Day centres campaign proof of people power
Without doubt the Save Our Day Centres Campaign to keep open facilities across north, west, south and east Belfast has been nothing short of an overwhelming success.
During the last six months service users, carers, staff, trade union activists and supporters have embarrassed, humiliated and rattled the Belfast Trust board executive. What was considered a done deal, easily implemented by senior trust management, has become a PR disaster, as they have been forced to delay the proposals until after the Assembly election.
With little or no mainstream media attention, the campaign has transcended all limitations.
More than 16,000 people have signed the petition to stop the closures through organising local public awareness stalls and attending events. Local MLAs from the majority of the Executive parties fell over themselves during the election to tag their name to the campaign.
But, when challenged, the majority refused to give a commitment to do all in their power to stop the proposals going through.
This campaign gives a template of what can be achieved when a co-ordinated, principled fightback is carried out across all sections of our communities, supported by the trade union movement.
Only this uncompromising and challenging approach to the austerity of the Fresh Start agreement will safeguard our essential public services.