Newry.ie

Citizens Advice, Newry, Mourne and Down have launched a petition on Change.org to campaign to have benefit appeals removed from Newry Court House.

On the appeal page it states "Appeals Representative's and client's have to walk past TV cameras into a Court full of people when none of them have committed a crime. This is a regular occurrence and one which we want stopped. We would like to see all local appeals moved back to local venues. The cost of room rental would not add on much to the cost of an already expensive appeal hearing. It’s not too much too ask for both ourselves and often vulnerable clients. We hope our local Political Representatives can help change this."

Newry Courthouse. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Newry Courthouse. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Saoradh An Iúir have also called for an end to the hearings being held in the Court House.

Saoradh representative Stephen Murney said, “Entering a Court House is not a pleasant experience and indeed this is a very carefully designed plan to try and deter people from appealing draconian decisions regarding their benefits. Indeed, this is very clearly a not so subtle attempt to portray those struggling to maintain their welfare entitlements as criminals.

Murney concluded, “Not only have the Stormont administration willingly implemented Tory cuts on behalf of the British government in Westminster, but now they are using heavily fortified courts as part of their anti-social programme. The extent that those responsible for this mess will go to seems to know no bounds. It appears that they will try everything and anything to prevent the sick, the disabled and the unemployed from accessing their rightful entitlements.

"There are numerous community venues across the district that are more than capable of facilitating benefits appeal hearings.

"We call for all future benefits appeal hearings to be relocated away from Newry Court House immediately."

Click to sign the petition at www.change.org

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