Letters to the Editor, ‘DUP’s fiscal knuckle dragging opens an unlikely window of opportunity’

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Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

As a member of my local Sinn Féin cumann, I never thought that I would see the day that I would be thanking the DUP and in particular Sammy Wilson – but my gratitude stems from the lack of self-confidence that is evident in the mindset of the rank and file of the DUP concerning fiscal powers being devolved from Westminster to Stormont.

But I have to give credit where credit is due, for ever since the DUP decided to take part in oppressive knuckle dragging concerning fiscal powers, they have managed to type cast themselves as the party who are all for accepting the devastating Tory Welfare Cuts. Unashamedly neglecting the vast majority of their low-income household voters, Jim Wells and his colleagues have abandoned those who will have to suffer along with the rest of us as Westminster and the Tory butchers commence with their cuts. But this has inadvertently opened up a bridge building window of opportunity for myself as a Sinn Féin activist and my fellow Crotlieve cumann members.

As well as working tirelessly day in and day out trying to help our local constituents with the harsh realities of four billion being knocked off the block grant, Sinn Fein activists have noticed a steady and ever increasing flow of deeply anxious people from a traditional hard working unionist back-round, coming into our constituency offices regarding a range of issues and concerns, such as the dismantling of incapacity benefit, welfare reform, disability living allowance, cuts to mortgage interest rates to name but a few.

And why are these honest hard working people coming to us for help and advice? The responses we are hearing include; “why would we ask for help from the DUP, when they don’t want to help the average working man and woman”… “The DUP have forgotten that we will all suffer from the Westminster cuts”… “How can I expect to get help and advice on cuts to my disability living allowance, from a party who are welcoming the Tory led cuts?”

This is only a tiny example of how horribly wrong the DUP have dealt with the fiscal issue, indeed a part of me is genuinely grateful for
the lack of vision and self-confidence that the DUP are displaying in recent times, for I have developed an honest and forward thinking
relationship with a lot of good people from a traditionally unionist background, who feel they have been deserted by the very people they voted for to help them.

I am in little doubt that the DUP’s draconian stance on fiscal powers will come back to haunt them in the next elections, and I would love to be a fly on the wall as Sammy and his fellow DUP councilors knock on the doors of the low income households in his constituency of which the DUP have deserted, looking for another priceless vote…a vote for more devastating cuts, a vote for more severe financial hardship that will continue to have an uncompromising affect on all the good people of the north.

Le meas,

Mark Gibbons
Crotlieve Sinn Féin


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