Thursday, November 29, 2007

Community Led Socialism

Community Activist
Ógra Shinn Féin

To achieve a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic. That is what Ógra Shinn Féin stands for and as activists that is what we are fighting and struggling to achieve.

Ógra Shinn Féin believes in building a free Ireland, one which holds equality as a cornerstone and works to empower all citizens.

The Irish people live in communities, as a society we are organised in communities and so if we are to build an alternative, to be truly involved in nation building, we as young republicans need to play an integral part in our local community.

There are all manner of different organisations set up in local areas, from community groups to tenants associations and I would encourage everyone to join their local group and where non presently exist, explore the possibility of setting one up.

In this stage in our struggle, we need to be engaged in community engagement, their struggle is our struggle.

We need to continue the proud legacy of being at the coalface of community politics and empowering the people.

Bobby Sands always articulated a strong community spirit, in the most recent book wrote about him, ‘Nothing but an Unfinished Song’ it says:

“In line with his optimistic populism, Bobby proposed that Sinn Féin should rename itself ‘Sinn Féin – The Peoples Party.’ He even put the new party name on the masthead of Liberty. His choice of ‘people’s party’ instead of ‘worker’s party’ reflected the political awareness he had achieved in jail. He continually talked about street communities and popular politics. He tried to bring young people, women and the elderly into the movement. His broad definition of ‘the community’ showed that he was quite aware of the social structure of Twinbrook: with such high unemployment, most people were hardly ‘workers’ in the traditional Marxian sense. Nor were housewives or young students ‘workers’ in that sense. In his identification of ‘the community’ and ‘the people’ Bobby was articulating the kind of movement that social scientists have only recently recognised as ‘identity movements.’”

If you agree with the assertion,

“To be a student and not a revolutionary is a contradiction in terms.”

Equally I would argue that,

“To be a Republican and not a community activist is a contradiction in terms.”

We only have to look at the areas in which Sinn Féin are strong, and although there are a few factors in this, a strong community organisation is evident.

So if you are a Republican activist, if you want to achieve the Socialist Republic, don’t just sit around talking about Socialism all day – get involved!

Play your part in your community group, together we can build a Socialist Republic!

Leinster marches on!

Last Saturday (24 November), Ógra Shinn Féin Cúige Laighean held their AGM in Parnell Sq, Dublin. Before beginning the AGM, Leinster House Press Officer, facilitated some PRO training for the assembled activists.

The meeting opened with a political update from North Leinster organiser, Darren O’ Rourke, who detailed the current political position of the party across the island, and took questions from activists relating to current and future work within the party This was followed by some lively debate and discussion around matters of interest to Ógra in Leinster in the coming year.
Afterwards, Darren facilitated the election of a new Ógra officer board which will see Ógra through the coming year.
Speaking after the meeting Cúige chair Peadar de Bluit said that he was very happy with the meeting.
“This AGM is a milestone for Ógra in Leinster. Since our first AGM last September, which originally re-constituted the Cúige, Ógra Laighean has seen spectacular growth. We have gone from a small base to a point where we have active members in virtually every area in Leinster. There are now two cumann in Louth, as well as DKIT, acting as a focal point for activists and cumann in Meath and Athlone. While in South Leinster we are active in Kilkenny, Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford and Maynooth. In short we are growing rapidly thanks to the concentrated efforts of our activists across the Cúige.”
Leinster Organiser Eugene Garvey added that the new context in which Leinster finds itself provides challenges and opportunities for the Ógra Cúige.
“As yet Ógra are not in a position to facilitate a divide in the Cúige, and I do not foresee that changing in the near to medium future. Ógra has gone very far in the last 14 months and we want to continue to grow. We believe the best way to keep the Cúige intact. I see great things for Leinster in the time ahead and look forward to continuing our work.”

Ógra Shinn Féin Doire hold successful launch

Ógra Shinn Féin Doire launched on Tuesday 27 November taking place in a packed Rath Mór Sinn Féin office. As well as the launch the new cumann also vowed to play a leading role in the 'Stand Up For Derry' campaign.
The meeting was addressed by National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin Barry McColgan who spoke of the importance of recruitment, education and campaigning and congratulated the assembled activists for setting up another Ógra cumann.
He spoke of other recent Ógra cumann setting up including West Belfast, Clare and Waterford.
He also spoke of the great work completed by Toirsire in the past 2 years and how this has equipped the group with the necessary skills of continuing the growth of a radical republican youth group in Derry.
Niall Doran chairperson of the new cumann said,
"Toirsire was formed in Easter 2005 after a group of local republicans got together to discuss possible ways to provide a place within Sinn Fein in Derry were young republicans could best play a part in making Republican politics relevant to local communities in Derry. To create an environment were young Republicans could develop their politics through discussion with each other and by working along with older republicans from whom they could gain experience."
"Since then Toirsire developed, both in terms of numbers and politically, and in recent months they proved this through some of the events which they organised including the weekend of events to mark the 40th anniversary of Che Guevara."
"With all that in mind we decided to undertake a procress of re-organisation, to branch out and grow in areas we have no presence. In order to build our base and grow the organisation we applied to become an Ógra Shinn Féin cumann which will now see us become part of the fastest growing, most active youth movement in the country."
"This will inevitably help us progress as we move forward now with a national youth movement behind us, we will continue to campaign, making our politics relevant to the youth of Derry!"

Successful AGM for Cuige Uladh

Ógra Shinn Fein held their Uladh Cuige A.G.M. on Saturday. The day began with a leadership briefing from Mary McArdle. This was followed by publicity training and the release of the Ógra Shinn Féin publicity pack. With the update and training complete the meeting commenced. Outgoing officers gave their reports on the years activity and events and the new officer board was elected.

The day concluded with the launch of the Ógra Shinn Fein Basque DVD and a Basque / Irish Night in Conway Mill.

Speaking following the AGM Johnny McGibbon said he was happy with the days proceedings

“The Uladh AGM went very well. We now have in place a new officerboard for the upcoming year and I have every confidence in that board to produce results for Ógra not only in terms of Uladh but also nationally.

The Basque/Irish night was also a major success with a large crowd in attendance including many Basques, now living in Ireland. The links between Irish Republicans and the Basques continue to strengthen at this, a time of huge repression in the Basque country”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

News Footage of the last Rossport Day of Action

This is news coverage and footage of the previous Rossport Day of Action on Friday 9 November including heavy handed tactics employed by the Gardai and interviews with Ógra Shinn Féin activists Oisin Dolan and Peader deBluit.

Declare your Hand Mr Tayto!!

Gerry Junior

As I sat on board a train the other day I tucked into the most delighful packet of Tayto spring onion. Each crisp bringing with it more taste and joy than the previous, until it happened......

I don't know if it was the frame of mind I was in or that I just had an epiphany but all became clear at last.

I gazed upon the 'Norn Iron' football kit green coloured crisp bag, at the bottom right hand corner to see a Potato headed 'Orange' man.

Mr Tayto is an Orange Man!!

I couldn't believe my eyes, I studied it closely but yes it all matched. Bowler Hat - tick, white gloves - tick, and a put on smile - tick.

Hardly the etiquette of your normal northern nationalist.

I was shocked at this unnerving discovery. Having grown up with this 'friendly' character presenting advertisements, adorning posters and chrisp packets. Was it an Orange conspiracy?

And during the course of the last 26 County General Election, posters dotted the lenght and breadth of the free state urging people to 'Vote Mr Tayto No.1'. Is this a prelude to an Orange invasion?

On learning of my discovery, I immediately wrote a letter to Tayto head quarters firstly congratulating them in their top of the range crisps but secondly at their overtly political mascot, Mr Tayto of Orange.

I have requested they declare their hand on this one, and divulge information as to which branch of the secret society old Mr Tayto is a member.

Obviously as we are moving into a shared future, Gerry Junior can live with an Orange Mr Tayto, If they are willing to have a Chucky Mrs Tayto - with GAA top, nice green skirt and irish dancing shoes.

Parity of esteem and all that!

Trinity Ógra Discuss EU Reform Treaty with Mary Lou McDonald MEP

Last week Mary Lou McDonald MEP for Dublin addressed a public meetingon Sinn Fein's vision for Europe organised by the Uí Chadhain/Tone Cumann of Trinity College Dublin.

Mary Lou was keen to stress the need for an open and frank debate about where the latest EU Reform Treaty/EU Constitution II was leading Ireland and the rest of Europe.

She began by saying that she was not anti- European and that she realised that Ireland had to remain competitive but that the Reform Treaty would remove democratic control from the Irish people and strengthen unaccountable central EU structures in sectors that would have a major impact on the Irish people.

Mary Lou was keen to point out that this Treaty should not be viewed in isolation but as the latest in a long line of Treaty's that have succeeded in starting the process of European federalism. She compared the open and frank debate that regularly occurs in Germany about European federalism and the debate in France prior to the EU Constitution vote in 2005 (when the French people voted 'no' to theTreaty despite the major parties advocating it) with the attitude of the Fianna Fail/ PD/ Green government who are attempting to 'pull thewool' over the electorates eyes.

The issue Irish neutrality has been key especially to ensure the safety of 26 county defence force troops being working as peace keepers in many war zones around the world and how that will be threatened by the militarization of the EU.

Mary Lou also questioned the government's assertion that the reduction in EU Commissioners from 27 to 18 was a necessary development giventhat the current government of the 26 counties requires 20 junior ministers.

If ratified, the Reform Treaty will allow the EU to assume power over areas of justice and home affairs taking power away from the Irish people and placing it in the hands of unaccountable and undemocratic bodies who seek to create a European super state.

Leas Cathaoirleach Trinity ÓSF, Seamus Donnelly had this to say:

"The meeting demonstrated the need for Ógra cumainn across the 26counties to be preparing themselves for a vigorous campaign on the EUReform Treaty/ EU Constitution II. It is essential and the very basisof our struggle that the Irish and only the Irish people can choose their way forward and the society they want. Ógra activists should bein no doubt that the up-coming referendum is of the greatest importance."

Take A Break!

Gerry Junior

Tenacious Tim Collins, the courageous Colonel from our 'wee country' has encouraged Brits to take time out from 'the force.'

The Bastard of Basra has suggested that young Brit soldiers need long periods of rest. Timothy old boy says that military life is exhausting and the poor 'soldiers' can achieve all they can imagine after just two or three tours of duty.

Well I suppose a brutal occupation, daily slaughtering of innocent civilians and institutionalised and routine humiliation of prisoners is rather exhausting work, and I suppose all that could be sorted in a few tours.

Timmy Mallet then suggests that 'skilled' soldiers take career breaks so they can stay fresh for the challenge.

Challenge..... I hope thats not another prelude to yet another British Imperialist occupation.

And career breaks....... with all the invaluable 'skills' enlisted by the Brit Army, how to occupy, torture, humiliate and murder, I wonder what careers await these long line of lunatics. Not exactly the best candidates for a Greengrocers or Corner Shop.

The British Army has offered 6 months breaks to 'personnel' since 2006. Heres an idea courtesy of Gerry Junior,

"Take a Break for Life!"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Major article by Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney -Analysis on those opposed to the current Sinn Féin strategy

Raymond McCartney MLA

Derry Sinn Féin

A number of years ago Martin McGuinness contended that the group which calls itself the Real IRA had nothing to offer strategically, tactically or politically in ending British rule in Ireland.

With each passing year and sporadic armed incident this analysis has grown in strength and therefore cannot be dismissed as the ritual politics of condemnation.

Indeed the rationale provided for the recent attack on Jim Doherty on Bishop Street, planting hoax bombs outside Martin Meehan's house and shooting up Liam Bradley's home can be viewed as products of that political and strategic bankruptcy.

I have not met a single person who argues that the activities of this group will in any shape, form or fashion advance the cause of Irish re-unification or effect to any degree the current political arrangements on the island of Ireland.

Nothing I have heard or read from its spokespersons has convinced me that they themselves believe that their strategy has any hope of success.

It is for this reason that they receive little or no support, be it here in Derry or elsewhere on the island.

Their combined voice of opposition (and it was made up of every shade of anti Sinn Féin rhetoric) in the Assembly elections was weak, and not a single candidate could be mustered for the recent elections down South.

Without support their actions are increasingly seen as those of a collection of individuals. Those involved in political struggle accept the need for popular support and importantly know only too well the means by which it can be appraised and measured.

Ignoring the expressed will of those they purport to draw support from, to in turn represent leads to regression and often to alliances with those who are nothing more than opportunistic carpetbaggers.

Of course one can retreat in to the comfort zone of believing that they require no mandate except that of the British presence in Ireland.

However one cannot ignore, dismiss or fail to respond to the reality that the context in which Britain remains in Ireland has changed. That change came about as a direct result of decades of continuing and ongoing political struggle.

Once the context changes then it follows that the means by which it will end can and should change.

It was with this in mind, coupled with the growing strength and organisational capacity of Sinn Féin that Gerry Adams in April 2005 stated.

"That struggle can now be taken forward by other means. I say this with the authority of my office as President of Sinn Féin. In the past I have defended the right of the IRA to engage in armed struggle. I did so because there was no alternative for those who would not bend the knee, or turn a blind eye to oppression, or for those who wanted a national republic.Now there is an alternative.I have clearly set out my view of what that alternative is. The way forward is by building political support for republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and by winning support for these goals internationally."

He asked the IRA leadership and its volunteers to give due consideration to his position and who in turn on July 28th responded by declaring a formal end to its armed struggle and stating.

"We believe there is now an alternative way to achieve this (republican and democratic objectives) and to end British rule in our country. It is the responsibility of all Volunteers to show leadership, determinationand courage."

Let no-one be in any doubt that history will record that the IRA was in the vanguard of shifting British policy in Ireland.

It was successful for a variety of factors but fundamental to this was its ability to justify and sustain itself in political and strategic terms and in so doing ensure popular support.

In the early 1990s the Sinn Féin leadership in an open and transparent way articulated its strategy to end British rule and bring about an Ireland of Equals.

In numerous public meetings that strategy was explained, discussed and debated.

Sinn Féin asked for a popular mandate to pursue this strategy. We challenged others to provide an alternative and to test it with those who matter most - the people. In election after election the people gave their answer.

Bear this in mind, in 1994 Sinn Féin had no Westminster MPs, no TDs in Leinster House, no MEPs and approximately 100 councillors.

Today Sinn Féin has 5 MPs, 4 TDs, 2 MEPs, 28 MLAs, 5 ministers in the Executive, 243 councillors, Gráinne Mhic Géidigh in Udaras na Gaeltacha and Pearse Doherty in the Seanad.

I outline this not as a simple matter of statistics but to reinforce my contention that the politics of struggle requires popular support to sustain itself and to bring about change.

Those who try to suggest that the politics of struggle manifested itself on Bishop Street a couple of weeks ago fool no-one, not even themselves.

The reality is that failure to listen to the critical analysis provided by someone like Martin McGuinness only leads to a retreat to a world of fantasy, deceit, and unfortunately on occasion, worse.

What more an appalling vista than that of the deaths of Ed Burns and Joe Jones in Belfast earlier this year. Consider these words:

Afford the butchers that stalk our streets masquerading as republican volunteers the slightest modicum of political recognition and the unbridgeable chasm between Tom McElwee or Michael Devine and the slayers of Ed Burns and Joe Jones starts to become blurred. The volunteers who died to proclaim the political validity of their armed actions shouldremain upon a coveted pantheon never to be placed side by side with the new 'comrades' of the CLM.

Not mine, but those of Anthony McIntyre, hardly an exponent of my political outlook.

But that is the territory now occupied by groups who call themselves the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA, the Irish Republican Liberation Army or whatever the banner required at the appropriate time - devoid of tactics, strategy, support and political legitimacy.

Closing eyes or putting fingers in ears will not make this reality go away.

Asking young teenagers to act on your behalf, be that by attacking the Fountain and protestant churches, destroying community property and then deserting them by denial is not what leadership is about.

Indeed pursuance of these actions makes it difficult not to draw but one conclusion that your distinct lack of politics insists you continue on a journey to nowhere.

I ask this simple question to each of you. Without politics what can you claim to be?

Killing Ed Burns and Joe Jones, by wounding Denis Bradley or Jim Doherty, or by attacking Liam Bradley's home, cannot disguise the answer to this question.

Indeed it exposes you to scrutiny and the judgement, which deems you as apolitical, which in itself is a short journey from the worst place of all - being viewed by the community you come from, the community you seek to represent as "criminals".

Consider the weight of history if that word is now brought to rest on your shoulders.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ógra DKIT announce Joe Cahill Cup

Ógra Shinn Féin DKIT announced this week that the cumann is in the planning stages to host the third annual Joe Cahill Cup, indoor soccer tournament in DKIT.

The tournament was first started by the cumann in 2005 to honour Joe Cahill, who died in 2004, a lifelong republican, who dedicated his young years to the struggle of the IRA, and in later years was a key component of Sinn Féin's peace stategy and negotiations team. The cumann will host this event in the new year, and will be inviting teams of 5 to compete from students of DKIT, with the eventual winners being presented with the Joe Cahill Cup.

Commenting on the announcement, organiser Ross Hallinan called on all DKIT students to submit a team to this event, declaring.

"It is an honour for us to organise such an event to commemorate the life of such a great republican as Joe Cahill. I call on all students to actively participate in this event, and Ógra activists to support it by keeping up to date with our blog."

"The cumann will also hold a tournament for those teams who lose their first competitive matches, hence guaranteeing at least 2 games for all participants, with the eventual winners of the runners up group being presented with the Tom Williams memorial shield, honouring brave IRA volunteer who gave his young life for the struggle, aged only 19 years."

Drogheda Ógra Urge Safety on the Roads

Over the October bank holiday weekend Ògra Shinn Fein took to the streets of Drogheda, to distribute leaflets as part of the Moilligh Sìos road safety campaign. The leaflet drop was well attended by local members of Ògra Shinn Fein, as well as distributing leaflets Ògra Shinn Fein activists discussed a number of issues with members of the public. Ironically and tragically over the course of the October Bank holiday 7 people died on our roads.

Speaking on the day Aìne Downes went on to say.
"On the 9th of October the European Road Safety Council released the results of a new study which found, that Ireland was ranked 12th out of the 29 member states with the highest amount of fatalities. In 2001 Ireland was ranked at 16, this increase in road fatalities is unacceptable. The survey also indicates that Ireland is in 10th place in ability to reduce road deaths, This means that it is not just the issue of speed that needs to be tackled, but the actual infrastructure to improve the conditions of Irish roads must, be made available..."
"The Survey released, also praised 3 countries France, Luxembourg, and Portugal. In the last 5 years these countries have reduced the number of fatal road accidents by 40%. Portugal has reduced the volume of traffic on its rural roads by building improved relief roads, which help deal with the increasing amount of vehicles on all our roads. France now has 1100 speed cameras in operation at any 1 given time, All though most motorist would not be in favour of the introduction of this amount of speed cameras over night, the results speak for themselves and in this case the end justifies the means."

"Luxembourg made the issue of blood alcohol levels an election issue. Luxembourg lowered its legal blood alcohol level from 0.5mg to0.2mg. Currently the legal limit in Ireland is 0.8mg. The examples shown by these 3 countries show that there is a lot more the Irish government could be doing to tackle this issue which is dearly costing lives daily. Ògra Shinn Féin is not going to give in, and we will continue campaign on the issue for as long as it takes."

West Tyrone Ógra urges Moilligh Síos

West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin undertook a leaflet drop of the Drumquin area on Sunday 25th Nov. The action was a part of the Ógra Shinn Féin national campaign, ‘Moilligh Síos’.
Members from West Tyrone leafleted various housing estates in the County Tyrone town. Ógra undertook the initiative in the run up to the festive period, which in the past has seen a rise in the number of road traffic collisions.

Speaking following the leaflets drop Michelle McMenimum of West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin said

“Road deaths are one of the biggest killers of our young people in Ireland; the level of deaths, particularly amongst the youth on Irish roads is astounding. After suicide it is the biggest killer of our young people. This in itself speaks volumes.

“Particularly in the run up to Christmas there is a need for greater vigilance whilst on the roads. It is a sad fact that over the ‘Christmas period’ there is an increase in road traffic accidents, and sadly this is also reflected on fatalities on our roads. If we are to change this sad reality we all have a responsibility.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Torch of Republican Youth Burns on in Derry City

Derry City's well known Republican Youth group Tóirsire (meaning Torch Carriers), is to launch as Ógra Shinn Féin Doire this Tuesday 27th November.

The youth group which has worked closely with Sinn Féin in Derry in recent times, has built up a campaigning reputation around the city.

Ógra Uladh organiser Johnny McGibbon announced the developments today,

"The Republican Youth group in Derry City, Tóirsire, is to become a new Ógra Shinn Féin Cumann this Tuesday 27th November. The inaugural meeting will begin at 7pm in the Sinn Féin centre, in the Ráth Mór complex."

He continued,

"I look forward to working with the new Cumann in the months ahead, and would encourage all Ógra and young Republican activists to make an effort to attend the meeting to show support for the new Cumann."

He concluded,

"Dófaidh an tóirse ar aghaidh!"

Ógra Shinn Féin Derry City. Tuesday 27th Nov. 7pm Ráth Mór, SF Centre.

East Down Ógra remember Che Guevara

East Down Ógra Shinn Féin commemorated the 40th anniversary of the death of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara with a mural unveiling Kilcoo. The mural, painted by a number of Ógra Shinn Féin members in east Down encapsulates the revolutionary bond between Ireland Cuba. The iconic images of Che Guevara and Bobby Sands alongside the national flags of Cuba and Ireland with a quote from Bobby Sands make up the mural.

Speaking after the unveiling one of the artists and east down Ógra Shinn Féin member Roisin McGreevy said

“We undertook this initiative to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara. Che was a visionary, revolutionary soldier, member of the Cuban government and an inspiration for freedom loving peoples throughout the world. His iconic image has circled the world many times over. In Irish terms he can be compared to Bobby Sands who died after 66 days on hunger strike in 1981. Bobbys name and indeed those of the other 9 men will always been remembered for those turbulent events of 1981.

“Whilst the two men were in different countries, different continents, and even different eras both Che and Bobby fought against the evils of Imperialism. Both are remembered for standing up and fighting the injustice and striking the blows for freedom. Whilst freedoms day has yet to dawn in Ireland , we are confident that because of the sacrifice of people like Bobby Sands that it is dawning. However we must not get complacent and leave the work to a few. As Bobby himself has said ‘everyone has their part to play, no part is too big or too small’. Join the Struggle, join Ógra Shinn Féin.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bulmers and Brown Envelopes

Gerry Junior

Martin Manseragh, self proclaimed 'architect' of the peace process, proud Briton of West, and apparently 'keen consumer of Bulmers.'

Yes Tipperary based Marty has last week blasted the fall in consumption of the glorious 'bottle of piss' and the free states excise duty as to blame for the loss of jobs in the Bulmers plant.

His solitions, lower excise duties on this liver pickling elixir of rotten apples. Is he perhaps being a tad irresponsible? Does he care?

It will be interesting to see if Marty 'Peace Process' Manseragh will win any support amongst his pin striped colleagues........

Bulmers being a fairly common drink, may not be deemed something worth savng by Bertie 'Bacardi' Ahern, Willie 'Whiskey' O'Dea, or Charlie 'Champers' O'Connor.

With alcoholism a huge social problem across Ireland, liver and heart associated disease at epidemc levels it is heartenng to see such responsible statements from the soldiers of destiny.

With a bottle of Bacardi in one hand and a brown envelope in the other, they will lead us to freedom!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ógra Shinn Féin mobilise For Student Fees Rally @ Stormont

On Monday the 19th of November, an Ógra Shinn Féin delegation were present at the demonstration outside Stormont to protest against university Fees, currently standing at £3070 per student, per annum.

The protest, organised by NUS-USI, helped raise the profile for an ongoing problem for students in the six counties, the substantial fees charged by universities and the colossal amount of debt that young people are faced with when they finally graduate.

The protest demanded an end to the fee system, something that Ógra have been demanding for years.

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Education, Paul Butler, addressed the crowd and re-emphasised Sinn Fein’s commitment to its election pledges of a free education for all.

Commenting on the Protest, Ógra National Organiser Barry McColgan stated,

“It’s great to see so many of our youth present here today. For too long we have been told that youth driven politics was dead. The symbolism of hundreds of young people joining together for one common cause is not lost to Ógra Shinn Féin.

“The fact that Ógra have been campaigning on this issue, and shaping party policy as regards this issue is only one small step. We, as an organisation need to continue our work as regards this issue. It is great to see the other youth groups in the North of Ireland following the path set by Ógra Shinn Féin in helping to bring this issue to a broader audience.”

Inaugral Youth Forum in Dublin

Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin will hold its first Republican Youth Forum on Wednesday the 28th at 7pm in 44 Parnell Sq. These will be a series of meetings for republican youth in Dublin where we hope to develop dialogue and debate on issues affecting Irish youth and the Republican Struggle.

Jim Monaghan, life long socialist republican will speak of his experiences and the politics that motivated him to sacrifice so much. Jim served four years in a Colombian prison and has recently released a book about this time in his life entitled "Colombian Jail Journal".

Ógra spokesperson Caoimhe Ní Mhuilleoir said,

"This will be a very interesting and thought provoking discussion of benefit to any republican. We hope this and the many other discussions we will be having over the coming months will help develop a radical republcan youth base in Dublin."

Ógra Shinn Féin address Irish Unity Conference in London

Barry McColgan represented Ógra Shinn Féin at an Irish Unity Conference held in Camden Irish Centre, London on Saturday 17 November.

The National Organiser of the Irish youth movement was speaking on the importance of building alliances with British youth movements and student bodies.

Barry was joined on the platform by George Woods, Executive member of NUS and Student Broad Left.

George spoke of the need for young British people to support the cause of Irish Freedom, claiming it as one of the oldest anti-colonial struggles in the world.

He also spoke of the inspiring steps taken by Sinn Féin and that their community based approach to politics was something the left in Britain could learn from. George concluded by saying there was a need in the time ahead to build a strong campaign supporting Irish Unity.

Barry McColgan addressing the conference said,

“At the 2006 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Gerry Adams outlined one of the most important tasks for Irish Republicans to be engaged in, was building broad support for Irish Unity in Britain. The support of British youth movements and student bodies are essential in this task and the Student Broad Left can be an important vehicle in facilitating that.”

“In 2003 and throughout the brutal occupation of Iraq, hundreds of thousands of British youth and students demonstrated a true anti-imperialist spirit when they marched and organised in defiance of the neo-colonial exploits of Tony Blair and the British Government.”

“This anti-imperialist spirit is something which we who strive for Irish Unity should learn to harness. Infact throughout the occupation of Iraq, our slogan in Ireland has been ‘US out of Iraq, Britain out of Ireland!”

“I hope the conference can be a fresh start in building strong links with progressive youth movements in Britain. I hope we can strengthen up on any ideas discussed today and forge a strong work plan that will undoubtedly play a crucial role in our struggle.”

Iris has a roll in the Hay

Gerry Junior

Sorry folks for the delay in blogging but to quote another 'great' blogger, i have been extremely busy. I am perhaps the busiest activist in the country, so as you can imagine an EXTREMELY hardworking individual such as my 'important' self just ain't got the time. Anyway back to my post......

I see on Monday DUP member and Speaker of the Assembly, Willy Hay from Doire suspended DUP comrade Iris Robinson from the Assembly for using unparliamentary language.

We'll firstly, fair play to Willy its finally good to see that a Derry person can actually possess courage (special one for all you Derry wans). Secondly coming up against Peter 'Clontibret - The Punt' Robinson and his wife Iris 'menacing if somewhat foxy' Robinson, I salute you.

A colder calculating couple I never saw and big Teddy Bear Willy will surely have the knives at his back after this.

What next for the Assembly and the DUP? Will Papa Doc and Ian Óg be suspended for their drivel that is commonplace, or will the Ulster Scots be suspended for 'keeping it country.'

I mean if Barry McElduff started proceedings with 'Hey Boy' or Sue Ramsay with 'Here's me, what' they'd be booted out.

Yet the Super Dupers and Old Men Unionist Party can 'Rab C Nesbitt' it all the way and not a word.

Interview with JERC Member of Madrid Parliament Laia Canigueral; Olive

National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin Barry McColgan was recently in the Catalan Countries to address the JERC National Congress. While there he took the opportunity to interview one of the youth movements up and coming elected activists.

Sitting in a packed room of young political activists, all politically aware and eager for debate at the 21st National Congress of Catalan Youth Movement JERC, I interview one of their elected activists. Laia Canigueral : Olive is 26 years old, from Girona, and elected as Member of the Madrid Parliament.

Laia has been a member of JERC since she was 18, getting involved in her local village in the Girona region of the Catalan Countries. Her motivation for joining in her local area was to change the inequality that was evident in her community and the lack of a local government response to tackling the poverty. One of her over riding priorities is establishing a proper socialist system and one which prioritises a strong welfare state.

Shortly after joining in her local area, Laia then got accepted into University in Barcelona and it was here that she got involved in the national structure of JERC, taking up International duties. It was also in University that she became more politically aware of struggles across the world.

In her 8 years of activism, Laia says that the most important and interesting things throughout this time has been representing the voice of Catalans in the Madrid Parliament. She says that it is an honour to represent JERC, and points to the fact that she is the first JERC activist to be elected to Madrid Parliament since the establishment of the 2nd Republic in 1933.

Laia believes strongly in the importance of JERC to the Catalan Struggle, saying that they are established across all regions recruiting, and active. She also pointed out that they are a progressive influence on the party and have a substantial power bloc within ERC which is reflective in some policies produced and the number of candidates which JERC are able to field. In her opinion the internal disputes with ERC are constructive and this radical edge is essential in keeping older activists on their toes and to avoid becoming institutionalised.

Laia was elected on the 1 November 2006, and it was a huge morale boost and she was very confident as a result, the position however, also brings with it a lot of responsibilities.

On the impact that she can make in the Madrid Parliament, Laia says that it can be good influence on changing the mindsets of the Spanish people, and popularising the demand for Catalan independence. She also points to the fact that she is young, female and independendist which will hopefully challenge the public’s perception on gender and the independence movement in the Catalan Countries.

On whether or not JERC’s involvement in electoral politics could effect their radical politics, Laia says that although it is difficult balancing street politics and electoralism, they compliment eachother. She says that both are important for National Construction and that you can’t have one without the other.

Laia’s inspiration is achieving the Independence of the Catalan Countries and implementing a system that creates a better life for its citizens.

She has an active interest in Ireland especially the current situation in the peace process, drawing similarities between both struggles. She also says that international solidarity is of vital importance as we can learn from eachother.

When I questioned Laia does she think she will live to see an Independent Catalan Countries, she replied, definitely, she looks forward to celebrating freedom on the streets with her children!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ógra Shinn Féin address JERC's 21st National Congress

National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin, Barry McColgan was in the Catalan Countries last weekend to address the National Congress of JERC.

JERC’s National Congress was held in the historic town of Mataró and was attended by over 200 delegates. Activists discussed issues such as Catalan Independence, economic policies, ideology, drugs and sexual awareness.

Speaking on the JERC National Congress, Barry McColgan said,

“It was an honour to be invited to address the National Congress of such an inspiring and well organised youth movement.”

“The Catalan youth are very aware, supportive and take inspiration from Irish Republican’s legacy and the Sinn Féin strategy.”

“Ógra can learn a lot from JERC who organise L’Campa Jove every 2 years with over 36,000 young people in attendance. JERC also contest elections and currently have numerous councillors, 2 members elected to the Madrid Parliament and 1 elected to the Catalan Parliament. They agitate on the street building up popular support and affect change in the elected forums.”

“Our attendance this week has helped forge stronger links with the Catalan youth and we look forward to hosting them at the Ógra Shinn Féin National Congress in January.”

Queer eye for the BlogSpot!

Sinead Doyle
Ógra Shinn Féin

I think the Ógra Shinn Féin blogspot is a brilliant initiative, an engaging way to learn about the actions and thoughts of young republicans. It is also a great way of promoting constructive debate and pertinent issues.

I am a daily viewer of the blog and frequently enjoy the mature level of debate, the strength of the articles and I’m amazed by the level of activity of Ógra and the growth of it as an organisation.

There are a wide range of important issues addressed and discussed. One important issue I have yet to see addressed is that of sexuality and in particular young republican’s viewpoint towards homosexuality and in combating homophobia.

I have read in many Sinn Féin election manifesto’s and policy papers the rights of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) but I am yet to have seen any real opinion pieces, actions or interviews relating to the issue.

As a movement who has been pivotal in championing civil rights, empowering citizens across Ireland, and inspiring oppressed peoples the world over, we also need to be leading the fight for equality for people regardless of their sexual orientation.

A lot of this is about challenging perceptions; society has progressed on this issue although there is along way to go. I also think the same applies to Sinn Féin, there has been huge meaningful work done but there is more progress to be made.

The history of the struggle has necessitated an atmosphere and culture of machoism, and as a result the issue of sexuality at times has perhaps been pushed to the back of the agenda.

No doubt this culture, which is changing, has ensured an unfriendly environment for many gay comrades and resulted in many staying ‘in the closet.’

So what needs to happen to promote a culture of openness and respect.
  • Ógra Shinn Féin should develop a pamphlet on gay rights. The pamphlet should be widely distributed, read and discussed by Ógra, Sinn Féin and Republican activists
  • Workshops should be organised on the issue of gay rights and our involvement in LGBT societies
  • Ógra Shinn Féin should consider setting up an internal LGBT group similar to that of other parties and urge Sinn Féin to do likewise
  • Comrades should be more open on this issue and should be confident in their sexuality and proud to write articles on this issue for the blog, An Phoblacht and Spark
  • Ógra and Sinn Féin should have a more visible and vibrant presence at Gay Pride Events
  • We must be intolerant of any form of homophobia and face down the discrimination wherever it exists

I am not writing this an attack, in recognition of the great work already being done; it is merely a constructive criticism to ensure the organisation does more work and promotion on this issue which is vital if we are to achieve a truly egalitarian and inclusive society.
As ever, continue the great work on the blog, and in conclusion I hope this simple piece can help in developing discussion on the broad issue of Gay rights and the role Ógra Shinn Féin can play.
Equality, Pride and Unity!

West Belfast Remember Che Guevara

Ógra Shinn Féin West Belfast activists were involved in the planning of one the biggest commeration event to rember the life and times of Che Guevara ever held in Belfast. The event was attended by up to 1000 people all dedicating themselves to aspire to 'Be like Che'.

Ógra activists paid their tribute by reading out a letter that Che had wrote to Fidel before leaving for Bolivia flanked by 2 young activists carrying the July 26th movement flag and the Cuban national flag. After the reading, the flags took pride of place next to the tri colour.
After the reading the Cuban ambassador to Ireland made a special point of thanking the young Ógra activists for the planning of the event and for their generous acts of solidarity.

Mobilise for OSF Cuige Uladh AGM

Cúige Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin AGM

Saturday 24th November 2007

Beginning @ 11am Sharp

Political Update/ Leadership Briefing
Officer Board Election

All SF Comhairle Ceantaire are invited to attend along with all Ógra groups

contact: or 02838349675

Monday, November 19, 2007

Strengthening the bonds of friendship between Ógra Shinn Féin and Cuba

Last Monday, Ógra Shinn Féin TCD got their calendar of events off to agreat start when they hosted representatives of ICAP, the Cuban Institute for Friendship Between Peoples, the Cuban Ambassador, Noel Carrillo, Simon McGuinness of the Cuba Support Group Ireland and Mícheál Mac Donnacha of Sinn Féin.

Gladys Allyon, European Director of ICAP, gave a brief talk on the organisation's work which strives to further solidarity between Cuba and other countries. ICAP aims to highlight the unjust 45-yearblockade imposed by the United States on Cuba and have spoken out in support of the Miami Five Campaign. ICAP organises brigades from all over the world to come to Cuba. Brigade volunteers spend half their time working and helping the Cuban people. The other half is spent meeting Cuban people and talking to groups involved in the development of the island nation.

A short documentary entitled "Let there be light" was also shown at the event. The documentary details the Cuban medical mission dedicatedto performing eye surgery for those in need of sight-saving operationsin other Latin American countries.

Mícheál Mac Donnacha of Sinn Féin said that there were lessons to be learned from the Cuban medical system. He criticised the two-tier system of health here, promoted by the current government, which permits the selling of public land to private hospitals.

The disadvantages of the two-tier system are obvious and inherent, the creation of a fair and efficient health service is a priority for Sinn Féin.

Trinity Ógra, is committed to maintaining links with ICAP andsupporting them in their projects.

Thousands of Republicans remember Edentubber Martyrs

Thousands of republicans gathered at Edentubber on Sunday 11th November in one of the largest gatherings of republicans in recent years. The parade marked the 50th anniversary of the deaths of Michael Watters, Paul Smith, Oliver Craven, Patrick Parle and George Keegan, more commonly known as the ‘Edentubber martyrs.’ The men were killed as they moved into action near the border on 11th November 1957. The intended targets of the bomb they were transporting are understood to have been and bridge and telephone exchange.

Ógra Shinn Féin made up a large contingent in the parade and was led by and Ógra Shinn Féin colour party made up of females activists. Dotted along the parade route were scenes reminiscent of the border campaign. A mock border crossing complete with vintage cars (packed with ‘explosives’ in the boot) and an endless supply of flying column volunteers were just some of the sites visible throughout the parade.

At the monument at the spot of the Edentubber explosion various wreaths were laid. Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams gave the main address of the commemoration.

Many Ógra groups carried banners of their local Ógra groups and a number of Ógra activists also tied in with their senior Cumann structures at the march.

Speaking following the commemoration, Uladh organiser of Ógra, Councillor Johnny McGibbon Said

“I would like to thank all the Ógra activists for turning up here today in such large numbers to remember the Edentubber martyrs. This is the largest Edentubber commemoration I have attended; indeed organisers have said it is probably one of the biggest since the commencement of this annual parade 49 years ago. Edentubber and the wider events of what became known as the ‘border campaign’ are fresh in many older people minds in particular. The sane struggle that those men fought is ongoing today. The struggle for freedom and independence in Ireland will continue until we achieve freedom in Ireland. This is the only fitting and lasting tribute to the men and women who have carried forward the flame of freedom in every phase of our struggle.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cúige Uladh Ógra AGM Sat 24th November 11am

Cúige Uladh Ógra Organiser Cllr. Johnny McGibbon has urged all young Republicans to mobilise for next weeks ÓSF Cúige Uladh AGM. The meeting on Sat 24th November, is in Sevastapol St. Sinn Féin office @ 11am.

Cllr. McGibbon said,

"This is the biggest Cúige meeting of the year for Ógra, and I'm asking all young Republicans to come along.

"Ógra activists, Sinn Féin activists and young Republicans from across Uladh will be in attendence. We will have a leadership briefing, as well as a training session and then the election of the new Cúige Uladh Ógra Ofiicer Board.

"We are also set to launch the new Ógra DVD, charting our recent trip to the Basque Country, at a function later that night in Conway Mill."

Any Young Republican or Sinn Féin activist planning to attend should contact Johnny at or Lurgan Sinn Féin Office on 02838 349675.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ógra Shinn Féin demand Brits Out!

Saturday 10th of November seen members of West Belfast Ógra Shinn Féin holding a protest outside 10 Downing Street demanding British Troops out of Iraq and Ireland. The members of Ógra were in England for other reasons but took time out to protest at 10 Downing Street. The members of Ógra stood with banners and posters for just under an hour and highlighted the illegal occupation of Iraq and Ireland.

Speaking following the protest Ógra Spokesperson Paul McCann Said

“We held brief protest whist in London to highlight the illegal occupation of Ireland and Iraq by the British. Indeed the illegal occupation by the British goes well beyond Ireland and Iraq. Their destructive imperialist legacy has scared many countries including Afghanistan, the Malvinas, Lebanon, Palestine and further a field. Now with Britain being the side kick of George Bush their destructive legacy continues apace in many countries. With this in mind we have one message for Gordon Brown: BRITS OUT!!