Socialist Worker

Newly elected socialist in West Belfast says, “People are fed up with the status quo.”

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2404

A local election result in Belfast signals a significant shift in the politics of Northern Ireland. 

In West Belfast People Before Profit candidate Gerry Carroll was elected with the third highest count in Black Mountain ward. 

“None of the pundits saw us coming," Gerry said. “The assumption outside this district is that the two main nationalist parties have the area sewn up. What we have heard all through this campaign and what has been proven is that ordinary people are fed up with the status quo.

“Our campaign has been a fight for the soul of West Belfast, and our victory is only the beginning. This constituency includes some of the most socially deprived wards in the North, and the message is loud and clear - ordinary people have had enough.  

"They are tired of seeing their rights trampled upon in the interests of developers, landlords, and low-wage corporate employers. They have had enough of the politics of sectarian division. And their patience is running out with a political establishment committed to gutting our public services and punishing the most vulnerable.

"It is time for change and I am committed to leading and lending my support to every fight for the rights of ordinary people in this district and across Belfast.”

"In the end we managed to take a seat from Sinn Féin, but it could have just as easily have been the SDLP. Locally both have played a shameful role around the issue of the Casement Park development. Our vote sends a clear message that residents will not accept a sham process that has been rigged against them at every stage.”

“The conditions that brought people out to vote for change in Black Mountain ward exist in every working-class community, and on both sides of the sectarian divide. We are proud to have worked side-by-side with people on the Shankill and in the Village areas. We will seize every opportunity to unite ordinary people against the elite who benefit from our continued division.”

“Across the city working people are struggling to keep their heads above water while our politicians spend millions of our hard-earned rates subsidising low-wage corporate employers.

"Our hospitals are being run down and privatised with the full support of the political establishment and our leisure centres are on the chopping block. Many of our young people are unemployed and without hope, while those fortunate enough to have work are stuck on zero-hour contracts and paid less than their counterparts anywhere in these islands. 

"Politicians and clerics have built whole careers on whipping up sectarianism, and in recent weeks have acquiesced in or given cover to racist attacks on migrant workers and their families.  

"People Before Profit is committed to ridding this great city of the burdens of the past, and we know there are tens of thousands of ordinary people across Belfast who share our rage at the status quo and our hopes for a new dawn. We look forward to working with them and building a new Belfast that puts people before profit.”

For more on the election results in Ireland go to www.swp.ie and www.peoplebeforeprofit.ie

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Sun 25 May 2014, 18:35 BST
Issue No. 2404
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