People Of Belfast Urged To 'Show Their Love For The NHS'

The Lord Mayor, Deirdre Hargey, has stood with workers from across the Health Service and called for the people of Belfast "to show their love and support for their NHS".

A trade union march and rally celebrating the 70th birthday of the National Health Service will be held at 2.30pm on Saturday 30 June at Belfast City Hall, following marches from the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Mater Hospital and Writers' Square.

Speaking at a photocall organised with the NIC-ICTU Health Committee, the Lord Mayor said: "Free healthcare at the point of need is a great gift and a wonderful benefit which is still being delivered for the people of this city after 70 years. We should also remember that the Health Service is our largest employer and I hope that the rally on Saturday 30 June will see people turn out to show their support and express their thanks to all who work tirelessly to provide us with a service that helps improve and save lives every day.

"As a Council, we are showing our support for this special anniversary by lighting up City Hall on July 5 to celebrate 70 years of the NHS."
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The comments of the Lord Mayor were echoed by Anne Speed, chair of the NIC-ICTU Health Committee, which brings together the variety of trade unions representing workers across the NHS.

Ms Speed added: "We represent the thousands of dedicated women and men who deliver healthcare to all of the people. This only works because it is a universal public service which provides the same level of care and healing to the rich and the poor alike. Illness and misfortune should not bankrupt anyone, and the best way to ensure that our system remains more just and fair than in many other countries is to keep the NHS in the care of the people. We all own it, and we should celebrate it.

"That is why the unions are calling on all citizens across NI to show their support for the people's NHS and their respect for the thousands of dedicated professionals who care for them.

"This will be a celebration on Saturday , and we look forward to hosting a great parade."

The main march will assemble from 1.30pm on Saturday and leave after 2pm from Writers' Square. The rally will be held at Belfast City Hall, commencing 2.30pm, and will be addressed by a variety of health workers, with the main speech delivered by past ICTU president Patricia McKeown on behalf of all health unions.


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