Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland budget protest by Nipsa members

Peter Robinson, Sammy Wilson and Martin McGuinness
Image caption Peter Robinson, Sammy Wilson and Martin McGuinness announced the agreement on the draft budget on Tuesday night

Members of NIPSA, Northern Ireland's largest public service trade union are to hold protests on Friday in opposition to the planned spending cuts.

The protest comes days after Finance Minister Sammy Wilson unveiled a draft budget proposal.

The budget is intended to save NI £4bn over the next four years.

NIPSA wants the public to actively oppose the executive's planned programme of spending cuts.

In presenting the proposals Mr Wilson described the deal as a "good Christmas present for the people of Northern Ireland".

Brian Campfield, NIPSA General Secretary, said the budget proposed by the executive was "the manifestation of the UK Coalition Government's austerity measures" being implemented in Northern Ireland.

"It represents without any doubt extremely bad news for the people of Northern Ireland and certainly if it is a Christmas present the donor has a black and twisted sense of humour," he said.

"While the NI Executive may well have attempted to moderate the pain, any attempts to protect public services will be on the margins and the sheer scale of these unprecedented cuts will impact on local communities in a severe and detrimental way."

On Thursday, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Services Board John Compton told the BBC's Nolan Show that 3,000 - 4,000 jobs would be lost from the health service as a direct result of the draft budget as it currently stands.

The protests on Friday are part of a planned European-wide day of action.

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