands up to bully boys and believes that people have a right to a home in the area of their choice – regardless of their beliefs, their ethnic background or their political opinions, Gemma concluded .

‘Shared’ education sustains division

The Education Minister is building ‘invisible peace walls’

Workers Party representative in North Belfast, Gemma Weir, has criticised plans by Education  Minister John O’Dowd to present a ‘Shared Education’ Bill to the Assembly.

Sustaining division

‘Shared education sustains division’ Gemma said. ‘It is firmly embedded in ‘two communities’ politics and does nothing to bring about a truly integrated society’.

‘The Good Friday Agreement was very clear that the Assembly had a responsibility to ‘…facilitate and encourage integrated education…’

Today’s proposal ignores  that commitment and seeks to substitute integrated education for a shared model based on a ‘separate but equal’ approach’, she said.

 Invisible ‘peace’  walls

Promoting shared education instead of integrated education is akin to building invisible ‘peace’ walls between yet another generation of our school children’, Gemma added.

‘Shared Education is nothing more than a political fig leaf to justify the continued segregation of our children into religious and political tribes and offers no alternative to those parents who want more for their children’, she said.

Independent Commission 

‘It is quite clear that the future of education in Northern Ireland is too important to leave in the hands of the Assembly. Only an independent commission can properly assess and report on how we can progressively reform our current failed structures’, concluded Gemma.

Abandon gay men blood challenge


Lift the ban

Health Minister, Jim Wells, has been urged to abandon the costly and futile court proceedings involving the giving of blood by gay men. The call comes from Workers Party representative Gemma Weir who said,

‘It is now clear that there are no medical or safety grounds on which to base the biased decision made by the former Minister. Jim Wells should now not only halt the court action be immediately lift the ban’.

‘Wasting public money to pursue individual religious beliefs should be condemned by the Executive and the Assembly. Those calling for prescription charges to be reintroduced to fund cancer drugs should instead query the money spent on this and similarly biased court actions involving the Department of Health,’ concluded Gemma