Sinn Féin determined to get the British Government to deliver a major Peace Dividend
Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Gerry Kelly today unveiled the party's campaign to stop the introduction of Water Charges at the Water Works in North Belfast. Mr. Kelly pledged the party's ongoing opposition to water charges and said that the party was determined to secure the delivery of the Peace Dividend, which the British government agreed to in last December's negotiations.
Sinn Féin will:
- Work to secure the delivery of the Peace Dividend which the British government agreed to in last December's talks
- Campaign to force the British government to abandon its Water Charges policy
- Support the development of a broad based coalition opposing the introduction of Water Charges
Mr. Kelly said:
"Sinn Féin is opposed to the introduction of water charges. It is obvious from the strength of opposition among the general public that a broad based campaign could stop the introduction of water charges.
"The British governments proposals amount to a double taxation and will hit the least well off in our society - people on the poverty line, in areas of high unemployment, with health needs, pensioners, single parents, small businesses, carers, community groups and voluntary groups.
"If introduced and taken along with other rate increases, it will mean that in some cases people will be facing a 200% increase on what they pay at the moment. It will also almost certainly mean the privatisation of our water. We only have to look at the very high-energy costs that we have here in comparison with elsewhere to see what privatisation of essential utilities means for us.
"People here have been paying for water through their rates for generations yet that investment has not been realised in maintaining and upgrading the water and sewerage system to international and European standards.
"The British government has failed to deliver the levels of investment required for our infrastructure and services over the last 30 years. Instead we only have the fig leaf of the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative, which is fast becoming as disastrous as the electricity privatisation.
"Sinn Féin made the delivery of a Peace Dividend a critical part of the negotiations last December and we got the British government to agree to a substantial Peace Dividend. We now have to ensure that this Peace Dividend is delivered. The primary purpose of this is to invest in job creation, support communities that have suffered greatly as a result of conflict and to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, including our water services." ENDS