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Lagan Valley Green Party
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Progressive politics for Lagan Valley & Northern Ireland. Join us today!
Progressive politics for Lagan Valley & Northern Ireland. Join us today!

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Lagan Valley Green Party motion proposed by our Assembly elections candidate Daniel Barrios-O'Neill was adopted by conference on Saturday. Here's a write up in the Tele.

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Vote Danny! Great selection for our local candidate in May's Assembly elections. Spread the word!

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Celebrating a year of Green success

The Green Party in Northern Ireland has gone from strength to strength.  The #GreenSurge has seen membership grow and feedback on the doors to canvassers has been positive.
The high point of 2015 must surely be the passing of Steven Agnew's Children's Bill into law.  Royal Assent was attained in December when it officially became the Children's Services Co-Operation Act.

Other successes include:

Pressure from the Green Party on the Environment Minister saw stop notices issued to unauthorised sand dredgers on Lough Neagh.  However the dredging continues as they appeal the decision and we will continue to work to bring this damaging activity to an end.
The Green Party's long standing support for equal marriage was rewarded when the majority of MLAs, 50.5%, voted in favour of marriage equality for the first time.  We will continue to work with Queer Greens to ensure equality for all.

The Green Party has campaigned vociferously for an animal cruelty register.  There is now unanimous support from Belfast City Council for such a register, which is now under consideration by the Department of Justice.

We asked some of our hard working Green Party representatives about their personal highlights of 2015 - here's what they said:

Steven Agnew, MLA for North Down - - My private members bill which resulted in the Children's Services Co-operation Act
- Holding DUP and Sinn Fein to account on welfare cuts
- Getting the Assembly to commit to a Northern Ireland climate bill

Ciaran McLean, candidate for West Tyrone - - Standing in the Westminster elections as the first Green Party candidate in West Tyrone
- Getting up on 800 first preference votes - quite an achievement given the polarised nature of politics in West Tyrone.

Clare Bailey, deputy leader and candidate for South Belfast - - Receiving the highest ever Green vote in the Westminster elections
- Hearing the result of the equal marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland
- Seeing the resurgence of student activism through the Fossil Free QUB campaign

Ross Brown, East Belfast councillor and candidate for East Belfast - - Having my Council motion calling for the establishment of an animal cruelty register passed.
- Seeing Belfast City Council implementing the cloth nappy scheme which I proposed
- Gaining cross-party agreement in Belfast City Council on my proposal to develop an energy transition strategy for Belfast

Tanya Jones, candidate for Fermanagh South Tyrone - - Standing for the Westminster election and securing almost 800 votes - a great foundation for the 2016 Assembly elections
- Traveling to Paris for the climate change talks
- Seeing the success of the Fossil Free QUB occupation, which included my son Aidan Jones (who is also chair of Young Greens)
#VoteGreen2016

The Westminster elections proved that the electorate want to vote Green.  With your help, we'll build on that success in 2016 in the Assembly elections in May and we believe the seats in East and South Belfast are within our grasp.

You've seen what one MLA can achieve, imagine what we could do with three?

We also expect our candidates in West Tyrone and Fermanagh/South Tyrone will build on their 2015 success.  But it doesn't stop there. We will be standing more candidates than ever before, so come on, help us spread the word and give voters a real opportunity to #VoteGreen2016 to make a change!  Get in touch if you can help in any way.

Once the candidate selection process has finished, there will be candidate announcements in the New year.  Watch this space.


Solidarity with Fossil Free QUB

Student activism saw a resurgence with the occupation of a QUB administration building in December.  Many Green Party members were involved in the protest, with deputy leader and South Belfast candidate Clare Bailey and North Down and Ards Councillor John Barry addressing a rally to show support.

Clare Bailey described the action as “one of the most admirable campaigns from QUB students in a long time",.  Councillor Barry highlighted the fact that the global divestment movement is a key element in moving those authority and decision making power towards doing the right thing.

Academic research shows that we need to divest from fossil fuels. "If QUB wants their academics to be taken seriously, they themselves must act on their findings.", said Clare Bailey, before adding "these students are our future leaders; and they are leading the way in the campaign for a better future for all.”

The University eventually listened to the demands of the campaign and an agreement was reached on 16 December.

Read Green Party member, student, and blogger Bradley Allsop's excellent article on why the occupation took place here http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/bradley-allsop/queens-university-occupation_b_8795040.html
 

Trust women

The High Court in Belfast ruled on 16 December that abortion legislation in Northern Ireland is in breach of human rights law. 

Clare Bailey, deputy leader and South Belfast candidate described Northern Ireland's abortion laws as 'archaic' and 'barbaric', before calling on "politicians to step up and trust women to make their own decisions and not have decisions imposed on them due to having no choice".
http://www.greenpartyni.org/politicians-must-trust-women-over-abortion/

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Direct action on climate change by students at Queen's University Belfast QUB.

I write these words from the administration building of Queen's University Belfast on day two of student activist group Fossil Free QUB's occupation of the building. We are occupying this building as an action of last resort: senior management at Queen's have settled for forestalling, patronising and ignoring instead of engaging with students that care passionately about their university and their climate.

We are demanding that Queen's freeze all new investments in fossil fuels and publicly commit to divesting from the fossil fuel companies they are already invested in by 2020. This is a campaign supported by the Student Council here, as well as a student-wide referendum, cross party-political support and leading academics, including Noam Chomsky.

The official response from the university has been, to put it politely, sluggish. They have promised to 'run a workshop' in January (this was brought to them in October) and to conduct a 'comprehensive review of their investment policy' that they estimate will take them 9 months. The policy is just 6 lines long.

We cannot afford to wait and stall when it comes to fossil fuel divestment: the fate of our species and countless others hangs in the balance of a rapidly diminishing time-frame. The much touted 2 degrees of warming mark is quickly becoming a best-case scenario, as we look set to heat the earth far beyond this with our insatiable addiction to fossil fuels, and the consequences are dire.

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“Richard has done a wonderful job, both this evening and in his wider work, at dismantling the myths of supply-side, what even George Bush senior called ‘voodoo’ economics. We know, from looking at the evidence, that reducing corporation tax to low levels does not increase revenue, does not encourage real investment, does not create long-term jobs and that any headline growth it causes in the general economy is so unequally divided as to be a source of greater impoverishment and misery.

“What lowering corporation tax does, it turns out, is exactly what you would expect it to do: it reduces the amount of tax payable by corporations and so increases their profits. It increases the dividends paid to shareholders, themselves overwhelmingly corporations and the very rich, and it increases the bonuses paid to already overpaid executives and tax professionals. ‘To those who have, more shall be given…’

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From our sister party, the Green Party in England and Wales (+The Green Party):

Natalie Bennett - Green Party Leader thanks each and every one of you who voted Green yesterday. As she says, we've had stage one of the ‪#‎greensurge‬ - please join us and 63,000 others for the next wave

Natalie Bennett - Green Party Leader

Thanks to everyone who voted for the Green Party yesterday, all 1,154,562 of you! More than four times more than ever before in general election

And huge congratulations to Caroline Lucas, re-elected as MP for Brighton Pavilion now with a majority of 8,000.

And to Darren Hall in Bristol West, Gillian Creasy in Sheffield Central, Martin Dobson in Liverpool Riverside and Laura Bannister in Manchester Gorton for finishing second in their seats. (The Green Party has never before done that in a general election.)

And to the more than 100 Green Party candidates who saved their deposits (got more than 5%). By contrast, in 2010 we had six candidates who saved their deposit.

But above all, thank you to every Green Party member and supporter who contributed to this brilliant campaign - you can be proud of your effort, and the result.

We've had stage one of the ‪#‎greensurge‬ - today's a great day to get started on the next stage. Please do tweet or Facebook suggestions to join the party, and directly ask ONE friend, family member or work colleague to join.

Overnight we went over 63,000 members - if everyone brought in one new member ... well you can do the maths!!

Thanks again!

http://www.laganvalleygreens.com/p/join-us.html

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Today's the day to Vote Green.

Local Policies for the Common Good
Day 9 of 9, polling day

Green Party Northern Ireland Manifesto 2015
http://www.greenpartyni.org/policies-2/manifestos/

For the Common Good #ForTheCommonGood

There is a clear choice to be made in this election. A vote for the Green Party in Northern Ireland is a vote for a new social contract that prioritises the common good through renewed investment in public services, a return to the principle of progressive taxation, an insistence on equality for all, and a demand for an economy that serves the people and the planet, not the other way round.

Take the opportunity to end the dominance of the profits-at-any-cost model that has increased inequality, reduced sustainability and set us against each other in competition and conflict. The traditional dominant parties appear set on introducing still more cuts to the services we all rely on, while handing out tax breaks to international corporations. This approach is divisive, unsustainable, and unfair. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer an option: we urgently need a new model – and that’s what the Greens offer.

Today, choose the candidates of the Green Party in Northern Ireland for the Common Good.

Vote Green on 07 May 2015
#GreenSurge #VoteGreen2015 #GreenParty
#GeneralElection #PollingDay

+Green Party NI manifesto commitments 2015.

01 First class public services for all #1stClass4All

We believe in first class public services for all, not just for those who have the spare cash to pay for elite treatment.

1.1 Well-being for your whole life
The Green Party would:
• Promote community healthcare, illness prevention and health promotion, to combat the rising problems of obesity and its related diseases
• Closely integrate primary health and social care across the UK, following the best elements of the Northern Irish model
• Promote the vision for mental health and learning disability services outlined in the Bamford Review
• Promote health education to children in schools, so that our kids learn to eat well and keep active
• Encourage and empower individuals to take more responsibility for their own well-being by promoting exercise and reducing smoking and drinking
• Promote health and well-being for the whole life – starting with pre-natal care

1.2 A Green New Deal for housing
The Green Party would:
• Abolish the ‘priority need’ category for homeless applicants (as has been done in Scotland), so that almost everyone who does not have their own secure accommodation is entitled to apply
• Invest in energy efficient social housing to combat homelessness and fuel poverty whilst also creating jobs in construction
• Freeze the Housing Sales Scheme until such a time as there is surplus social housing relative to need
• Protect the Supporting People budget, to ensure that vulnerable people can receive housing-related support
• Ensure that homeless households are not housed in the private rented sector without their consent
• Work to ensure higher standards for private sector tenants
• Provide vulnerable owner-occupiers, including those in negative equity, with access to housing support and advice

1.3 Children and education #IntegratedNI
The Green Party would:
• Promote the principles of integrated education here and throughout the UK
• Fight to reverse the closures of Sure Start programmes throughout the UK
• Progressively remove barriers to education for those from marginalised communities


2 Grassroots democracy #EqualityasofRight

It is time we began to build a society of equals – whatever your gender, ethnicity, disability, age or sexual orientation - from the grassroots up.

2.1. A new civil rights movement
The Green Party would
• Work to remove barriers to participation in decision making
• Promote decision making at the lowest effective level, encouraging participatory democracy by the people as well as for the people
• Promote more democratic decision making at an effective international level on matters such as climate change and cross-border issues
• Combat the corruption of democracy by big money, whether donated by the corporate sector or used to buy up the media

2.2 Women in power #WomenInPower
The Green Party would:
• Work to ensure there are more women in positions of power in all areas of public life
• Inaugurate or expand existing initiatives for increasing women’s involvement in politics

2.3 Ending racism and homophobia
The Green Party would:
• Call for the rapid rolling out of a robust racial equality strategy through the Northern Ireland Assembly
• Extend equal marriage to Northern Ireland

2.4 Global neighbourhood
The Green Party would:
• Open up trade deals to democratic oversight, and campaign to halt undemocratic deals such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
• Promote a financial transaction tax, modelled on the Tobin tax, to curb reckless speculation
• Support the creation of a tax dodging Bill that would close existing loopholes that enable corporations and high wealth individuals to legally avoid tax, and initiate automatic exchange of information between tax authorities in various jurisdictions
• Instead of raising ever-higher fences to prevent migration, address the factors such as poverty and human rights abuses that drive our global neighbours to flee or seek work overseas
• Scrap Trident, and replace our outdated nuclear-era defence policy with a comprehensive policy of addressing and dismantling the conditions of instability and violence at source


3 Grassroots economic revolution #GreenGrassroots

We believe in a thriving green grassroots economy, where local and environmentally sustainable businesses work, together with the public and third sectors, for the common good.

3.1 Poverty and welfare reform
The Green Party would:
• Continue to oppose current welfare cuts
• Work for a revised benefits system which meets the needs of people in poverty
• Take firmer action against child poverty, pensioner poverty and hidden poverty in rural areas

3.2 Bailout for the people
The Green Party would:
• Oppose the austerity cuts
• Call for a bailout for the people on similar lines to the bailout received by the banks
• End in-work poverty by making the minimum wage a living wage
• Ensure fair trade with our global neighbours
• Combat climate change and promote sustainability across our society, our industries and our agriculture

3.3 Sustainable society #GreenNewDeal
The Green Party would:
• Remove subsidies from fossil fuel and nuclear industries
• Support clean and sustainable energy solutions, with an emphasis on small-scale, local and cooperative schemes that benefit communities, while ensuring that large-scale renewable projects engage with, and benefit, local communities
• Build on Northern Ireland’s natural resources and expertise to create a world-class renewable energy industry, bringing training, skilled jobs and valuable exports
• Create an integrated and community-led planning system to encourage energy efficiency in all new-build projects
• Provide insulation and clean power systems for existing buildings in both public and private sectors
• End inefficiency and profiteering that lead to fuel poverty, so no one need choose between heating their home and feeding and clothing their family
• Promote clean, efficient public transport networks
• Ban all types of dangerous ‘unconventional’ fossil fuel extraction, including fracking
• Support divestment from fossil fuel industries

3.4 Sustainable agriculture and animal welfare
The Green Party would:
• Encourage organic alternatives in order to minimise the use of harmful substances in the treatment of soil, crops and animals by farmers and growers
• Begin the transition to a sustainable agriculture by working to surpass a target of 5% of land in organic agriculture
• Develop local supply polyculture and permaculture farming models, rather than export driven monoculture, through the support of agencies like DARD
• Increase the overall spread of trees across all regions, in the form of fruit orchards, nut orchards, copses, hedgerows, small farm woods, and shade trees, which will increase woodland verges as important ecosystems both for agroforestry potential and general biodiversity
• Increase the amount of land used for food crops and horticulture
• Promote a sustainable, healthy diet including more fresh fruit and vegetables and less meat, as a basis for deciding what food crops to encourage
• Protect animals through a ban on the use of snares and wild animals in circuses.
• Uphold the ban on the hunting of wild animals with dogs
• Seek alternatives to breed specific legislation
• Create an animal cruelty register
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