A restored Executive is urgently needed to stand up for people and public services – Kearney

Sinn Féin’s Declan Kearney has called for the urgent restoration of a properly resourced, power sharing Executive to stand up for workers, families and public services.

The South Antrim MLA said, “Tory policy has turned the north into an economic and political backwater. Low wages and precarious work are structural characteristics of the north’s economy. These realities sit alongside chronic underinvestment in public services due to the decisions of successive British governments.

“The Tory austerity agenda is crippling public services which are currently failing to meet the needs of citizens. The latest round of imposed expenditure cuts will have a devastating effect upon regional services, especially for the most vulnerable. Senior civil servants are forecasting irreparable damage to the viability of health, education provision, and maintenance of infrastructure.

“Brexit showed how little the Tories care about anyone here. Those in charge have no affinity with, or commitment to the peace and political processes in the north. Their only allegiance is to profit, and an economic model serving the interests of big businesses and banks, and the most wealthy.

“Workers are facing into a whole series of challenges. Increased interest rates and high inflation are creating unbearable financial pressures.

“The DUP’s blocking of the Executive means there is no mitigation against this Tory onslaught.

“The absence of a functioning Executive has exposed public services and working families to even more ruthless cuts, and privatisation by stealth.

“At the same time, as greater austerity is imposed, new anti-trade union legislation from London will restrict local trade unionists’ right to strike and will take powers to actually sack striking workers.

“Sinn Féin has prioritised the introduction of workers’ rights legislation and called for the transfer of fiscal powers to the north. The persistent refusal of any British government to transfer economic and fiscal levers is untenable.

“Unless an Executive, and a strategic financial investment package are in place by September, another imposed austerity budget will become inevitable, with even more terrible repercussions.

We urgently need a properly resourced power sharing Executive to stand up for workers, families and public services. Sinn Féin is committed to leading that Executive with others.”