‘Stormont Isn’t Working’ – Campaign Hits Belfast’s Streets
éirígí activists and supporters hit the streets of Belfast to get the ball rolling on the latest leg of our ‘Stormont Isn’t Working’ campaign. Activists leafleted doors and spoke to residents in the Rock Streets and St James’s area as they highlighted the latest round of cuts to be implemented by the Stormont parties in the new year.
éirígí’s Pádraic Mac coitir used the opportunity to again call for the building of a mass campaign against cutbacks to public services across the Six Counties. The call comes in the aftermath of the announcement of Stormont’s 2015/2016 austerity budget. Speaking from Belfast, he said,
“Sinn Féin and the DUP, as the senior partners in the Stormont Coalition, are implementing further cuts to vital public services that are already chronically under-funded. For years they have collectively failed working people with regard to employment, healthcare, education and housing. Stormont’s austerity policies have negatively impacted on young and old alike. One in every five children and one in five pensioners currently live below the poverty line. That figure is even higher in my own West Belfast where nearly half of all children live below the poverty line.
And things aren’t much better for the rest of the population where over 100,000 workers are without proper jobs and 40,000 people on the housing waiting list. Even the health service isn’t safe from Stormont’s scalpel which has already closed hospital units and reduced the number of hospital beds.”
Mac Coitir went on to call for the development of a broad-based campaign of opposition to Stormont’s cutback agenda,
“The latest Stormont budget will lead to further hardships for hundreds of thousands of families across the Six Counties as their incomes drop and their access to public services are further reduced. It will also have a deflationary effect on economic activity. This anti-worker and anti-community budget must be resisted. As there is no meaningful opposition within Stormont the resistance to this budget must logically come from outside of Stormont.
In the Twenty-Six Counties hundreds of thousands of people are on the streets in opposition to the water tax and austerity. Working people in the Six Counties also need to get organised and get on the streets in opposition to Stormont’s cutbacks. Our basic rights to education, housing, healthcare, employment and our right to live free from poverty are being eroded by the decisions of the Stormont Coalition.
The people power movement that is developing on the other side of the border is genuinely rooted in the community and not under the control of any one political party or trade union. We in éirígí want to work with non-aligned individuals, community groups, trade unions and all other progressive political parties and groups in a genuine effort to develop a similar movement here in the Six Counties. We hope that other individuals and organisations feel, like us, that the time is now right for a broad-based campaign to defeat Sinn Féin and the DUP’s programme of austerity. I’d like to invite anyone who is interested in getting such a campaign up and running to get in touch with us. Together we can create a better future for everyone – a future that is free from the failed politics of austerity.”