Unite: “The recent deal between the parties ties the hands of the Northern Ireland Executive…”

The BBC reports that the Unite union has held protests against the “Fresh Start” deal outside the offices of the Northern Ireland parties responsible for it – the DUP and Sinn Féin.    From the BBC report

Protests against the government’s austerity measures have been held outside a number of Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin offices.

The protests at Belfast’s Shankill and Falls roads, Londonderry, Ballymoney in County Antrim and Newry in County Down were arranged by the trade union Unite.

Unite’s Albert Hewitt said there was concern over the “devastating impact [of] cuts to social welfare” funds.

The quotes from Unite’s Albert Hewitt continue

“The recent deal between the parties ties the hands of the Northern Ireland Executive in the face of further and deeper Tory austerity cuts in the future,” Mr Hewitt said.

He was also critical of plans to reduce corporation tax in Northern Ireland to 12.5%.

“No one knows just how much this will cost, but we can be certain that this will mean hundreds of millions of pounds of further cuts to public expenditure budgets at a time we cannot afford them,” he said.

Of course, there are some within Sinn Féin who would agree…

“As for corporation tax, we won’t be signing up to any cut unless we afford it and we won’t be able to afford it any time soon comrades.” [Sinn Féin Belfast City Council group leader Cllr Jim McVeigh]

And that was before they handed those powers back to the Brits Tory government.

Interestingly, whilst the DUP response is to defend the agreement they made with Sinn Féin

The DUP defended the Fresh Start agreement, saying the party’s “number one priority” was to “bring jobs to Northern Ireland”.

“Lower corporation and the Fresh Start agreement will give us the tools to do that,” a party spokesman said.

Sinn Féin’s response is to defend themselves blame the Brits “Tory government”.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said the party supported trade unions in their “campaign against Tory austerity policies”.

But he added: “The focus and energy of protests should be directed at those directly responsible for austerity, the Tory government in London.”

[No-one’s buying it… – Ed]  Indeed.

  • Jag

    Don’t know what got into SF a fortnight ago, but this Fresh Start deal looks like political suicide, especially in the South.

    On a related subject, SF was protesting yesterday at the Mater Hospital (the one in Dublin, not in Belfast). There were 27 people on trolleys there last Friday morning, and trolleys have become a rallying point for concerns about the state of our health service (in the South) because patients are placed on trolleys before they’re admitted to the hospital, so the more trolleys, the longer the wait and the fewer hospital staff and hospital beds.

    Anyone know how many people were on trolleys in the Mater Hospital (the Belfast one) last Friday morning?

  • barnshee

    None -as far as I know ask the question of the “Royal” tho

  • Jag

    Surprises me Barnshee, given it’s a Belfast hospital catering for all sorts of accident and emergency admissions.

    Down South, the union which represents nurses compiles statistics on trolleys on a daily basis. You can see last Friday’s here.


    Pity that Unison doesn’t do the same in the UK.

  • Nice attempted hi-jack.

    But the topic of the post is not Sinn Féin’s protests against the impact of Irish government austerity cuts in the Republic.

    It’s the protests against the impact of Sinn Féin austerity cuts in the North.

  • chrisjones2

    Nolan was brilliant today with the Unite spokesman forced to admit he’s a former member of RNU who did time for stealing personal data from the RVH and passing it to the Real IRA

    A bit extreme even for Corbyn and McCluskey


  • Jag

    There’s a lot of former members of RNU about the place…

  • Jag

    Pete, you’re wrong. The topic of the post is SF’s difficulty in being both a defender against cuts (Tory, FG, whatever) and a promoter of those cuts (be it handing over welfare to the Tories, or being in coalition in a government in NI which has trolley issues). Unite are calling SF out on their contradictory position, I was probing whether they should be called out on the trolley position.

  • murdockp

    Unite are equally contradictory by securing terms and conditions for its members which the state struggles to afford

    In addition they resist efficiencies to working practices, cuts, merging departments and offices etc. The list is endless.

    Unite is all about t&cs for members. The rest is faux outrage to ensure the public is on their side.

    They are learning from the firemen who play this card beautifully year after year. We all know everyone loves a fireman from kids their mothers and grandmothers.

    A good PR opera to watch

  • chrisjones2

    You had me confused. Down Hospital was built at huge cost and then they realised it wasn’t needed at all. Whoops