The political week in 5 points

Police brutality during Catalonian Independence Referendum leaves the world watching on in horror. Chaos and shame are among the two words that could be used to describe the police brutality that Catalonians face whilst trying to make their way to the polls. Catalonia, once an independent state until dictator Francisco Franco brought the Catalans under Spanish rule, have pushed forward with the referendum regardless of the opposition from the Spanish state. Despite the images of bloody gashes on the skulls of voters, rubber bullets fired at democracy and frail geriatrics being flung about by police officers in riot gear, the referendum continues in 96% of polling stations. The Spanish Government will undoubtedly have many questions to answer in the coming days.

Catholics forced to leave their homes as threats are issued from paramilitaries. This week, sectarianism in the form of paramilitarism, was centre stage in Northern Ireland as a number of families were forced to leave their homes after they received threats from loyalist paramilitaries. The area of Cantrell Close is a shared housing initiative in South Belfast that was funded under T:BUC, ‘Together: Building a United Community’. Aside from the outrage that almost 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement people continue to be dictated to by sectarian bully boys, the inaction of Unionist politicians is as equally abhorrent

Thousands of ‘Repeal the 8th’ protestors take to the streets of Dublin to march for ‘abortion rights’. On saturday, thousands took to the streets of Dublin, and across Europe, to protest against the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which protects the ‘right to life’, rendering abortion illegal in Ireland. This will be the first of many demonstrations ahead of next years Irish referendum on abortion. 

Universal Credit has officially been rolled-out in Northern Ireland despite grave concerns. Last Thursday, the roll-out of Universal Credit began in Limavady as part of the new welfare reforms; it will be rolled out right across the Northern Ireland before 2020. The six week delay upon receipt of Universal Credit has left many living in poverty in England, Scotland and Wales. Whilst the new benefit system is much simpler on paper, its’ out-workings will leave many at risk of falling into debt, extreme poverty, hunger and homelessness.

Three language bills could end impasse at Stormont according to the Alliance party. The Alliance party have this week suggested that three separate language bills could be the answer to ending the current deadlock at Stormont. Sinn Féin have consistently said they will not re-enter an Executive without a stand-alone Irish Language Act. Yet, the DUP insist Ulster Scots much be included in any forthcoming act if it is to come to fruition. Therefore, Alliance’s proposal seems to offer an alternative that may content both parties, as well as offering a third bill for all other indigenous languages. Yet, the expense of three separate language acts could be too much for the tax-payer to bear and impractical to roll-out.