Monday, October 30, 2006
It is 93 years since two of Ireland's greatest republican socialists, James Connolly and James Larkin, led what became known as the Dublin lockout. The bosses 'locked out' thousands of workers for the heinous crime of defending their rights as workers and seeking union protection. While this may seem like a very long time ago, the struggle for workers rights on this island has not disappeared nor should it. What the lockout represented was an organised attempt to undermine the systematic exploitation of Irish workers. In 2006 that reality is still amongst us. Workers are effectively seen as a necessary evil to help the capitalist classes to achieve maximum profits. One key difference exists between now and 1913. While in 1913 the bosses were shielded by the existence of a British imperialist administration, they are now aided by an industrial relations tool which has actually been endorsed by many unions. That tool is social partnership.
The climate that Social Partnership has created is one of acceptance of capitalist exploitation as somehow necessary to socio-economic development. This attitude has to be counteracted, and the only way to do this is through a strong and rejuvenated Trade Union movement standing up for and with the workers as it did in 1913. Unfortunately however, for most workers, in particular young workers, there is a basic lack of knowledge as to what their rights are. The defence of the ordinary working man (and woman) has always been an integral part of the Irish Republican project. We need to stay true to that objective by empowering young workers and encouraging them to assert their rights by joining a Union. For our purposes as republican socialists, what Union they join is not the primary issue (although there is of course great importance in that decision), what is of the utmost importance is countering the cavalier attitude to workers rights that exists in this country.
In 2006, we have an added challenge. Our workforce is no longer heterogenous, rather, we have over one hundred and seventy nationalities living and working in Ireland today. Many of these are working for wages that are, quite frankly, illegal. While this has caused some to reject 'the new Irish' on the grounds of job displacement, this is the wrong approach to take. What is happening is that now we have people from outside being exploited to make corporate profit as well as Irish workers. While some would make workers from abroad out to be the enemy, in reality they are our ally in the fight against capitalist exploitation. If we are to achieve an Irish Socialist Republic, the workers born in Warsaw are as important as the workers born in Wicklow. The biggest tribute we can give to Larkin and Connolly is to empower indigenous Irish workers along with those born elsewhere but working in Ireland, to finally break the capitalist chains which hold them. We must begin that task by ensuring workers know their rights and are protected.
Young and Independent
Regarding a recent Ógra Shinn Féin mobilisation in Omagh as part of a very successful Demilitarisation Weekend, I feel it necessary to write regarding the presence of uniformed colour parties as such events.
If Ógra Shinn Féin is to be an organisation based on equality and which is open and transparent, with an ability to recruit large numbers of radicalised young people, why is there a need to have a uniformed colour party whose members feels it appropriate to wear dark glasses in Autumn at such a key mobilisation as the hunger-strike commemoration in Omagh.
I believe colour parties in terms of Ógra mobilisations to be a most unnecessary departure, which could have the negative effect of creating a uniformed elite. If the aim of having the colour party was simply historical re-enactment my answer is that historical re-enactment at this time is best left to the Pike People of Wexford!
Ógra must remember at all times that it is not Fianna Éireann, a militaristic and secret organisation that was disbanded sometime in the mid 1980s after much long debate about the future of republican youth activism.
For the record, Fianna Éireann was an organisation which I much admired, in terms of its commitment to struggle and the sacrifices made by its young activists, often resulting in imprisonment and death.
Thankfully we are now in a different political space and at a new juncture in struggle. Different political circumstances demanding a different approach to mobilisations. Left wing activists who are currently swayed by the sects have been laughing their heads off on Indymedia at the photographs taken at the Omagh mobilisation.
Why do we give them such opportunities? Comrades, all colour parties make me cringe and I ask myself why do we leave ourselves open to ridicule? Ógra Shinn Féin must now engage in the debate which began sometime ago and spearheaded by Coiste na nIarchimí at their 2005 summer school - Can Irish republicanism be militant without being militaristic?
The IRA initiative in 2005 clearly indicated that its volunteers do believe it to be so at this time. I also believe the answer to be yes and know that if we are to attract the large numbers of young Irish people into a mass movement for radical change on this island, we need to adapt our political culture and style of mobilising to be that which is most advantageous for the successful conclusion of the struggle for national liberation and socialism.
There are also lessons to be learned by Republican Flute Bands. In fact I say DECOMMISSION REPUBLICAN FLUTE BANDS as they like all colour parties I see, are mostly out of step and out of time as well as quite often being without a good tune.
Comrades, I suppose the future of republican flute bands is another debate that we will have in the near future. I say let us see an end to uniformed colour parties - Let us all mobilise as equals behind the flag of the Irish working class, The Starry Plough, all dressed as we individually choose - Young and Independent!
West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin has launched a new Website for the Republican Youth group in Tyrone.
The website includes News, Campaigns, Multimedia, History and many other sections to the website and was put together by activists in the area.
Speaking at the official launch of the website, in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Chairperson of West Tyrone, Ógra Shinn Féin Barry McNally hailed the website ‘a huge success’.
Mr McNally Said the website ‘would prove invaluable to the organisation in West Tyrone. Given the popularity of the Internet in the past number of years we have decided to launch this website as a way of further informing the public of our activism and campaigns. The website will be updated regularly on our various activities and will be focussed mainly but not exclusively on west Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin’
The website can be viewed on: www.freewebs.com/thelark06
On Thursday the 27th October, the Jordanstown Órga Shinn Féin society held aprotest against the British army at the careers and placement convention. This protest was to oppose the presence of the British army at this event but also to highlight the hypocrisy of the University of Ulster to allow the British army to promote, and recruit potential students yet refusing political parties or societies to even distribute leaflets to fellow students during the Fresher’s Fayre.
Chairperson of Jordanstown Ógra, Emmett Mullin commented:
“I think this is a complete sham that professional bodies from the British Army are allowed to come to the university to talk and recruit, while we the students are forbidden to simply hand out party leaflets to other students. Where is the equality there?” He went on to say: “I am pleased with our protest today and believe that we were successful in highlighting the hypocrisy of censorship of political societies by the university.”
The protest was received positively by students, sparking one student to cover the British Army stall with Ógra posters.
Mr. Mullin finished by commenting:
"We now believe that our success with this protest and our continuous opposition to the political protocol that we will achieve our goal of overturning this biased policy within the University of Ulster. We will also not give up and are now even more determined in our struggle."
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
On Tuesday 24th October, the Magee Ogra Shinn Fein Society held a protest to oppose the presence of the British Army and Royal Navy at the Employment fair in the campus.Magee Ogra Shinn Fein were joined by a number of local Sinn Fein activists and elected representatives including former Mayor of Derry Councillor Lynn Fleming. The protest was well received by a number of students from varying backgrounds.
There was also strong condemnation of the University of Ulster who have been accused of inviting the British War Machine to attend the Employment Fair, whilst at the same time banning political societies from handing out political literature to their student peers at the Freshers Fair.
Magee Ogra Shinn Fein spokesperson Meabh Mackel said,
“I am astounded at the hypocrisy of the University who claim that they wish to create a neutral environment yet they invite the British Army, who have carried out atrocities such as Bloody Sunday within this very city, into the Magee campus while a constituted society within the university is banned from taking part in the freshers’ fare."
“Today’s protest was a big success, in that it highlighted the ongoing censorship of political societies by the university and received very supportive feedback from the students”
Ms. Mackel continued,
“We now believe, through the success of our protest and from our ongoing opposition to the Political Protocol that there is enough awareness amongst the student population to overturn this biased policy. We will also be presenting a petition to the university with hundreds of students’ signatures showing their opposition to the University’s stance”.
Ógra Shinn Féin have organised a book launch in Queens Students Union. Denis O’Hearn will be in Queens on Wednesday the 15th November to promote his book “Bobby Sands – Nothing but an unfinished song”.
This event comes at the end of a remarkable year which has seen numerous events across the country to mark the 25th anniversary of the hunger strikes. His book tells the story of Bobby Sands who is an enduring figure of resistance and whose life has inspired millions around the world.
Until the publication of this book, nothing has adequately explored the motivation of the hunger strikers, nor recreated this period of history from within the prison cell.
Denis O’Hearn’s powerful biography, which contains an enormous amount of new material based on primary research and interviews, illuminates for the first time this enigmatic, controversial and heroic figure.
Speaking on behalf of the Sheena Campbell cumann at Queens, Caoímhe Crossan said:
“We are honoured that Denis O’Hearn approached us to assist in promoting a remarkable book, about such an iconic figure throughout the republican struggle. Bobby Sands was only 27 when he gave his life to gain political status for republican prisoners. It is therefore a fitting tribute that young republicans today are continuing his memory and the fight for freedom.”
Monday, October 23, 2006
Following on from the recent opinion piece by ÓSF activist Eugene Garvey in relation to St Andrews document and policing, here is an article from Ógra activist Sean McCann taking a different angle to the debate.
Both articles are personal opinions in order to spark debate for the internal consultation.
Policing has long been a right which nationalists and republicans have been denied. A powerful tool of oppression, which rather than cherishing citizens it wished to rule, brutalised the republican community using harassment, torture and murder in a vain attempt to keep us down.
Policing was something which the Unionist elite had a monopoly on and used it to deadly effect, William Craig once infamously saying,
"We must build up the dossiers on the men and women who are a menace to this country, because one day, ladies and gentlemen, if the politicians fail, it will be our duty to liquidate the 'enemy'."
Collusion, Shoot to Kill, and Internment where all a by product of this state militia, and republicans suffered enormously at the hands of the state.
The old rejectionism Unionism of the past is also something which has prevented a proper rights based society being established in the North. It has constantly been the stumbling block which has denied republicans rights and entitlements.
The two things, both Policing and embracing rejectionary Unionism both present themselves in the form of the St Andrews proposals, and while the devil may be in the detail, and while changes may still be required - we need to seriously consider accepting these proposals.
If we can finally sort out policing on a northern context, then do we deliver civic policing to our community? A right which they have always been denied. And I fail to see where the DUP raise the bar next (will we finally silence the DUP?).
And if we tie the DUP into the internal workings of the GFA, then Ian Paisley must attend North-South Meetings, and abide by the equality commission, something which has the potential to rip this state from its seams. Equality exposes the inequality that the state was built on.
In finishing I know that these two decisions are very difficult and everyone will have their own particular experience of state harassment, but lets think of a day when we can deliver civic community based policing to our people, and a day when the DUP will be forced from a party of rejecting to that of acceptance.
We have all to gain, the state has all to lose!
Sinn Féin Councillor Maeve McLaughlin has accused the University of Ulster of double standards after it emerged that the British Army and Royal Navy are to attend a careers fair on Magee Campus while political parties were banned from fresher’s day recently.
Councillor McLaughlin said,
“At the recent freshers day political parties were not allowed to have leaflet, elected representatives or emblems present. The reason given for this by the Pro Vice Chancellor was that they wanted to create a neutral political environment on the campus.
“The attendance of the British Army at a career fair in a city that has seen such outrages as Bloody Sunday carried out by elements within that army does not in any way lend to the creation of a neutral political environment.
Ógra Shinn Féin Magee Society spokesperson Gerry O’Neill continued,
“Whether people like it or not the British Army and Royal Navy are part of the British war machine which not only carried out atrocities across the North of Ireland but are involved in illegal occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan where thousand of civilians have died at their hands."
“Magee Ógra Shinn Fein will oppose the presence of the British Army and Royal Navy by holding a peaceful protest at the fair. We are also opposed to the hypocrisy practised by the university in which legitimate democratic parties are denied a voice yet the war mongers of the British Government are allowed to recruit."
They were also there to push their demands on an All-Ireland approach to Suicide Prevention and carried banners highlighting the issue.
Many activists also dressed up as patients on waiting trolleys, and one brave male Ógra even donned a dress, wig and make-up to enact Mary Harney. (Although he didn't get many kisses!)
At the Rally Gerry Adams challenged the Dublin government’s disastrous privatisation agenda for causing huge hardship and has meant that there is now huge inequality in healthcare delivery.
"Why doesn’t the government take it’s lead from the Proclamation, read on the steps of this building 90 years ago this year. The Proclamation promotes equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens. The Proclamation is a declaration of social and economic intent for a rights based society in which the people - in which you - are sovereign. And it set a standard for the future care of citizens, 'to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.'
"Government policy is totally at odds with this. Government policy is based on the notion that inequality is good for society."
The rally is part of an all-Ireland campaign to demand and win a radical transformation of the health system.
Ógra Shinn Féin will continue to highlight this campaign as we believe that Healthcare is a right that every citizen is entitled to.
As Gerry Adams put it in finishing his speech,
"Working together we can deliver a public health system that works for all the people. We will accept nothing less!”
Ógra Shinn Féin
In the H-Blocks of Long Kesh and Armagh gaol the prisoners refused to wear the prison uniform because they knew that by doing so they would be accepting criminality and criminalisation of the entire republican struggle.
If our generation now endorses the wearing of the RUC/psni uniform under the Saint Andrews agreement, we will be endorsing and accepting the British occupation of Ireland .
Under the deal we will be asking nationalists and republicans to not only work in a proactive way with the state police, but to work hand in hand with MI5. As MI5 prepare to take over in the north in what BBC news has described as “the lead role in intelligence involving national security by the end of 2007” in their new headquarters near Hollywood, County Down.
As a republican I view my role to be one of challenging the status quo, were the police is one of up holding it.
In the current climate were MI5 are getting their claws deeper imbedded in Ireland and were devolution of policing powers seem a long way off in “spring 2008”, my view on the two governments agreement is Never Never Never!
Friday, October 20, 2006
The whole media spin on last weeks St Andrews talks created an untrue allegation that agreement had been reached. The only people who have signed up to the document at St Andrews are the Dublin and British Governments.
However Sinn Féin did agree to consult their grass roots on the document before taking any discision.
Also Sinn Féin's position on policing has not changed, and the parties endorsement of any policing arrangements in the north can only be made by a Special Ard Fheis at which Ógra , cumann, comhairle ceantair and cuige will have their say.
At yesterdays meeting of the Ard Comhairle, Sinn Féin Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald was appointed to head up a group to role out a process of consultation across the party. Ms. McDonald said:
“Today the Ard Chomhairle formally set in place a process of consultation which will take place at every level of the party in the coming weeks. This consultation will assess the potential of the proposals set out by the two governments and ongoing work to advance the peace process. The Ard Chomhairle appointed a group, headed up by myself and including Martin Ferris TD and Conor Murphy MP to oversee this consultation process and to report back to the Ard Chomhairle.”
The consultation process with the grassroots will be rolled out in the coming days and weeks, every Ógra activist can and should attend these discussions in their area, and deliver their assessment on the St Andrews document. No decission has been taken, this is a time for debate, the power is in your hands!
To access the St Andrews document please log onto:
In the days and weeks ahead, use this poster in locally advertising the National Congress which will be held from the 3 - 5 November in Liberty Hall, Dublin.
Use the poster to fly poster, leaflet, advertise in local papers etc.
For a high resolution copy of the poster please email email@example.com.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Young people from throughout the 32 counties of Ireland and representatives from the troops of movement, the Wolfe Tone society and the SLP also travelled from England for the weekend. It was the fifth annual demilitarisation protest and according to Ógra chairperson in west Tyrone, Barry McNally was held to ‘Claim Victory on the issue of British demilitarisation’ in the county Tyrone Town.
The weekend began on Friday evening with a ‘woman in struggle’ event. Local Women Poilin Quinn spoke to the young republicans of her contribution to the freedom struggle. She also spoke of her experiences in prison and the brutality, which she herself experienced while incarcerated. Following the talk delegates then watched a DVD on the contribution of women to the freedom struggle in Ireland.
It was an early start on Saturday morning for many. The inaugural Vol. Dermot Crowley memorial lecture was the first event of Saturday morning. A close friend and comrade of Dermot’s, Tyrone Hunger Striker, Tommy McKearney delivered the inaugural lecture. He spoke of knowing Dermot and how Dermot could have so easily sat idly by in Co. Cork, however, he spoke of the flame of freedom being present in Dermot Crowley. So in his teenage years, Dermot, along with Vol. Tony Ahern moved to the north to take part in the freedom struggle. He said Dermot realised that the freedom struggle fought on the streets of cork in the early 1900’s, against the British was the very same fight he took part in during the 1970’s on the streets if the 6 counties.
Shortly after Tommy had finished the memorial lecture young people took centre stage to have a panel discussion on the 1981 hunger strike. Representations were made on behalf of the SLP (From Britain), The Socialist Youth, SDLP Youth and Ógra Shinn Fein.
Ógra Shinn Féin delegates then converged at the entrance to the British army base in Omagh, having caught the British army and PSNI/RUC ‘off guard’. The entrance to the British army camp was in the capable hands of Ógra Shinn Fein who quickly erected a tri colour at the site and claimed the land back in the name of the Irish republic. Chants of Slan Abhaile were clearly heard from Ógra Shinn Fein activists, bidding a good riddance to the British army from Omagh.
The Republican Tour Of West Tyrone was next on the agenda. Delegates visited the site on the Gortin Road where 3 IRA volunteers were killed in 1973. Vol. Patrick Carty, Vol. Sean Loughran and Vol. Dermot Crowley were transporting explosives to an unidentified location in Omagh hen the bomb exploded prematurely. A local man played a lament at the spot on the Gortin Road before the convoy continued on the republican tour. The spot of the Drumnakilly ambush was the next destination o the tour. There, local councillor, Declan McAleer addressed delegates and explained the events leading to the execution of brothers, Vols. Gerard and Martin Harte and Foremass man, Brian Mullin. Declan explained of how the SAS lay in wait for the men and cut them down in a hail of over 200 bullets. The demilitarised site of the joint British Army/RUC base in Carrickmore was the next port of call for the tour. There a local man told those gathered of how the barracks was erected in Carrickmore after the IRA took over the town and set up various checkpoints on roads leading to the village for a BBC Panorama team in 1979. He also spoke of how the barracks was never welcome in the area and eluded to the numerous attacks on the barracks by the IRA throughout the duration of the barracks being present in Carrickmore. The garden of remembrance wad the second last stop on the tour with locally elected assemblyman Barry McElduff welcoming the Ógra Delegation to Carrickmore. He spoke of the long and continued tradition of Irish Republicanism in the area and recounted many memorable moments for Irish republicans in the area.The last stop on the tour was the graveside and home of 2 of the Drumnakilly martyrs, Gerard and Martin Harte. There the Ógra delegates got a much needed rest and reflected on the tour.
Following this delegates returned to their accommodation and donned their glad rags and prepared themselves to dance the night away to the music of ‘The Spirit Of Freedom’. The singing and dancing last in to the ‘wee hours’ of the morn before the exhausted delegation returned to have their must needed sleep in the accommodation.
On Sunday morning the Ógra delegation formed up in the Strathroy estate to take part in a parade to remember the conclusion of the 1981 hunger strike 25 years beforehand. Led by an Ógra Shinn Fein colour party, responding to commands in Irish the parade took off on the parade around Strathroy shortly after 1:30pm. Also in attendance was the Strabane memorial flute band. After the short parade to a monument in Strathroy dedicated to Vols. Dermot Crowley, Sean Loughran and Patrick Carty, local councillor Martin McColgan opened the commemoration. The various speakers included Ógra Shinn Fein, both in West Tyrone and a statement was read by a member representing Cork Ógra Shinn Fein, The Tyrone Roll Of Honour was read aloud as was the H-BLOCK hunger strike roll of honour.
Pat Doherty was the main speaker at the event. He spoke of the heroism of the H-Block martyrs and that the best way to remember the men who died in 1981 was to recommit ourselves to the struggle for which they gave their lives and make their vision of a 32 democratic socialist republic a reality. Following this the parade continued around Strathroy and a newly erected monument to the 1981 hunger strikers was unveiled at the entrance to Strathroy.The parade marked the conclusion of the Ógra Shinn Féin weekend 2006.
Speaking following the Ógra Shinn Fein weekend, local chairperson Barry McNally said,
“I would like to thank everyone who travelled to Omagh this week to claim their victory on British demilitarisation. For five years we have asked people to help us raise the issue and now they are seeing the fruits of their commitment. We also held this weekend to remember the conclusion of the 1981 hunger strike 25 years ago this week. We held a parade in Strathroy with this purpose and it was a very successful event. However in the run up to this weekend elements in the DUP were trying to raise tensions with our decision to march in this area even though it is a 100% republican area. There is no contention, however I would ask the DUP what is their stance in relation to contentious marches in places like Newtownstewart and Castlederg. Indeed the south Down DUP flute band have breached parades commission determinations on several occasions including playing the sash at the entrance to Ferguson crescent on Saturday 16th September, when the Parades commission didn’t not permit this. The DUP should put their own house in order before trying to lecture others in relations to parades”
Check out video of weekend at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPFoZlUtSy0
Friday, October 06, 2006
Strabane Ógra Shinn Fein’s colour party will lead a Hungerstrike Commemorative march in Omagh on Sunday 8th October. The march will take place in Strathroy at 1.30pm and will be one of a series of events in the Omagh area held by West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Fein during their weekend long demilitarisation weekend.
Other events during the Omagh weekend include a women in struggle event and DVD showing, A Youth panel discussion on the 1981 Hunger Strike, a Republican Tour of West Tyrone, and a Demilitarisation protest at the Omagh British Army base bidding slan abhaile to the British army and also calling for the full demilitarisation of the British war machine in Ireland.
Speaking ahead of the weekend Strabane Ógra Shinn Fein Chairperson Sean Mac Giolla Easpaig said,
“We are proud to be asked to lead a commemoration to the 10 men who died in 1981. Given that this weekend will also be the West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Fein Slan Abhaile, there will be a large number of young people at the event and it is only right that young republicans are given the opportunity to lead a commemoration for the 1981 martyrs!”
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The current Ógra Shinn Féin National Executive met for the last time on Saturday before a new executive will be elected at the National Congress in November.
The National Congress was the main item on the agenda. The National Congress will take place 3 – 5 November in Liberty Hall, Dublin and the leadership address will be delivered by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.
A number of International delegations will be invited from youth movements in Palestine, the Basque Country, Cuba, South Africa, Catalonia , and Britain.
Ógra Shinn Féin will also launch a new campaign at the Congress.
The National Congress is Ógra’s equivalent of Sinn Féin’s Ard Fheis and helps formulate policies, campaigns and a workplan for the year ahead.
All motions, delegates, and nominations to the National Executive and Ard Comhairle must be submitted by Monday 16 October at 5pm.
The cut of date for amendments to motions will be Monday 23 October at 5pm.
Also the feedback from the National Executive is that this will be the largest Congress yet. In order to accommodate the large numbers expected all cumann are asked to forward list of activists attending Congress by Monday 16 October.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Ógra Shinn Féin's Sheena Campbell Cumann held a successful recruitment day at Queens last Wednesday during the Freshers Fayre. While College Cumanns in the University of Ulster were being actively banned by censorship placed on political parties, Queens student union was a bustle of political activity with Ógra Shinn Féin recruiting extensively.
Senior party members Gerry Kelly, Martina Anderson and Eibhlin Glenholmes turned up at various times throughout the day to help Ógra with the recruitment drive. The results at the end of the day were beyond the Cumanns expectations with over 90 people signing up to join the Cumann and 185 people signing the Suicide Prevention Petition, even Alliance Party leader David Forde signed it, after some persuasion and debate!
Speaking on behalf of the Sheena Campbell Cumann Caoimhe Crossan said, “the interest today has been fantastic, with lots of people signing up to join the Cumann, it will be interesting to see how many people attend our first meeting next week, but we are hopeful that out of the 90 people who gave their details many should return and become activists. The petition was also very well supported, we had targeted to get 100 signatures and ended up with 185 so all in all it was a very successful day for us.”
This success shows the need for all activists to protest at the censorship placed on parties by the University of Ulster. If a similar number of people could be recruited in each of the UU campuses then the number of Ógra activists in the Colleges would see a rapid increase. We must oppose this ban and call for it to be removed before next year’s fayre.
* FIGHT THE BAN *
* END CENSORSHIP IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER! *
Monday, October 02, 2006
On Saturday Ógra Shinn Féin, in conjunction with the Irish Basque Committee, ran a stall at the GPO in Dublin in support of Inaki de Juana Chaos, the Basque political prisoner who has been on hunger strike in a Spanish jail due to the Spanish governments attempts to block his release having served his time.
Information leaflets were distributed by activists to passers by and many were interested in signing the petition in support of Inaki. Many of those who signed the petition were shocked at the lack of coverage the hunger strike was receiving in the mainstream media. The first signature on the petition was that of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, showing solidarity and support for our Basque comrade.
Speaking at the event, Barry McColgan, Ógra National Organiser, said
“We feel that it is very important to support Inaki on his hunger strike. It is vital that the Irish people realise what is happening to him and other Basque political prisoners in Spanish jails. The history of hunger strike in Ireland gives this protest particular resonance with the Irish people, 25 years after 10 Republican prisoners gave their lives in the H Blocks resisting British attempts to criminalise them. Imperialist governments always try to use prisons as breaking yards against revolutionary movements, but the resilience of political prisoners worldwide ensures that they always fail.”
The many names on the petition will be passed on to the Spanish government to show the strength of feeling that the Irish people have on this issue. There is to be a protest this coming Saturday at the GPO and the Spanish embassy in support of Inaki and his hunger strike.
On Tuesday 26th September, Magee Ogra Shinn Fein held a recruitment drive in the university grounds. The Magee cumann has been active in the University for a number years and still remains the only active political society on the campus.
Ogra Shinn Fein were ecxluded from the freshers fayre as they refused to sign the political protocol which was introduced by the University of Ulster and endorsed by the Students Union.
The protocol censors political activity and effectively meant that Ogra could not hand out any literature which which would identify them as being a political society. Undeterred by this absurd decision, the cumann set up outside the Sports Hall.
It was not long before fellow students began approaching the stall to show their solidarity with Ogra. The interest in joining exceeded previous years with over 50 people signing up to join Ogra Shinn Fein.
Local Sinn Fein activists and elected represented including Raymond McCartney MLA came along to show their support and to protest at the University of Ulster policy of censorship.
"I was delighted by the response we received in our recruitment drive especially in light of the political protocoll which was designed to hinder recruitment of political parties, especially Ogra who are by far the strongest political society in the University of Ulster"
"Whilst some political parties arrived to put a few posters up only to disappear a short time after, Ogra had a visible precence in the University all day, once again demonstrating hard work and not just turning up for a quick photo opportunity. Once again young Republicans have spoken out and refused to be treated like second class citizens"
"I am calling on the University to scrap this policy of censorship and to pursue a policy of inclusivity which encourages debate between all sections of society."
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Ógra Shinn Féin was joined by Gerry Adams on Saturday to launch the Dublin Health Rally.
Some Ógra activists held posters while others dressed up as patients on a hospital trolley, representing the massive waiting lists that currently passes as a Health Service in the 26 Counties.
National Organiser of Ógra, Barry McColgan said,
'I urge all Ógra activists to mobilise themselves and their community for the Public Health Rally in Dublin - ÓSF will form up in a contingent for the rally and 'Suicide Prevention' will be the theme. This is a opportune event in which to actively force our demands on Suicide Prevention and Health Care. '
Speaking with Sinn Féin elected representatives and members in Dublin, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP said it was crucial that there is a big turn out for the party's "Demand your healthcare rights" rally on October 21st.
Outlining the success of the party's health campaign, Mr Adams encouraged Dubliners, "to take personal ownership of this issue and to demand their healthcare rights - a health system properly funded as a public service that provides care at the point of delivery for all on the basis of need alone and funded from general taxation.
Mr Adams said, "Over the next couple of weeks Sinn Féin activists across Dublinwill be mobilising across the city and county for our health rally on October 21st.
"This rally is the culmination of campaign on the health issue that began with the launch of our policy document, Healthcare in an Ireland of Equals in April.
"A Day of Action in May involved dozens of pickets and stalls right around the state while during the summer we distributed over half a million four page newsletters outlining Sinn Féin’s analysis of the health crisis and our proposals for solution.
'We have also highlighted the deeply flawed proposal from Minister Harney to transfer public land to private hospitals, and efforts to close Tallaght's Children's Hospital.
"During a recent series of visits to hospitals and health care professionals in Dublin, Wexford, Dundalk, Drogheda, Navan, Waterford, Cork, and Castlebar I have discussed Sinn Féin’s health proposals. These were well received and it is our intention to incorporate suggestions which I and our Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD received from health care professionals. I am delighted at the overwhelmingly positive reaction.
"I am encouraging Dubliners from every walk of life to turn out on October the 21st, for each to take personal ownership of this issue, to demand their healthcare rights - a health system properly funded as a public service that provides care at the point of delivery for all on the basis of need alone and funded from general taxation.
"A big turnout on October 21st will demonstrate the widespread dissatisfaction there is with the poor state of our health service. It can also help lay the ground work for ensuring that health is at the centre of the public debate in the upcoming general election campaign.
"Our health service can be better. Sinn Fein is proposing a viable, realistic alternative approach which can end the current inefficient and unequal two tier health system."