Another party leader joined the campaign this week with the SDLP’s Alisdair McDonnell coming out in support of keeping the NHS out of TTIP and safe from privateers.
This follows on from the SDLP’s health spokesperson, Fearghal McKinney at a press photo call at the City Hospital in Belfast, told us, “The SDLP will robustly oppose the potential for major privatisation that this agreement may provide for.”
Calling on David Cameron to use his veto in the TTIP negotiations, Mr. McKinney said, “our publicly owned health service should have no place in such a deal.”
Following weeks of awareness raising with residents across East Belfast and Dromore, the People’s NHSni carried out a number of successful protests last week. Timed to coincide with actions all across Britain, the people of Thornhill Drive, Dromore, and Laird Park, Knocknagoney Grove and Inverary Drive in East Belfast told Westminster and David Cameron in no uncertain terms that their NHS is not for sale.
Joined by countless residents from all 4 sites, People’s NHSni spokesperson, Rev Chris Hudson, said, “TTIP is being billed as the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and aims to bring together the United States and European Union in a single market. But the deal has a dark side. If the profits of a company with American investors are threatened by changes to government policy, TTIP will allow them to sue in secret courts, potentially for billions of pounds. As we can see today, we have received a hugely positive response from these residents who were unaware of the threat posed by TTIP until recently.”
Knocknagoney Grove local, Winnie Brennan, said “I had 2 heart attacks & the NHS looked after me. Why stop it now? They’re selling it off like everything else.”
The people of East Belfast and Dromore have spoken. Now it’s over to Mr. Cameron. When are you going to remove our NHS from TTIP?
Last week saw the DUP MP for Lagan Valley, Jeffrey Donaldson, endorse the aims of the campaign. At a People’s NHS event in Dromore Market Square, Mr Donaldson signed our petition calling on David Cameron to exclude the National Health Service from the provisions of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Carried in the local press, our event made the front page of the Dromore Leader. Having done extensive work around the streets of Dromore, it was great to have the local MP row in behind the ordinary people of Dromore and back the campaign to keep the NHS in public hands.
‘Dromore says No! to TTIP’
Over the last few days, People’s NHS activists have leafleted over 700 houses in the Maghaberry area in preparation for our petition drive.
Braving the cold and rain, the reception from local residents was one of surprise that their NHS is under such a grave threat. There is a great affinity with the local hospital in the area, Lagan Valley, and people were worried about the creeping privatisation that TTIP could represent.
Next week, we’ll be going round the same doors with our petition, asking the residents to pressure their local MLAs and MPs to ask David Cameron to use his veto and take the NHS out of TTIP.
Tuesday 19th August saw yet another local council joining the fight to keep the NHS public.
With a great showing from the Green Party, Alliance Party and Independents, councillors signed the petition calling on Secretary of State, Teresa Villiers, to pressure David Cameron to use his veto. Signatories included the Deputy Mayor, Alderman Anne Wilson (All).
We even had a surprise visit from local MLA and leader of the Greens, Steven Agnew!
At a packed Council meeting last night, councillors from across the political spectrum signed our petition calling on Secretary of State, Teresa Villers, to write to David Cameron to ask that he use his veto with relation to the inclusion of the NHS in TTIP.
Independents councillors, alongside their Sinn Féin, SDLP and Ulster Unionists colleagues signed the petition and expressed their concern at the inclusion of our health service in such a wide ranging privatisation bill.
The People’s NHSni Campaign spokesperson, Rev. Chris Hudson called today for all branches of society to get behind the campaign to save our NHS.
“Our next step is knocking doors in Maghaberry, in the Lagan Valley constituency, asking people to sign our petition calling on David Cameron to use his veto. Everyone in this society will use the Health Service at some stage of their lives. Therefore it’s up to all of us to save it.”
Last week saw one of the largest workforces in Northern Ireland join forces with The People’s NHSni Campaign to fight to save the NHS.
Expressing their concerns at the agenda behind the TTIP bill, the workers demanded that David Cameron use his veto to protect our Health Service.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what age you are – everyone will use the Health Service at some stage. We don’t want to end up in a situation where people are refused care because they have no access to the means to pay for it.”
The campaign marches on!
A great response to the campaign this week at both Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals.
Local MPs, MLAs and Councillors all turned out to lend their support and agreed to put pressure on David Cameron to remove his veto.
The campaign continues to gain momentum, with cross community, cross party support.
At a photo call at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast, Paul Maskey, handed the People’s NHSni a letter which had been sent to David Cameron from all 5 Sinn Féin MPs calling on him to use his veto in the ongoing TTIP negotiations.
This followed expressions of support from Paul’s party colleague, Martina Anderson MEP, on behalf of all 4 Sinn Féin MEPs. She committed to helping the campaign in any way they could and confirmed that Sinn Féin would strongly opposing TTIP in the European Parliament.
The RVH Belfast says “NHS out of TTIP!”