Pádraig Delargey uses maiden speech to blast Boris Johnson and insist hardworking Derry families should not have to pick up tab for billionaires

Pádraig Delargy has accused the British Government of treating the people of the Derry with disdain and prioritising billionaires over hard-working citizens from the Bogside, Ballymacgroarty and Creggan.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 11:55 am

Mr. Delargy, who took his seat as one of two new Sinn MLAs for Foyle on Monday, vowed to use his voice to demand first-class health services, including those focused on mental health; as well as more affordable housing, and more local jobs.

He used his maiden speech to attack Boris Johnson's Government for driving through unpopular policies against the wishes of the majority of people living in the six counties.

He stated: "The Tory Administration have repeatedly demonstrated their disdain for the people who live here. They ignored our wishes on Brexit, forcing it upon us against our will. Now, they are forcing ordinary workers, families and pensioners here to pay the price of the pandemic by hiking National Insurance contributions and reducing pension increases.

Pádraig Delargey making his maiden speech at Stormont.

"Of course, increased investment is needed in our health and social care systems, and I want to take this opportunity to thank the incredible staff within that system who continue to put themselves on the front line in the battle against COVID. What the Tories do not tell you is that our health and social services were already decimated by vicious austerity cuts that they ruthlessly imposed.

"If they want to invest in health and social care, they should start by restoring the millions that they have plundered from our block grant. They should start by investing in health rather than in imperialist military adventures.

"They should start by taxing the wealthy, the big businesses and the billionaires who have done very well out of the pandemic. They are the people who should be shouldering that burden, not ordinary workers, families and pensioners."

Mr. Delargy said the rich have become richer under Boris Johnson while the number of children on free school meals has increased by 300,000 to 1.74 million.

"Inequality, deprivation and the number of children going hungry is increasing as a direct result of the policies being implemented by this Tory Government.

"As a young Derry man and as a teacher, I see the impact of that every day. I challenge anyone in the Chamber to tell me that hardworking families in Derry should pick up the tab for the British Government, that Creggan should bail out the Cabinet, that Ballymagroarty should bail out Boris or that the Bogside should bail out billionaires.

"All of us in the Chamber have a responsibility and a duty to ask ourselves, 'Is that what we want for our children?'. We do have a choice. I want to see a new Ireland, based on equality and fairness.

"In the interim, I want to see us taking control of our own economic destiny by transferring fiscal powers. We can do better ourselves: better for our workers, better for our families, better for our pensioners and better for our young people."