Cross-party vote unanimously seeks a meeting with the Bishop of Down & Connor Noel Treanor and Communities’ Minister Deirdre Hargey on the threatened closure

Special council meeting on day that thousands sign online workforce petition in support of Regina Coeli House

Unite welcomed today’s special meeting and the cross-party vote by councillors to seek a joint meeting with the Bishop of Down & Connor Noel Treanor, the NI Housing Executive and the Communities’ Minister Deirdre Hargey to discuss solutions to this issue. The support that was expressed for workers and this vital facility from all parties makes it now unthinkable that Regina Coeli House can be allowed to close. Unite calls for these words to translate into action after a day when thousands signed an online petition launched by staff to save Regina Coeli House.

Unite General secretary, Sharon Graham said:

“This is a vital facility for vulnerable women – not just in Belfast but across Northern Ireland. It is shocking that this facility faces the prospect of closure – leaving women in crisis with no place to go. Surely in the tragic aftermath of the murder of Ashling Murphy it is inconceivable that this place of safety for women could shut its doors?"

Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock who spoke after the Belfast City Council meeting said:

“Our members working at Regina Coeli House have showed incredible bravery in taking the stand that they have in the face of threats and pressure. We now need to see other people – those in authority – be as brave and inventive in enabling the retention of Regina Coeli House.

“Alongside the need for a wider programme of investment in public housing, including that for vulnerable persons, we need to see the maintenance of the services offered at Regina Coeli House. That must mean the immediate removal of the suspensions of our members, the Legion of Mary must hand over the building and grounds to the NI Housing executive who need to commit to stepping in to run it, including implementing the direct employment of the workforce so they can continue their vital work. As an immediate outcome from today’s meeting, the Legion of Mary must now meet with Unite to discuss our members’ concerns.”

ENDS