Sinn Fein’s Mickey Brady has urged all parties to “speak with one voice” as regards potential job losses due to HMRC Office Closure Proposals. The Newry and Armagh MLA has said that he and fellow MLAs Meagan Fearon, Cathal Boylan and MP for the area Conor Murphy will continue to cooperate with Workforce and the PCS Union to defend the jobs under threat. “Responsibility for Revenue and Customs remains with the Westminster government therefore it is imperative that we continue to approach this issue with a strong united and agreed strategy,” he said. “If we are to influence the decision makers at Westminster to ensure these plans are reversed, then we must speak with one voice.” Conor Murphy MP his colleagues Michelle Gildernew MP, Margaret Ritchie MP and Mark Durkan MP have met with the Treasury Minister David Gauke and senior HMRC Officials to express their strong opposition to the plans outlined and their determination to defend the jobs in local offices. “They now also will be meeting with the Equality Commission on August 4 to discuss their concerns,” he added. Mr Brady also reminded all that completed templates of the consultation “Proposed closure date of 12 offices” should be returned to HMRC for 5pm August 5. Meanwhile Meagan Fearon MLA commented: “Any office closures and redundancies will affect border constituencies in a disproportionate manner and it is possible that women and part time workers will also be disproportionately affected. Revenue and Customs employs in excess of 20,000 staff so there is no reason why these planned redundancies could not have been absorbed by the whole organization through natural attrition.” Newry and Armagh Sinn Fein MLA Cathal Boylan has stated that the issue had been raised in Stormont through debates and questions and it was important that all continue to reiterate their support for continuation of these jobs in all Offices.
5th August 2014