Working-class communities left behind from peace process


Over 10 years on from the signing on the Good Friday Agreement and working-class communities in the North have failed to reap the rewards from the ‘peace dividend’ according to a new study conducted by the assembly’s Research and Library Service. The report which examined deprivation and social disadvantage since the 1998 agreement found that the proportion of people claiming benefits and unable to heat their homes had ‘increased’, poverty had remained ‘broadly unchanged’ and unemployment levels had began to ‘rise’.

In addition the gap between the rich and poor has increased with ‘large areas within Belfast West, Belfast North and Foyle suffered the highest levels of relative deprivation in 1998 and this is still the case today.’ These areas include the Shankill, Falls Rd and Rosemount in Derry.

Sinn Fein MLA Paul Butler asks: ‘Why is it that 13 years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, while we have settled into political stability we haven’t addressed long-term unemployment, life expectancy and low educational attainment?'

The answer is simply Paul whenever we have a Stormont administration more committed to rolling out the red carpet for corporations and administrating Tory cuts from London than providing support for working people.

Paul Butler adds: ‘Something needs to be done in the next term because if you are asking people to vote for you, why should they when they don’t see any improvement in their lives?

Exactly! It appears that as anarchists we might have something in common Paul, but unlike you we wont be calling for people to vote for green and orange Tories in the forthcoming elections or relying empty promises from political parties. Instead we will be fighting on the streets, in our communities and workplaces with other working people against savage cuts imposed from the folks on the hill. Direct action and solidarity is the key to improving our lives. See you on the streets on the opposite sides of the baricade…..

WORDS: Sean Matthews