The Irish government, as part of its crippling deal with the troika will soon introduce a new “household charge”, another financial burden on working families after an onslaught of austerity attacks linked to the IMF/EU plan.
Northern Ireland's largest trade union, NIPSA, has completed elections for its executive body, the general council. In a significant turnaround from last year's results, the left activist group, NIPSA broad left, which includes Socialist Party members, scored a spectacular success.
As Lib Dem and Tory MPs look on the referendum on the alternative vote (AV) in May with trepidation and anxiety, most people wonder what it is actually about. The Con-Dems' Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill has passed into law. The number of MPs will be cut from 650 to 600 and constituency boundaries will be re-drawn. Across Britain and Northern Ireland, there will be an opportunity to vote on replacing the current first-past-the-post voting system in parliamentary elections with AV on 5 May. Bob Severn from the Socialist spoke to Clive Heemskerk, from the Socialist Party's executive committee, on what this referendum represents.
Up to 200 jobs are to be cut at Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC), representing 20% of the workforce. Cuts at BMC have already led to the closure of courses for young people who need qualifications, and now these job losses will lead to even less places for people to study and gain an education – that is if they are not resisted.