Stormont House Agreement

Statement by the Northern Area Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland 
23 December 2014

Having listened to the announcement by the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin regarding the “Stormont House Deal,” the Communist Party of Ireland places on record its opposition to what is in effect the acceptance of the Conservative austerity programme, the signal that major public assets, such as Belfast Harbour, are now “for sale” and that public-sector workers do not matter, in that “the Government will allow £700m of RRI capital borrowing to be used to help deliver a voluntary exit scheme,” to be used for redundancies in the public sector. 
     It appears that, despite recent noises, the Con-Dem welfare “reforms” (the dismantling of the welfare state) have been accepted, with extra debt to offset the worst of their effects. At the same time as this has been accepted the lowering of corporation Tax in 2017—offering tax cuts to corporations with a shameful history of tax avoidance—has been agreed. In short, it’s tax cuts for the rich, job cuts for the rest! 
     The money to be spent on “shared” and “integrated” education is a deceit and, in moving from integrated to “shared,” breaches commitments in the Belfast Agreement, entrenching rather than breaking down sectarianism. The Irish language, enshrined within the Belfast Agreement, has again been left on the shelf; obviously the impatience of the corporations has greater leverage. 
     The cynicism of giving an ultimatum of midnight on 22 December and extending that to the 23rd shows the manipulation involved. To come to a “done deal” on the eve of Christmas, when people are in no position to organise a reaction, only reaffirms the view that the parties involved are dishonest and self-interested. The “deal,” like their draft budget of cuts and privatisation dressed as “reform,” is a threat to all of us. 
     The CPI calls on the trade union and labour movement, community and women’s organisations to expose this “deal” for what it is and build a movement to combat the watering down of the Belfast Agreement and the attack on our living standards.