Wednesday, January 31, 2007
As the A.R.I.S.E. campaign moves onto another issue for the month of February, we need to put a final push on for the Shell 2 Sea issue.
Shell will announce their global profits for 2006 tomorrow, Thursday 1st February, and Shell 2 Sea activists internationally and in Ireland will be protesting against the obscene amount of pure profits Shell plunder in their destruction of communities and their robbery of National Resources. Last year’s figure was $23,000,900,000.
Ógra activists should be joining in with mobilisations in areas where organised or organising actions in there local areas – anything from protests to leaflet drops.
The Shell to Sea Campaign will continue for Ógra activists, and tomorrow let us highlight the plight of communities besieged by Shell globally.
The following links are leaflet template:
And for more info on the day of action:
Victory to Rossport!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Hundreds of Ógra activists and dozens of delegates attended Sunday’s Sinn Féin Extraordinary Ard Fheis.
The week previous to the Ard Fheis, Ógra Shinn Féin organised an Extraordinary National Congress at which they adopted a radical new policy document which called for policing to be decoupled from the state and proposed the establishment of municipal policing structures.
At the Extraordinary Congress, Ógra urged delegates to vote against the Ard Comhairle motion but to remain united regardless of the outcome.
Gerry Adams addressed part of his speech at the Ard Fheis towards Ógra stating,
“Some of you may disagree. That is perfectly acceptable. For example Ógra disagrees with us on this issue. I wish they didn't but I respect their position and I especially commend their resolve to accept the outcome of this Ard Fheis debate.”
Sinn Féin delegates voted overwhelmingly for the Ard Comhairle motion.
Speaking on the outcome of the debate, National Organiser of Ógra, Barry McColgan said,
“We had a very comradely robust debate at the Ard Fheis, many Ógra activists from across the country spoke very articulately in opposition to the Ard Comhairle motion, stating many strategic and practical reasons.”
“While the position adopted was historically groundbreaking, the real test now is going to be in the practical implementation of the motion, and it is now that the real struggle on policing begins.”
“Ógra activists spoke in favour of the alternate Ógra policing policy which aims to decouple policing from the state and to deal with policing in a revolutionary and stand alone context as one Ógra delegate said, ‘are we going to support and endorse a force that actively works against our objectives, or to approach the issue of policing in a progressive way, not limiting ourselves to the staid old model of a monolithic police force.”
“We stated clearly that Ógra would respect the outcome of the Ard Fheis and remain united. Ógra went into the Ard Fheis as part of the Republican Movement, and came out as part of the Republican Movement.”
“Ógra adopted a position at the Ard Fheis, and another position was voted on, but that is the strength of our movement – we have the confidence and strength to critically debate and take opposing positions.”
“Unity and cohesion is tantamount to the successful conclusion of our struggle – regardless of the decision that was reached - a mountain of struggle remains ahead and only one movement is going to achieve our objectives – as Francis Hughes put it, ‘Victory to the Provos!”
It was with shock and sadness that republican activists from Tyrone and indeed Ireland learned of the death of Patsy.
Patsy was a Sinn Fein councillor from 1989 until his retirement from electoral politics in 2001. He represented Carrickmore and the wider Mid Tyrone Area on Omagh District council. He was also a long standing member of the Tyrone National Graves Association (NGA), holding the position of Chairperson for many years. In later years he had become the honorary president of the Tyrone NGA.
In 1981 Patsy was given the task of being chief stewart at the funeral of Tyrone Hunger Stiker Martin Hurson.
Throughout his years as Coucillor Patsy helped everyone in their various requests. No task was too big or too small and if contacted Patsy would be promptly with the revelvant constituent in minutes. He was highly thought of by his constituents due to his efficency and effectiveness at representing their views. His dedication and hardworking nature were two prominent features of Patsy.
In 2005 Patsy, at the request of Ógra Shinn Féin, alongside Tyrone Republican, Jimmy McElduff planted a liberty tree in the Tyrone Garden of Rememberance. The event, organised by Ogra was reminisent of scenes in France leading up to the 1789 Revolution.
The huge turnout at the wake and funeral was a testamont to the character of Pasty McMahon. On the day of his funeral his tri-colour drapped coffin was given a Republican guard of honour until he was brought to his final resting place at the foot of An Charraig Mhor. (the Big Rock)
In his graveside oration Vice President of Sinn Féin, Pat Doherty said,
Pat recalled how in 1997 whilst canvassing alongside Patsy in Carrickmore both men came across a British Army foot patrol. Upon seeing the Sinn Fein activists the intimidation known by many republican throughout the north began. Pat recalled how Patsy told the british army that it was illegal to harrass politcal activists on the electional trail, upon naively believing this tale the British Army backed off. However five minutes later the RUC backed up by the same squad of British Army that minutes earler had stoopped Pat and Patsy pulled the politcal activists up alongside the road once again. Patsy's fib that this was ‘illegal’ didn’t work a second time around and both men werent getting away easy this time.
We in Ógra Shinn Féin are proud to have known Patsy and extend out condolences to the family at this time.
We in Ógra Shinn Féin believe that everyone should have the right to express their own faith. In a non-secular society, this can never be truly achieved. The freedom to express a person’s religion is a fundamental of civil liberties. By imposing a set of values from one religion or even common values from a number of religions, we begin to alienate people of non mainstream faiths and agnostics.
It is because faith is viewed by people as having a central place in their lives that many regard religious freedom as the most important
History has shown that when you introduce faith as an integral part of the state, you begin to repress people of other faiths. Faith has an amazing ability to unite people with common beliefs but also has the ability to divide people more than any other. When a state adopts positions and laws based on faith, it is potentially dividing its own people.
The law should be applied equally to all members of the state, including equally to all faiths. To ask for anything more would be run against the principal of equality for all.
Faith and State Institutions
Keeping the state and faith isolated from one another within institutions of both the state and faith, is paramount to upholding the people’s freedom of expression. The perfect example of this is Education.
Education is based on fact and scientific method. An education based on faith is not education but merely speculation. Our children have the right to have all the facts, all the theories, all the possibilities put before them. By allowing faith to determine what can be taught in a state classroom, is to shut down both the progress of a people, both culturally and scientifically. We recognise that faith is an extremely important factor in some peoples lives and for some people, having that faith means questioning new ideas and theories put forward by science, however to ask that no one be shown these ideas, on the basis that they do not adhere to your own personal religion, is to impede on others rights.
However, an education which has its foundations built around religious theories and dogma is one of the most important parts of some people’s lives. We should not ignore this either. The choice should be available to people, but no state run institutions should ever impose one set of values or beliefs upon a person.
Currently some state run schools adhere to certain faiths values and teachings. Religion classes mean that people who are of other faith must leave the room, often leaving no choice for two or three children but to leave their friends. Idea’s put forward by modern day science cannot be spoken about because they go against the teachings of those values. We seek to change this, so that in any school where state money is spent, teachings will not be limited to one faith’s values and theories.
Faith and the Governing of the State
Every section of the community should have a say in the governing of the state in so far as they are not impeding on the rights of others. After all, the community is the makeup of the state. However no section of the community should expect to get preferential treatment. Neither should a section of the community feel that they have moral superiority over other sections of the community. By ensuring that everyone has an equal say in the governing of the state, we preserve democracy, we preserve the freedom of speech, we preserve the freedom of expression and we preserve the rights of everyone.
Currently, one faith enjoys a special relationship with the state in Ireland. This has slowly been changing to reflect a changing society in the past 40 years. However radical change is needed in order to undo century’s of religious domination in our society. An acceleration of the general trend of secularism which is occurring within the Irish population is required, through legislation designed to further reduce institutionalised religion
Faith and the Law
This brings to question how can we preserve democracy if a majority are in favour of certain religious beliefs? Purely by identifying that in a democracy the rights of everyone are recognised and prioritised. Just as one group cannot expect to take away another group’s right to vote, neither can one group take away another group’s right to religious freedom.
Law’s based on faith are fundamentally biased to that faith. By allowing one faith to dominate over another, we allow the abuse of religious freedom to take place, using religious freedom’s as cover to trample on other rights, either knowingly or unknowingly. Repression by faiths has taken place all over the world, in times past and times present. The first step towards that repression is the institutionalisation of a single faith. The first step towards the institutionalisation is the implementation of faith based laws.
As we have outlined already, faith has the ability to unite people like no other. Faith can contribute massively to the stability of a state and to a people. People draw strength from their faith, they draw strength from their beliefs. Be it in the form of having total faith in one god, many gods or no gods. To take away that strength and stability from a people would be detrimental to a society. However faith is not universal to all and should be respected as such. For too long societies have sought to unite their people by imposing one religion on another, this is when the divisive nature of religion is unleashed. Accepting and respecting other faiths as an equal is the only true way to unite people with faith. This can only be done in a secular society.
This years Forum theme was on Faith and State. Ógra’s discussion document, which proposed the complete separation between Faith and State, was the view shared by a majority of the other parties present.
Although the theme of the weekend was on Faith and State, there was a wide range of discussion outside of the main events. Topics ranging from alternate fuel sources, to the break up of the Union and everything in between were brought up at different points.
Speaking afterwards, Ógra delegate Ian Breslin said,
"It was a fantastic opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with a wide range of parties from several countries. The chance to discuss issues with parties from such a broad political spectrum rarely arises, and the chance to do it with such a spectrum from other countries is even rarer".
The weekend was educational and enjoyed by all present and Ógra looks forward to sending a delegation to the next Inter-Isles forum in Wales.
Ógra Shinn Féin
We as Irish republicans and nationalists, deserve and require and accountable police service. What we have experienced throughout our history has been a political, sectarian and partisan police force. We now have the opportunity to change that.
The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann have taken various historic and courageous steps to further the republican cause. We commend our comrades in Óglaigh na hÉireann whose leadership has directed us to the momentous stage where we are today. We reconise that Republicanism would not be in a strong position today without the armed campaign waged by the IRA; and there would be no peace process without the IRA, we also reconise that they are the only ones that have lived up to their commitments and who, time after time, have taken brave, unprecedented and unilateral initiatives to save and advance the peace process.
In July 2005 the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann gave us, Sinn Fein and Ogra Shinn Fein, the driving seat. It is our duty as leaders, as republicans and as members of the community, to ensure we can achieve a fully accountable police service. A service that is answerable to all sides of the community and free from political influence.
A revolutionary organisation cannot stay still, if we stay still we will be defeated. We must push this struggle on, our enemies want us to stay on the side lines, they don’t want us watching their every move, and why should they? They fear us, they fear the political strength we have, and from that stems the ability to hold them fully to account. We have seen the recent report released by Nula O’Loans office, this report has only confirmed what we all knew.
This report only deals with a small section of the Mount Veron unit of the UVF. The report confirms the active involvement of MI5 agents in the murders of at least 18 people. It has only opened the can of worms in regards to collusion.
It is our duty to seek out the truth, and hold those responsible to account. There are an uncountable amount of issues that need to be sorted, some like the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, the Pat Finucane murder, the events on Bloody Sunday, the shoot to kill operations, the list goes on. The task that lies ahead isn’t easy, it never is when you’re looking for change.
The Republican cause is stronger now than it ever was, the only organisation that has the ability to break us and defeat us, is ourselves. We must stand united, we must be cohesive and unified.
Don’t under estimate the situation and the process that we are now in, this issue has the potential to make or break us.
It is political strength that has taken us to where we are now, and it is with political strength that we can go to where we want to go, a free, a united, an Ireland of self determined people.
Carry on, no matter what odds are against you; Carry on , no matter what the enemy call you; Carry on no matter what torments are inflicted on you. The road to freedom is paved with suffering, hardship and torture; Carry on my gallant comrades, until that certain day!
Tiocfaidh Ar La!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
In the past, Sinn Fein has grasped the nettle many times in relation to important tactical decisions which have been emotionally difficult for activists, but ultimately proved to be the correct path. the latest “nettle” that our leadership propose we grasp could bring with it a deadly sting!
It is important that we tread carefully on this sensitive issue as we cannot underestimate the potential devastating effects that a hasty decision on policing could have on our struggle.
Pondering to political pressure and DUP bigots’ intransigence, to make a quick decision, would in my opinion be a massive political misjudgement. It could result in Sinn Fein signed up to the state police force with the ability only to affect cosmetic change to a failed british system. It is inevitable that we will not obtain the necessary powers to create radical change and pursue our objectives. After all it is unlikely that our political enemies would allow us enough powers to implement our political ideals, which are a threat to Britain’s economic and political grip of the six counties.
We Republicans must realise that there is an inevitable danger that we could become embedded into the institutions we tried for so long to smash. The DUP will almost certainly throw up another engineered crisis in the process, with politically motivated accusations aimed against Sinn Fein, as another excuse not to share power. Where would this leave Sinn Fein in terms of having signed up to the PSNI? Is this what we are going to risk loosing masses of support for? It is questions like these that I would urge comrades to ask themselves when voting in next weeks Special Ard Fheis.
Our communities deserve what we never had, and that is accountable, impartial policing, although having limited control over, or access to a failed oppressive system isn’t the way to solve the issue. We as Revolutionaries have a duty to come up with and embrace new alternative measures, rather than putting the noose of this British colonial system round our necks.
Apart from the obvious emotional reaction to Republicans contemplating giving support to the PSNI, I don’t think that it will realistically advance our ultimate goals. Giving our support to and endorsing the PSNI could be a massive step backwards for Republicans in terms of popular support, unity and cohesion, and in terms of our ability to affect radical change.
There is also the issue of MI5, and the fact remains that in Ireland MI5 will never be out of the picture until British occupation here ceases to exist. With an agenda and history that is rotten to the core, can we be sure that MI5 will stay out of intelligence gathering and other politically motivated activities, just because they’ve been told to stay out of “civic” policing?
Comrades unity among Republicans is of the utmost importance at this time. We are no doubt in testing times and we must remain focused on our job as revolutionaries. Whatever the outcome of Sunday’s Ard Fheis, lets stay united. Let us go into this united, let us remain united and if we fail we come out united and stronger!
Tiocfaidh Ar La!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Ógra Shinn Féin demanded the immediate release of young political activists in the Basque country at their Special Congress convened on Saturday.
Members of the Basque youth movement SEGI's National Executive were imprisoned early last week by the Spanish authorities, which deem the youth movement ‘illegal’
In its motion Ógra Shinn Féin stated,
“The right of Basque young people to organise themselves in support of independence and socialism must be defended. The continued attempts by the Spanish government, police and judicial system to criminalise and jail the legitimate expression of these rights must be resisted”
“The Congress unreservedly rejects the decision by the Spanish national court of this week, convicting the national executives of these youth organisations of membership of a so-called ‘terrorist-organisation’. The decision to jail the young people for periods of up to 6 years is undemocratic and unjust.”
Speaking on the ruling National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin, Barry McColgan called for the ‘immediate release of our comrades in Euskal Herria’.
“Ógra Shinn Féin is proud of the longstanding solidarity we have had and continue to have with Jarrai, Haika and Segi. We will do all in our power to try and reverse this decision by showing our open opposition to the ruling. I myself will travel to the Basque country next week to show our opposition to this decision and pledge the support of Ógra Shinn Féin to the young people who find themselves being jailed for 6 years. This decision is completely unacceptable and should be reversed immediately."
Monday, January 22, 2007
Ógra Shinn Féin National Congress held an extraordinary meeting this weekend to discuss the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle initiative on policing.
The Congress passed a motion setting out a revolutionary new model of policing with radical changes in structure and practice and called on all Ógra members to vote against the Ard Chomhairle motion at the Extraordinary Ard Fheis next Sunday.
The Congress also urged republicans to remain united and said that they will respect whatever decision is taken by the party’s Ard Fheis next weekend.
Speaking following the meeting head of Ógra Shinn Féin Barry McColgan said:
“The issue of policing is absolutely huge for republican activists, our communities and support base and any decision taken on policing will have wide ranging implications for republicanism as a whole.
“Ógra Shinn Féin’s position from it’s inception since 1997 has always opposed the brutal, sectarian state militia, that passed for a police force in the north. It was Ógra who spearheaded the ‘Disband the RUC’ campaign, it was Ógra who called on young people not to join in a re-packaged RUC - the PSNI and it was Ógra who last year were shouting from the rooftops, literally, to ‘smash political policing’.
“The motion passed at this weekends National Congress sets out a revolutionary new model of policing with radical changes in structure and practice. It calls for the formation of municipal policing which is locally accountable at district council level, decentralising power away from the state. It is about decoupling the state from policing.
“It is important that next weekend there is a healthy, comradely debate and that whatever decision is taken that we remain united.”
Motion adopted at Ógra Shinn Féin Extraordinary National Congress
Ógra policing policy
The history of policing in Ireland is one of oppression and tyranny, especially when directed at Republicans; it is a record of police forces rather than police services. If Republicans are to support, engage or endorse a police service in the 6 Counties, even in a critical way, it must do so in a way that enhances and protects our communities, advances the struggle and does not stifle or impede progress towards the Republic.
Ógra recognises that policing will never provide an ideal service, but we must strive for as perfect a police service as possible. The PSNI, as currently constituted, do not represent a service that is anywhere near perfect, nor does it have the in-built ability to change to make it adequate to Republicans.
The case against the PSNI
The primary functions of the PSNI are twofold; firstly to enforce law and order, and secondly to uphold the six county statelet. At present, the law and order that is being upheld by the PSNI is that of the British state operating in Ireland. Laws passed in Westminster are enforced and enacted in Ireland, a foreign rule of law enforced by a locally recruited militia. However, in a scenario whereby the 6 county assembly is up and running and that all powers are fully devolved, the PSNI would therefore be enforcing laws decided upon by Irish people, in Ireland, representing Irish people. For as long as partition exists, this will remain imperfect, though it does remove the British aspect from the laws being enforced.
However, the second primary function of the upholding of the statelet remains a barrier to the acceptability of the PSNI. This is the barrier, which is ideological, practical and strategic, that Republicans, as revolutionaries, must overcome. We must therefore decide whether we are going to support and endorse a force that actively works against our objectives, or to approach the issue of policing in a progressive way, not limiting ourselves to the staid old model of a monolithic police force.
We are proposing that for a new beginning to policing, there is a need for a truly new police service, not merely a renamed and repackaged RUC. We recognise that our communities need and deserve a police service that will truly serve them and protect them from those that seek to damage and harm them. We also recognise that any new structures must be fully acceptable to all those communities living in the 6 counties, whether they be loyalist, unionist, nationalist, republican or from the various other ethnic and religious communities that reside in Ireland today. To this end all these new services must be apolitical and impartial.
The model that we are proposing is to have a municipal police service, answerable to the 7 new super councils, that are responsible for the enforcement of civic and criminal law within their areas. These new police services would have no role in intelligence gathering, counter insurgency, riot control or any other political type policing other than that that constitutes a criminal offence. Overall responsibility for the running and maintenance, in terms of financing and equipping, of the municipal police services would rest with the devolved department for policing and justice. These new police would be responsible for enforcing only those laws that are passed by the devolved administration or the local council that fit the criteria previously outlined.
It is naïve to think that the British would leave their colony in Ireland without any form of colonial police force to enforce their rule and their law, therefore the PSNI/RUC would be likely to exist on a statelet wide level. We could continue to oppose their existence, their right to enforce British laws in Ireland, their political policing and dissuade our supporters from engaging or cooperating with them, while also holding them publicly to account through a policing board where, by not endorsing them, we can truly break them and expose their activities.
This would mean that there would exist a multi tiered policing structure within the 6 counties similar to that of many continental countries. For example, in Spain there exist a number of police forces and services at municipal, provincial and national level. At the national level, the Guardia Civil act as a paramilitary police force, suppressing, for example, our comrades in the Basque country, but as the area of responsibility declines, so the acceptability of the service increases to the people.
The best analogy that currently exists is that of traffic wardens operating in the 6 counties. They are answerable to the local authorities and are responsible for the enforcement of parking and traffic bye laws. While their profession may be disliked the world over, the objection does not come from a political perspective. The laws that they enforce are not in any way politically sensitive and are widely accepted by all. It would be possible to have a service enforcing those laws that are accepted by all decent members of all communities in a just and equal manner.
The all Ireland aspects of the system should be pursued vigorously through the Department of Policing and Justice and justice and policing should be pursued as an area in which a cross border implementation body could operate. This could lead in time to cross border personnel transfer and cooperation between the municipal police forces and the Gardaí. It would also be our preference to see municipal police services operate in the 26 Counties as well.
CRJ and Safer Neighbourhoods
These projects should continue but with greater funding and in cooperation with the new civic municipal police services.
The new service should work in partnership with communities and other groups such as Probation and Welfare Services, Courts Services, Community Groups, Residents Groups, Sporting Groups, Education and Library Boards, Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Red Cross, RNLI etc. Contact with the PSNI/RUC should be kept to an absolute minimum to gain the maximum amount of community support and confidence and to prevent corruption seeping through.
Recruitment should be carried out initially by the HR department of the new councils in conjunction with the Policing Ombudsman’s office, until the new structures can deal with its own recruitment with full community confidence. Membership numbers and ratios, be they gender, religious or other, should be determined by agreement between the local council and the 6 county policing board.
Those wishing to move from the PSNI/RUC or the Gardaí to one of the new services would require a thorough background check by the ombudsman’s office and approval by the 6 county policing board. All members would be required to take an oath to respect human rights, equality, etc. Former POWs will be subject to the same recruitment standards as all other applicants, their previous record shall have no negative effect upon their application.
The new policing services would be held accountable in much the same way as laid out in the Patton report. In addition to the single policing board for the 6 counties, there would also be a local policing board for each district council as a replacement to the DPPs.
They would have a similar makeup to the overall policing board and would perform a similar function for the municipal police as the 6 county policing board performs for the PSNI/RUC at present.
The 6 county policing board would continue on in an oversight role for the municipal services and any police force that may continue on for the 6 counties as a whole. The Ombudsman’s office would continue on as before, though would also be responsible for the municipal services.
Republican support for law and order should not be dependant on the upholding of the British state in Ireland. We feel that the two issues should be completely separate rather than blackmailing the Republican and nationalist communities into supporting the so called ‘national security’ of Britain in Ireland in return for safety and justice for the community.
We believe that the above model provides some answers for providing a more acceptable and better, though not perfect, police service than exists anywhere in Ireland at present. Other issues such as cross border cooperation need to be pursued vigorously by Republicans. Our communities deserve to be policed, but they need a police service, not a police force.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
In an unprecedented move Ógra Shinn Féin and the Wolfe Tone society will team up to host a republican weekend of events in London .
The weekend will take place on 2nd – 4th February and will include public talks, tours and social events. There will be a delegation from Ógra Shinn Féin over for the duration of the weekend. However the weekend is not exclusively for members of Ógra Shinn Féin and will be open to members of the public in England who have an interest in Irish affairs.
Ógra Shinn Féin and Wolfe Tone Society member Claire Doherty explains,
“The Weekend will be primarily held to build up solidarity with the Irish Republican struggle, but also Ógra Shinn Féin have invited us in the Wolfe Tone Society to numerous events in Ireland. So we came up with the idea of hosting a weekend for Ógra in England. Included in this weekend will be a tour of London and places of Interest to the Irish delegation."
"This will include the area where IRA Vol. Diarmuid O’Neill was murdered by Scotland Yard's tactical firearms group, SO19. There will also be numerous talks throughout the weekend including one on Bloody Sunday which National Organiser of Ógra Barry McColgan will address. We are also asking young people in England to come along and have an input to this weekend."
"If they wish to take part in the weekend you can either get in touch with myself on 07768766347 or the Wolfe Tone Society on 02084428778.”
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
a. The state or fact of being unemployed because work is no longer offered or considered necessary.
b. A dismissal of an employee from work for being no longer necessary; a layoff.
This week it emerged that the taxpayer is to pay €4.3m towards the cost of making over 500 Irish seafarers redundant last year so that they could be replaced with low-paid, non-unionised workers from Eastern Europe. This payment comes as a result of a statutory redundancy rebate scheme which allows employers to reclaim a portion of their redundancy payments to workers. Irish Ferries have stated that the redundancy package cost the Irish Continental group of which tie company is a member of €29.1m. The decision to pay the company’s claim was delayed for nearly a year as it was referred to the Attorney General’s office to decide whether the redundancies were genuine. Under the Redundancy Payments Acts, "redundancy" does not merely arise where a business closes down or where an employer reduces the size of the workforce. The definition includes circumstances where the employer decides that different or even additional skills or qualifications are required for the job.
With the 500 Irish Ferries redundancies the business did not close down. The management of the company did not downsize – there are the same amount of workers with Irish Ferries now as before the layoffs. Given the above definition of “redundancy” and the Redundancy Payments Acts, one would be forgiven for thinking that they were not genuine. The work was still offered and still considered necessary. However, it was only going to be offered to Eastern Europeans willing to work for minimum wage and who are not trade union members. Although the trade union issue has not been raised on any official level, it is too coincidental for my liking that there are now only 4 trade union members working on board the M.V. Ulysses. The 4 trade unionists in question were Irish workers employed by Irish Ferries before the layoffs.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment endorsed the decision by the Attorney General to pay the company’s claim and said that there was no scope for “ministerial intervention”. SIPTU President, Jack O’Connor said that he was “disgusted but not surprised” by the decision. He also went on to say that when push comes to shove in a dispute between employers and workers he would never be in any doubt “which side the present Minister Micheal Martin would come down on”. It’s not very often that I agree with Jack O’Connor but in this case I have to say he’s completely and absolutely right. The decision by the Government to pay the €4.3m completely vindicates his position. This colossal sum of money was paid out to a company who claimed they needed to make over 500 crew members redundant in order to make the company “more competitive”. This is the same company who gives its chief executive Eamon Rothwell 2.5% of all the company’s earnings and gives him an annual bonus of over €420,000 on top of his normal earnings.
This redundancy scheme was quite rightly opposed by both SIPTU and the Seamen’s Union of Ireland. It was a scheme to make a company “competitive” by ensuring that there were no longer Irish workers aboard Irish Ferries vessels being paid union rates. They were replaced by outsourced Eastern European workers who work for the grand total of €7.65 per hour. And after the debacle concerning Filipino worker Salvacion Orge who was paid €1 per hour by Irish Ferries subcontractors you would probably be forgiven for wondering whether they are even receiving the minimum wage.
Irish Ferries workers paid their taxes. They paid their social contributions, some for well over 30 years. €4.3m of these funds are now being handed back to Irish Ferries out of the taxpayers pocket. It appears that the final kick in the teeth for the ex-Irish Ferries workers is that the money that they have been paid over the years has now in effect been used to finance their removal from their own jobs.
For my Dad Brian, who worked for Irish Ferries and was a member of the Seamen’s Union of Ireland for 25 years.
Friday, January 12, 2007
“Arise ye workers from your slumbers,
Arise ye prisoners of want,”
So goes the Internationale, and what a song to back the newest Ógra Shinn Féin video profiling the A.R.I.S.E. campaign. The Internationale is undoubtadly the anthem of international socialism and I would advocate it becoming the anthem of the A.R.I.S.E. campaign.
The video outlines the aims and objectives of the campaign and traces some of the campaign actions to date which has witnessed varied actions from Ógra activists. From holding white line vigils for prisoners, to blocking the entrances of Shell and Statoil garages.
The A.R.I.S.E. campaign is premised on our strategic objective to build a broad Anti-Imperialist front in Ireland, which will challenge Imperialism and all its evil manifestations and by products both Internationally but especially in Ireland.
We must win the support of the youth of Ireland for this campaign, and while videos like this help profile and educate, it is only through true grafting and action on the ground that we will see any true success for A.R.I.S.E.
“Servile masses arise, arise,
We'll change henceforth the old traditions,
And spurn the dust to win the prize.”
Every action should be a rally call for new activists to join the campaign, to get involved in Anti Imperialist struggle in Ireland.
We must rise to the challenge, take this campaign to the streets and countryside, gathering our inspiration from our fallen comrades and build a truly effective Broad Anti Imperialist Front. In the coming months, while Ógra activists and cumann are engaged in A.R.I.S.E. keep these words with you,
“So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face,
The Internationale unites the human race.”
Tiocfaidh ar la!
View the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaUE9akNS00
Ógra Shinn Féin, Connacht
My relationship with Republican music has been a long and interesting one. Ever since stumbling upon a Wolfe Tones tape when I was eight years old I have been fascinated by it.
I still remember the sense of awe and pride I felt when I first heard their song ‘Padraig Pearse’. Spurred on by my Wolfe Tones experience I searched through my Parents tapes and records and was thrilled when I found a Dubliners L.P. that included ‘Kelly the Boy From Killane’, ‘The Rising of the Moon’ and ‘A Nation Once Again’. ‘The Foggy Dew’ sung by Sinéad O’ Connor, on a Chieftans tape completed my early rebel collection. Since that time I have had an intense interest in the music of our struggle.
My tastes have changed often and my experiences have broadened and I’ve come to realise that there exists a number of different types of music that can be broadly described as ‘Republican’. There are the obvious ones; the poignantly tragic songs of our fallen comrades, examples like ‘The Loughall Martyrs’ and ‘The Ballad of Máiréad Farrell’ come to mind.
There are the sad yet uplifting songs of a communities resilience and resistance in the face of overwhelming odds and great suffering, be that a people’s reaction to famine or to internment. There are of course the witty songs that relate funny episodes from the Struggle, or poke fun at the Brits, such as ‘Johnston’s Motor Car’ and ‘My Little Armalite’.
Add to these the foot-stomping, adrenaline-pumping, I, I, I R A-chanting classics such as ‘Go On Home British Soldiers’ and you’ve pretty much described the entire Republican retinue.
Or have you?
In recent years I’ve begun to listen to more and more of what is described as Folk music. Artists such as Christy Moore, Damien Dempsey, Woodie Guthrie, Steve Earle, Hamish Imlach and others. Their music often examines universal issues that concern young Republican activists.
Songs about prejudice, poverty, inequality and community have, in this writer’s opinion, a central place in the ‘genre’ of republican music, and can act as an inspiration and even an education to activists.
‘Talking Union’ by the Almanac Singers tells of the need to organise unions in our workplaces and gives advice on dealing with such obstacles as the boss; “The boss won't listen when one guy squawks But he's got to listen when the union talks.”
‘Go, Move, Shift’ by Christy Moore portrays the prejudice and the hypocrisy of members of a materialistic society in their dealings with fellow human beings, and delivers a damning judgment of that society.
Likewise much of Damien Dempsey’s music treats of social issues that many Republican activists will be familiar with. His lyrics not only give expression to the thoughts and feelings of a generation of young working class people, but also offer analysis and highlights issues such as drug abuse and urban decay. What these artists are doing with their music, young Republicans should be doing in their activism.
As our struggle is both domestic and international, so to the music of that struggle is not limited to Irish songs or Irish artists. Perhaps the greatest of revolutionary songs, ‘The Internationale’ was written by Eugene Pottier, in nineteenth-century France.
It has been translated into over sixty languages and is sang by revolutionaries the world over. It has meaning for the communist guerilla in Columbia, or the protesting student in Tanzania, likewise, and in common with our other songs of struggle; it has meaning for Republican activists here.
These songs of struggle sustain us; they educate and inform us. They can comfort and inspire us. From the loudest, fastest angriest song, to the ballad that has you laughing from start to finish, to a song that sums up our whole political ideology, each has its time and its place, and in our struggle, each has its use.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Meath Ogra Shinn Fein
The U.S Army, now over three and half years in Iraq, are now expecting George Bush's scheme to take place. The plan, which will ''bring peace to Iraq'', will add 20,000 - 30,000 troops to the already large number based in the war-torn country, 145,000.
These additional soldiers are expected to regain Baghdad, a city with a population of over 7 million. The excuse for the U.S Army failure of the suppression of the Iraqi Resistance is that there was never enough troops in the first year of occupation.
The almost public execution of Saddam has not yet silenced the resistance at work in Iraq either. Al Qieda are putting up stiff competition to the civilian killing also waged by the forces of America and Britain.
The recent report by the Iraq Study group revealed that 61% of the Iraqi people supported attacks on US led forces. Occupation leads to resistance. More troops leads to MORE resistance.
The sunni resistance, who are recruiting young men off the streets, are unlikely to ever back down untill the occupation is ended. The US government has shown a catastropic inability to learn from its mistakes in Iraq.
The only way the conlict will end is a complete withdrawal of U.S and British troops from the country.
Armed resistance and otherwise, cannot be beaten.
As seen in Eire.
Over the last 35 years of conflict in Ireland many women of Óglaigh na hEireann, Cumann na mBan, Cumann na gCailini and Sinn Féin have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of Irish Freedom. I believe the price the women of Ireland have paid for freedom was immense.
Many women, such as Marie Drumm, Maireád Farrell and Countess Markivitz have inspired many young women like myself to play an active part in the fight against British rule in Ireland.
The Hunger Strike of 1980 saw the men in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh joined by their female comrades in Armagh’s women Gaol in their successful attempt to break the British governments label of ‘criminals’. Women such as Maireád Farrell, later shot dead in Gibraltar alongside Volunteers Sean Savage and Danny McCann, were to the forefront of the campaign for political status.
These women were ordinary people leading extraordinary lives. The spirit of Tone, Emmet Pearse and Markevitz was with them then as their spirit is with us now. They stood up defiantly to the oppression, tyranny and injustices being seen in Ireland.
The average age of the women of the Republican movement to be killed in the current phase of the struggle was 31; they were grandmothers, mothers, sisters and wives. The part woman played in the struggle advanced and continues to advance the cause of Irish freedom.
As we remember the fallen heroes of Ireland let us remember the role women played in the struggle. Indeed let us remember all patriots of Ireland who fought so that one day Ireland can take her place amongst the nations of the world.
Let us remember the women of Ireland
Dean cuimhne ar na daoine a fuair bas ar son saoirse na hÉireann
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
In recent years films recreating momentous moments on Irish History have made it to the Big Screen, so to speak. Some films tend to be revisionist, others are there to inform whilst others simply for financial reasons. Thus raising the question ‘Is Hollywood cashing on Irish History?’
In 1996 Neil Jordan released his controversial interpretation of Irish History (1916-23) in the form of Michael Collins. Despite a number of inaccuracies in the film it does offer a look at the personalities, events and felling of the era. One must remember this was a time of continuous military struggle, continued oppression and ultimately civil war.
In order to assess the question at hand one must first question the motivation behind the film. It is clear that if Jordan was looking to make money from the film he definitely choose a difficult genre to do this from. One must remember that outside of Ireland the film wouldn’t have made much of an impact. Also at the time of its release the IRA had broken its ceasefire, declared in 1994. However the success of Michael Collins brought the money pouring in. However I think it is fair to conclude that Neil Jordan’s motivation was to tell the story of Michael Collins and Ireland of that time. Indeed it is an interesting point that he had began his script for the film 13 years before it was released.
In The Name Of The Father released in 1993 tells the story of the ‘Guildford 4’ who like so many others found themselves at the receiving end of ‘British Justice’.
Directed by Jim Sheridan the film is not only critical of the IRA but also of the British judiciary.
Beyond the events happening in the film it shows the strains in the father / son relationship of Gerry (Daniel Day Lewis) and Giuseppe (Pete Postlethwaite) Conlon.
In analysing the motivation behind such a film one can conclude that In The Name Of The Father, whilst being based on real events is too dramatised for the sake of Hollywood and is directed primarily at cinema going audiences rather than being a tool of information. After all the huge miscarriage of justice was a live news story – certainly in nationalist Ireland for years to come.
Some Mothers Son, released in 1996, some 15 years after the events it recreates. Gerard Quigley and Frank Higgins are both IRA members who find themselves inside Long Kesh during the 1981 Hunger Strike and both men become centrally involved, both volunteering for the Hunger Strike. The film highlights that difference of background of both men yet how to two still joined the IRA and subsequently ended up in jail as combatants in the liberation struggle. While Higgins come from a tradition physical force Republican family while Quigley comes from a household which could be described as pacifist and who doesn’t agree with the armed campaign being waged by the IRA.
Helen Mirran (Kathleen Quigley) plays an absolute storm in the film supported by Fionnula Flanaghan who plays the mother of Frank Higgins.
The film has managed to tell the story of the 1981 Hunger Strike in an emotional and human level and has done well to avoid the often glamorisation of such events by Hollywood.
H3 was a film written by two former IRA blanketmen, one of whom spend 73 days on the 1981 hunger strike. Laurence McKeown and the late Brian Campbell began writing the script in jail and completed it after their release in 1992. And in this respect it stands alone and from the outset would seem to tell the story of the 1981 hunger from a republican perspective aimed primarily at informing others as opposed to raising capital.
Centered around IRA OC in the blocks, Seamus Scullion, H3 tells the Story of the interim period of the end of the 1980 Hunger Strike and ending with the death of Bobby Sands on May 5th 1981. Told through the perspective of fictional characters, it brings the audience into the world of the protesting prisoners. It tells of the hardship suffered by the prisoners and the high and low points of the protest, with the latter being more prevalent.
I think it is fair to conclude that H3 is aimed at informing people of the real situation in the H-blocks in the early 1980’s’ period rather than being presented with a British version of events. It has tried to cut through the British propaganda machine with the films version of events and presents the Hunger Strike as seen by those centrally involved on the strike and by the protesting prisoners on the H-Blocks. So has H3 been cashing in on Irish History? I think the answer is clearly no. Rather in my opinion is has succeeded in giving a fair interpretation of the events, even though the writers are Irish Republicans.
So is Hollywood cashing in on Irish History? I think undoubtedly there are films out there that are there to make a penny or two from the conflict of the last 800 years. However many of the films I have analysed above have been primarily- I believe about informing rather than making money. However some may disagree or agree. The debate may go on - so- Have Hollywood cashed in on Irish History?….. now its over to you.
Was the death of Saddam Hussein justice for the many crimes he was accused of or revenge for those who opposed him?
Regardless of the man’s past wrongs, the manner in which he was allowed to die was a wrong in itself. The cruel taunts and jibes from his captors were met with a dignified response and the decision by the same captors to display their prize on the internet only resulted in the ‘Tyrant’ receiving more sympathy than perhaps planned.
Saddam was no ‘good guy’ but neither is George Bush. Bush’s reckless pursuit of the control of Iraq’s oil fields has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and over 3,000 American soldiers.
Incidentally the reasons for hanging Saddam were nothing to do with 9/11 or Weapons of Mass Destruction but were related to the killings of 148 Shiites in retaliation for an assassination attempt on Saddam in 1982.
If the Americans were so concerned about the killings carried out on behalf of Saddam, why did they wait over twenty years to pursue him?
The killings of the Shiites took place not long after the Iraq-Iran war – the same war that America actively encouraged Saddam to partake in and helped arm his soldiers.
According to Robert Fisk, writing in The Sunday Tribune (31st December 2006) the death of Saddam has closed the chapter on America’s support for Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war. Fisk wrote,
“The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the US gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which presidents do not want the world to remember. Gone now is the man who received the CIA’s help in destroying the Iraqi communist party.”
Fisk claims that America supplied Saddam with the names and addresses of communist party members and that these people were subsequently arrested and killed by Saddam’s soldiers. He goes on to say,
“…the Pentagon was instructed to assist Iraq’s military machine by providing intelligence on the Iranian order of battle.”
Iran claimed that Iraq had first used chemical weapons against their troops on the 13th January 1981, a combination of mustard gas and nerve gas. They claimed the American government had supplied the Iraqis with the components for the gases.
In 1994, a paper prepared for the U.S. Senate, stated that prior to 1985, U.S. companies had sent government-approved shipments of biological agents to Iraq. The Senate report said,
“The United States provided the government of Iraq with ‘dual use’ licensed materials which assisted in the Iraqi development of chemical, biological and missile-system programmes, including chemical warfare agent facility plants.”
It is absolutely clear that George Bush and friends, in other and different circumstances, have supported Saddam when it suited them and now that Saddam has died, the secrets of U.S. involvement in his crimes have died with him.
This can only aid those who wish to promote America as the leader of the ‘Free World’ but I suppose we should not expect anything else from the hypocrites who ‘govern’ the ‘free and democratic world’ today.
Saddam was no angel but neither are the people who acted as Judge, Jury and Executioner.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Although I was involved in Sinn Féin I first seen Ógra protesting in Dublin.
Had you been involved in politics before joining Ógra Shinn Féin?
Well I was brought up in a Republican house and from a young age I was constantly in Sinn Féin centre in Lurgan.
When and where did u join Ógra?
In 2004 I started studying in Magee and joined the cumann there.
What made you join Ógra?
I had already been very involved in Sinn Féin but not in the cumann structures. I knew joining the Magee cumann would give me a chance to become more involved in the party.
What positions do you / have you held (if any)?
As well as being a normal cumann member, last year I was the treasurer.
What are you priorities in the upcoming year for your role (position)?
I hope to contribute as much as possible to the Magee cumann as I will be leaving it in May. The elections coming up in March will be a priority. I hope to go to the University of Limerick next September to do a postgrad in peace and development. Im enthusiastic about joining a new cumann in a new place.
What have u done within your role? What does it entail?
As treasurer I had the responsibility of managing the cumann's money. As a normal cumann member I’ve taken part in organising fundraisers, protests, talks and debates.
Where has your interest in politics come from? And How?
From secondary school I took a real interest in Irish history, how the Brits first came to Ireland, Easter 1916, the partition of Ireland and the Civil War as well as the history of Irish Republicanism. In my final year of school I decided to go onto university and study international politics.
What would you be doing if you weren’t involved in Ógra?
Studying more for my degree!
What actions have Ógra taken in your area (weekend’s protests etc)
We have protested against the University of Ulster's car parking fees, the Brits watchtower in Rosemount and the American senator Mitchell Reiss coming to Magee talking about policing. During the last Westminster elections we held a debate between Mitchell Mc Laughlin and Mark Durkan. Bloody Sunday weekend 2005 was also the Ógra national congress. We held workshops, a protest outside Strand Road barracks and had a fundraiser. More recently we protested when the British army and navy was allowed to recruit in Magee.
Plans for Ógra in the future in the area?
Currently we are protesting against the University of Ulster's political protocol as well as organizing events for the Bloody Sunday weekend.
What do you like most about Ógra Shinn Féin?
It gives me the chance to campaign on issues important to me such as suicide prevention, mental health awareness, health care and education. I also learn a lot from my comrades.
Have u any major achievements within Ógra or things that you will remember for a long time to come?
Being in Ógra is good craic and I have met a lot of friends. A couple of years ago I was speaking at a function for the Colombia 3 in Co. Laoise, the whole pub was silent and really listening to what I was saying. The respect that was shown is something that I’ll never forget.
What do u enjoy doing outside of Politics- Hobbies/interests?
I love travelling, last summer I was in Cuba for 6 weeks. Hopefully I will be going to Prague and Vienna soon. Next summer I hope to go to the Basque Country. I love music.
Favourite Food: my Ma's stew
Favourite Drink : tea, beer and Guiness
Favourite Music / Artist: I like most types of music and at the moment my favourite artist is John Frusciante.
Favourite Film: innocent voices, its really sad but it inspires me.
Favourite Book: Fidel Castro's History Will Absolve Me
Favourite Holiday resort: Cuba
Most memorable moment in Ógra: speaking in front of hundreds of people.
Person most influential in your life: both my parents
Person you would like to meet (living) Leonard Peltier
Person you would like to meet (deceased) Che Guevara
If you were president of Ireland or Taoiseach what 3 things would you do to change Ireland ?
Make Ireland a socialist democratic country
Prove the best possible healthcare and education to Irish people.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
The following is the text of a New Year’s message supplied to An Phoblacht this week by the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann:
“The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann sends New Year greetings to our friends and supporters at home and abroad. We send best wishes, especially to republican prisoners and their families. We commend all those working for the early release of those prisoners and urge them to continue in their efforts."
“We remain committed to our republican objectives and we support all those, especially our comrades in Sinn Féin, working for those goals."
“Over the past twelve months republicans have celebrated and commemorated with dignity and pride, the lives and sacrifices of those who died on Hunger Strikes."
“On this the 50th anniversary of the deaths, on active service, of our comrades Seán Sabhat and Fergal O’Hanlon we remember their sacrifice and that of all those comrades who fought or died during the Border Campaign."
“We remain firmly committed to our objective of a free, united and independent Irish republic. We believe that our political objectives can now be achieved by political means and we will continue to pursue this course with energy in the year ahead."
“We salute the commitment and discipline of IRA Volunteers and that of the republican activist base. The determination and unity that have sustained us all thus far are required now more than ever."
“There are big challenges to be faced in the time ahead, republicans will not shy away from these challenges. We are very conscious that progress requires everyone to take risks."
“A heavy responsibility rests on political leaders to make politics work so that conflict remains firmly in the past. We have demonstrated our commitment to this approach. We urge all others to do the same.”
"Gabhann ceannasaíocht Óglaigh na hÉireann beannachtaí na hathbhliana lenár gcairde agus lenár lucht tacaíochta in Éireann agus i gcéin.
"Gabhaimid deá-mhianta, ach go áiríthe le priosúnaigh poblachta agus a dteaghlaigh. Molaimid iad siúd go léir atá ag obair ar son scaoileadh saor luath na gcimí sin agus iarraimid orthú leansteán ar aghaidh lená n-iarrachtaí.
Tá muid comhthiománta agus a bhíomar aríamh dár gcuspóirí poblachtacha agus tacaímid leo siúd uilig, go háirithe ár gcomradaithe i Sinn Féin, atá ag obair chun na cuspóirí sin a bhaint amach.
"Le bliain anuas tá poblachtanaigh ag cuimhniú agus ag ceiliúradh le maorgacht agus le bród, beatha agus íobairt na daoine a fuair bás ar stailc ocrais.
"Ar ócáid seo an caogadú cuimhneachán ar bhás ár gcomradaithe Seán Sabhat agus Feargal O’hAnnluain ar fianas, cuimhnímís ar a n-íobairt agus ar íobairt na gcomradaithe uilig a sheas leo nó a fuair bás le linn Feachtas an Teorainn.
"Tá muid faoi cheangal buan de chuspóir poblacht Éireannach saor aontaithe agus neamhspleach creidimid gur féidir ár gcuspóirí polaitúla a bhaint amach anois le modhanna polaitúla agus leanfaimid orainn sa chúrsa seo le fuinneamh sa bhlian atá romhainn.
"Molaimid seasmhacht agus rialbhas gníomhaithe Óglaigh na hÉireann agus an bhonn leathán poblachtach gníomhach. Tá an aontacht agus an seasmhacht a sheas linn go léir chuige seo noís tabhachtaigh ná mar a bhi siad ríamh anall.
"Tá dushlann móra romhainn, níor umhalaigh poblachtanaigh roimhe na dushlann céanna. Tá se an soiléir dúinn nach féidir dul chun chinn a dhéanamh ach nuair atá an uile dhuinne toilteanach dul i bpriacal.
"Tá freagreacht trom ar ceannairí polaitúla cinntiú go n-oibríonn an pholaitíocht chun go bhfanann an coimhlint go buan san am atá caite.
"Tháispeanamar go bhfuil muid dlúite leis an chur chuige seo. Iarraimid ar dhoine eile amhlaidh a dhéanamh."
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau,
West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin held a protest in support of the Shell 2 Sea campaign on Saturday 6th January in Omagh town centre.
A large number of protestors held posters, a banner and distributed hundreds of leaflets. Local Omagh town councillor Martin McColgan was also there to show his support.
Shell 2 Sea is an international non-violent campaign, rooted in the Erris community. They seek to ensure the proposed Corrib gas terminal and pipeline are constructed offshore, as is best practice. In doing so they seek to highlight the negligent environmental, health, safety, planning and economic consequences of this Dublin government backed and enforced plan.
Speaking after the protest Ógra Shinn Féin National Organiser Barry McColgan,
“In recent years the people and community of Rossport, Co. Mayo have been living a nightmare. There has been local opposition in Rossport against the construction of an on shore refinery by multi national giants Shell and it has caused great anger and frustration in the area."
"Ógra Shinn Féin supports fully any attempts by the people of Rossport and Ireland to bring this government policy to an end. We have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the people in Rossport, as the Gardai have beaten men women and children opposing this move.”
He also criticised the ‘overt’ presence of the PSNI during the protest and claimed ‘photographs were taken of the protest and individual protestors.”
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Beidh Máire Nic an Bhaird, múinteoir meánscoile agus ball do Na Gaeil Óga, os comhair Teach na Cúirte, Cois Lagáin, i mBéal Feirste inniu óna 11r.n. de dheasca gur labhair sí i nGaeilge le ball den PSNI.
Tá sí cúisithe go hoifigiúil le “iompar mí-ordúil”, rud a shéanann sí féin agus trí fhinnéithe eile. Táthar ag súil leis na céadta tacadóirí de chuid Máire Nic an Bhaird ag agóid lasmuigh de Theach na Cúirte, Cois Lagáin i mBéal Feirste inniu, 5 Eanáir 2007 ag a 12i.n.
Tá an óg-eagraíocht Na Gaeil Óga ag eagrú an agóide agus tá siad ag iarraidh ar an phobal tacú le Máire agus le cearta Gaeilgeoirí i gcoitinne.
Dúirt Seán Ó hAdhmaill, Cathaoirleach Na Gaeil Óga, Is é an taiseolais atá ag teacht chugainn ná go bhfuil iontas ar roinnt daoine, go háirithe sna 26 Co. ach go bhfuil scannál cuid mhór daoine go bhféadfaí go ndéileáiltear le múinteoir óg ar an gcaoi seo de dheasca gur úsáid sí a theanga féin! Teanga í seo atá luaite i gComhaontú Aoine an Chéasta agus cosanta faoi Comhaontú Naomh Aindriú (má gcomhlíonfar an Comhaontú).
“Léiríonn an chás seo cé chomh fada is atá muid ón gcosaint dlíthiúil sin, i dtéarmaí cearta teanga Gaeilgeoirí a chinntiú agus na dúshláin atá romhainn. Is sampla fhoirfe í seo de riachtanas Acht Gaeilge ar nós an Acht atá foilsithe agus lorgtha ag POBAL, agus an ghrúpa ACHT ina bhfuil Na Gaeil Óga mar bhaill.
“Tá crógacht agus stuamacht léirithe ag Máire Nic an Bhaird in aghaidh briogadh biogóidí, agus ina seasamh go bpléifidh a cás trí Ghaeilge. Is sampla í do Ghaeil óga fud na tíre agus na cruinne, agus leanfaidh Na Gaeil Óga ag tacú léi mar atá againn le linn a cáis.
“Thar cionn Mháire, ba mhian liom buíochas a ghabháil do chuile dhuine a thacaigh léi tríd an chás, ach go háirithe Conradh na Gaeilge as bus lán de thacadóirí ó Bhaile Átha Cliath a eagrú ag chuile éisteacht dá gcás, inniu ina measc.
Teacher before the courts for speaking Irish
Máire Nic an Bhaird, a secondary school teacher and member of Na Gaeil Óga will be before the Laganside courts in Belfast today, 5th of January 2007, from 11am for speaking in Irish to a member of the PSNI.
She is officially charged with “Disorderly Behaviour” which she and three other witnesses refute. Hundreds are expected to attend a solidarity protest for Máire Nic an Bhaird which will be held outside the gates of the Laganside Courthouse.
Na Gaeil Óga, the Irish-language youth organisation that is organising the protest, is calling on the public to support the protest which will be held at 12pm today.
Seán Ó hAdhmaill, Chairperson of Na Gaeil Óga said,
“The feedback we have received is that people are surprised and outraged that a young teacher could be treated in such a scandalous way for speaking her native language, a language that is protected under the Good Friday Agreement and the St. Andrews Agreement (if implemented).
“It just shows how far we still have to go, in terms of securing basic linguistic rights in the north of Ireland. This case is a perfect example why a rights based Irish-language Act such as the one published by POBAL, the umbrella organisation for Irish-language organisations in the north of Ireland, is necessary.
“Máire Nic an Bhaird has shown great courage and composure in the face of bigoted provocation, and in requesting her trial to be heard in Irish. She is an example to young Irish-language speakers throughout Ireland and abroad and Na Gaeil Óga have and will gladly continue to support Máire throughout her courtcase.”
"On behalf of Máire, I’d like to thank all those who have supported her, in particular Conradh na Gaeilge who have organised a busload of supporters from Dublin at every hearing of her case, including today."
Friday, January 05, 2007
“We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”
The A.R.I.S.E. campaign issue for the month of January will be Shell to Sea and Rossport Solidarity.
Ógra Shinn Féin believe that Ireland’s natural resources should be nationalised and used for the benefit of all the people of Ireland.
The brown envelope corrupt politics of Fianna Fail must be exposed, to rubberstamp, oversee and force the robbery of natural resources is a crime against Irish men and women and pours scourn on the easter proclamation.
The Free State government not content in imprisoning 5 brave community activists who arose to defend the safety of their local community and to protest against the robbery of national resources, are now baton charging and brutalising the local community in Rossport and those who bravely assist them in their admirable stance.
We in Ógra Shinn Féin will not stand idly by, and pledge to stand beside you in times of need.
Throughout January, Ógra cumann and activists should be joining Shell to Sea groups where they exist and where they don’t they should be helping establish shell to sea groups.
We should be disseminating information through leaflet drops and fly postering, we should be raising the issue by letters and articles for local press, related publications and the net, and we should be bringing pressure to bear and targeting those responsible for this sellout of resources and abomination of the proclamation namely – Bertie Ahern, Shell, and Statoil.
We should be organising mobilisations to the Rossport Solidarity Camp.
And we should of course be supporting international, national and local days of action against the neo-colonial exploits of Shell and Statoil. We should especially be mobilising Ógra activists and youth in our areas to travel and stand shoulder to shoulder with the empowered but enseiged community of Rossport.
Let us A.R.I.S.E. against the neo-colonialists and drive them to sea!
“In the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation's sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation's soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.”
So Saddam Hussein, the butcher of Baghdad, is dead. What has his hanging achieved? "One less murderous bastard in the world!" some might say.
Well quite the opposite in fact. By gifting his followers a martyr as the Americans have done, he will live on forever in spirit to his followers. If this undoubted war criminal had lived out the rest of his natural life in a prison cell and died quietly years later, his passing would have gone only as a footnote to history. Though he would have lived and breathed for longer, he would have been far more dead to his supporters while still breathing than he is now.
The manner of his death will be remembered as a heroic end to his supporters. Killed by the American occupation, a martyr of Iraq. The trial showed many that the so-called Iraqi justice system is merely a system for processing American revenge. The Americans have shown that, as their imperialist predecessors did, they have no concept of fairness, democracy or justice.
For their petty revenge, they shall reap the whirlwind.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
As the shades of light came down
A lorry loads of volunteers approached the border town"
Through poem, story and song the exploits of Sean Sabhat and Fergal O’Hanlon continues to be told some 50 years after that fateful night in Co, Fermanagh at the dawning of 1957.
One of the most renowned Irish Ballads Sean South Of Garryowen recounts the events of that dreary New Years Eve in Brookeborough, whilst Patriot Game tells the story of Co. Monaghan native Fergal O’Hanlon.
Both young men, Sean aged 28 and Fergal 20, died in their struggle for freedom and independence in Ireland. Spurred on by the efforts of Pearse and Connolly some 41 years previously, the men, alongside 12 other Volunteers of the ‘Pearse Column’ brought their vision of freedom to Brookeborough on the fateful night. When the ill-fated operation had concluded both Sabhat and O’Hanlon were fatally wounded.
While the rest of the IRA unit made their way across the countryside towards the border both O’Hanlon and Sabhat were left in a out house before being discovered at day break the following day.
The thousands that turned out to the funerals in Co. Limerick and Co. Monghan was a testament to the respect both men had within their communities and indeed within the Republican movement.
What their deaths did was re-ignite the flame for Irish freedom amongst the Irish people. And one again a number of years later this flame came to fruition when the IRA once again stood defiantly against the British claim in Ireland.
Both men were of the age of Ógra Shinn Féin, today in Ógra we are spurred on by their sacrifice in the name of the Irish Republic.
The only fitting monument to these Soldiers of Ireland is the establishment of the 32 county democratic socialist republic for which the men gave their lives.
On their fiftieth anniversary we must once again re-dedicate ourselves to the cause for which they, and so many others have died to see their vision a reality!