Friday, August 31, 2007

The Next Big Task

Eoin O'Broin
In the coming months, the 26 Counties will be one of the only EU member states to hold a referendum on the newly titled Reform Treaty. The importance of this vote for the EU, Ireland and Sinn Féin cannot be underestimated.
Most observers understand that the Reform Treaty is simply a repackaged EU Constitution designed to enable the governments of France and the Netherlands to ratify it without the inconvenience of referenda.
The electorates of these two countries rejected the original text in 2005, creating a crisis at the heart of the EU federalist project. While the Constitution was due to be passed by referenda in up to 11 countries, the revised Reform Treaty may only be put to the democratic test in Ireland and Denmark.The Treaty, like the Constitution, will shape the future development of the EU – and Ireland relationship to it – for the coming decades. When European political leaders agree the final text in the autumn, a more detailed analysis will be required. At this stage, however, it is vital that Sinn Féin understands the strategic opportunity provided by the referendum campaign itself and responds accordingly.
Coming as it does midway between the 2007 general election and the 2009 local and European Parliamentary elections, it provides us with an enormous opportunity for re-energising the party and building our political strength. A strong and positive referendum campaign could act as a bridge between what has been a bad election this June and what must be a good election in two years time.
Ensuring this result requires us to see the referendum campaign as the next big task in our 26 County project, to allocate sufficient resources and to make it our campaigning priority in the coming months.
From the outset we need to understand and argue publicly that this referendum is winnable. While the first Nice Referendum campaign was as much lost by the Europhiles as it was won by the Eurocritics, this campaign is winnable even against the full weight of the political and media establishment.
The attitude of the Southern Irish electorate to the EU, like that of the French and Dutch, is shifting. Their willingness to uncritically accept the integrationist project irrespective of its impact is giving way to a more sophisticated engagement with each issue on its merits.
Significantly, a 2004 Eurobaramoter poll conducted six months before the referenda in France and the Netherlands indicated that only 28% of the Southern Irish electorate were in favour of the Constitution. The corresponding figures for France and the Netherlands were 48%and 63% respectively. That the No campaigns in these two countries were successful in spite of these starting points clearly indicates the potential that exists here.
Nobody believed that France and the Netherlands, two of the EU’s founding members, could reject the Constitution, but they did. We in Ireland can repeat the same success.
That Sinn Féin will be the only political party of significance campaigning against the Treaty provides us with the opportunity to both define and lead the EU-critical position. The success of the campaign will be determined in large part by what we say and do and crucially what level of resources we invest.
However, in order to win we need to radically rethink the form, style and content of our campaign. It is not enough merely to say No. We need to carefully articulate our Euro-critical message by honestly and simply explaining why the Reform Treaty is bad, and what alternatives we would put in its place.
We need to explain why the Treaty will undermine Irish and European democracy. We need to demonstrate how it will lead to a more militarised EU, playing a more negative role in conflicts around the world, further eroding Irish neutrality. We need to convince people that the end of the Social Europe project is enshrined in the text of the Treaty, accelerating the advance of neo-liberalism and further undermining public services and economic justice. We need to argue that human rights, civil liberties and global justice will all be undermined rather than advanced if this Treaty becomes law.
Crucially we need to demonstrate that there is an alternative. That a democratic, social and peaceful European Union is possible based on the values of sovereignty, participative democracy, equality and respect for human dignity and rights.Such a campaign can have no truck with right wing ‘Eurosceptics’ or anti-European scaremongering and misinformation. We need to provide intelligent, informed and honest leadership about where the EU is heading, what this means for Ireland and what other paths are available.
In doing so we can redefine Sinn Féin as both the credible and radical alternative to the failed politics and policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. We can utilise the campaign to build a Southern layer of party leadership – competent, fluent and sharp in public debate and able to take on anything the other parties have to offer.
We can also use the campaign to energise our activists and supporters while at the same time engaging that progressive section of the electorate who continue to choose Fianna Fáil, Labour and Greens despite the failure of those parties to provide meaningful solutions to so many of Ireland’s social and economic problems.
A strong referendum campaign would place Sinn Féin in poll position to maxamise the political and electoral opportunities available in 2009. A referendum victory would mean that despite all the odds we managed to convince a majority of the voting population of the state that our analysis of the EU is correct.
The implications of such a result, for our party, our struggle and Irish politics more generally would be profound. Another Europe is possible, its up to Sinn Féin to lead the way.

Ógra Shinn Féin launch ‘Road Safety’ Short Film

In order to increase awareness around the major issue of Road Safety, Ógra Shinn Féin have produced a short film.
National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin Barry McColgan said,
“The short film is part of the current ‘Moilligh Síos’ (Slow Down) campaign by Ógra. As a youth organisation, we aim to promote road safety and use our young activists as peer leaders, engaging with the broadest section of Irish youth on this serious issue which is the second biggest killer of our young people.”
“Obviously this campaign will be primarily based on street politics and face to face engagement, but with the growth of the internet and sites like YouTube and Bebo we will also be promoting road safety across these forums.”
“I would encourage everyone to view the film, and to help spread the message of the ‘Moilligh Síos’ campaign by passing it on to all friends and putting it up on their bebo pages.”

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Drumnakilly Martyrs 19th Anniversary

(A Drumnakilly Martyrs painting which Ógra will present to the families)

19 years ago today, the 30th August, 3 fine youthful volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann where killed while on active service in the Drumnakilly townland of Tyrone.

Brothers Gerard and Martin Harte, and their comrade Brian Mullin where cowardly ambushed by a unit of the British SAS.

The two Harte Brother’s hailed from the Republican village of Loughmacrory and where key people in their local area, both being members of the local GAA team, and assisting in local community projects.

Brian Mullin was from the Foremass area of Tyrone, his family known locally as the ‘Bard’ Mullins because a relative of theirs was a local storyteller. Brian was actively involved in his local community and all 3 where extremely dedicated Republican activists.

Despite the establishment media’s negative portrayal of the three men, the lies, deceit and slanderous comments where clearly rejected by the local community. Thousands lined the country roads of Loughmacrory and Foremass to pay tribute to these fine volunteers.

Their memory lives on today in their family, community, and the Republican Movement.

We in Ógra Shinn Féin, the Republican Youth of Tyrone salute the bravery of our fallen comrades and remember them with pride!

“If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!” James Connolly

To view a short film on the Drumnakilly Martyrs click here.

North Armagh 'Shoot to Kill' 25th Anniversary

Johnny McGibbon
Ógra Shinn Féin
An Lorgain

On November 11th 1982 Volunteers Eugene Toman, Gervase McKerr and Sean Burns were ambushed by the RUC in Lurgan, Co. Armagh . As they travelled in their Ford Escort they were attacked by the RUC and killed.

It was claimed that they refused to stop at an RUC checkpoint and, after they drove through it, they were fired upon. The RUC also claimed that fire was returned by the Volunteers. When the car finally came to a stop, RUC officers claimed they heard a gun being cocked, as they approached the car, and they opened up again. All three men were killed. Vol. Eugene Toman’s body was found outside the vehicle with the bullet wounds in his back. They were all unarmed.

The reality of what happened was that these men were victims of an RUC ambush. 109 bullets were put into the car and no fire returned. It was blatantly a ‘Shoot to Kill’ operation. Furthermore, the RUC executors were not just ordinary RUC members, it later developed that they were in fact members of the British Army trained Special Support Unit and that they had the three Volunteers under surveillance. At the court proceedings which followed, Lord Justice Gibson stated the men who were charged with the killings were "absolutely blameless". British justice for killing unarmed men.

Around two weeks later, on November 24th, another man was killed by the RUC, just outside Lurgan at a hayshed on the Ballinary North Road . This young man of 17, called Michael Tighe, was attacked alongside his good friend Martin McCauley, who survived the attack. They had been looking after a local woman’s animals while she was away. The RUC claimed they opened fire on two men they seen carrying rifles into the hayshed. They also claimed that it was a routine mobile patrol which spotted the men.

What later developed showed a different story. It later became clear that in fact, the hayshed had been under surveillance and that there was a tape recording of events at the hayshed. But, as John Stalker later discovered during his Inquiry, the tape had conveniently gone missing.

Just another few short weeks later, two other men also met the same fate, Seamus Grew and Roddey Carroll from Armagh City . Both men were unarmed and were executed by RUC personnel.

The legacy of ‘Shoot to Kill’ stretches right across the British campaign in the north and beyond. These incidents in North Armagh were followed by incidents like Loughgall, Gibrlaltar, the murder of Patrick Shanaghan and the murder of Pearse Jordan; to name only a few. They spanned over a long period of years. It is impossible to claim these were all isolated incidents; hardly one-offs. What they really were, was part of the British Government’s ‘Shoot to Kill’ policy.

The memory of ‘Shoot to Kill’ is still evident in North Armagh . This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the murders of Michael Tighe, and also Volunteers Eugene Toman, Sean Burns and Gervase McKerr. A 25th Anniversary Committee has been formed and plans are now well underway organising commemorative events, to take place around the anniversary and in the build up.

The work of the Committee to date has been met with a level of enthusiasm that I didn’t expect. Whilst I knew the response would be great, I didn’t realise quite how great. The sponsored walk and the function were met with interest from young and old alike; and there is constant interest in the website and any upcoming events. People are stopping you on the street and asking you about the plans for the anniversary, there is a real buzz in the community for the events.

I think this is the most fitting tribute to those who lost their lives. The fact that the community still remembers 25years on, speaks volumes about men like Volunteers Eugene Toman, Gervase McKerr and Sean Burns. Young people, including myself, who weren’t even born at the time, are out in their droves to commemorate these men. They recognise the sacrifice these men made for future generations.

Their spirit is certainly still alive in Lurgan and so is the spirit of Republican youth!

Night To Remember in Lurgan

Ógra activists in Lurgan played a vital role in organising fundraising events to mark the 25th Anniversary of the British ‘Shoot to Kill’ atrocities in North Armagh , this past weekend.

Ógra activists, who are part of the 25th Anniversary Committee, helped organise a sponsored walk and function on Saturday 25th August. The sponsored walk saw around 50 people of all ages, walk from the Ballinary North Road outside Derrymacash, into Tullygally. This was to coincide with where Michael Tighe was shot, outside Derrymacash, and also were Volunteers Gervase McKerr, Eugene Toman and Sean Burns were ambushed, at Tullygally.

The sold out function on Saturday night, saw Derek Warfield of the Wolfe Tones entertaining around 500 in the Sports Bar, at Centrepoint in Lurgan.

Ógra activist, and Upper Bann Sinn Féin Councillor, Johnny McGibbon spoke at the event,

“We in the Anniversary Committee feel that the 25th Anniversary of the events of 1982 must be given a fitting tribute. We feel the sacrifice of these men must be remembered and that the strategy of the British Government must be exposed.”

He continued,

“These ambushes in North Armagh were not isolated incidents, but instead were part of an orchestrated strategy by British Government. They were an attempt to incite fear in our communities and to defeat the republican movement. Our presence here tonight shows they failed.”

“While the memories of Volunteers like Sean Burns, Eugene Toman and Gervase McKerr live on; people like Margaret Thatcher slip into history being held in nothing but contempt.”

The 25th Anniversary Committee will be organising more fundraising and commemorative events in the build up to the November Anniversaries. Please support these events by visiting

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

An Géarchéim Tithíochta

le Peadar de Bluit

Le deanaí cuireadh tús le feachtas úrnua i mBlá Cliath. Tá an feachtas seo bunaithe thimpeall an méid tithe folamh, nó inúsáidte, atá sa príomhcathair, go háirithe agus sinn i lár géarchéim tithíochta mórthimpeall na tíre. Tá praghas fothain fad-téarmach imithe ar mire ar fad. Tá sé beagnach do-dhianta ar dhaonine óga tigh nua a ceannach gan cabhair éigin a fháil óna tuistí, ar a laghad. In ainneoin an méid seo áfach fós tá scata mór tithe folamh fud fad na cathrach. Sé aidhm an plean seo ná aird a tharraingt ar mhéid na faibhde i measc an phobail, ach go háirithe i measc daoine áitiúla na ceantair sin. Tá ceart bunreachtúil ag daoine fothain agus sábhailteacht a bheith acu agus iad ag cur fúthu sa stáit. Tá an eagráíocht i mBlá Cliath ag súil go dtuigfidh daoine an méid sin tréan bhfeachtas seo.

Ar an lá a cuireadh tús leis an bhfeachtas tháinig sé amach nach fadhb ag baint leis an bpríomhcathair amháin atá anseo ach ar fud na stáit atá sé. Níos measa ná sin áfach, ní tithe folamh amháin a bhí i gceist ach tithe saoire araon leoithe. De réir an daonáireamh is déanaí tá níos mó ná 30,000 tithe folamh ag am ar bith sa stát seo. Leis an eolas seo againn is scéal níos measa fós í go bhfuil daoine ann, nach mbíonn fothain ar bith acu am ar bith i rith na bliana. Mar sin más daoine sinn atá tugtha don comhionannas b’fhearr a ceistiú cad is féidir linne a dhéanamh faoi, agus cé atá ciontach as an méid atá dul ar aghaidh. Ar an gcéad ceist tá sé rí-léir gur gá dúinn a bheith gníomhach i ngach uile pobail sa stát seo agus an coir seo a mhúscailt i measc na ndaoine, post atá idir lámha ag muintir Blá Cliath, sampla r cheart dúinn a leanúint. Ar an dara ceist is dóigh féin gur gá amharc ar an rialtas.

Tá a fhios againn go léir an gaol láidir atá ann idir roinnt baill, agus iar-bhaill, den rialtas agus an lucht tógála. Chomh maith céanna tá cur amach ag roinnt againn ar na dlithe pleanála agus conas a castar iad, go minic ar son na tógálaithe céanna. Tóg mar shampla roinn cúig de thithíocht sóisialta agus inceannaithe, tá tógálaithe in ann éalú leis an cuid sin den reachtaíocht tré suim airgead a íoc don údarás áitiúl. Ní hamháin go bhfuil seo ag cur bac ar dhaoine atá ag iarraidh tithíocht a ceannach ar phraghas réasúnta, ach tá sé ag oscailt bearna ollmhór idir na haicmí sóisialta chomh ag cruthú sochaí ar dhá céim éagsúil.

Mar sin mar aon leis an córas sláinte, píobháidiú acmhainní an stáit agus a leithéid, arís anseo tá an rialtas ag iarraidh ionadaíocht a dhéanmh ar son lucht an airgead agus an cuid eile dúinn a fhágáil taobh thiar, tá teipithe ag an Sóisialach Ahern arís. De bharr sin tá an post againne rí-thábhachtach. Caithfimidne seasamh suas dosna daoine a bhfuil dearmad déanta ag an rialtas orthu, mar mura dhéanaimidne ní dhéanfaidh aoinne eile a dhath ach an oiread.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interview with Ireland's Youngest Councillor: Johnny McGibbon

How did you get involved in Politics? How did you get involved with Sinn Féin?

I got involved with Sinn Féin by joining Ógra, when I started the University of Ulster in September 2005. I joined a very strong College Cumann, which matched my enthusiasm and gave me a welcoming introduction to life in Sinn Féin and Ógra. I then proceeded to join Sinn Féin in my local area of Lurgan, and soon after founded Ógra Shinn Féin in Upper Bann. This was my first real involvement in politics.

My family background is one you could class as political, although of various different shapes and sizes! However, I wouldn’t really put this as a reason for my involvement in politics.

Growing up in Lurgan, I was exposed to politics at an early age; although I might not have realised it at the time. One of my first political memories is the scene in my local area after the first IRA ceasefire in 1994. Although, I didn’t really know what all the fuss was about! Like many other areas, British Army and RUC patrols were a daily sight for nationalists in Lurgan, and it was common to see them patrol around the local primary school I attended close to my house. Later, as I grew older I began to realise that this constant military presence in the town wasn’t right. I began to reject the media spin that Republicans were terrorists and criminals, and started to read more about Republican politics and history.

By the time I started the University of Ulster, I had made the decision I wanted to play my part in building a United Ireland.

What other roles have you carried out in Ógra and what roles to you hold currently?

The first role I ever carried out for Ógra was as secretary for the University Cumann in Jordanstown. After this I became secretary for Cúige Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin, and now I am National Secretary for Ógra. A domino effect it would seem! I am also currently Organiser of Cúige Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin, and a member of the national executive of Ógra Shinn Féin, An Chomhairle Náisiúnta.

How do you see Ógra’s role within the Struggle, and what are the benefits of Ógra?

Ógra plays an important role in the struggle. That is the role of recruiting and educating young activists. Through campaigns, weekends, debates, public meetings and education seminars, Ógra is vital in producing young, dedicated activists. This helps us build Sinn Féin and the Republican vision, and also helps popularise the struggle.

The benefits of Ógra from my point of view are clear to anyone who has come through the youth structure. Ógra helps build confidence amongst young people by promoting debate and encouraging people to express their opinions. Ógra gives young Republicans the chance to engage with comrades their own age and also to meet leadership figures they might not normally get to meet. It is also important Ógra is a working part of the local movement, so young activists can benefit from the experiences of older comrades.

How do you see our participation in councils, and your role as a councillor, advancing our Struggle?

In this phase of our struggle building our support, both electorally and within communities, is of the up most importance. The conditions have been created, through the determination of Republicans over the past 30 years, which allow us to build political support for the legitimate aspiration of a United Ireland. The courageous decisions taken throughout the peace process by the IRA and the strong leadership given by Republicans have led to these conditions. This is an opportunity we must seize, and part of this is in the councils. We must build in these institutions by working for, and representing, the people who our voting for us. We must show the same leadership and dedication in these institutions, as Republicans have always done, in order to bring about real change. We can’t sit about and wait for change, and it can’t happen if we aren’t representing the people who support our vision.

Personally, as a councillor I intend to represent constituents in my area, Loughside, to the best of my ability. I also want to help the rest of our council team to build the Republican voice on Craigavon Council. To be honest, I see myself more as a political activist than a politician. I will work with, and represent, all of the constituents of my area to the best of my ability, but I am also there to build support for the ideas of Sinn Féin. I think this is part of what makes us different from any other party, both our ideals and how we work as a team.

How does your role as Councillor differ from being a Sinn Féin activist?

As I said before, I see myself very much as a Sinn Féin activist. I think this is true of all our public representatives. Obviously there are the formal activities involved with the council, like the council meetings and committees, which are very different from what you encounter in your everyday role as an activist. There is also dealing with the ‘bread and butter’ issues of constituents, which is new to me. But really all of this is just a different part of being an activist.

How do we avoid becoming institutionalized?

Becoming institutionalized is not something I would be overly concerned about. I think Sinn Féin representatives are in public, or elected, roles as activists. As I said before by remaining Republican activists we can continue to strive towards our goals. A wise man once told me, ‘as long as we hold on to that 'Brits Out' attitude in our minds, we’ll be fine.’ I couldn’t say it any better than that.

How do you think young people see Sinn Féin?

This is something I can definitely relate to, being only 21 years old myself. I think young people see Sinn Féin as people who deliver. I think we are seen as driving the real desire amongst young people for change in Ireland.

How do we make Sinn Féin relevant to young people?

I think by continuing to campaign on issues of relevance to young people. Things like Student Fees, Affordable Housing, Car Insurance and more, need to be kept on the agenda. Ógra also has a role in this. Ógra can ensure youth issues are kept to the fore in the political arena and help Sinn Féin bring about change. I know Ógra has been actively campaigning to reduce the voting age to 16; this is a good example of how to make Republican politics relevant to young people.

Quickfire Round

Favourite Food: Spaghetti Bolognese (On pasta that isn’t spaghetti! E.g. penne lol)

Favourite Drink : Guinness

Favourite Music / Artist: All types

Favourite Film: The Godfather I and II

Favourite Book: The Godfather

Favourite Holiday: Santa Ponsa

Most memorable moment in Ógra: Probably when I went to Catalunya representing Ógra

Person you would like to meet (living): Nelson Mandela

Person you would like to meet (deceased): Bobby Sands

Ógra Shinn Féin take part in Successful Derry Weekend

Ógra Shinn Féin took part in a successful Republican youth weekend in Derry at the weekend.
Despite the bad weather a large crowd turned out on Saturday afternoon for a tour of republican plaques erected in memory of the Volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann who died on active service in the Creggan area.

The tour, which also the City Cemetery was given by comrades of those who died. In the city cemetery no fewer than 107 flagpoles are erected throughout the cemetery. Every flag pole was erected at the graves of Irish Republicans who have died in the name of Irish freedom down through the years.

Following the tour a discussion took place on 'Youth In Struggle'. Speakers from Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin addressed the event. Two DVDs were shown, one of which was the Ógra Shinn Féin, Youth in Struggle DVD released during the summer.

Barry McNally, who spoke on behalf of Ógra said in his address,

“The Republican struggle has always been a youthful one right from its inception of Irish republicanism. But until 1909 there wasn’t really a structured, co-ordinated approach to youthful opposition to British rule in Ireland. Following the formation of Na Fianna all that changed. Indeed many Na Fianna Members were active throughout Easter week of 1916 and 5 activists of Na Fianna lost their lives.”

Barry also spoke of the youth involvement in the current phase of the conflict in Ireland highlighting the Battle of the Bogside, the youth reclaiming the streets through riots, the hunger strikes and the huge mobilisation of youth on the outside at that time.

Moving on to speak about Ógra Shinn Féin, Barry highlighted many campaigns that Ógra are active on. He highlighted the British Demilitarisation campaign in Omagh which Ógra has recently claimed a victory for.

Following the youth in struggle talk events concluded for Saturday.

Sunday seen the annual Spirit of Freedom march, which started in front of the Beachwood shops. Accompanied by the Spirit of Freedom RFB and the Strabane memorial Flute band the parade made its way to the Telstar beside the Creggan shops. The march was well attended and refreshments were served following the march.

Speaking following the Weekend Barry McNally said,

“On behalf of the Ógra activists who attended this weekend I would like to thank the Spirit of Freedom for the invitation. The hospitality and events were of the highest standard. Such events organised by Irish Republican youth are an indication, if any were needed that the republican struggle is in safe hands.”

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ógra assist in Highlighting Norwegian plunder of Irish Natural Resources

Yesterday Ógra Shinn Féin took part in a Shell 2 Sea protest outside the Norwegian embassy to highlight the involvement of the Norwegian state through Statoil in the plunder of Ireland's natural resources. Our point, that citizens of Norway will benefit more from the resources of Ireland than the Irish people was particularly shocking to many passersby from which there was a positive reaction.

Ógra spokesperson Oisín Ó Dubhláin said:

"The plunder of our natural resources by companies like Statoil in conjunction with Shell is nothing less than a disgrace. With activists opposing this robbery of the Irish people being imprisoned for months and some on trial with the possibility of being sentenced to years imprisonment, we can not abandon the people of Mayo."

"These companies are ruthless but we must dedicate ourselves to making this project impossible. We must blacken the name of these plunderers and shame them at every chance, we must make Shell the 21st century Cpt. Boycott. We must stand up to Garda repression and brutality and never allow this to happen again."

The Shell to Sea stall in Dun Laoghaire will be part of the Cool Earth Fair -open from 11am – 6pm, Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th of August in Dun Laoghaire County Hall, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire.

The Shell to Sea campaign will also be holding an information session in Mayo at Healy's hall in Glenamoy on Saturday 25th August from 2-6PM.

There will be a large scale protest action at the site of the proposed Shell refinery in Mayo on the morning of September 14th.

Republican Band Weekend in Derry

Republicans from throughout Ireland will converge on Derry this weekend for the Annual Bands weekend. The weekend is organised by the Sprit of Freedom Flute band.

The weekend includes a tour of Plagues marking places of significance in Derry , where various events took place. Many of the sites will be the places where IRA Volunteers from the Derry brigade lost their lives. The tour will commence at Dunree Gardens , opposite St Mary’s school at 2:30pm on Saturday.

Following the tour, a youth in struggle DVD and talk will take place in the Cornbeef tin in Creggan. Speakers from Sinn Féin, Ógra Shinn Féin and Toirsire Republican Youth will participate in the talk.

Included on Saturday also is a waxaton in the Telstar bar which will be followed by entertain from Pogie Mo Thion.

On Sunday there will be a parade and Bands competition. People are asked to assemble at the Beachwood shops at 3:00pm. This will be followed by refreshments in the Telstar. A function is also planned in the Telstar on Sunday night.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Let’s hope that they don’t pull another Rabbitte out of the hat!


The resignation of Pat Rabbitte should be welcomed by those on the left in Ireland, both inside and outside the Labour party. Rabbitte’s record has shown him to be a corrosive element on the Irish left, bitterly opposed to Sinn Féin, the largest political force on the left in Ireland, and all too willing to move the Labour Party to the centre-right and align with Fine Gael, adopting many of their policies wholesale.

The members of the Labour Party that consider themselves left-wing, particularly those progressive individuals in Labour Youth, have a battle on their hands. They need to ensure that they get a Labour Party leader elected that recognises the importance of left cooperation and the need to realign Irish politics in the long-term beyond the old Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael axis. They need to ensure that the new Labour Party leader adopts this as their primary political project, bringing Labour back to the left and broader cooperation with others in the spectrum of the left, particularly Sinn Féin.

In the last 2 elections the Labour Party has not seen any significant movement in its support. When they stand alone they go nowhere, when they align themselves to a centre-right platform with Fine Gael they recede while giving the Blueshirts a new lease of life.

There is only one road down which the Labour Party should go, that is to put a strong, left-wing analysis in front of the people, working alongside Sinn Féin against the pro-privatisation, neo-liberal type politics espoused by the other parties.

The first steps have been taken by Labour in the deal done with Sinn Féin in the Seanad election. While this was done under Rabbitte’s leadership, it was certainly against his established political track record of pouring scorn on Sinn Féin, suggesting that those on the left of the Labour Party have been active in this role already.

They now need to drive home their advantage and ensure that a progressive, far-sighted leader is put in place.

Let’s hope that they don’t pull another Rabbitte out of the hat! Editor takes a Shine to Ógra!

( editor David Cochrane - He of High Intellect.........)

Gerry Junior

He of high intellect, sultan of satire, all round good guy and Dave out of the Royle Family lookalike, David Cochrane recently took a shine to Ógra Shinn Féin on 'HIS' website,

The wisard of wisdom came across a picture of Ógra's national launch of their Road Safety - 'Moilligh Síos' campaign, which was in Omagh Town Centre which happens to have a bank. Dave being Dave, zoned in on this unbelievable discovery, and hey, the rest is history.

Dave 'Sherlock Holmes' Cochrane and his website look set to win investigative journalist and current affairs website of the year awards, due to this amazing discovery.

Meanwhile he is currently assessing the irony of placing a Bertie Ahern poster outside of, wait for it, a House!

Gerry Junior wishes to acknowledge that Dave is perhaps the most super intelligent person in all the world!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007



New Venue for National Congress!

Due to a clash of events, the Comhdháil Náisiúnta (National Congress) previously scheduled for the Teachers Club will now be held in Dublin's ATGWU Hall on Middle Abbey Street.
The National Congress will still take place from the 2nd - 4th November and all cumann are asked to send in motions and delegates to or 4 - 5 James Street, Omagh, County Tyrone by Saturday 1st September.
The above poster has been updated to include the new venue and should be used to promote the Congress.

I’ll bet you we get a United Ireland!

Gerry Junior

One of Ireland’s biggest bookies and safe house to many an absentee husband, Paddy Power, has just released odds for a United Ireland.

Odds of 10/1 are being offered for a United Ireland to be achieved by 2027, 14/1 by 2022, 20/1 by 2017 and the most ambitious 25/1 by 2012.

So there you have it, recognition from a great community provider and champion of an honest life style, that a United Ireland is a coming.

We’ve all been told the British Queen enjoys a flutter, so what year will Lizzy go for?

And who knows maybe new British Premier Gordon Brown, will have a secret wee bet, go for 2012 safe in the knowledge that he can de-colonise the North and stand assured to secure a tidy sum multiplied by 25, we always said a United Ireland made sense economically.

Perhaps Gordon, Lizzy, Ian and Reg could come together, make a collective bet and in one sweep, free Ireland, get rich and flease poor Paddy Power.

We have all heard fight for a United Ireland, vote for a United Ireland, now Paddy Power is simply asking you to bet for a United Ireland.

Gerry Junior in no way endorses gambling: apart from the

- Sinn Féin National Draw
- Local Sinn Féin Lotteries
- Raffles at Republican Functions

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin launch 'Housing is a Right' Campaign

Ógra Shinn Féin have launched throughout Dublin, its campaign to highlight the vast quantity of housing opportunities left unused in the city whilst tens of thousands of people, with more every year are in need of suitable affordable housing.

Ógra Dublin Chairperson Oisin Dolan said:

"We visited numerous housing estates across Dublin and one of the problems which was constant was boarded up housing units. These houses which are not only a massive waste of housing opportunities but a facilitator for anti social behaviour. They have becoming drinking and drug dens, which are regularly vandalised and dumped on, attracting rats and disease. We met with councillors and community leaders and discussed their concerns. We also delivered around 1000 letters to homes in the surrounding estates highlighting the problem and the need for a focused public housing programme to end this crisis in Dublin, highlighting the work Sinn Féin councilors and TD's have done and the work they are carrying out towards finding a solution."

“Many young people from the city are wishing to pursue college and careers in the capital are forced to leave Dublin due to extortionate rents and poor quality accommodation.

“Government refusal to deliver social and affordable housing is resulting in the slow destruction of communities, where those who cannot afford the massive asking prices of private profiteers are forced to leave the place where they grew up and commute from inadequately serviced towns. The youth of Dublin have a right to live in Dublin, in affordable and acceptable housing.

“Throughout the city there are boarded up houses, with many of them needing little work in order to make habitable. Instead they are left to gather dust and keep up property prices for speculators.

“Ógra Shinn Fein is calling on the government to open up these houses, refurbish those that are in need of it and take the steps towards delivering a focused public housing programme that delivers housing as a right not a privilege.

“Delivery of suitable housing cannot be solely the responsibility of the private sector, nor should not be left up to how much money can be squeezed from young people in need of place live or raise a family. It is the obligation of the state to provide for its future, cherishing its children equally as it says in the proclamation of 1916.

“We can stop the destruction of our communities. We can create viable public housing schemes, which suit the needs of every part of the community. Support our campaign and tell the government…HOUSING IS A RIGHT, NOT A PRIVILEGE!"

Drogheda Ógra Shinn Fein demand recreational facilities for youth of the area

Yesterday, Sunday 19th august Drogheda Ógra Shinn Féin were present at the brief visit of a mobile skateboard park to the town centre. Unfortunately this skateboard park was only made available for 3 hours and while it was highly enjoyable for the youth of the area, it was unfortunately short-lived.

Over three years ago Sinn Fein councillors put a motion before Drogheda Borough council calling for the provision within the town of a skateboard park. A detailed proposal was put forward which would see Louth county council fund the park with insurance paid for under a government funded scheme. A design for a suitable structure made of concrete and steel was included. Such a design would have had the advantage of needing very little maintenance and Sinn Fein also proposed that a local business be approached to sponsor the project. All in the entire project would have been completed in six months.

The proposal was rejected by Labour, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael whom at the time said they would bring forward their own proposals which have yet to be seen.

Yesterday Drogheda Ógra Shinn Féin spoke with parents and young people present at the fly-by-night skateboard park and distributed a leaflet detailing why Drogheda council has not made provisions of a skateboard park for the youth of the area.

Speaking on the day Drogheda Ógra spokesperson Áine Ni Dhubháin said:

“Drogheda town is in great need for recreational facilities for young people. Though playgrounds are being provided for younger children it is essential that there are also facilities for teenagers. Provision of recreational facilities is recognised as playing an important role on diverting teenagers from drinking and involvement in anti-social behaviour. Once again the needs of the young people of the area are being ignored. We in Ógra Shinn Fein are demanding a revisiting of the proposal by the council and for the needs of Drogheda’s young people to be met.”

Can Venezuela Lead the Way?

Oisin Dolan
Ógra Shinn Féin

Hugo Chavez and his coalition of tens of parties smaller than his Fifth Republic Movement is doing what the left all over the world has wanted to do, needed to do and so desperately failed to do in the last century of struggle for socialism.

Just last week President Hugo Chavez finished a tour of South America with the signing of agreements by Bolivia's Evo Morales, and Argentina's Nestor Kirchner to share the costs of energy production in the southern Bolivian town of Tarija. They agreed to fund the construction of a gas-separation plant near Bolivia's border with Argentina. Chavez has been campaigning for more integration of the energy industry in South America. This was the close of a four-nation tour promoting South American energy production. He announced intentions to buy as much as one-billion-dollars worth of Argentine bonds and guaranteed Uruguay access to Venezuelan oil for decades. Chavez has been lobbying to join the South American trade block Mercosur, which is comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

This may seem like another far off development which has no impact on our lives or our struggle but this is not the case. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has embarked on a political, social and Cultural Revolution, turning capitalism on its head and shaking out the parasites of the IMF and World Bank. It has built what we only talk about in vagaries, the participatory democracy, the socialist reforms and a unity of not just the left in Venezuela but of a huge chunk of South America, so bruised and bloodied from years of imperialist American intervention.

They have shown up the disgraceful practices of Fianna Fail here, gifting the resources of the Irish people to Shell and other private interests. The claim that one of the richest countries in the world could not take advantage of its own natural resources while Venezuela and others in the region have thrown out the private profiteers and used fuel to not just better the Venezuelan people’s lot but that of the whole continent and even, although the offer was refused by the state, to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.

Through Bolivarian circles, communities have been empowered. Through deals with Cuba, a public health service is being built. Children are fed and educated. It is no paradise, but is this not worth the shaking off the chains of rigid sectarian ideology over the advancement of society? Are our ego’s too big to see that together the left can achieve these kind of advances? I hope not.

Of course it would be unbalanced to say that Chavez is without flaws, he has shown a liking for personal power which it is feared by some, threatens the democratic future of Venezuela, his calls to allow him to run again for president, the passing of an enabling act all aid his opponents.

But of course these are countered by his supporters in the fact that he has run more elections than any other government in the region since 1999 and has won all with a substantial polling. Not to mention the fact that he was temporarily overthrown in a very undemocratic coup by those who are his most vocal opponents, which is sure to leave anyone a bit edgy.

Chavez is loved by the ordinary people and hated by the rich and powerful of Venezuela who has lost the ability to exploit and corrupt. His character can be distracting but to learn the lessons of Venezuela we must look past this colorful leader to the mass movement which has been built based on national pride, social solidarity and liberty, and brought about by the realisation that a united a people will never be defeated.

Ógra Shinn Féin March For Truth!

A crowd of several thousand people descended in Belfast on Sunday 12th August for the March for Truth. The march was demanding the truth to be told on the British policy of Collusion in the north of Ireland.

Hundreds of people where targeted and made victim by the British policy of collusion and the march on Sunday was an effort to force the British to reveal the truth of their role in the conflict and in particular Shoot to Kill and Collusion.

Amongst the thousands on the march in Belfast was a large contingent of Ógra Shinn Féin. Marching from Short Strand Ógra Shinn Féin, through floats and role plays, highlighted the passing on of details to loyalist death squads by British Military intelligence and the RUC. Many carried banners of Collusion victims and Youth for Truth.

Speaking of the mobilisation Ógra Shinn Féin, spokesperson Johnny McGibbon said

“The purpose of this mobilisation was to draw attention to collusion and British state violence. We are determined to uncover the truth behind the official British policy of collusion, and the large attendance at the rally is proof that the issue will simply not go away."

"We will continue the campaign until the families of victims uncover the truth. The British must admit to their dirty war in Ireland.”

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A quiet day for Leinster Ógra Shinn Féin.........

Activists from Leinster Ógra Shinn Féin showed their commitment to the Shell to Sea campaign by leafleting the crowds in O'Connell Street for the second time in recent weeks, at lunchtime on Saturday 18th August.
‘Shell to Sea’ is an international non violent campaign, rooted in the Erris community, Co. Mayo. The campaign seeks to ensure that the proposed Corrib gas terminal and pipeline are constructed offshore. Five local people, internationally known as the Rossport Five, were jailed in Mountjoy Prison as a result of resisting Shell and Statoil’s plan to build their refinery and pipeline.
Despite the opposition of the people in this part of Mayo, 3 fishermen were also arrested recently for their opposition to the multinationals’ plans, while a ‘Solidarity Camp’ is continuously present on the beach near Pollathomais along the proposed route of the gas pipeline. One of the Rossport Five campaigners has just received the acclaimed ‘Goldaman Environmental Award ’
ÓSF will continue to support the Shell the Sea campaign, with trips to Mayo planned as well as activities in Dublin and around the country.
After the protest ÓSF Leinster held a Cúige meeting where they discussed the previous month events which included leaflet drops, protests, banner making, mobilisations to Belfast and Omagh and political discussions. There was a number of items also raised at the meeting including a Leinster raffle, which will take place in the next few months, the rolling out of the National campaign 'Moilligh Síos!', translated as Slow Down, and the up coming College Fresher’s with Leinster ÓSF focusing on Dundalk IT, Athlone IT and Maynooth.
After the Cúige meeting Leinster organiser Eugene Garvey and new South Leinster co - ordinator Peadar de Bluit took a trip down to Gorey Co Wexford to meet up with a number of young enthusiastic Republicans from all around Wicklow & Wexford and talk to them about setting up Ógra Cumainn in their areas.
Speaking at the meeting Eugene said,
“A large number of teens all over Ireland go around wearing a Celtic top, listen to the Wolfe Tone and dream of a united Ireland. It is our job to turn their dreams in to reality and encourage them to play there part, it is not good enough simply to sing about Joe McDonnell. We must fallow on in his footsteps and complete the work that he and so many before and after him have started.”
After the meeting Peadar de Bluit said,
“I am inspired by the number of people at the meeting and the energy coming out of it. I have no doubt that in the week and month ahead there will be a vibrant Ógra presence in Wexford and Wicklow.”
If you are interested in becoming a member of Ógra Shinn Féin in Leinster please contact Eugene with all your details by email at

Friday, August 17, 2007

Comhdháil Náisiúnta '07 - Mobilise now!

Ógra Shinn Féin’s biggest event of the year, the National Congress, will take place from November 2 – 4 in Dublin. The venue for this year’s Congress will be the Teacher’s Club on Parnell Square and the clár will include a leadership speech, address from international comrades, launch of a new revolutionary film, as well as the usual debate and workshops.

This year’s National Congress is expected to attract a large crowd considering the emergence of new Ógra cumann over the previous year and as a result the Congress will be spanned over 3 days.

Registration and motions for the National Congress must be completed and sent to or 4 – 5 James Street Omagh, County Tyrone for Saturday 1st September. Although consideration will be given to new College cumann, for all other cumann, late submissions will not be accepted.

National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin, Barry McColgan said,

“We would urge Ógra Shinn Féin cumann and activists to start mobilising for the National Congress now. It is an opportunity to discuss and debate the way forward for the coming year, to develop plans of work, to foster relationships with our international comrades and to build comradeship amongst the national organisation.”

“An informed, debating and active youth is essential for the future of our struggle. The National Congress provides a forum to build on that, delivering a platform from which young republicans can discuss strategy and develop action plans for the future.”

Seolann Uachtarán SF Slógadh Bliantúil Shinn Féin

Sheol Uachtarán Sinn Féin Gerry Adams MP MLA Slógadh bliantúil Shinn Féin i mBaile Átha Cliath (19-21 Deireadh Fómhair) inniu agus mhol sé doGhaeilgeoirí agus do fhoghlaimeoirí a bheith páirteach agus sult a bhaint asna himeachtaí éagsúla.
Dúirt an tUasal Adams:
"Tá Sinn Féin ar thús cadhnaíochta i dtábhacht na teanga agus an chultúir Ghaelaigh a chur chun cinn agus a háit a chosaint le linn nahidirbheartaíochta a raibh Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta agus Comhaontú ChillRímhinn mar thoradh uirthi ar bhonn uile-Éireann.
"Is iad Sinn Féin an t-aon pháirtí polaitiúil a eagraíonn comhdháil bhliantúil Ghaeilge.
"Tugann an Slógadh Gaeilgeoirí le chéile le haghaidh díospóireachta, ceoilagus craic.
"Tá sé oscailte do chách.
"Is í maireachtáil agus athbheochan na Gaeilge scéal bhua cultúrtha ár dtíre. Tá níos mó daoine ag úsáid na Gaeilge in aghaidh an lae. Tá páistíóga go háirithe á n-oiliúint trí mheán na Gaeilge in uimhreacha atá ag duli méad agus caithfear a dtodhchaí agus a gcearta a chaomhnú.
"Molaim go gach duine, idir óg agus aosta freastal ar an taispeántas seo archultúr na hÉireann agus le leanstan ar aghaidh ón deireadh seachtaine tharbarr anuraidh i mBéal Feirste."
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP/MLA has today launched the annual Sinn Féin Slógadh in Howth, Dublin (19-21 October) and has urged all Irish speakers and learners everywhere to take part and enjoy the numerous events.

Mr Adams said:

"Sinn Féin has been to the forefront in promoting the importance and safeguarding the position of the Irish language and culture during the negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement and St Andrews Agreement on an all-Ireland basis."

Sinn Féin is the only political party to organise an annual Irish language conference.

The Slógadh brings together gaelgeoiri for debate, music and craic.

It is open to everyone.

The survival and revival of Irish has been our country's cultural success story. More and more people are using Irish. Young children in particular are being educated in increasing numbers through the medium of Irish and it is their future and their rights that must be cherished.

"I urge everyone, young and old to attend this showcase of Irish culture and to follow on from last years excellent weekend in Béal Feirste."
Slogadh Shinn Fein 2007
Datai: Aoine 19u - Domhnach 21u Deireadh Fomhair
Ionad: Ostan Deerpark, Binn Eadair, Co. Atha Cliath
Costas: 125euro- 2 oiche B+B agus dinnear oiche Shathairn
Imeachtai: diospoireachtai, leacht, turas ar Bhinn Eadair,
bronnadh Gradam na Poblachta,
ceol oiche Aoine agus oiche Shathairn.
Nios mo eolais o: Eimear Ni Mhurchadha
Oifigeach Chultuir BAC
00 353 87 9691620

Naoimh nó Naimhde

le Peadar de Bluit

Bheifeá caillte tar éis an tseachtain seo ag iarraidh a dhéanamh amach cé atá ar cén taobh insan agóid Aer Lingus. Tá an méid sin taobhanna éagsúla go bhfuilid roinnte suas idir naoimh is naimhde. Bhí mé suí ann tar éis an nuacht an céad lá a bhris an scéal is mé measctha go hiomlán. Bhí ciréib cainte idir muintir Sionna, na ceardchumainn, oibrithe an t-Aerfort, an Rialtas, Ryanair, bainistíocht Aer Lingus agus na meán cumarsáide sáite eatarthu ar fad. Bhíos caillte go hiomlán ach ansin d’imigh an scéal in olcas. Bhí na eitiltí ag bogadh, “Go dtí cén áit?”, arsa mé féin. Ansin do chonaic mé miongháire ollmhór ar an céad Aire, agus Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh taobh leis, bhí a fhios agam nach ag críochnú a bhí an scéal seo ach ag tosú…

An lá dár gcionn lorg mé comhairle ón lár-ionad eolais; An céad rud ós mo chomhair amach ba ea preas ráiteas ó Maurice Quinlivan á cáineadh íobart na heitiltí ó Sionna. Bhí eitiltí nua ag teacht go Béal Feirste áfach ní féidir sin a fhágáil ar leathaobh, an féidir? Níor fhágfadh, thíos píosa ón gcéad preas ráiteas bhí pictiúr Paul Maskey ann. Scrúdaigh mé an méid a bhí ann agus dar ndóigh ag fáiltiú na heitiltí a bhí sé, an raibh cogadh cathartha na heitiltí ar tí briseadh amach eadrainn féin? Ní raibh cinnte, thíos ag bun luaigh sé a déistin gur fhágadh Sionna gan na heitiltí seo, bhíomar tar éis sinn féin a shlánú. Cad féin cuid eile áfach?

Tar éis ár suíomh féin a fhágáil go dtí suíomh eile nuachta a chuas. Cinnte a dhóthain, bhí cogadh na heitiltí faoi lánsheol. Gan dabht an rialtas a bhí ag fulaingt an cáineadh is measa. Níor fhágfadh Aer Lingus gan a gcuidse ach an oiread, bhí na naimhde aimsithe agam, sin a shíl mé ar aon nós. Na naoimh áfach scéal difiriúl a bhí ansin. Bhí Michael O’ Leary - William Martin Muphy II - ag cáineadh an plean amach is amach. Nach eisean an duine a bhfuil 25% de stoc Aer Lingus aige, nach mbeidh siúd ag déanamh airgead ón bplean nua seo, cad a bhí ag dul ar aghaidh anseo?

D’éirigh an scéal níos measa sna laethanta a tháinig ina dhiadh. Bhí Willie O’ Dea anois tagtha amach ag dul i gcoinne seasamh an rialtas, á rá nach raibh an rud a bhí ag tarlú i gceart in aon chor. Bhí na naimhde ag iarraidh a gcuid dathanna a athrú. Mar a d’imigh an tseachtain ar aghaidh áfach d’éirigh an tseachtain níos measa do mhuintir na Sionna; gnó ag dúnadh síos, tógraí á cur ar cheal agus níos mó lena chois sin.

Ag deireadh an lae áfach is cuma cé atá ar cén taobh. Na doine tábhachtach sa scéal seo ná muintir na Sionna iad féin. Ní féidir na daoine seo a fhágáil ar lár agus dearmad a dhéanamh ar na daoine seo i sorcas na meán cumarsáide atá ag dul ar aghaidh ann.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Results Are In and The Prices Are Up

Ógra Shinn Féin Education spokesperson Michál Harkin has said that a recent Ulster Bank study finding that it has became more expensive for students living in Belfast since last year, will affect many new students and existing students as they begin the new academic year. He also predicted many students will be forced to leave university due to the financial strain.

Mr Harkin said,

"Students have now recieved their A Level results and are making plans for their 'next move'. They're thinking about final decisions on which course to choose and which university to attend in September.

"With rising acommodation costs, travel costs and living costs, Belfast and indeed university life in general is becoming more and more expensive. With the added levy of top-up fees, students particularly from low income families will feel the punch. Ógra Shinn Féin has been clear and consistent with regards these fees. They promote a culture where your bank balance determines your education. This is wrong and should end.

"Many students have to secure part-time jobs, just to make ends meet. With often excessive hours, this can have a knock on effect on their studies. Taking all this into account, it's time students were given adequate financial assistance. Education is a right afterall, no one should be priced out."