1989 Press witch-hunt

A few days before the conference of the DHSS section of the public service union, NIPSA, Sunday Life, (12/11/89) carried a scare mongering article on Militant - "Militant Tendency 'assault on NIPSA'."

It stated that full time officials of NIPSA and the government were apprehensive at the prospect of Militant supporters being elected to top posts in the DHSS section committee. This 'could lead to a winter of discontent', wrote Sunday Life, adding that 'hardliners are hell bent on a confrontation course that could wreak havoc' across Northern Ireland.

The readers of Sunday Life must have been shocked and horrified that 'openly declared Militant Tendency supporters are standing for election as chairman and vice-chairman of the crucial DHSS section committee - the biggest and most important in the civil service here'. The article gives other information, provided by 'a leading NIPSA member' about 800 jobs being transferred from the North to Britain and 500 job transfers fro London to Belfast and the number of conference delegates.

Billy Lynn, a Militant supporter, and the re-elected chairman of the DHSS section replied (in a personal capacity). He pointed out that most of this information was inaccurate. "It says more about these individuals, who don't seem to know what is happening in the DHSS, than it does about supporters of Militant in NIPSA who are fighting to defend jobs. I am the current chair of the DHSS section of NIPSA and I consider it a scandalous waste that the union officials would rather waste time in the press witch-hunting Militant supporters than defending jobs. I challenge your informants to come out of hiding and identify themselves. "Militant supporters have consistently fought for an end to job losses, and end to poverty wages, an end to sectarianism, and for a democratic union which would include the election of full time officials to be paid the average wage of their members."