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Welfare vote ensures protection for the most vulnerable - Kearney

13 February, 2015

Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney said this weeks's vote on welfare in the Assembly ensured unique welfare protections will be in place in the North but vowed the campaign against austerity will continue. 

Mr Kearney, the Sinn Féin candidate for South Antrim in the upcoming Westminster election said; 

"A society is measured by how it looks after those least able to care for themselves. 

"The Tory welfare cuts agenda was and is counter to that ethos. So Sinn Féin from 2011 onwards opposed the proposed welfare cuts and insisted welfare protection was absolutely fundamental for all citizens. 

"That is why Sinn Féin politically campaigned against welfare cuts alongside trade unions and grassroots communities. 

"This principle guided our strategy during the Stormont House negotiations and why, in December last, when the other four Executive parties agreed to a deal on welfare, Sinn Féin refused to do so and kept negotiating. 

"By standing firm against the London-Dublin Tory axis, Sinn Féin achieved a welfare system better than the one in Britain, by an average of £94m per year. 

"This represents the per capita equivalent of a €2.2bn welfare fund in the 26 counties. 

"The legislation passed this week confirmed welfare protections in the North but that cannot be taken for granted. 

"The ideological war by the conservative right wing against the welfare state has not stopped. 

"The upcoming election is a choice between social solidarity and collective interest or the agenda of the British and Irish political elites and their economic interests." 

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