Stormont Health Minister taking us for a ride over 'business flights' to US

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As the latest youth club in Belfast is threatened with closure, it is clear some of our local politicians and fat cats have never had it so good. The Irish News has revealed that DUP Health minister, bigot and creationist Edwin Poots and his advisors flew business-class to a five day healthcare conference in Boston. Earlier this year it was also uncovered that 400,000 had been spent on overseas training for 50 managers.

All this in stark contrast to major cuts in health-care provision, in jobs and services, resulting in a reduction in patient care and working conditions of staff. While the A&E ward at Belfast City Hospital looks as if it will be permantly closed adding further pressure on services in other hospitals across the city. ( Read more )

Artillery Youth Centre in the New Lodge is facing the axe after it received notice from education board officials to quit its premises. The centre was set up in 1969 and operates seven days a week delivering education and recreation programmes.

Speaking to Youth worker Harry Murphy last night, he claimed that authorities are using ‘health and safety as an excuse to kick us out and that we will exhaust all avenues to remain in the building.’  According to a leaflet distributed in the area, ‘We are asking your support to oppose the closure and to demand answers. If there is a problem with the building and the board no longer want responsibility over it, than give it those who run it successfully for the last 15 years and they will fix it.’

The occupation of the former Bank of Ireland headquarters in Belfast city centre provides a glimpse of what is possible if we use direct action and solidarity instead of relying on empty promises from politicians.

While our local politicians spend millions of tax-payers money in selling Northern Ireland to profiteers and lobbying for a reduction in the corporation tax under the mantra of ‘our time our place’, all this means very little to the rest of us who are bearing the brunt of a savage class war such as the passing of the recent welfare reform bill. There is always plenty for their wars, subsidising the wealthy elite but very little when it comes to tackling poverty, social deprivation and providing essential services and employment. That’s capitalism!

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