AN in-depth motion on he cost-of-living crisis has been rushed through at the local Council’s Regeneration and Community Committee meeting, having been carried over when not reached at the council’s full meeting in September.
While the motion passed, the hurried nature left many members without the opportunity to contribute, and a tabled amendment was not discussed.
In addition, Councillor Paul Robinson, Democratic Unionist, told members his party: “Would not be taking any part at all given the Queen’s death. We decline anything to do with it.”
Tabled by the SDLP’s Councillor John Coyle, the motion expressed grave concern at the continued impact of the financial crisis, particularly noting spiralling food, energy and fuel costs.
The motion condemned the Democratic Unionist Party’s continued boycott of the devolved institutions: “which is exacerbating the current crisis” and affirmed support for a Cost-of-Living Taskforce to coordinate an approach for winter months ahead.
Councillor Coyle said: “Fuel, food and wage poverty cause me to bring this motion in total dismay at the circumstances we find ourselves in. I think I speak for everyone in fully supporting the Ukrainian people against the Russian aggressor, whose actions have caused an energy crisis affecting people in Fermanagh and Omagh. They will be struggling to pay bills, put food on the table and heat their homes.
“Things are only going to get worse and there is genuine fear and a lack of faith in either Westminster or Stormont.”
He said one of the simplest ways to get people through is the restoration of the Stormont to establish a Support Scheme and: “I’m not going to lambast the DUP, but I would ask them to form an Executive with those who have shown a willingness to do so.
“I accept they and the unionist community have issues around the Protocol, but we want to see the small outstanding issues resolved through good faith negotiations. There is no valid excuse for refusing to govern, given the crisis facing people.”
Councillor Coyle concluded, “There are still caretaker ministers in place with significant spending powers and they should explain why they are not doing everything to help. They cannot use the DUP boycott as an excuse for their own failings… The cost-of-living emergency needs to be treated with the same seriousness as the Covid pandemic. Lives and livelihoods are at stake.”
Seconding, party colleague Councillor Paul Blake, pictured left, stressed the importance of government: “Stepping up to protect the most vulnerable in our society. This crisis is affecting everybody.”
Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh, Independent described the motion as: “A replay of the old Green/Orange politics which is failing our communities.”
The motion passed, with the Democratic Unionists noted as not participating.
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