Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Successful Freshers for DKIT Ógra Shinn Féin

Promoting real politics - not gimmicks

On Wed the 20th September Ógra Shinn Féin Co Lú ran a recruitment drive in Dundalk Institute of Technology. The Cumann has been in the college for three years and until this year was the only active political society in the Institute.

The drive went very well receiving a great deal of attention from students and improving on the number of members for last year. A number of senior party members attended, including Louth TD Arthur Morgan, Caitríona Ruane MLA and the next TD for Meath Councillor Joe Reilly.

As another political party was dressing up young women in tight t-shirts with Pimp Me Party. written on them to help them recruit, Ógra was promoting feminism as one of its many political ideologies, while at the same time seeking to recruit women on the same terms as men. This resulted in a good gender balance, with more then 45% of people that sign up being female.

Ógra members handed out copies of the Ógra Revolutionary Handbook, A booklet that contains copies of the 1916 Proclamation, The Democratic Programme of the First Dail along with definitions on what it means to be a socialist, republican etc. As Ógra were distributing this, another political party was handing out a goodie bag containing Teddy Bears, Yoyos, Phone stands, Pens etc to get young people to join.

Eugene Garvey, National College Coordinate and Chair of the Dundalk College Cumann said

While other political parties race to sign up members by any means to make their figures look good Ógra in the Dkit (Dundalk Institute of Technology), like other Ógra college groupings, is not interested in the number of members we can get on paper, we are only interested in the amount of young people we can politicise.

He went on to say

'I have been hearing from other Ógra college cumainn that have already held their freshers days and am happy (while at the same time depressed) to say it looks like I will be filling in new member details on the data base for sometime.'

Concluding he said

'As Ógra Shinn Féin is actively empowering and politicising young people I am disgusted, but not surprised, at the tactics of those other so called political parties to make their recruitment figures look good. By selling their party through sex and free bees and not real politics, however on refection maybe that is there definition of real politics.'

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

An Gaeilge

Peader De Bluit

Tá an teanga Gaelach mar chuid lárnach de shaol na tíre seo. Is teanga fíor-stairiúl í an Gaeilge. Sí an céad teanga scríofa an Eoraip, agus ó shin i leith tá mórán athruithe feicithe aici, cosúil leis na hathruithe a tháinig ar an tír féin. Ní hí an teanga céanna a labhair Cú Chulainn, ná fiú an teanga céanna a labhraíodh nuair a bhí na Gaill ag iarraidh a lámh láidir a chur i bhfeidhm anseo. In ainneoin sin áfach sí ár dteanga fós í agus tá se de dhualgas againne í a labhairt agus a bheith bródúil aisti.

San aimsir seo tá mórán dúshlán roimh an Gaeilge. Níl an teanga féin labhartha go forleathan, níl an meas céanna is a bhí agus de dheasca blianta de neamhshuim agus neamhaird tá na canúintí éagsúla ag dul i léig agus níl muintir óg na ceantracha sin á gréaadh chun í a labhairt eatarthu féin - rud a bhfuil gearghá le chun na canúintí céanna sin agus an teanga féin a caomhnú.

Pé rud a tharlódh d'ár dteanga ins an t-am atá le teacht, is ár dteanga fós í agus ceann des na rudaí i gcultúr na hÉireann a dhaingníonn cé hé sinn féin, agus a scarann sinn ó ciní agus cultúir éagsúla.

Má scaoilfimís don Gaeilge leanúint ar an mbóthar atá sí ag dul, caillfear an tábhacht a bhaineann léi agus má tharlaíonn sé sin caillimid cuid ollmhór d'ár n-oidhreacht, ár bpearsantacht.

Is teanga beo í an Gaeilge caithfear smaoineamh uirthi mar sin chun a cinntiú go méadófar a stór agus go n-eiríonn sí níos láidre, le gach lá a imíonn.

Tá Ógra Shinn Féin i bhfabhar go mór an teanga Gaelach a chaomhnú agus a chur chun cinn.Tuigimid go maith áfach, nach féidir linn é a dhéanamh inár aonar. Mar sin táimid ag iarraidh muintir óg na tíre seo a spreagadh chun an Gaeilge a fhoghlaim agus a labhairt eatarthu féin mar sin an t-aon slí amháin í a cur ar ais in áit príomha i saol na tíre seo.

Labhair í. Cosain í. Bí bródúil aisti. Ní amárach, ná an lá ina dhiadh, ach inniu.

Micheal Ferguson 'An Inspiration to Ógra Shinn Féin'

Ógra Shinn Féin extends our deepest sympathies to the family of our friend, our comrade and our mentor who died suddenly on Sunday night.
We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Louise, his children Hugh Thomas, Daibhead, Niamh, Aoife and the entire family circle.
Micheal Ferguson was one of the hardest working republican activists - he pursued his cumann, council and assembly duties with vigour and determination.
Despite his massive workload, he always lent an ear, a word of guidance or a helping hand when Ógra called on him.
It was Michael who successfully forced the U-Turn by the University of Ulster trying to ban student politics last year, and he again, just last week, from his hospital bed was mounting another campaign against the University.
Michael's work ethic and selfless attitude to education and the community is evident today as the hundreds of messages flood in from a heart broken movement and community.
We have lost a true friend, a mentor and one of the most selfless activists this struggle has known - his actions, his vision and his memory will continue to guide us forward!

Fuair siad bas ag obair ar son na soairse.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Interview: Belfast Organiser Pierce Gormley

Pierce (Middle) getting banners ready for the National Hungerstrike Rally

Michael was an inspiration and will be missed!

Ógra Shinn Féin will be interviewing a number of its key activists in the coming weeks. Speaking of his role recently appointed Ógra Shinn Féin Belfast Organiser PIERCE GORMLEY sets out his priories for the republican youth group in Belfast.

Pierces initial introduction to Ogra Shinn Fein came through his involvement with the Magee Ogra Shinn Fein group in Co. Derry, where he was studying Irish History and politics. A lot of people who were involved initially when I joined Ogra Shinn Fein have moved on to Sinn Fein and a number are elected representatives in North Antrim and Derry. Indeed this shows the importance of the youth within the republican movement.

When I first joined the cumann, we were not a very active group but with a reshuffle of Ogra Shinn Fein in 2003 this all changed and activism throughout the colleges, including Magee increased massively.

Before being appointed Belfast organiser in 2006, Pierce held a number of key briefs for Ogra. He was college co-ordinator, both on a national and 6 county basis, which to he points as his major achievement in Ogra. The establishment of a strong college base in the 6 counties was a major achievement for myself. We now have an active Ógra Shinn Fein group in every campus in the north of Ireland, and which I am honoured to have been involved in.

Pierce was also chairperson of the Magee Ogra Shinn Fein cumann for a number of years and is also current National Ogra Shinn Fein finance officer and sits on the Ogra Shinn Fein National executive.

Reflecting on the work of Ógra Shinn Féin in Belfast Pierce commented,

"During the summer we hosted a very successful youth in struggle weekend, which seen a large number of youth descend in Belfast from throughout Ireland and abroad. During that weekend a large number of events were held highlighting youth participation in worldwide struggles of liberation. The weekend culminated with the youths forming a large contingent at the National hunger strike rally in Casement Park."

"Just next month we will be taking part in a political tour at Belfast aimed at young people below 18, which is to encourage political thought and education of the youth of today. We will also be rolling out a citizenship program in Belfast, which is aimed at young people who want to take ownership of their communities. For far to long communities are put under constant fear by people up to no good- particularly at weekends, we want to help young people claim back their communities and work for the betterment of themselves and their communities."

On the priorities of Belfast Ógra Shinn Féin Pierce set out,

"We wish to establish a strong working executive in Belfast so that we can develop and strengthen an activist base in the city. We wish to develop a large youth movement in the city, which promotes and work towards Irish freedom and secondly campaigns actively on social issues. It is a 3-thronged approach of Education, recruitment and campaigns."

"Ogra Shinn Fein are the only youth movement prepared to stand up for young people against injustice and speak out for young people and empower young people to take ownership of their communities and themselves and to give young people an arena to make important decisions and develop their leadership skills."

Reflecting on major achievements to date in Ógra Pierce said meeting UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan in Derry in 2004, was a momentous occasion for himself. He also pointed out that he travelled to Brussels to visit the EU Parliament and NATO, which he said was another achievement of his during his time in Ógra.

Reflecting on the death of a comrade and personal friend, Michael Ferguson Pierce first of all extended condolences to the Ferguson family on the death of a father and husband. He stated Michael was 'an inspiration to the people of West Belfast and beyond'.

"I worked closely with Michael on a number of issues when I was college co-ordinator for Ogra Shinn Fein. He is a loss to the republican movement, his family and a major loss to the community in west Belfast."

"Michael was an inspiration and will be missed!"

Friday, September 22, 2006

Campaign steps up to Smash University of Ulsters' Censorship

Public Letter to University of Ulster and UU Students' Union
To University of Ulster and UU Student’s Union,

Ógra Shinn Féin writes this public letter to the University of Ulster and the University of Ulster Student’s Union, in condemnation and protest at your censorship of politics in the University of Ulster.

As a youth political organisation which has been established and active in three UU campuses, Magee, Coleraine and Jordanstown for a number of years, we cannot understand nor accept the decision taken.

Universities are supposedly a beacon of enlightenment, promoting diversity, tolerance and debate; however your decision to censor diverse political opinion contradicts this.

As a University which delivers courses on politics, supposedly encouraging students to form a better understanding and engage in the world of politics, how then can you justify this protocol which infact censors politics, presenting politics as divisive and unappealing?

A University should be promoting engagement with politics aimed at tackling youth apathy towards voting and politics and a Students Union should be encouraging youth empowerment, promoting students to get involved in decision making.

The protocol contradicts and denies all of this and diminishes the status of the University.

Ógra Shinn Féin actively challenges sectarianism, bigotry and racism. We engage and work alongside other political youth wings, Unionist, Nationalist, Republican and Socialist, obviously differing in some of our political opinions, but in the truest form of democracy, fostering respect between our diverse political opinions.

The political situation in the North of Ireland is one which demands engagement between political opinions; it demands inclusitivity a common understanding of all communities and their diverse political opinions. It does not need exclusativity and for some University and Students Union lecturing them on what is devisive and what is not.

Politics, engagement and fostering respect among ‘all the people’ will help create a shared and peaceful future. Censorship will take us no where.

The youth movements have spoken, both Republican and Unionist, we demand an end to this censorship.

Ógra Shinn Féin will be taking up the matter with Minister Mary Hanafin TD of Department of Education and Science, and British Direct Rule Minister Marian Eagle of Department of Employment and Learning.

We will also be raising the matter with NUS-USI and the National Youth Council of Ireland of which we are a member.

We will be consulting the Equality Commission, and we will also be publicly protesting at each of the UU Freshers Fayres.

Further to this we would request a meeting with Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett, and UUSU President Aoibheann Fearon.

The political protocol which you have issued to political societies to ‘govern’ political activity of all Students’ Union Societies is nothing short of censorship, stating that,

‘We would request that you refrain from inviting Party Political figures from your organisation to this event.’

And also stating that other ‘regulations’ must be adhered to and these include:

‘No flags, colours or emblems: nor political leaflets, banners, backdrops or manifestos may be displayed.’

This would have left political parties with nothing at their stall. This is censorship.

The last line of the University’s Mission Statement states that you will strive to,

‘Nurture the values of inclusive citizenship and respect diversity.’

The protocol flies in the face of this and goes against your mission statement, you cannot nurture inclusive citizenship by exclusion, and you cannot respect diversity by censorship.

We will campaign and build up support to overturn this ridiculous and alarming, censorship dictat.

We anticipate your prompt reply.

Is mise,

Barry McColgan
National Organiser
Ógra Shinn Féin

Joseph Donnelly
‘Vol. James Sheridan’
Ógra Shinn Féin
UU Jordanstown

Gerry O’Neill
Ógra Shinn Féin
UU Magee

Martin Hearty
Ógra Shinn Féin
UU Coleraine

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Youth Unite - Fight Against Student Fees!

Student Struggle . . .
By Dermot Keenan

The start of the 2006 / 2007 academic years brings with it, for the first time, the burden of top up fees on new students. Previously, most students in Britain and the North (except Scottish students studying in Scotland) pay a contribution towards their tuition fees (anything from £0-£1,250 a year).

The amount they pay is based on their, or their parents' income (called means-testing) in the tax year proceeding each academic year. Under this new system Universities will be able to charge students anything from £0 up to a maximum of £3,000 per year. In order to charge more than a basic £1,250 fee, universities must satisfy a new Office for Fair Access (OFFA) that their admissions policies are equitable. Nearly all universities have chosen to charge the full £3,000. Rather than pay the fees up front (as is the case now), they will be paid by the government-owned Student Loans Company (SLC), the same body that currently provides student loans. The SLC will also continue to pay means-tested student loans directly to students. Students will repay their loans and tuition fees after graduation in the same income-dependent way as at present. Interest on the loans will still be tied to inflation, so they have a zero 'real' rate of interest.

This policy clearly goes against the promises of the British Labour government in their election manifesto where the clearly stated that they would not introduce such measures. The introduction of top up fees will have a damaging effect on the amount of applicants for third level education. The large accumulation of debt that students will face under the higher education Act 2004 is an obvious turn off for students wanting to progress to third level education. Would you really want to be in £30,000 debt after 3 years of studying? And this is not just hypothetically speaking. Its results are already evident, with UCAS reporting 12,000 fewer applications this year for third level courses. So here we have a situation where degree level education is readily available only to the rich. Any average working class family are unlikely to be able to afford such high fees without incurring thousands of pounds worth of debt, is this fair? Certainly not and will inevitably lead to an even larger gap in the divide between the rich and poor, as the rich can afford the education they get the higher paid jobs and a system of elitism and class struggle emerges far greater than presently experienced.

So what is the solution? Is their an alternative available to middle and working class families or should students continue to struggle, enduring the pressures of demanding courses while also having to work part time jobs to pay off top up fees? The fact is that the British Government are putting corporate profits and millionaires fortunes above people’s needs for public services like healthcare and education including higher Education. One possible solution to this problem is increasing taxation on the rich and introducing free education for all. Give all people a fair and equal chance regardless of their socio-economic class. The benefit of this is highlighted in Cuba where all education is free, and since the Castro led revolution, literacy levels have continually climbed with the total literacy rate in 2005 being 97.3%.

Now more than ever the radical tradition of students is required to demand action against the current unfair system of top up fees. We as members of Ógra Shinn Féin must be to the fore in this campaign, we must continue to lobby the British government, to take direct action and do away with these shackles of capitalist oppression. Under our goal of a 32 County Socialist Democratic Republic the current state of affairs would not be allowed to exist, this is why we as the youth of today must unite and fight against Top up fees. The Student Struggle goes on…. Be a part of it!


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Recruitment 'Sky Rockets' at Freshers Fayres

The McDonagh/Farrell Ógra cumann in UCD kicked off the Ógra freshers’ recruitment campaign this week with great success.

By today, the cumann had already recruited over 120 activists, over 50 of whom are women, with 3 more days still to go. The campaign in UCD has been well supported by leadership figures, with Caitriona Ruane, Aengus O’Snodaigh and Mary-Lou McDonald all dropping out to the Belfield campus to lend a hand.

A professional looking stall and recruitment material stands out well among the crass offers of free gifts and promises of free alcohol from many of the other youth political parties, merely seeking to get names on paper.

Many of the new members are enthusiastic and eager to start working on campaigns.

Cumann member Sinéad Ní Caoláin said,

“We are having a highly successful freshers’ week this year, already we have beaten last years figures and look likely to increase that further in the coming days. We are looking forward to a very successful and active year this year, campaigning on important issues both on and off campus. We already have a number of activities planned for the cumann in the coming weeks and hope to pull off some big events during the year.”

Dundalk IT, GMIT Castlebar, Cork IT, Athlone IT and NUI Galway have also begun their freshers campaign this week and are expecting hundreds more activists to be recruited.

Anyone that wishes to join their college cumann or to lend a hand in the campaign should contact their local Ógra representative or the national colleges coordinator, Eugene Garvey on 00353860705262.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ógra Shinn Féin ‘Claim Victory’ on Demilitarisation

ÓSF to host massive Demilitarisation Weekend in Omagh

Ógra Shinn Féin will welcome delegates to Omagh in October for their fifth annual Demilitarisation Weekend. Youth from throughout the 32 Counties as well as International delegations from Britain and the Basque Country will converge to ‘claim victory’ according to local Ógra Shinn Féin chairperson Barry McNally.

The weekend, organised from the 6th – 8th October will be the fifth annual weekend focussing on British demilitarisation in the County Tyrone town. In the past the weekend has been the target of hoax bomb alerts and huge British military and RUC surveillance.

Massive progress has been made on Demilitarisation since last years weekend, with the last British Army Regiment vacating the Lisanelly Barracks in August of this year. The British Army Barracks, which occupies over 300 acres of prime development land, will be completely vacated by the British M.O.D in August of 2007.

The weekend will kick off on Friday night with, a ‘Women in Struggle’ theme. Former women POWs will talk about the prison struggle which will be followed by the screening of a DVD detailing the role of Republican women in the freedom struggle.

On Saturday delegates will hear a life in struggle lecture from Tommy McKearney. This will be followed by a youth discussion on the hunger strike with representations drawn from a number of political parties.

Following the youth debate, delegates will then take part in a tour of the local area. The tour will visit the spot on the Gortin road where 3 IRA volunteers where killed in 1973, the spot of the Drumnakilly ambush, the garden of remembrance in Carrickmore and the tour will conclude at Cashel Bridge in Greencastle were an IRA Volunteer was killed in the 1920’s whilst attending an IRA Training camp.

Speaking on the weekend local chairperson, Barry McNally said,

“This year the weekend will focus on the achievements of the Ógra Shinn Féin weekends in previous years.”

“The weekends acted as a local catalyst in raising the issue of Demilitarisation, the formation of the Omagh Resident’s Demilitarisation Committee soon followed, who guided by the genuine concerns of local residents, took on the British Government, challenging them to live up to their commitments to dismantle the massively oppressive military presence in Omagh.”

“To signal the Demilitarisation of Lisanelly Brit Barracks, this year’s weekend will be titled ‘Slan Amhaile’ and it will be a great opportunity for Ógra activists to claim victory for what we have campaigned for in the last number of years. We have succeeded in our campaign to Demilitarise the British War Machine in Omagh and would like to see this replicated throughout the 6 counties.”

For anyone interested in attending the Weekend please contact your local ÓSF cumann or contact Omagh Sinn Féin office on 02882 253040 or by email on

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Castlederg ÓSF Launch 'Awaiting The Lark'

James ‘Josie’ Connolly Ógra Shinn Féin in Castlederg held a successful book launch of the recent Ógra publication, ‘Awaiting The Lark’. The launch coincided with the presence of the hunger strike exhibition on Saturday 16th September in Aghyaran.

Local chairperson, Eunan Carlin chaired the proceedings. Also present were Derry Republican Charlie McMenamin, who wrote for the book and Ógra National Organiser Barry McColgan, Ógra Shinn Féin Uladh Organiser Andrea O’Kane and West Tyrone ÓSF chairperson Barry McNally

Barry McNally gave a brief background to ‘Awaiting the Lark’ and explained how it developed from an idea of a book looking at the effect of the hunger strike in Tyrone to a national publication reflecting the views and feelings of people nationwide in regards the 1981 hunger strike.

Charlie McMenamin, Andrea O’Kane and Barry McColgan then read excerpts from the book.

The event was concluded with a reading of the names and dates of deaths of the 1981 Hunger strikers by local Ógra activist Stephen McGahen.

A packed Irish Night with ‘The Irish Brigade’ followed.

Over 100 copies of 'Awaiting The Lark' were sold throughout the night.

No one should play their propaganda game!

By Barry McNally

In the concluding years of the 19th century in a room in Thurles, Co Tipperary 7 IRB men held a meeting. The outcome of that meeting would alter Irish History and set about the Gaelic revival of Gaelic games and Irish culture.

It was Saturday 1st November 1884, what the men organised that day in the room continues to entertain, fascinate and captivate a nation. This event being the formation of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

In the early years the formation of GAA clubs sprung up throughout Ireland and matches were commonplace. Aimed at reviving the Irish culture and identity, the GAA set out to revive Irish culture through the medium of sport. This led to increased surveillance and hostility by British forces in Ireland. Leading in 1888 to a ban on RIC and members of the crown forces partaking in any GAA games.

Such hostility and brutality, by the RIC and British crown forces continued unabated in the GAA. Even playing GAA games was enough for a person to receive the unwanted attention of the notorious Black and Tans.

On Sunday, November 21st the Black and Tans brought carnage to Croke Park when they opened fire in the middle of a GAA match between Tipperary and Dublin. A young Tipperary footballer was shot dead as he tried to take cover from the bullets reining down in Croke Park.

His name was Michael Hogan. Many others were killed and injured.

So right from its very formation, the GAA had become the target of British forces in Ireland.

This as we have seen from the last 35 years of conflict in Ireland remains the case. The dropping of Rule 21, in my view appeased the RUC and tried to legitimise them.

When we see the names of people murdered by British forces such Aidan McAnespie and Sean Browne, who were actively involved in the GAA we can see the extent to which the British forces were out to wreck havoc on our national games and Irish identity.

The recent Gaelic football match between St. Brigids (South Belfast) and the PSNI was, in my opinion a major propaganda victory for the PSNI/RUC. In doing so, teams who play the PSNI/RUC are trying to make them (PSNI/RUC) look more acceptable- which they certainly are not.

If you look at the extent to which the British Forces and PSNI/RUC are involved in collusion, you would certainly see that they are not acceptable. If you look at the killing of Michael Hogan on the football field and Aidan McAnespie as he went to the GAA ground in Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone, you would see they are not acceptable. And if you look at the roadside beatings, intimidation and torture given to many people on their way to GAA fixtures you would see they are not acceptable.

Is it any coincidence that a PSNI/RUC watchtower and base looms large over Crossmaglen rangers pitch in Co. Armagh- I think not.

In closing I believe that, as set out in 1884, the GAA should be about preserving and maintaining our national games and Irish culture. Surely British forces or the PSNI/RUC should have no part to play in this. No one should play their propaganda game!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Smash Censorship - University of Ulster accused of McCarthyism

Smash Censorhip!
Where are young people to express their political opinions?

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson has written to the University of Ulster about their decision to make it virtually impossible for students to set up stalls on Freshers Days across the university campuses.
Students have been in contact with Michael Ferguson informing him that Young Unionist Groups and Ógra Shinn Féin college Associations have been issued with a list of instructions that includes not inviting political representatives of their choice to visit their stalls.

Student politics banned in University of Ulster!

Commenting upon the news Michael Ferguson said, It is a tragedy that some of the University Administrations in the Six Counties have always refused to demonstrate inclusiveness, openness and promote a philosophical ethos of enlightenment that welcomes diversity.

This was no more evident that in the early 1970s when in some campuses Civil Rights issues such as Gerrymandering, housing and job discrimination were ignored by Administrative bodies. Indeed, so to was the stand taken by many academics and students alike on the Long Marchs to Derry and Burntollet which should be celebrated as victories in the promotion of a rights based society.

In recent years we have witnessed a more conservative element in Universities Administrations as attempts have been made to challenge bilingual and trilingual publications of student publications. This has now been epitomised with the attempt to implement a policy that denies openness and the need for a shared understanding of our past, present as progress our efforts to secured a society enshrined in a Bill Of Rights and undermined by Human Rights and Equality legislation. I want to commend both Ógra Shinn Féin and the Young Unionist Association for protesting against this McCarthyism Censorship.

Cearta Teanga = Cearta Daonna

Máire Nic an Bhaird, a Belfast member of the Irish-language youth organisation Na Gaeil Óga and secondary school teacher is before the courts again for the third time on (Monday, 18 September 2006). Her crime - speaking to a member of the PSNI in her native language, Irish.

Ciarán Ó Brolcháin, Secretary of the Belfast branch of Na Gaeil Óga said, "It is absolutely ludicrous in today's society that a young lady can be arrested for speaking to a member of the PSNI in her native language."

"This incident, highlights the urgent need for an Irish-language Act in order to guarantee the linguistic rights of Irish-speakers, when it is plainly obvious that those intrusted to do so, the various arms of the state including a sectarian police force, are more interested in harassment."

He continues, "Na Gaeil Óga will be organising a protest outside the Laganside Courthouse. We and Máire herself have received warm messages of support from Irish-language activists, and supporters alike. The protest will be attended by various language activists, language and community organisations and her supporters."

Seán Ó hAdhmaill, National Chairperson of Na Gaeil Óga stated, "We have been aware for some time of the negative attitude of the PSNI as an institution and of its members toward Irish-speakers. The attitude of elements within the Garda Síochána should also be challenged in their attitutde to Irish-speakers, as witnessed by the recent harassment of our members on both side of the border for assserting their rights."

"Young Irish-speakers are plainly aware of the challenges before them in asserting and guaranteeing their rights as Irish-speakers. Máire Nic an Bhaird, is but an example of the thousands of assertive young people coming through the Gaelscoileanna throughout Ireland, who are willing to confront linguistic narrowmindedness and bigotry where they come across it."

"The irony of this incident is that the overt bigotry of this member of the PSNI towards an Irish-speaker, may well have opened the door for wide-ranging reform in the northern legal system to the betterment of Irish-speakers in general."

Natalie Simpson, Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin Irish Language Officer said,

"I would urge all Ógra activists and young republicans to join the protest, making a stand in defence and promotion of our native language but also against the bigotry and oppressive attitudes that exist within the PSNI."

Léirsiú Gaeilge

10rn Dé Luain, 18ú lá de mhí Mheán Fomhair 2006
Tithe Cúirte cois lagan, Béal Feirste

Ag tacú le Máire Nic an Bhaird
Acht Gaeilge a éileamh sna 6 chondae

Tacaigí le Máire, tacaigí linn!

Cearta teanga, Cearta daonna!

Irish Language demonstration

10am Monday, 18th of September 2006
Laganside Courthouse, Belfast

In Support of Máire Nic an Bhaird
To demand an Irish language Act for the 6 counties

Support Máire, Support Us!

Language Rights are Human Rights!

Basque Political Prisoner on 38th Day of Hunger Strike

On August 7, Basque political prisoner Iñaki de Juana Chaos began a hunger strike to demand his right to be released. Iñaki de Juana should have been released on October 25, 2004, after serving his sentence in full and having spent 18 years in jail.

In an attempt to stop his release basis for new accusations were made on two opinion articles the prisoner sentto the daily Gara . It is impossible to find any rational basis in the articles to sustain such charges. Therefore there was a new request for a 96 year prison sentence.

During recent times we have witnessed a brutal initiative supported by the Spanish government and the special antiterrorist court, the Audiencia Nacional, to prevent the release of prisoners who were entitled to immediate release from prison, over and above all basic the principles of law. The Spanish State, for reasons to do with a political revenge, considers that Iñaki de Juana and other political prisoners in a similar situation have not served enough time in jail. Therefore, the Zapatero administration is attempting to instate this situation of de facto life imprisonment against the Basque Political Prisoners' Collective, violating the universal right to release of those who have served their sentences in full.

The Irish Bsque Committees want to call to all groups and people in solidarity, to express their protest to Spanish consulates and embassies and to send their messages to the addresses of the following people, directly responsible for Iñaki de Juana Chaos' situation.

All Ógra Shinn Féin cumainn and activists should treat this life and death issue with the priority it deserves!

*Help save Iñaki's life!*

José Luís Rodríguez ZapateroPresidente del Gobierno EspañolPalacio de la Moncloa,Avda. Puerta de Hierro, s/n.28071 MadridEspañajlrzapatero@presidencia.gob.esFax: 0034 913900217

Carlos Divar BlancoPresidente Audiencia NacionalC/ García Gutiérrez, 128004 MadridEspañaFax: 0034 913973381

Mercedes Gallizo LlamasDirectora General de Instituciones PenitenciariasC/ Alcalá, 38-4028014. MadridEspañaFax: 91 335 40 52

Further information:

Castlederg Ógra Shinn Féin organise book launch

Vol. James Josie Connolly Cumann Ógra Shinn Féin, Castlederg, are preparing to launch Awaiting the Lark, published by Ógra Shinn Féin. The launch will take place in Aghyaran GAA Centre on 16th September at 8pm.

Speakers on the night will include Derry man, Charlie McMenamin and National Organiser, Barry McColgan who both wrote for the book. Also speaking will be recently appointed Ógra Shinn Féin Uladh organiser Andrea OKane and West Tyrone ÓSF Chairperson Barry McNally.
Awaiting the Lark is a collection of personal memories, recollections and accounts from different republicans of the Hunger Strike of 1981. It was launched nationally earlier in the year and to date thousands of copies have been sold, both in Ireland and internationally.

Speaking ahead of the launch chairperson of the Vol. James Josie Connolly Cumann Ógra Shinn Féin in Castlederg, Eunan Carlin said, “Undoubtedly the hunger strike of 1981 was one of the most influential periods in the present phase of the struggle for Irish freedom. It smashed attempts by the British Government to label the Irish republican struggle for freedom and independence as criminal. This book produced by young republicans is a fitting way to spread on the memories of that turbulent time in recent Irish History.”

In closing he urged people from Castlederg and the surrounding areas to attend the launch and remember with pride the 10 men who died in 1981.

Laigheann ÓSF Cuige Meeting acts as Catalyst

The first meeting of the newly re-formed ÓSF Cuige Laigheann took place on Saturday 9 September in Dublin Head Office. The meeting was attended by all active ÓSF cumainn as well as Sinn Féin Cuige Chair Jaqui Russell. It was extremely productive and informative. There was a good deal of debate and discussion and a commitment by all to follow up on the meeting with action on a host of issues.

Cuige Organiser Shelley Doyle said she was very happy with the meeting and hoped it would act as a catalyst to further growth in ÓSF Cuige Laigheann.

“We can overcome anything in our path”

Recently appointed Ógra Shinn Féin National Organiser Barry McColgan talks to ELLA O'DWYER about himself, his political involvement to date and his plans for Ógra.

At the age of 15 Barry McColgan immersed himself in the Ego drugs awareness project, out of which evolved his involvement in the Ógra.

"I struck up contacts through the Ego project and another Omagh lad asked me to help him establish Ógra locally."

In 2001, at 16 Barry joined Ógra and within a year he was local organiser of a very active Ógra cumann in West Tyrone. The West Tyrone cumann saw the importance of Ógra activity at local level, as opposed to confining activity and focus within the universities and colleges.

"College cumainn are integral to developments within the organisation on many levels, particularly recruitment, but the real backbone of the organisation is at local level. While we recruit and skill people in the colleges, we strongly encourage the members to take their talents and commitment back into the community."

It was against the backdrop of his role in the local Ógra cumann that he was selected to become the Six-County (subsequently Uladh) organiser.

"I was elected local organiser for West Tyrone in 2002 and quickly our cumann established itself as the most active and probably the strongest local cumann throughout the country."

They campaigned around demilitarisation, Iraq and the broad anti-imperialist campaign. They also campaigned for the closure of the British military barracks in Omagh.

McColgan commended the organisational work of his predecessor as national organiser, Micky Bravender, who made a strong contribution to the development and consolidation of Ógra structures at cuige and national levels.

In January 2004, McColgan became Six-County organiser and was the driving force behind the development of the Ógra in the region, paving the way towards his current role as national organiser.

One of his priorities is the development of a strong anti-imperialist mobilisation in this country, one that particularly profiles the occupation of Ireland.

"One of our strategic objectives is to build a broad anti-imperialist front in Ireland but that hasn't been successful. Many of the left-wing groups who work on the anti-imperialist front actually forget about Ireland."

McColgan also addresses social and economic injustice and the aspiration to the socialist republic. "We need an economic system that is equality-based rather than having profit at its core."

He went on to identify social ills like suicide as symptoms of the current profit-centred economy in Ireland. "Suicide is one of the worst negatives of living in a capitalist state."

Suicide prevention has been one of the main priorities for the Ógra over recent years and the organisation is calling for an all-Ireland approach to the problem. By way of a culmination to their suicide awareness campaign, the Ógra plan to hand a petition to Mary Harney, Minister for Health and Children, on 21 October in Dublin.

Another feature of the Ógra's work is engagement with unionist youth, a task that, though difficult at times, also gets results. In fact, some young unionists have signed the suicide prevention petition. There is a common awareness that, as McColgan puts it: "Suicide knows no boundaries and crosses all divides."

Barry studied economics and history for three years in Queen's University, only leaving to undertake his Ógra work full-time.

While membership of Ógra extends into thousands, Barry estimates that the core activists number in the region of 300, approximately 60 of whom are female - the aim is to turn these 300 into 3,000 within five years. On the prominence of women within the organisation, he pointed out that his replacement as Six-County organiser is a woman, Andrea O'Kane.
Ógra members also become Sinn Féin members and for Barry one of the functions of the Ógra is to equip young people with the necessary skills to pursue political activism while cultivating confidence. This, he said, is one of the reasons why Ógra membership extends to 29 years of age.

"I remember attending one of my first Sinn Féin meetings. The room was full of Ógra activists and some ex-prisoners, people who had been through the war. I was very nervous when I spoke. I wasn't confident. When we had Ógra meetings we were amongst peers and could develop confidence."

Barry's position is a full-time one and the Ógra is calling for two additional full-time posts: a national development officer and a college co-ordinator. While such roles would initially need to be funded by the party, he believes that in due course the Ógra can secure financial sustainability its own right.

"Part of our five-year plan is to establish ourselves as a self-sufficient body financially. We have a number of finance initiatives. We plan to raise funds through draws, youth festivals, T-shirts and sales from the planned revival of The Spark magazine and income from sales of the recent publication, Awaiting the Lark, and similar ventures."

Barry McColgan takes inspiration from the 1981 Hunger Strikers.

"Sometimes, if motivation runs a bit low or you feel a bit deflated, you think of the likes of Francis Hughes who, when on hunger strike, said that though he didn't have his Armalite with him, he could still use his body. You can always find a strategy even when there seems to be no hope at all. You can find all the inspiration you want in terms of activism or strategy from the era of the Hunger Strike."

Barry McColgan is a vibrant young man who enjoys life. Two of his favourite films are, perhaps not surprisingly, Braveheart and The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

Does he enjoy his work? "Of course I do. I love it. Who wouldn't want to be working full-time on a project they feel so passionately about?" By way of closure to his personal contribution in the Ógra publication, Awaiting the Lark, Barry McColgan wrote:

"Whatever problems we encounter truly are wee buns. With the Hunger Strikers in our hearts and minds we can overcome anything in our path.
"We are the generation who will see the rising of the moon - onwards to the socialist republic."

Ógra Shinn Féin to Recruit in Colleges

Over the next few weeks, there will be a major chance for large scale recruitment into the Republican Movement, through Ógra Shinn Féin recruiting members in colleges, universities and ITs throughout the 32 Counties.

There will be literally thousands of new, young Republicans entering the party through the ever increasing numbers of college cumainn. These new members will bring new vibrancy, energy and ideas to the Republican struggle. Some may become future candidates or even future leadership figures. In both their role in providing an important activist base on the ground in colleges and bringing a youthful perspective on politics to the party, the importance of student republican activists cannot be overemphasised. The massive potential of a strong students movement, as was seen in France recently with the defeat of the anti-youth labour laws, is there - ready for strong leadership, a leadership that only republicans have proven themselves capable of delivering in Ireland.

Ógra Shinn Féin has prioritised the third level institutions as one of the most important sites of struggle in building a strong youth political movement. Many of the young recruits will be away from home and living and thinking independently for the first time. The fact that so many of them will choose to join the republican struggle is a testament to the continuing relevance and the revolutionary intent of the struggle to young people in Ireland today.

Ógra is asking that all young republicans that are going to college this year to get involved in their college cumann. Where one does not yet exist, seek to establish one. We also appeal to anyone else who feels that they may be able to assist in this important political project to help as best they can.

To get involved, please make contact with your local Ógra representative or the national colleges coordinator, Eugene Garvey on 0035386-3437577 or by email at

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin Remembers The Hungerstrikers

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin took part in commemorative day to remember the Hunger Strikes of 1980-1981 on Friday 1st September in the Armagh City Hotel.

With a large exhibition and guided tours of Armagh Jail by ex-prisoners running from 2.00pm there was plenty on show.

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin was joined by Lurgan Ógra members for our tour of the jail, Mary Doyle (ex Hunger Striker) and Sile Darragh (OC of women prisoners during the Hunger Strikes) were our guides. They told us how they were forced onto the “no wash” protest and later went on Hunger Strike with the men in Long Kesh. They explained the layout of the jail where they were moved to and from and the harsh treatment that they were subjected to while they were in there.

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin would like to thank all the ex prisoners who took time out to do the guided tours.

ICTU Acceptance of Partnership Disenfranchises Irish Youth

Ógra Shinn Féin notes with disappointment the acceptance of the Towards 2016 partnership agreement by ICTU yesterday. We feel that this agreement, and indeed the very concept of the social partnership model, fails young people. It will only serve to weaken unions, leading to the ability of unscrupulous employers to exploit young workers.

Ógra Shinn Féin spokesperson Brian Keane said,

“Ógra members were asked to oppose this agreement within their respective unions, but the unwavering willingness of some of the larger union leaderships to accept any scraps from the table led to the acceptance by those unions. This agreement gives very little benefit to young people, but allows business to keep young people underpaid.”

“Ógra used its vote as a member of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) to oppose the acceptance of the agreement by that organisation, but most of the other member organisations voted for acceptance. The main argument forwarded in the NYCI and within those unions that support the agreement was a fear that not to accept the agreement would exclude them from the corridors of power. The benefits, or lack thereof, seemed to be very much side issues. These organisations should be providing strong leadership to young people, empowering them, rather than encouraging them to accept inadequate deals for fear of exclusion. Weak leadership will achieve nothing for young people.”

What is Socialism and how can it be achieved?

"Drive Shell to Sea" Brian Keane (on the right) assisting in closure of Statoil Garage
Speech by Ógra Shinn Féin activist Brian Keane.

Recently delivered at the 'Socialist Youth' Summer Camp in Wicklow, where Ógra Shinn Féin where involved in a debate with Labour Youth and Socialist Youth.

Socialism as a concept cannot be summed up as easily as its opposite, capitalism. Capitalism is quite simply the pursuit of wealth by many individuals; the strongest will succeed while the weakest fall by the wayside. At present, this is the dominant social, economic and political ideology in global politics. We, of course, recognise that the basing of a society on such a negative human condition as greed is inherently wrong. We look to build a better system, one where all are cherished equally.

The broad term socialism describes the range of ideas that seek to find an alternative to capitalism. It is very easy for those on the left to get sucked into the isms within socialism, treating the writings of their preferred writer as dogma, a text that is perfect and one must not deviate from the proscribed path. This neo religious concept of politics has in the past, and continues in the present, to restrict the growth of the left in Ireland and throughout the world.
The defining value of socialism and of Republicanism - is equality. That is the aim, the motivation and the end. It therefore stands to reason that socialism is the system that can best achieve that aim. We in Ógra Shinn Féin, as socialist Republicans, seek to achieve a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic. This Republic will be based on but not limited to - the Proclamation of 1916 and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil, probably the two most radical and progressive documents in Irish political history.
The Republican Movement is, and always has been, a broad church in terms of its socialist outlook. There is no huge consensus within the Movement about the exact makeup of the socialist Republic to which we aspire, but all members are united by our dream of equality.
The only debate is therefore how best to achieve that equality, and capitalism, the status quo, is not going to achieve that. The Republican Movement is at the coalface of our communities, dealing with the daily problems that ordinary people face in their day to day lives arising from the type of economic system that has been imposed upon them. Poor housing, education, health and working conditions can all be traced back to the fact that, in this capitalist society, money is power. By working with communities to deal with the consequences of the system, we also work to open their eyes to the cause of their problems.
We seek to empower communities, to help them to help themselves. We need to empower communities, give them responsibility and control over their own lives.If and when we seek to bring the means of production under social ownership, we need to have a clear idea of what we mean by social ownership. We do not feel that having all sectors of the economy under State ownership is the best way of working. As well as empowered communities, we need empowered workers, who can own and operate their businesses by way of cooperatives and other progressive ownership models. This is true democracy, democratic ownership, not what passes for democracy in the two statelets on this island. This is a decentralised socialist model that allows for the true ownership of the wealth of the nation by the people, not purely by the megalith known as the State.
All too often the state and the people are confused and interchanged words. As we have seen in the past, many so called socialist countries in the past, the State was certainly not representative of the people or working for the people, rather working towards its own self preservation.Now we must begin to look towards how we achieve socialism. True socialism can only be achieved with and through the consent and cooperation of the people, through the democratic system.
We must therefore work in every legitimate way possible to influence the process in order to maximise the socialist mandate. That process is not limited to elections, but also encompasses street protests and popular demonstrations, empowering communities and workers and any other way that may influence public opinion and support. That is why all socialist political parties must not only have good politics, but also good strategy. The best practical way in which we can achieve and preserve a Socialist Republic is by putting in place a socialist constitution.
The 1937 constitution of the 26 Counties most certainly is not one that meets this need. The best opportunity for us to create a socialist constitution is when not if, but when we finally drive the foreign imperialist occupation from the north-eastern 6 counties of our country. At this juncture in our history, the Irish people will be faced with the establishment of a new state. Republicans do not want to see the absorption of the 6 counties into the 26 counties, preserving and expanding the conservative, corrupt and downright criminal status quo of the south.
We would not wish to inflict that upon our northern comrades. To accept such would not be worth even one life or one day in prison for any Republican. Luckily, neither would our Irish brothers and sisters of the Unionist persuasion. This would therefore mean that there would be a brand new constitution needed, new structures and new Government. One where all would feel equally respected and cherished. It is at this point that the socialist Republic can be achieved by ensuring that we have the maximum mandate for that Republic, strengthening our hand in negotiation.In this constitution, we must enshrine economic and social rights and an economic system that has the pursuit of equality not profit at its core.
Once that constitution is in place, it is only the people who can then change it by referendum. Ógra Shinn Féin will continue its work as part of the Republican Movement to achieve the aim of a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic, based on the Proclamation of 1916 and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil, cherishing all the children of the nation equally.

Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin Appoint Enthusiastic New Organiser

Ógra Shinn Féin held a successful Annual General Meeting according to new Ógra Uladh organiser, Andrea OKane.Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin held their AGM on Saturday 26 August in Belfast.

The day started with a vigil for suicide prevention and over 1,000 leaflets were distributed throughout Belfast city centre, whilst the vigil was taking place.The AGM was then held in Belfast city hall. The meeting began with an Ógra review of the last years activities, which reported a major increase in both the activities and profile of Ógra Shinn Féin. The outgoing officer board reports were as encouraging, all reporting increased activity, professionalism and membership. This election of a new officerboard, returning familiar faces to continue their sterling work for the upcoming year, however there was a noticeable number of young faces on the officerboard, who are taking on various portfolios for the year on behalf of Cuige Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin.

Following this the new officerboard came into effect and began their new term, as the meeting of the Uladh cuige then took place. Barry McColgan, who was recently appointed National Organiser for Ógra Shinn Féin stepped down at the meeting and handed over the reins of Uladh organise, Andrea OKane.

Speaking following the meeting, Andrea OKane said she was looking forward to the challenge in taking up the post of Uladh organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin,

“There has been massive growth throughout the last year in Ógra. I would like to see this growth continue and I am pleased to take up the post of Uladh Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin. A main priority at present is to bring the suicide prevention campaign to an end with the presentation of a petition to both the London and Dublin governments demanding an all Ireland approach to suicide prevention."

"Another priority will be the upcoming freshers fayres in various colleges and further education institutions, and a general recruitment campaign, we will also be mobilising a large Ógra contingent to attend a major health rally in Dublin in October on Saturday 21st October. Taking up the post of Uladh organiser presents a major challenge for myself, but also presents a major opportunity for myself to help the growth and development of Ógra Shinn Féin in Ulster."

Successful 'On The One Road' tour comes to end in Galway

Ógra Shinn Féin's 'On The One Road’ tour finished up in Galway City on Friday 1st September. There was a well attended launch of 'Awaiting The Lark' in Richardsons pub in Eyres Square, that was attended by local Sinn Féin General Election Candidate Colm Ó Ceannabháin and Councillor Daniel Callanan.

Following the book launch there was a Lebanese Solidarity Protest held in Eyres Square to protest against the ongoing slaughter of Lebanese people. Hundreds of people witnessed the protest many shouting supportive messages.

Conor McGuinness, Connaught ÓSF organiser said that, "Remembering the Hungerstrikers and the commemorations we hold are important, but they are only as good as the actions they inspire today. They will continue inspiring us to challenge Imperialism and injustices, domestically and internationally."

Barry McColgan, National Organiser of ÓSF summing up the tour, said, "We will need to do a re-run of the book, because during the tour we have sold all 2000 copies of 'Awaiting The Lark', we also distributed thousands of information leaflets, held many protest and vigils, organised many public meetings and touched base with hundreds of activists and supporters across Ireland.""We will continue to remember and promote the true story of the Hungersrike, inspiring a new generation to continue their fight, and to complete their vision of a new free Socialist Ireland!"

Rebel County Launches 'Awaiting The Lark'

"Cork has famously been known as ‘The Rebel County’, and it certainly rebelled against the Black and Tans or indeed any strand of British imperialism in the County”, so said Barry McColgan of Ógra Shinn Féin, after their tour of Cork in the latest leg of their National Tour.

McColgan also made the connection between the fight of the early 20th Century and the current phase of the conflict against British rule in Ireland and in particular the role played during the 1981 Hunger Strike.The Ógra Shinn Féin ‘On The One Road’ tour arrived in Cork on Tuesday evening for the latest leg of the Ógra tour of Ireland.

The Barrack street office of Sinn Féin was the venue for the book launch of 'Awaiting the Lark'. The launch was well attended by Ógra members, the public and a number of locally elected Sinn Féin representatives.

According to Barry McColgan of Ógra Shinn Féin they were given a warm welcome in Co. Cork, however upon leaving the city they become the target of Anti Republican elements or 'Ógra negligence?' as they found their car clamped. However the tour continued unabated as they travelled on to Co. Galway to continue the tour.

Take It Down From The Mast... Waterford!

Between Kilkenny and Cork, some Ógra Shinn Féin activists 'One The One Road' stop off at Waterford to relieve two flag poles of the Imperialist British and USA Flag. An act in solidarity with oppressed people the world over. Up The Republic!

Cutting The Cord

Down with Imperialism!

Kilkenny Remembers The Hungerstrikers

“The growth of Irish Republicanism in Kilkenny/ Carlow and throughout Ireland is down to the selfless dedication and self sacrifice of the Hunger Strikers of 1981”, according to Ógra Shinn Féin organiser in Kilkenny/Carlow, Peadar de Bluit.Peadar was speaking as the National Ógra Shinn Féin ‘On The One Road’ tour arrived in Kilkenny.

A vigil in memory of the hunger strikers of 1981 attracted a great crowd and even more attention from the people of Kilkenny on Monday evening. An ÓSF Hungerstrike banner was erected on the railings of Kilkenny City Hall.Following the vigil, there was a launch of Awaiting the Lark in a local hotel.
Kevin Dunphy, who served 10 years in an English Jail during the 1970/80s, addressed the gathering. He spoke of how earlier the weapon of the hunger strike had been used by republicans in English Jails.
Speaking of the 1981 Hunger Strike, Kevin described how helpless he and the other prisoners in England felt to affect change in Long Kesh and Armagh. He described emotionally how he watched 10 men die in the cages of Long Kesh. He also congratulated those involved for compiling Awaiting the Lark as a permanent reminder of the feelings of the people who were involved directly in the prison protest in 1981.
On Tuesday morning Ógra distributed over 2000 leaflets in a local housing estate. The ‘On The One Road’ tour then continued on to their next port of call, Cork City.Local Organiser Peadar de Bluit hailed both events as a huge success.

MEP Mary Lou McDonald launches Awaiting The Lark in Dublin

"Who could have known that the actions of 10 men in a prison in the north of Ireland could have changed so much, both Nationally and Internationally, 25 years after their sacrifice we are still feeling the loss that was felt in 1981".

That was how Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald summed up the 1981 Hunger Strike. She was speaking as a convoy of Ógra Shinn Féin members arrived in Dublin on Sunday.

They were continuing their National tour of Ireland. Ógra Shinn Féin activists along with senior Republican activists gathered at the Corduff Centre in Blanchardstown for the launch of the Ógra Shinn Féin Hungerstrike publication Awaiting The Lark.

Local Ógra Shinn Féin activist Ian Breslin welcomed those present for the event who were then given a background to the book. Following this Ógra Shinn Féin activists, Colm ONeill, Grace Vaughey and Barry McColgan read extracts from the book. Mary Lou McDonald who is current MEP for Dublin then addressed the Republicans gathered. She spoke of her memories as a nine year old of watching TV pictures of a H-Block cell with men wrapped in Blankets. She said she knew there was something utterly different about Ireland with people living in these conditions.Proceedings were brought to a close by the Chairperson, Ian Breslin, who ironically wasn’t born at the time of the 1981 Hunger Strike. He summed up by stating that he was inspired by the sacrifice of the 10 men in 1981 and also all Irish Republicans who played their part in the National liberation struggle.

“What happened in Long Kesh in 1981 was nothing short of Inspirational, what a selfless commitment to a noble cause. What the 1981 Hunger Strikers did was sustain the desire for freedom in Ireland and by their actions sky rocketed the Irish Freedom Struggle. 25 years on I urge all republicans to continue on their fight. Achieving the Socialist Republic will be the ultimate tribute to the martyrs of 81.”

Louth T.Ds Past and Present address 'On The One Road' Dundalk Event

Ógra Shinn Féin began their seven day ‘On The One Road’ Hungerstrike tour of Ireland on Saturday 26th August. From Belfast a convoy of Ógra Shinn Féin activists travelled to Dundalk where local Ógra Shinn Féin, Republican activists and members of the public gathered at the Imperial Hotel for the launch of the Ógra Shinn Féin publication, ‘Awaiting The Lark’.

Local Ógra Shinn Féin activist Eugene Garvey chaired proceedings. Barry McNally of Ógra Shinn Féin gave a brief outline of the background to the book. This was followed by 3 young Ógra activists who read extracts from the book. Paddy Agnew, former blanket man and T.D. for Louth in 1981 who had contributed a piece to the book praised and congratulated Ógra for the publication. Arthur Morgan, present T.D. for Louth then gave the main address of the night and congratulated the local Republican youth on their activities. He spoke of the importance of Ógra for the future and also spoke of his memories of the 1981 Hunger Strike.The night was then brought to a conclusion with Eugene Garvey singing ‘A Song for Marcella’ and Barry McNally played Amhran na bhFiann.

On Sunday morning, before continuing on to Dublin, the Ógra Shinn Féin activists on the tour of Ireland helped Dundalk Ógra Shinn Féin members distribute over 1,000 leaflets in local housing estates.

Delivering The Revolution!

Ógra Shinn Fein set of 'On The One Road' Tour

Ógra Shinn Féin set of on their 'On The One Road' Hungerstrike Tour from Belfast on Saturday 26th August.

They will be stopping of across Ireland in Dundalk (Sat 26 Aug), Dublin (Sun 27 Aug), Kilkenny (Mon 28 Aug), Cork (Tues 29 Aug) Kerry (Wed 30 Aug), and Galway (Fri 1 Sept).

In each area, Ógra will be doing a public launch of their new Hungerstrike publication 'Awaiting The Lark', giving a speech on Republican Youth, Ógra and the struggle today and also undertaking an extensive leaflet drop and postering campaign in each location they visit.

"We're on the one road
Sharing the one load
We're on the road to God knows where
We're on the one road
It may be the wrong road
But we're together now who cares
North men, South men, comrades all
Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Donegal
We're on the one road swinging along
Singing a soldier's song"

'On the One Road' with Ógra Shinn Féin

25th Anniversary Hungerstrike Tour
Ógra Shinn Féin will take to the roads of Ireland on a week long tour of the Island. Starting off in Belfast on Saturday, (26th August) after the inaugural meeting of Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin the 10 person strong team will visit a number of areas throughout Ireland.
The main purpose of the tour is to strengthen Ógra Shinn Féin in the areas visited and newly appointed Ógra Shinn Féin National Organiser Barry McColgan will be using this as an opportunity to touch base with Ógra groups nationwide.Areas to be publicly visited by the Ógra delegation are Dundalk, (Saturday 26) Dublin, (Sunday 27) Kilkenny, (Monday 28) Cork, (Tuesday 29) Kerry, (Wednesday 30) and finishing of in Galway on Friday 1st September.
They will also be stopping in a number of other areas along the way to engage in local campaigning.Ógra Shinn Féin will be taking part in a number of activities while in each area. They will be performing the launch of Awaiting the Lark, the new book on the 1981 Hunger Strike, Published by Ógra Shinn Féin. There will also be public meetings about Ógra Shinn Féin and how to get involved and the Ógra delegation will also take part in leaflet drops and associated activities whilst in each of the areas.
Galway will be visited by Ógra on Friday and will be greeted with a barbeque. A Hungerstrike Commemoration and vigil will also take place. This will encompass street theatre and role plays. Following this the Ógra Shinn Féin Cuige in Connacht will hold their monthly meeting. And this will be followed by a public meeting about Ógra Shinn Féin. During this there will be the book launch of Awaiting the Lark and talks by ex prisoners, ex blanketmen and prisoners who spent time in English gaols. The evenings event will be brought to a close by a Function, which will see local musicians take to the stage in an event also open to public.Such events as in Galway will also take part in other parts of Ireland throughout the week, including Dundalk, Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, and Kerry.
Speaking ahead of the tour Barry McColgan of Ógra Shinn Féin said,
“In my capacity as Ógra Shinn Féin National Organiser I will be using the tour to touch base with a number of Ógra groups throughout Ireland. From the tour we hope to expand Ógra through increased membership and increased activism.”
“We will also be looking towards areas of potential growth and look to establish Ógra groups where currently there are none. By this tour we hope to build on the massive growth of Ógra both in terms of activism and activists.”
“We also wish to bring the memory of the Hungerstrikers to the young people of today, promoting Republican Socialist ideals that will evoke a spirit of resistance, encouraging active mobilisation against the Imperialist occupation of Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Ireland.”