Statement from Gary Donnelly to be read at todays meeting on creating alternatives to the drug problem

6 Jan

The community group in the greater Creggan area of Derry city known as Creggan Community Collective (CCC) developed out of localised concerns regarding political policing and how public and community funding was being spent and a realisation that a growing number of people including sizable enclaves were being totally marginalised.

Despite what Britain portrays to the world, a significant section of our community refuse to support British policing in Ireland. Diplock courts and draconian legislation are still being used to deal with Irish citizens who oppose the British rule in Ireland. Beatings, house raids and hundreds of stop and search operations were taking place within the community by the re-packaged British police force the PSNI. Intelligence gathering by MI5 and locally recruited informers and spy’s are widely used against our community whilst a blind eye is turned against criminals and drug dealers operating locally.

Politicians, media and so-called community workers were turning a blind eye to these injustices. Unable and unwilling to speak out for fear of upsetting the authorities. Community frustrations reached boiling point and a number of public meetings were organised by members of the local community. Notably absent were political parties and their representatives.

Local community workers refused to speak out in case their funding would be withdrawn or that they would be labelled as dissidents.

People came to the conclusion that if politicians and community groups were going to turn a blind eye then the community needed to get organised and set up their own structures which would tackle these and other issues.

A committee was set up and the Creggan Community Collective established. Meeting initially in residents homes they then obtained premises to rent within the Creggan area. After being set up the CCC was inundated with requests for help and assistance on many social issues and the group continue to assist those people who have no voice in their own communities and are being completely ignored by the political parties

On deeper examination it emerged that the political parties were deliberately earmarking community schemes for their own people and if one didn’t agree with the philosophy of the dominant party they did not receive any benefits from such funding to which they were entitled.

Similarly in housing renovation, modernisation and quality improvement schemes the Creggan Community Collective discovered enclaves of housing that had no improvement or cyclical maintenance schemes carried out and that houses were cold, draughty and in need of complete refurbishment.

CCC now recognise their initial discoveries are much greater than originally anticipated and are putting in place workable strategies to give a voice back to the people of the area. This is most visual with the people electing myself as a local independent councillor, having topped the poll in the local council elections. This enables myself to have greater access to the media and a platform within Council to address issues affecting the community that others turn a blind eye to.

CCC receives no funding what so ever and those who work there do so on a voluntary basis. We run a number of schemes reaching out to those within our community who feel isolated and marginalised. We provide support and assistance to those who are less off within our community particularly at times of added stress like Christmas etc.

The work of CCC epitomises community work and development at its best with a bottom up approach giving voice to the people rather than political parties using the language of socialism to advance their own capitalist strategies to hold on to control and power at the expense of the most vulnerable in the community.

The work of the CCC has exposed these parties and will continue to work for those marginalised by these Tory inspired attacks on the people and will continue to oppose the political parties implementing cuts on this beleaguered marginalised community.

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