Woman ‘forced to sell wedding rings to afford oil’ as group demands action from Stormont

Gerard Ortiz

Families across Northern Ireland are on the brink and some are resulting in selling their most valuable items to survive.

That’s the message from one local group urging Stormont’s five main political parties to tackle to the cost-of-living crisis.

It comes amid reports a woman in Derry, who has been married for 53-years, was forced to sell her wedding rings to afford 300 litres of oil.

Read more: Teaching unions urge new Stormont ministers to prevent ‘possible strike action’

It’s the latest in a long line of heartbreaking stories coming out of the North West city.

MyDerry previously revealed that an elderly woman from the city was dipping into her funeral fund in order to survive.

Meanwhile, another resident was also so afraid to turn on her gas she sat in her Derry home with four cardigans on.

Sinead Quinn from Derry Against Fuel Poverty said it was “disgraceful” that these sorts of incidents were continuing despite an election only last weekend.

She said: “What the politicians are failing to understand is when they’re elected into their position they’re representing everyone in this country, not just the people who elected you

“We’re so frustrated because it’s a fact that there’s an additional £332m in funding sitting there ready to be used to help people and there’s a budget to be agreed.

“People can’t hold on any longer for political squabbling to end because they’re beyond the brink at this point. It’s disgraceful.

“We had a situation only yesterday where a local lady sold her wedding rings to buy oil so she could keep warm. People in this city are outraged by that and they’re not going to stand for it any longer.

“The problem that we have is that there are more people like that who are struggling and their stories are not being told. This isn’t a once-off situation and it hasn’t been for months. There is so much work to be done.”

On Friday, the election of the new Speaker is the first item on the agenda for MLAs following the election and requires cross-community support from nationalist and unionist members.

However, the DUP is refusing to return to the power-sharing Executive until its issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol are resolved.

Leader of the party, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said on Wednesday that his party has yet to decide whether to vote to elect a new Speaker when MLAs meet in the chamber in two days.

Read more: New Stormont Executive ‘must deliver’ for North West says Chamber President

Read more: Northern Ireland’s political leaders speak to PM Boris Johnson amid Stormont stalemate

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