A MEETING will be held in Enniskillen tonight to discuss the “draconian” new benefits system, introduced in Fermanagh last week, will go ahead as planned, despite the snow.
Universal Credit was introduced by the Conservative party with the intention of “simplifying” the benefits system, but has been plagued with problems and controversy since being rolled out, first in England now here in the North, including in Fermanagh last week.
Local union representative and campaigner Donal O’Cofaigh said the welfare reform was “draconian” and its effects would be felt by people for years to come. Mr O’Cofaigh said it had been made possible with Sinn Fein and the DUP, while still in the Executive, had handed power back to Westminster to make the controversial welfare reform.
“At the time of the Fresh Start Agreement, much was made about the ‘mitigations’ package they had secured to offset the worst excesses of Tory welfare cuts,” said Mr O’Cofaigh. “However, it is becoming clear just how limited this is – partial, temporary and applying only to existing claimants. Even the hated bedroom tax is being phased in with new applicants.”
Mr O’Cofaigh encouraged people to attending the meeting at the Westville Hotel tomorrow night, Thursday, March 1, to “find out how Universal Credit and other attacks on benefits will impact themselves and their communities, as well as the support that is out there to help you navigate the new welfare regime, but also to discuss how we can organise and join the growing opposition demanding that this assault on the working poor, the vulnerable and unemployed is ended.”
The meeting begins at 7.30pm. Mr O’Cofaigh will be joined at the meeting by Fermanagh Citizens’ Advice Bureau manager Siobhan Peoples, who will outline the support available from her organisation for those effected by Universal Credit, and Lucia Collins, a leading member of the trade union NIPSA.
Those attending should take care while traveling and wrap up warm!
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