Derry Cost of Living rally calls on government to take action
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Sandra Duffy, held a Cost of Living rally in Derry on Saturday.
The rally was organised by the Mayor to highlight the issues facing people ahead of winter with the price of fuel, food and household bills rising.
Mayor Duffy said: “This is a cost of living emergency. It’s even more frustrating for us all that the Tories announced tax cuts for the super rich and nothing for ordinary workers, families or businesses who are struggling here. They removed the cap on bonuses for the bankers and, in my view, that is an absolute Thatcherite budget on steroids. All the while, big energy corporations are announcing big, eye-watering profits, even bigger than they lifted before the crisis started. They are doing very well out of our energy crisis, while ordinary people like me and you are struggling to pay our bills.
“It’s time that the British government woke up to the scale of the crisis here. Real action needs to be taken now to shift the burden off the ordinary working families and businesses and back on to the big energy companies to bring profits down and give people here a break.”
Sinéad Quinn, from Derry Against Fuel Poverty, started by paying tribute to Donncha Mac Niallais, who passed away recently. She said: “Donncha came forward recently at a Gasyard Féile event and said something which, to me, was profound. ‘This isn’t about us. It’s about our people’. Donncha was one of the first contacts in the community sector to come forward to say that he would be there and that he would do what he could. I really think that he is a massive loss to this movement going forward.
“The government will try to move part-time workers on universal credit into full-time work. That will adversely effect women, primarily women over 50. These are the women who are raising grandchildren, who are caring for our disabled and sick, who already have had a lifetime of being financially terrorised by the state.”
Paddy Curtis, Unite Convener for Derry and Strabane District Council said: “We were the first council who went out on strike. The reason we did that was, for the past 12 years, we got 1.75%. That’s all we got. That was a pay cut of 22%. We then decided that we would take it to our local councils and we were the first council to break through. The only reason we broke through was because of the goodwill of elected members of our council and the good relationship we have with management. Was it easy? No. Do I apologise for going on strike? No. Will I have to go on strike again? I hope not but we will not shy away from it.
“All you hear now is that it’s us and them. There is no us and them. We’re all in this together. We’re in poverty together. Working class poverty, unemployment poverty is still poverty. Poverty across the divide is still poverty and it’s getting worse. I’m calling on everybody to rally and come down here every Saturday.”
Derry Against Fuel Poverty will be hosting another Cost of Living rally on Saturday, October 1, starting at the Waterside Train Station at 2pm, walking over to the Guildhall Square.