Saturday, 27 October 2012
éirígí Newry Slam Benefit Appeal Hearings Move
éirígí in Newry have expressed their concern after it was revealed that benefits appeal hearings are to be moved, and will now be held in Newry Court House rather than Ballybot House.
Ballybot House is a widely used, purpose built, multi-purpose community resource centre located in the city’s Cornmarket area. A number of local people and community groups contacted the party after hearing of the move.
Commenting on the development éirígí’s Newry representative Stephen Murney said, “It can be a daunting enough experience to appear in front of a benefit appeals panel but this decision to relocate to a heavily fortified Court House will do nothing but cause additional stress and worry to many of those working class people who will be affected by this decision. The people who contacted éirígí are quite rightly concerned about the negative impact this move will have on ordinary citizens, the vast majority of whom have never entered a Court House in their lives.
“Entering a Court House is not a pleasant experience and indeed this move could be seen as a very carefully designed plan to try and deter people from appealing draconian decisions regarding their benefits. Indeed, this is very clearly a not so subtle attempt to portray those struggling to maintain their welfare entitlements as criminals.
“Those in positions of power seem to be hell-bent on using scare tactics against those who are being directly affected by the Tory/Stormont cuts. The Stormont poverty enforcers are threatening to strip people of their benefits if they refuse to do unpaid labour through the Workfare scheme and now benefits appeal hearings will be held within a fortified British Court House.”
Murney concluded, “Not only is the Stormont administration willingly implementing Tory cuts on behalf of the British government in Westminster, but now they are using heavily fortified courts as part of their anti-social programme. The extent that those responsible for this mess will go to seems to know no bounds. It appears that they will try everything and anything to prevent the sick, the disabled and the unemployed from accessing their rightful entitlements.”