PBPA campaign launch

People Before Profit Alliance Assembly candidate Eamonn McCann. (2503MM19)
People Before Profit Alliance Assembly candidate Eamonn McCann. (2503MM19)

Veteran socialist Eamonn McCann launched his Assembly election campaign in the city last night.

The 68 year-old is standing as a People Before Profit Alliance candidate and said the party can offer a “new voice” at Stormont.

Speaking at the campaign launch in the City Hotel last night, Mr McCann said he is standing as an alternative to other parties.

“I believe that the people of Foyle - and across the North - need a new voice at Stormont, advancing a positive vision for the future, not the negative politics of the past.

“Most people believed that the Agreement would mean a better life for all and secure the future of the coming generation. But there is more anxiety now about what is to come than there was at the time of the last Assembly poll.

“I want to replace uncertainty with confidence. I will argue that there is an alternative to the benefit cuts, job losses and withdrawal of services that are coming down the road,” he said.

The Assembly candidate called for major job creation projects.

“We need a new jobs strategy, centred not on lower taxes to lure private business but on creating employment through public initiative - a crash programme of social housing, investment in green industries, renewing our rail network etc.” he said.

He also explained that he is supporting the campaign to develop the university at Magee.

“We need a Derry University appropriate to a city of our size.

“This ambition is being stymied not just by the inertia and spite of the past but by the current funding crisis in higher and further education.

“The fight for a proper university has to be connected to the broader fight against the cuts,” he said.

The People Before Profit Alliance leader said his party hopes to turn young people away from paramilitary groups.

“We will offer an alternative to those left behind in either community who are tempted to turn to paramilitary groups to deal with anti-social behaviour or advance any other cause.

“We will speak out against the foreign wars launched on a false prospectus which have cost thousands of lives and tens of billions in money that could be used for the betterment of the people,” he said.

He also added that, if elected, he will not designate with the two main groups in the Assembly.

“We will emphasise what people across the North – of all religions and none – have in common, not what divides us. At Stormont, I would designate myself not as Nationalist or Unionist but as Other. More of the same shouldn’t be good enough,” he said.