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Eamonn McCann: DUP and Sinn Fein pre-programmed to deadlock

The DUP and Sinn Fein are pre-programmed to deadlock, Eamonn McCann said.

He said the people were more radical than the two largest parties dared think.

Mr McCann is standing for the anti-establishment People Before Profit (PBP) in the Foyle constituency where he hopes to defend his seat.

The party is aiming to build on its performance in last year's election when it returned two representatives to Stormont.

Mr McCann said: "The politics of PBP are far more capable of confronting the divisive and legacy issues in the north than either the orange or the green parties, which are pre-programmed to deadlock on every difficult issue facing Northern Ireland.

"We are not, we are for confronting these problems and we think we can do it on the basis of support from masses of people outside the political arena altogether, ordinary people if I can put it in a non-patronising way."

Among the radical proposals PBP offers is the nationalisation of food production.

Mr McCann said promotional advertising to increase consumption ought to be banned and the state intervene in favour of corner grocers over margins-driven multi-nationals.

Recommended limits should be enforced for additives, especially caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt and fat.

PBP is hoping its anti-establishment message will help win extra seats in the March 2 poll.

Mr McCann said: "People need food to live and they are entitled to locally sourced organic healthy food and there is no sign whatsoever that we are going to achieve that within a system which is dominated by a number of huge food companies and agri-business companies aiming to maximise their profits rather than defend the health of the consumers."

He said the working classes were being left behind in the struggle to access healthy food.

"Broadly speaking, the poorer you are, the more likely your children are to be obese or to suffer from a wide range of other matters and that is why we are saying we need joined-up government.

"It is ridiculous to try to deal with the social problems without also dealing at the same time with the problems of inequality and poverty in our society."

He noted the link between poverty and mental health problems.

The veteran socialist campaigner said it was a propaganda idea that the private sector was more efficient than the public sector.

He said: "The lazy, quaint, old, doddery, feather-bedded public sector they say is over, we have to have the dynamic, thrusting, competitive private sector.

"Look at what has happened.

"Are our hospitals better for large chunks of them having been taken over by private finance?"

Mr McCann said there was an all-Ireland dimension in the shared problems with the health services north and south of the border.

He said Northern Ireland had the lowest spend on public transport of any region in these islands including the UK and the Republic, with 81% of the transport budget devoted to roads.

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