Warning over impact of welfare cuts

Campaigners have warned that local people are facing even greater hardship as Welfare Reform is set to be accelerated when mitigations run out in 2020.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 9:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 10:56 am
A march and rally, organised by Action Against Cuts, and led by a horse drawn hearse, makes its way along Duke Street towards Guildhall Square on Saturday afternoon last. DER4019GS  026

Protestors from various groups joined Action Against Cuts (AAC) as they staged a dramatic funeral procession to highlight the serious issues facing local people as a result of austerity measures.

Speaking at a rally outside the Guildhall, Kat Healy from AAC said that people were facing very real hardship already .

Kay Healy also said it was fitting that the procession took place on the anniversary of, and followed the route of, the original October 5 Civil Rights march.

Protestors, dressed in funeral attire, carry a coffin at a rally organised by the group Action Against Cuts, at the Waterside Railway Station, on Saturday afternoon last. DER4019GS  023

People Before Profit Colr. Shaun Harkin meanwhile said the funeral march “speaks volumes about what many people are facing in the city”.

“We know that the anger is growing and growing and growing and growing, and we are determined to keep building a movement, to put pressure on our council, on our institutions and trade union leaders to do more to tackle the devastating consequences that are in our communities right now as a result of decisions made at Westminster and Stormont,” he said.

Strabane’s Michael McLaughlin from AAC spoke of an “ideological attack on the working class”, adding that Derry and Strabane along with Blackpool were among the most impacted regions as a result of Welfare Reform.

Becca Bor from Alliance for Choice said Welfare cuts impacted women in particular, who often had to “scrape around” to feed their families.

Councillors Mary Durkan, John Boyle, Brian Tierney and Martin OReilly attend a rally organised by Action Against Cuts, at the Waterside Railway Station, on Saturday afternoon last. DER4019GS  022

Goretti Horgan from Derry Trade Union Council meanwhile said Welfare Reform affected not only unemployed people but those in employment. Like Becca Bor, she said the two child policy was dreadful and also applied to working people, while the benefit cap was felt most keenly by large families.

Goretti Horgan also urged people to join a trade union as it was a means of collectively protecting themselves.

Protestors at march and rally, organised by Action Against Cuts, makes its way along Duke Street towards Guildhall Square on Saturday afternoon last. DER4019GS  027
Protestors carry placards at a rally, organised by Action Against Cuts, on Saturday afternoon last. DER4019GS  025
Marcher attends rally organised by Action Against Cuts, at the Waterside Railway Station, on Saturday afternoon last. DER4019GS  021