.The Department for Social Development (DSD) announced that the Social Security Agency in Strabane is to be downgraded, with essential public services and 37 staff being moved to Derry City! The Irish Republican Socialist Party in Strabane believes this down grade and job relocation is just the latest of a long running series of attacks on the town of Strabane from the Stormont regime and the fat cat bureaucrats of the DSD. The perpetual austerity being implemented by Sinn Fein and the DUP will have a massive impact on the working class locally; Strabane is where the hammer will fall the hardest!
After losing out on various projects previously promised to the town, the foot bridge and the A5 motorway being the most prominent, the Stormont regime now, in all it’s dubious wisdom, has now decided to strip the Strabane Social Security Agency of everything but the facade of a front desk. This cynical stripping of services in Strabane, is happening in a town in which over 40% of the population claim some type of Benefits, including Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Jobseekers and Housing Benefit.
Approximately 43.6% of the people of Strabane are deemed ‘economically inactive’ by the British Government, a fancy term used to describe people who simply do not have any money to spend. That statistic does not include those who are factually underemployed in part time employment and cannot afford to make ends meet! The Stormont regime knows the grim reality of these statistics, yet it still moves essential public sector jobs out of an area of chronic deprivation, where nearly half its population don’t have any money whatsoever to spend in the local economy. This decision is wrong and the blame for it cannot solely be layed at the door of the DUP alone. Sinn Fein is equally culpable, Martin McGuiness approved the cuts to the bloc grant and it is his party that is equally implementing the current draconian Tory austerity measures!
With unemployment and deprivation in Strabane at an all time high, one has to question the wisdom of the decision makers in Stormont and the DSD to downgrade the facilities used to deal with those most starkly effected by the current crisis in Capitalism. So, whats on the agenda for the young unemployed of Strabane, as now even the dole queue in the Urney Rd is not an option? Emigration, the prospect of long term unemployment, or if they are very ‘lucky’, they just might get a full time job that pays just enough to stay off the streets or perhaps, a part time job in ASDA, that might, just about, provide enough to keep them alive?Irish Republican Socialist Party, Strabane