Sunday, March 30, 2008

Further steps taken in the expansion of Ógra

Another major step has been taken in the expansion of Ógra Shinn Féin in South Down with the establishment of an Ógra Dáil Ceantair.

Ógra members along with the chairs of senior Sinn Féin Cumainn met on Saturday the 29th of March to discuss the expansion of Ógra throughout the county.

Speaking following the meeting Kilcoo Ógra member Róisin Mc Greevy stated that:

“What has been proposed, an Ógra Dáil Ceantair is an excellent idea as this will assist in the formation of new cumainn, we already have two, but we hope by the summer to have 5 and possible 6 or 7 by the end of the year.’’

She continued:

“No other political party any where on the island of Ireland, can say that they are forming new branches at such a fast rate, whilst other parties are losing members to apathy and old age, we are continuing to grow.’’

Ógra has already two strong and vibrant cumainn in the county, the Pádraig Pearse Cumann in Rostrevor/Warrenpoint and the Kilcoo East Down Cumann. Within the next few months it is hoped that new Ógra Cumann will be formed in Newcastle , Lower Mourne and Ballynahinch. It is also expected that towards the end of the year a further two Ógra cumainn will be established in Loughinisland and Downpatrick, a total of 7.

Lisa Travers of Pádraig Pearse Ógra Cumann stated that:

“It was a very informative meeting and what is exciting is that Ógra in South Down is on the verge of massive expansion, we know it will involve work, but personally I am looking forward to the challenge.’’

She continued,

“We are keen to bring about change, the more and more young people that come and join Ógra, the quicker an Ireland of equality and freedom is brought about.’’

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March for a Decent Public Health Service


'Enough! It's (passed) time for a decent Public Health Service!

Saturday, 29th March

Assemble at Garden of Remembrance
Parnell Square

3.00 p.m.

Ogra and Sinn Fein activists are to assemble at 44 Parnell Sq. at 2.30pm

Speakers from Trade Unions, Health Professionals, Patients' groups, Health and Hospital campaigns.

Time to raise one loud voice!

(Or two: at 1.00 p.m. on the same day the Tallaght Hospital ActionGroup are marching in Tallaght. Best wishes to both.)

Several Thousand attend Carrickmore Easter Commemoration

Tyrone republicans converged in Carrickmore on Sunday 23rd March to commemorate Irelands patriot dead. Bunting, flags and posters adorned the parade route and all the approach roads.

Throughout the Easter weekend there were twenty five Graveside Commemorations in County Tyrone, culminating in the main County Commemoration in Carrickmore. Many homes in Carrickmore flew the National Flag.

Shortly after 3:30pm a Republican Colour Party emerged onto the main street in Carrickmore, and responding to commands in Irish they led the parade. This was followed by seven young people each carrying a painting of the signatories of the Easter Proclamation of 1916. There were a number of marching bands in attendance, including the Martin Hurson Memorial Flute Band Gortin/Greencastle, The Pomeroy accordion band, The Sons of Eire Flute Band, Rasharkin and Coatbridge Republican Flute Band who travelled from Scotland for the Commemoration.

After the traditional parade through Carrickmore, the crowd of several thousand attended the proceedings at the Tyrone Garden of Remembrance. Brian Cawley of the Tyrone National Graves Association chaired proceedings.
After Mr Cawleys opening remarks the laying of wreaths was the first on the agenda in the Garden of Remembrance. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Tyrone Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann, The old I.R.A., Sinn Féin, Ógra Shinn Féin and various family wreaths were also laid.

First up to the podium was a member of the colour party who read aloud the Proclamation of Easter 1916. This was followed by a female member of the colour party who read the Tyrone Roll Of Honour and Roll of Remembrance. Stephen McGahan of Ógra Shinn Féin then took to the podium to deliver the youth organisations Easter address.

Pat Doherty M.P. for the area was the Guest speaker.

The ceremony at the Garden Of Remembrance was brought to a close by The Martin Hurson Flute Band who played Amhran na bhFiann.

Speaking on Ogras participation in the Tyrone Easter Commemorations, Stephen McGahan of West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin said

“Over the weekend there were a large number of graveside commemorations which involved Ógra members variously. In the main county commemoration in Carrickmore I represented Ógra and read the Ógra Easter Statement and a female member of Ógra laid a wreath. There were also several hundred copies of Glor Na nÓg distributed in Carrickmore before the march commenced.

I’m No Bimbo!

Gemma McKenna
Ogra Shinn Fein

There are many games aimed at young children. Many try to teach them how to read or write, while some just encourage out door activity as well as team work.

This latest online game however did catch my eye and indeed the attention of many parents. You may ask why?

We’ll answer me this young ladies, what goals do you have for yourself? And to young men, what goals do you think your sister or female friends have?

Should we as females aim to simply improve our appearance and want bigger boobs and a millionaire husband....... these are the exact aims of this online game which has some 2 million members, with some as young as nine.

It states on the site the aim is to become the, “hottest, coolest, most famous bimbo in the whole world", and contestants who compete against each other are told to "stop at nothing", even "meds or plastic surgery", to ensure their dolls win.

Children are given a naked virtual character to look after. They compete against other players to earn "bimbo" dollars so they can dress her in sexy outfits and take her clubbing.

They are given missions, including securing plastic surgery at the game's clinic to give their dolls bigger breasts, and they have to keep her at her target weight with diet pills.

What ever happened to beauty being on the inside?

This is what I was always told it wasn’t until 15 that I learnt of makeup and started to even think about fashion… up until then I played happily in the park with clothes my mum picked out for me.

But now a young girls’ innocence and effectively her childhood is being snatched away from her by having to think of “fake tan and breasts implants”.

Isn’t this a step too far... are we not already a society that always constantly talks of weight, diets, looks, plastic surgery?

You only have to life a girl’s magazine or turn on the T.V to be bombarded by photos of skinny celebs... or ways to lose weight or the latest fashion tips.


I refuse to stand by and let a young girl be told that she needs to improve her appearance to get ‘bimbo points’ and that her ultimate goal should be a ‘millionaire husbands.’

Do the makers of this game not realize that eating disorders are already high amongst young girls? Do they not know that many young women are already obsessed with how they look and always feel pressurised to ‘look good’?

But yet they are encouraging young children to think about how they look and are saying that better appearance wins points.

So does logic not then indicate that young naive children will believe that in order to be popular in society one must look good and even undertake plastic surgery as promoted in the game to do so?

I acknowledge the fact that I live in a materialistic society and I like anyone feel pressurissed to have the latest fashion like any-one and as young women I do also want to “fit in”.

However, I do know what really matters in a person and that isn’t their bra size or the colour of their lip gloss.

If a girl as young as nine is constantly obsessed with how she looks then what will she be like at 15 or even 20?

This is not just a game but something that will influence and shape the mind sights of out future young women.

So I urge you to protect young girls don’t like them be exposed to this game instead nurture their inner beauty so they can flourish and realize what really matters in life….. and it can’t be purchased on a credit card!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dublin Ogra Mobilise in Remembrance of Easter 1916

Ógra Shinn Féin Átha Cliath were out in force this weekend to commemorate the men and women of 1916 and those who have fought in every phase of the republican struggle. Distributing Easter Lilies, leaflets, postering and contributing to the commemorations across the city.

There was a full calendar of events with seven commemorations in all including six Ógra speakers. Ógra members were also given the honour of carrying the portraits of the signatories of the Proclamation in the procession of the main commemoration on Easter Sunday.

Members also distributed Easter Lilies and information on the history of the Lily to those in the vicinity of the Free State Commemoration. This was made difficult by the huge Garda presence and the 6ft fencing covered in black canvass which forced people to be searched before they could commemorate Ireland’s patriot dead.

Ógra UCD Farrell/McDonagh member Ciarán Fitzgerald had this to say:

“It is always humbling to remember those who fought and risked so much to bring about an Irish Republic. Ógra will continue to build and strive to become an energising and radical force for change among Irish youth, to do any less would be to turn our backs on the brave men and women who have gone before us.”

East Down Ogra play key role in Easter commemorations

East Down Ogra Shinn Fein played a key role in Easter parades across the county, including Newcastle, Castlewellan and Downpatrick. The Ogra colour party lead the parade in Newcastle and Downpatrick and followed the senior colour party in the Castlewellan march. The colour party consisting of activists from Kilcoo, Newcastle and Ballynahinch proudly marched in commemoration of Irelands patriot dead and sought to show to the public that Irelands youth would continue to play a pivotal role in the struggle for re-unification.

Speaking on behalf of the colour party a spokesperson from Ballynahinch said,

“It is of the up most importance that the Ogra continue to remember our fallen comrades. Through the Easter celebrations we continue to show that the republican cause will not fade and that we will work to build upon the foundations that were set in the 1916 rising. I think that Ogra leading the parades is also reflective of how important youth is to the ongoing struggle, it is our generation that will continue the fight in the future and the onus is on us to ensure a greater interest by young people to get involved.

Among the commemorations in Castlewellan was also the unveiling of a new monument remembering the volunteers of South Down who gave their lives in active service. East Down Ogra Shinn Fein would like to congratulate the South Down Graves association for the good work they have done with the monument and in making sure that the South Down roll of honour is giving a fitting public memorial.

South Down Ogra Remember Ireland's Patriot Dead

More than a thousand Republicans from across South Down gathered in Castlewellan for the main South Down commemoration. Chairing the event MLA Willie Clarke spoke of the courage of all Irish Volunteers. ‘’Republicans remember with pride the sacrifice that all IRA volunteers, of every generation gave, many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom’’

The South Down MLA also paid tribute to all involved in the erection of the new memorial and to massive applause from the people assembled, attacked the SDLP Councillors who attempted to have the monument blocked.
“The SDLP once again have attempted to sideline us, and once again we have defeated their attempts.’’
Ógra played a significant role in the commemoration, with members taking part in the Ógra Colour party, Flute Bands and carrying cumann banners. On Behalf of East Down Ógra, Noleen Mc Poland read the 1916 proclamation and representing the Pádraig Pearse Ógra Cumann Brendan McGuinness read the Ógra Statement.

Michael Grey Chairman of the Pádraig Pearse Ógra Shinn Féin Cumann stated that the large attendance was further proof of the growth of Republicanism.
“This commemoration continues to gather momentum as more and more people want to pay homage to the men and women of 1916.’’
He continued:
“The fact that the number of Sinn Féin cumann wreaths has doubled in three short years is testimony to the growth of our movement, it is the Volunteers that we have come here to remember that have brought the struggle this far.’’

Promoting the Easter Lily!

On Friday 21st March, Ógra Shinn Fein put in practice a motion passed at this year's Ógra National Congress by distributing easter lillies to employees at Translink, BBC and UTV. The motion reads,

"That this congress accepts that the easter lily be made available by Ógra members to Ulster Bus and Translink workers, and BBC and UTV workers, and to implement a campaign to bring equality to the 6 counties."

The easter lily is worn by Republicans every year at Easter time, it was designed in 1925 by Cumann na mBan to honour the sacrifice made by the men and women of the 1916 Rising and the Tan War. The symbol is associated with the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin , the design being taken from the seasonal decoration in churches during that period.

The easter lily is an emblem to remember those who give their lives in the fight for Ireland's freedom. The easter lily is currently uncategorised by the equality commission.

Damian White of Ógra Shinn Fein said,

"Highlighting the issue of equality for the easter lily is essential to ensure republicans are afforded the same rights as others in the work place. When asked by members of Ógra about the status of the easter lily in UTV, BBC and Translink, it was evident the companies had not treated the issue as a priority. They each said, while they had a policy on flags and emblems, they were unsure of what it was. It is important to highlight the failings of public bodies who allow staff to wear the poppy, yet prohibit the wearing of the easter lily."

"This is a very important issue for republicans, an issue that I am currently experiencing myself in my place of work as the business has banned employees from wearing the easter lily. By banning the wearing of the easter lily, they are sending out the message that the rights of republicans are not important, and that republicans have no right to remember their patriot dead. We must challenge the inequality that exists on this issue, we have a right to remember our patriot dead by wearing an easter lily openly and freely without fear of being asked to remove it.

We must continue this campaign, to ensure that next easter, workers are afforded the same rights as others when they proudly wear an easter lily."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter lily campaign hits the streets

Ógra Shinn Féin took to the streets of Derry last weekend in Ógras campaign to press the Equality Commission into considering and reviewing the current guidelines in regards to the status of the Easter lily in relation to their legal position in the workplace.

Spokesperson for Derry Ógra Shinn Féin Niall Doran said
"With our Easter Commemorations taking place over the present weekend we decided that there was no better time to take the 'Equality For The Easter Lily Campaign' to the people of Derry City. Easter traditionally is a time when Republicans gather throughout the country to remember the gallant men and women who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Ireland and so it an apt time to bring this campaign to the streets. From a stall which we had set in the City Centre, we urged the public to sign our petition in order to show their support for our campaign. Many of those who signed our petition today backed our campaign and admitted that their was a huge inequality in their places of work regarding the wearing of the Easter Lily. " One woman who welcomed our campaign said... "If I was to wear my Easter lily to work today, I would most certainly be asked to remove it. I believe this is wrong, and as a Republican I should have the right to remember those who gave their lives for the Freedom of our Country. It's been great to see that the young people are active on this campaign, and I hope that next Easter i will be able to wear my Easter lily at work, without being asked to remove it!"

Niall concluded by stating “Throughout the day we have collected several hundred signatures, and will continue to collect signatures throughout the course of Easter Weekend. Early next week, we will be sending a copy of our petition to the Equality Commission as well as BBC Radio Foyle. We also hope to send a copy to Translink and UTV. We believe that every Republican should have the right to wear the Easter Lily Symbol, and to remember Our Patriot Dead."

Easter Statement from leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann

On this the 92nd Anniversary of the 1916 Rising, the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann extends solidarity to the families of our patriot dead.
We remember, with pride, our comrades from every generation who have given their lives for the cause of Irish freedom and independence.
We extend solidarity to our imprisoned comrades and their families.This year marks a number of important anniversaries in the republican calendar. We applaud those across the country who have organised in their local areas to commemorate these events.When we gather to honour our patriot dead, we do so to celebrate their lives and to recommit ourselves to achieving our republican objectives.
We are proud of our patriot dead and we are proud of their families.Our task and that of all Irish republicans is to shape the future through our commitment to achieving our goal of a united Ireland.Since 28 July 2005 IRA Volunteers are playing a positive role in the new phase of our struggle. You have entered into this with energy and vigour. We commend this work and appeal to everyone to continue until we achieve our objectives.
The ideals and principles enshrined in the Proclamation of 1916 remain as relevant today as they ever were.
We have proven that together, in unity and with comradeship, we can advance our struggle. Let us rededicate ourselves to that goal.
Ar an lá seo, an 92ú bliain de Chomóradh Éirí Amach na Cásca 1916 tugann ceannairacht Óglaigh na hÉireann dlúthphairtíocht do chlanna ár mairtírigh.
Cuimhnímid le bród ar ár gcuid comrádaithe ó gach glúin a d’éag ar son saoirse agus neamhspleachais na hÉireann.Tugaimid dlúthphairtíocht dár gcomrádaithe i ngeibhinn agus dá gclanna.
Sonraíonn an bhliain seo roinnt ócáidí comóradh a bhí tabhachtach san fhéilire phoblachtach. Molaimid iad siud ar fud na tíre a d’eagraigh imeachtaí ina gceantair áitiúla.
Nuair a chruinnímid le chéile le hómos a thabhairt d’ár gcomrádaithe marbh déanaimid seo chun saolta na ndaoine seo a cheiliúradh agus chun sinn féin a tiomnú d’ár gcuspóirí poblachtacha.
Tá muid bródúil as ár laochra marbh agus bródúil as a gclanna.‘S é an tasc atá romhainn agus atá roimh gach phoblachtánach ná an todhchaí a mhúnlú tríd an tiomantas atá againn le baint amach an sprioc ‘s againn d’Éire Aontaithe.
Tá Ógláigh d’en IRA ag imirt róil dearfach sa treimhse úr seo d’en streachtailt ó bhí 28ú Iúil 2005 ann.
Tá sibh i ndiaidh bheith páirteach ann le brí agus fuinneamh. Treaslaímid sibhse san obair seo agus guímid ar gach duine leanúint leis an obair go mbainfidh muid amach ár gcuid spriocanna.
Tá na hidéil agus na prionsabail cumhdaithe san Fhorógra 1916 chomh bainteach leis an saol atá inniu ann ná mar a bhí siad riamh.
Tá muid i ndiaidh taispeaint le chéile, in aontas agus le comrádachas gur féidir an streachailt s’againn a bhrú chun tosaigh. Atiomnaímís sinn féin d’en chuspóir sin.

P. O’Neill
Irish Repuublican Publicity Bureau,

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ógra Shinn Féin Easter Statement 2008

On this the 92nd anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, Ógra Shinn Féin proudly remembers all of those who died for the freedom of Ireland.

We would like to extend our fraternal greetings to all our imprisoned comrades, to their families and also to all the families of our patriot dead.

As we gather throughout Ireland this weekend paying homage to the sacrifice made by Ireland ’s patriot dead, we are ever mindful of the tasks that lie ahead.

92 years ago the Easter Rising shook irreparably Britain’s colonial hold on Ireland. It rekindled the flame of freedom in Ireland, and today, that flame continues to burn strong.

What was started in 1916 is unfinished business, Ireland is still occupied and huge inequalities are evident throughout Irish society. Ógra Shinn Féin is committed to the task of achieving and building a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic and we would urge young republicans gathered to play a part in this momentous task by joining the struggle.

Young people have always been to the fore of successful liberation struggles throughout the world. Whether this be in Cuba, South Africa, Palestine or here at home in Ireland. Indeed the first Republican Youth Movement Na Fianna Éireann, founded in 1909, played a significant role in the struggle and suffered huge losses. Next year marks the 100th anniversary of Na Fianna’s formation and Ógra Shinn Féin will be organising significant events across Ireland to remember the unbroken line of republican youth in struggle, their role and sacrifices.

We believe in community led socialism, in empowering communities to organise, yet we see the hugely negative impact Drug and Alcohol abuse is having on our young people and communities, which is why we are currently involved in a National Drug and Alcohol Awareness campaign called NARC ‘Not Another Ravaged Community.’ It is an issue that we collectively need to tackle, and we would appeal today for people to engage in the campaign.

We are also Internationalists, and we condemn the ongoing repression of the Basque Youth in Segi, and the KSM Young Communists in the Czech Republic. We send solidarity greetings to oppressed people’s across the world and again repeat our call for the ending of the illegal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Republican’s have worked tirelessly and suffered huge losses in the pursuit of Irish freedom, and we believe this will ensure achievement of our objectives. These sacrifices cannot be in vain, which is why we need to be very focused on the encroaching Lisbon Treaty. The Lisbon Treaty if not rejected will contravene Irish neutrality, create inequality, attack workers rights and erode Irish sovereignty, and republicans need to campaign to ensure the Irish people vote no.

What was started by the United Irishmen in 1798, and came to rise in 1916 is all unfinished business. We in Ógra Shinn Féin vow to play our part in completing the task and break the connection between Britain and Ireland. It is then we will see the rising of the moon.

Beirígí Bua!

Naoi mbliana 's nócha ó a bhí éirí amach na Cásca ann, cuimhníonn ógra le bród ar iad siúd uilig a d'éag ar son saoirse na hÉireann.

Gabhann muid ár mbeannachtaí lenár gcomrádaithe uilig ata i ngéibhinn, lena gclainn agus fosta le clainn ár dtírghráthóirí mharbh.

Agus muid ag bailiú ar fud na hÉireann an deireadh seachtaine seo, ag léiriú ár meas dóidh siúd a chailliú, tá muid ag meabhrú fós féin ar na dualgais atá amach romhainn.

Naoi mbliana 's nócha ó shin scrios Éirí Amach na Cásca greim chóilíneachta na breataine ar Éireann. D'ath-las sé lasrach na saoirse in Éirinn, agus inniú, leanann an lasrach sin ar aghaidh ag dó le neart.

An eachtra a tharla i 1916, níl sé réidh fós, tá Éire fós gabhtha agus tá an sochaí fud na tíre neamh-ionann. Tá Ógra Shinn Féin tiománta chun Daon-Phoblacht Shóisialach 32 chondae a bhaint amach agus gríosann muid na daoine óga anseo chun páirt a ghlacadh sa thasc ollmhór seo trí dul sa streachailt.

Bhíodh daoine óga i gcónaí chun tosaigh ar streachailtí saoirse rathúla ar fud an domhain, pé áit é seo, Cúba, Aifric Theas, an Phailistín, nó anseo in Éirinn. Fiú an chéad ghluaiseacht phoblachtach ógra, Na Fianna Éireann, bunuithe i 1909, bhí ról lárnach aige agus d'fhulaing siad cailliúintí móra. 'Sé an bhliain seo chugainn comóradh céad bhliain ar na Fianna agus beidh Ógra ag eagrú imeachtaí shuimiúla ar fud na nÉireann le cuimhniú.

Creideann muid i bpobal sóisialachas, ag tabhairt seans don phobal eagraíocht a dhéanamh, ach go fóil is feidir linn feiceal an éifeacht diúltach mór ar na ndaoine óg agus an phobal mar gheall ar mí-usaid drugaí agus alcól. Agus is é sin an fáth go bhfuil muid ag glacadh phairt i feachtas Naisiúnta faoi mí-usaid drugaí agus alcól, NARC (Not Another Ravaged Community). Caithfidh muid trealamh a dhéanamh ar an eagrán seo le cheile agus tá muid ag deanamh achomharc ar daoine óga chun pairt a ghlachadh san feachtas seo.

Tá muid in ar Idirnaisiúntí comh maith agus tá muid in éadan an smacthú atá ag dul ar aghaidh faoi lathair ar an gluaiseacht óg na mBasque i Segi agus ar na Cummanaí Óg KSM san Czech Republic. Cuireann muid teachracht dlúthchomar chun na ndaoine faoi chos tríd an domhan agus arís deanann muid ghlaoigh chun deireadh a chur leis an atháitithe neamhdhlíthiúil i Afghanistan agus Iraq.

Ar lorg Saoirse na hÉirinn, d'oibrigh Phoblachtanaí go crua agus chaileamh cuid mhór, creideann muid go cinntigh sé seo eachtanái s'againn! Ní feidir le na iobhairt seo a bheith in aisce mar sin de chaithfidh muid focás mhór a chinéal ar an Conradh Lisbon. Má leanann an Conradh Lisbon ar aghaidh, déanoidh sí sáraigh ar neodrach Éire, cruathaigh sí éagothroime, déanfidh sí ionsaí ar ceartaí na hoibrithe agus creim ar cheannasacht Éire agus caithfidh Poblachtanaí a bheith ag feachtadh chun cinnte a dhéanamh go bhfuil Eireannaigh ag Votáil NÍL!

Rud a thosaigh Fír Aontithe Na hÉirinn i seachtdeag nocha hocht agus a d'éirigh amach sa bhlian naoi déag sé déag, is gnó gan críochnú é! Móidaigh muid atá phairt de Ógra Shinn Féin, pairt s'againn a ghlachadh chun an tasc sin a críochnú agus an céangal idir an Bhreatain agus Éire a bhríseadh!! Ba é sin nuair a feicimíd an gealach ag éirí!

Beirígí Bua!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ógra Shinn Féin call for Easter Lily Equality

East Down Ógra Shinn Féin have are urging people across south Down to wear their Easter Lilies with pride in celebration of the 1916 Rising and are campaigning for an end to discrimination for anyone wishing to wear this symbol within their workplace.
A spokesperson for Ógra explained:

"The Easter Lily symbol, which is currently uncategorized by the Equality Commission, was designed by the Cumann na mBan to honour the sacrifice made by the men and women of the 1916 Rising and the Tan War of 1920-22. The symbol is associated with the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, the design being taken from the seasonal decoration in churches during that period.

"It is only right therefore, that the people of south Down are allowed to freely wear their Lily whenever and wherever they wish. The number of people wearing this important symbol has in recent years increased significantly and this trend is set to continue.
"However, the onus is on employers and other officials to protect the rights of anyone wishing to wear an Easter Lilly in the workplace.

"Ógra Shinn Féin recently passed a motion supporting the right of citizens to proudly wear the Easter Lily without fear of victimisation and for it to be made available to Ulster Bus and Translink workers, as well as anyone employed by the BBC and UTV.

"It is unfathomable that in this day and age people do not have the democratic right to honour Ireland's patriot dead without discrimination and bias. We call upon the people of south Down to stand up for their rights; to honour our dead comrades and to wear their Easter lilies with pride."


Lee Casey
Vol. James Sheridan Cumann
UU Jordanstown

This article is about Jim Allister’s favourite word. It’s not ‘hope’ or ‘change’. The most used word in the former DUP mans political vocabulary is of course ‘terrorist’. The word ‘terrorist’ is derived from the twelve month period during the 1789 French Revolution called the ‘the terror’ or as the French call it. It has grown to become a political buzzword with negative connotations and is almost a phrase in itself.

In the centre of Washington D.C. stands the huge stone monument dedicated to the live of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America and also a man who took part in a revolution to remove the British from his country. Washington is considered an influential historical figure. The British who once labeled Nelson Mandela with the infamous word have a statue of the great one in Parliament Square. This of course dedicated to another revolutionary. Yet how can they reconcile labeling such monuments legitimate and yet label the volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann, who lost their lives fighting with the same motive of freedom in mind, terrorists?

DUP MLA Willie McCrea often talks of the ‘Republican murderers’ taking the lives of innocent people, even though during one air raid during World War Two on the German city of Hamburg the RAF killed 40,000 people in one night. But of course this would be viewed as legitimate. Would it be as legitimate as the manner in which volunteers Mairead Farrell, Dan McCann and Sean Savage were killed by the SAS?, members of the apparently ‘elite’ SAS shooting unarmed people in the back?

The old maxim ‘one persons terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter’ hits the nail on the head. The word terrorist is subjective and all a matter of perception. To an Israeli who has had a relative or friend killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber he or she may feel justified in naming the person responsible a ‘terrorist’. However if the suicide bomber has had his town or neighborhood flattened by Israeli bulldozers or blown up by Israeli rocket attacks their actions may also be viewed as justified.
The real issue is not how governments should stop the effects of terrorism. Stringent measures like internment or diplock courts and the restriction on civil liberties in the form of the US Patriot Act or US Military Commissions Act which means detainees in Guantanamo Bay are tried in US military courts without full and free legal representation as well as the British governments attempts to extend detention without trial from 28 days to 90 are counter productive. They just add fuel to the fire.

The real issue is why there are people in the world who feel the need to take up arms for their cause. Politically motivated violence shows that somewhere something has gone wrong. Governments should invest more time in investigating why people feel the need to go to such extreme measures, which in the case of Óglaigh na hÉireann is the inequality and injustice that exists as a result of the partition of Ireland. When that partition of Ireland is a thing of the past maybe, just maybe, the word ‘terrorist’ and the need for politically motivated violence will be gone for good.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Seoladh Chumann Gaelach Shinn Féin i mBéal Feirste

Seoladh cumann nua Shinn Féin i mBéal Feirste, an seachtain seo caite, ar an Mháirt 11 Márta a seoladh é, agus bhí thart ar 200 duine ann, i gcultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich ar bhóthar na bhFál.

Labhair Seanadóir Pearse Doherty, Uachtarán Shinn Féin Gerry Adams, Rosa McLaughlin, Cathaoirleach an Chumainn Éamann Mac Mánais agus gníomhaí Ógra Róise Níg Uidhrín ag an seoladh. Labhair Róise fá dtaobh den Chumann agus an chuid oibre atá le déanamh acu.

Ag caint faoin chruinníu, duirt Róise,

"Cheap mé go raibh an cruinníu iontach tábhachtach. Tá an Ghaeilge ag fás ar fud na tíre, agus tá ár bpáirtí ag fás chomh maith. Caithfidh muid an Ghaeilge a chuir chun cinn, i measc ár ngníomhaíthe, i measc an comhphobal agus i gach gairm bheatha."

Cumann Caoimhín Mhíc Brádaigh an t-ainm atá ar an chumann úr. Ba Óglach cróga é Caoimhín Mhíc Brádaigh. Fuair sé bás ag cosaint a phobail agus na ndaoine i Milltown, ar an lá a d'ionsaí Michael Stone tórramh na Gibraltar 3.

Chríochnaigh Róise,

"Seo ré úr don theanga".

Irish Language Cumann Launched in Belfast

A new Irish Language Sinn Féin Cumann was launched in Belfast, this week. Tuesday 11th March saw around 200 people in Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich on the Falls Road.

Senator Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, Rosa McLaughlin, Chairperson of the Cumann Éamann Mac Mánais and Ógra activist Róise McGivern spoke at the launch. Róise spoke about the cumann and the work they have to do.

Talking about the meeting, Róise said,

“I think this launch was very important. Irish is growing around the country, and our party is growing as well. We must put Irish to the fore, amongst our activists, and amongst the community and in all walks of life.”

Cumann Caoimhín Mhíc Brádaigh is the name of the new Cumann. Caoimhín Mhíc Brádaigh was a courageous IRA Volunteer. He died defending his community and the people in Milltown, on the day Michael Stone attacked the funerals of the Gibraltar 3.

Róise concluded,

“This is a new era for the language.”

Football Fans get the Message: No! 2 Lisbon

No! 2 Lisbon was the message that greeted football fans in Newry last Saturday as Down and Longford squared up on the football pitch.

A banner highlighting opposition to the upcoming Lisbon Treaty was unfurled by Ógra Shinn Féin activists during the match.

As fate would have it and perhaps a sign of the Lisbon Treaties demise, the match ended 19 - 16 to Down.

Ógra spokesperson Damian White said,

"It is important to raise the issue to the travelling Longford fans, but also to show that the Irish people as a whole will be affected by this and we in the North need to play an active role in ensuring the Lisbon Treaty is rejected."

"We unfurled the banner while Amhrán na bhFiann was played and as we where situated beneath the tricolour, everyone in the ground got the message."

"We specifically chose to raise the banner at that time, to point out that, if you care enough about your country to stand for your national amtham, then you should remember the ideas of the 1916 Proclamation and shouldn't be willing to throw away equality and soverignty by endorsing the Lisbon Treaty."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hypocrisy and Half-truths at University of Ulster

Sinn Féin Councillor and Ógra activist in the University of Ulster, Cllr. Johnny McGibbon has commented on the ongoing controversy over political censorship in the University.

Cllr. Mc Gibbon said,

“I think it nothing short of a disgrace that in 2008, a University and its Student’s Union, is pursuing a policy of political censorship.”

“The recent controversy over a leaflet appearing in the UUJ Campus, showing an IRA salute, is nothing but a by-product of the ‘political protocol’. The young republican’s where promoting an event through a leaflet which also included an historic image of an IRA final salute. We feel that it is right to remember the past, and only by remembering and talking about the past, can we truly move forward to a shared future. The actual event which was held on campus, had members of the PUP and the Unionist community in attendance, who engaged fully in the debate which followed the talk.”

“The UU Student’s Union taking the opportunity to push the issue into the public spotlight without first talking to the Ógra Shinn Féin cumann shows the level of opportunism and unprofessional nature of the body and those supposedly running it.”

“The ‘Political Protocol’ is the overall issue here. This is where all the other issues are stemming from. The fact that a University has a document attempting to control political activity is extremely worrying. If this type of policy was being adopted by a government, it would be seen as oppression.”

“The University of Ulster’s disgraceful ‘political protocol’ eagerly being promoted by the appeasing Student’s Union body is full of contradictions and hypocrisy. They have failed to mention their refusal of a drug and alcohol awareness stall, requested by the James Sheridan Cumann as it was deemed offensive. And yet they openly allow the British War Machine to recruit across the majority nationalist campus, an occupation force that the majority of student’s find offensive as it continues its death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan today. I wonder what the eagerly quoted student union reps have to say about that?”

“The actions of the Student’s Union in not even consulting the UUJ Cumann before going to the media; in making allegations against Ógra Shinn Féin, speculating that they will be banned from organising and their suppressive attitude to political activity on campus, is hugely concerning and will be challenged!”

Register your protest with the University by signing the online petition at:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Women in Struggle interview: Gemma McKenna

Gemma McKenna joined Ógra in September 2007 when she entered Queens University Belfast. She talks to Barry McNally from Ógra Shinn Fein about her involvement in youth politics.

How did you get interested in politics?

In my area when I was younger there was always conflict around the summer because of the marching season. And so from a young age I always wondered why things were the way they were. I guess it began as childish curiosity and as I got older and realised the discrimination happening all around me, I began to question things even more and get more and more interested in politics.

Were you involved in politics before getting involved in Ógra?

Not formally, I had a keen interest in politics and did different debating competitions in school such as model EU and model UN.

How did you find out or know about Ógra Shinn Fein?

Through reading about it on the Sinn Fein website and then a friend in school told about it. And the at Queen's freshers in September 2007 I joined the Sheena Campbell Queens Cumann. I came to Queens knowing I was going to join Ógra, as I felt Sinn Fein was the only party that have the same values as myself and therefore wanted to join their youth wing.
I was then elected to the position Equality officer along with another boy in the Sheena Campbell Queen's Cumann. Gender equality is probably the biggest issue in Ógra in general and so I am trying to recruit more females into the Cumann but this is not an easy task. I am also trying to make the other members aware that women should be seen as equal in EVERY aspect

Has your interest in politics come your family influence? And How?

I have never really talked to my family much about politics and so in many ways it came from my own interest. However my parents have always been supportive of Sinn Féin and I guess that has influenced my way of thinking. But to be honest I think it was the society I was brought up in and the inequalities that I know I and others experienced that really influenced me.

What would you be doing if you weren’t involved in Ógra?
To be honest I don't know.... it has become an important part of my life and so therefore I cannot actually imagine myself not being in it.

What actions have Ógra taken in your area (weekend’s protests etc)

We recently held the Sheena Campbell memorial vigil and talk, we also visited the H blocks including the prison hospital were the hunger strikers died, and we have also organised and taken part in Shell to sea protests. In addition to this we have showed support for Nigerian immigrants, organised two functions, launched the N.A.R.C campaign in QUB, Participated at National Congress and also Bloody Sunday commemoration march and helped with the establishment of an Irish language cumann of Sinn Féin in Belfast. In the future we are planning a number of events including a vigil and talk for Gibraltar 3, a Function in the Hatfield, we will also be taking part in Easter commemorations and selling Easter lilies. In addition we have also planned a Civil rights exhibition and a visit to Armagh jail.

What do you like most about Ógra Shinn Féin?

As a new member you are immediately made feel welcomed not only in my own local cumann but by all you meet. People are eager to listen to your ideas and take on your points of view. I believe in the work Ógra does and feel that they actively try to tackle the problems that young people encounter in today’s society.

Have you any major achievements within Ógra or things that you will remember for a long time to come?

Firstly, I don't think I'll ever forget my first Congress, as it was when I started to really understand what Ógra was about and was able to see the bigger picture. Also actually being able to get up and speak increased my confidence as I felt that although I was new my opinions were listened to equally.
I got the opportunity to go to Barcelona in the Catalan countries last weekend which is something that I will always remember. It made me realise the international support and respect both Ógra and our struggle in general has. It is also rather moving to just meet some-one, you don't even speak the same language, from completely different cultures but yet I share similar views to then and have a connection I don't even have with me best friends.

What do you enjoy doing outside of Politics?

I do love to socialise and so enjoy going out with my mates. I am also trying to learn Irish at the minute and enjoy reading. I really enjoy working with young people and will be going to America again this summer to work at a Camp.

How do you think you make politics relevant to young people and what are the major pressing issues for young people?

By making people aware of the Ógra campaigns and how politics directly affect their lives.
In terms of major pressing issues I believe the sexuality of young people is a subject people still feel uncomfortable about and so avoid talking about. Just because it might not effect out lives directly we cannot dismiss the fact that increasingly more young people are discriminated against because they are gay or lesbian. This is something which I think should be challenged.
Teenage pregnancy’s are still frequent in Ireland and an issue that needs to be tackled. Similar to the view that "no it won’t happen to me... I won’t get pregnant" is the naive opinion that people won’t get a STI but yet statistics show that increasingly more young people are becoming infected.

Concluding Gemma said

“The task is up to young republicans to continue to campaign, agitate and push for change. In pursuing our objective of a 32 county democratic socialist republic in Ireland we realise it is a massive task of work. But we in Ógra are up for it. It is clear to see by the calibre of activists we have in Ógra that the struggle is in safe hands. Onwards to the republic!!!

Quickfire Round:

Favourite Food:


Favourite Drink:


Favourite Music / Artist:

A bit of everything.

Favourite songs :

“Stand by me" or “Lean on me"

Favourite Films:

The wind that shakes the barley.
Stand by me

Favourite Book:

Pride and Prejudice
Alias Grace
Currently reading and enjoying Ten Men Dead

Favourite Holiday resort:

Not a big fan of Holiday resorts I prefer doing sight seeing.
Would love to go to go interailing around Europe

Person most influential in your life:

No-one person is an over arching influence, I like to think I am in control of my own life but my family and friends are key to my life.

Person you would like to meet (living)

The first Taoiseach of our 32 Socialist Republic.

Person you would like to meet (deceased)

Mairéad Farrell.

If you were president of Ireland or Taoiseach what 3 things would you do to change Ireland?

Set up a 32 Socialist Republic
Have the Irish Language taught from the age of 3 in all public schools.
Work to help ensure the independence of other countries still struggling for their independence.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mairead Farrell Remembrance Vigil @ Queens University

Queens University Students held a Black flag vigil to honour Mairead Farrell, a former student of Queens University, who was murdered by the SAS in Gibraltar, 20 years ago this week. Mairead Farrell was a first year student in March 1988, when she was killed alongside Dan McCann and Sean Savage, by British Intelligence and members of the SAS, who had been tracking the Irish Citizens for days. The unarmed trio, who could have been arrested, were gunned down in front of witnesses, who later testified against the British Government, who were subsequently found guilty of "Unlawful Killing", by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Student Spokesperson, Eunan Carlin, said;

"It is important that we hold this vigil, in honour of Mairead Farrell, a former student of this University. Mairead was very active within the Queens University Women's Rights group, and spoke in many debates on politics and women's issues. She was an active member of the student body, and the university at the time, refused to acknowledge her death in the official manner, by lowering their flag, as had been the custom. We come here today to honour her. Mairead Farrell is an inspiration to many young Irish people, and we are pleased to be able to honour her, in this small way."

Seachtain na Gaeilge

Peader deBluit
Ógra Shinn Féin

Gach bliain thart ar an tréimhse reachtáltar féile ollmhór idirnáisiúnta, in ainneoin an méid sin áfach is iomaí daoine nach fios dóibh mar gheall air. An féile atá i gceist agam na Seachtain na Gaeilge. Is féile coicíse atá i seachtain na Gaeilge, a leanann ar feadh an dá seachtain roimh lá fhéile Pádraig. De gnáth eagraítear ócáidí mór a bhaineann leis an Ghaeilge i rith na coicíse seo. Is seans an dá seachtain seo níos mó daoine a spreagadh le Gaeilge a fhoghlaim, is a labhairt. Le blianta beaga anuas tá iarrachtaí móra déanta ag go leor grúpaí éagsúla an Ghaeilge a athbheochan, mar sin is cabhair iontach an tréimhse seo an Ghaeilge a thógáil.

I mbliana, tá carn mór imeachtaí eagraithe le daoine a tharraingt chuig an Ghaeilge agus an pobal Gaeilge go ginearálta. Tá réimse mór rudaí idir díospóireachtaí, laethanta Gaelaigh, tráth na gceist, rincí, seisiúin ceoil agus go leor leor eile. Le chois na himeachtaí seo tá dlúthdiosca úr seolaithe in éineacht leis an bhféile, Ceol 2008. Is taispeántas de saghasanna ceoil éagsúla taifeadtha sa Ghaeilge. Tá sé sna siopaí ó 29 Feabhra agus de réir atá cloiste agam is cnusach fíor-mhaith atá ann, agus an t-airgead ar fad ag dul chuig carthanacht pháistí.

Tá imeachtaí eagraithe go hidirnáisiúnta chomh maith – ar an ábhar gur féile idirnáisiúnta atá ann. Mar shampla, i Lucsamburg tá léacht ón bhfile Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, agus san Astráil beidh cluiche ceannais CLG an Astráil ag dul ar aghaidh. Léiríonn an liosta imeachtaí seo an tionchar atá ag an Ghaeilge mar theanga, agus an tír seo araon ar an domhan idirnáisiúnta. Dáil an scéal tá liosta cuimsitheach des na himeachtaí ar fad atá ag tarlú in Éirinn agus timpeall an domhan mór le fáil ar shuíomh oifigiúl Seachtain na Gaeilge, , gabh chuig an suiomh sin le aon eolas maidir le Seachtain na Gaeilge atá uait a fháil.

Is léir ag féachaint ar na himeachtaí éagsúla is léir go bhfuil borradh ollmhór ag teacht ar an nGaeilge anseo agus timpeall an domhan. Tá níos mó daoine ná riamh ag labhairt Gaeilge anseo, tá líon na naí-scoileanna, gaeilscoileanna, meánscoileanna Gaeilge, agus cúrsaí tríú leibhéal atá ar fáil i nGaeilge ag dul i méid gach uile lá. Tá aithne anois san Eoraip ar an nGaeilge mar theanga oifigiúl. In ainneoin an méid seo ar fad áfach fós féin tá drochmheas á léiriú ag rialtas na 26 contae don Ghaeilge sa mhéid is go bhfuil an t-Aire Oideachas anseo ag diultú an tumoideachas a thógáil isteach sa stát seo. Chomh maith le sin tá an t-Aire Cultúrtha ó thuaidh ag diultú Acht na Gaeilge a thógaint isteach, in ainneoin an fás atá ag teacht uirthi.

Tá Acht na Gaeilge tuillte ag muintir na Gaeilge sna sé contae, tá sé de cheart acu é a bheith acu. Mar a chéile leis an dtumoideachas, sé an slí is fearr an Ghaeilge a fhorbairt anseo. Mar is eol dúinn uile áfach is annamh ar féidir brath ar na daoine seo an cine cóir a dhéanamh. Ní gheofar Sinn Féin ag feitheamh ar treoir ó grúpaí eile áfach, d’imiríomar ár bpáirt féin an tseachtain seo chaite ag lainseáil cumann i mBaile Átha Cliath, cumann de shaghas éigin eile é seo áfach, cumann atá ann a feidhmeoidh trí Ghaeilge amháin. Scaipfidh cumainn cosúil le seo tríd an tír ar fad agus é mar aidhm acu an Ghaeilge a cur mar theanga oibre an páirtí seo.

Mar sin tá an post fúinn féin an Ghaeilge a fhorbairt i ngach slí go féidir linn. Gan dabht an slí is fearr le tacú léi ná í a labhairt. Mura bhfuil an Ghaeilge ar do thoil agat, is fút féin atá sé í a fhoghlaim. Níl sé de chumas againn cath mar seo a bhuachaint inár aonar, mar sin téigí agus í a fhoghlaim, abair le bhur cairde í a fhoghlaim. Chosain í. Labhair í. Tacaigh léi.

Monday, March 10, 2008

UCD Remember Gibraltar 3

UCD Ogra Remember The Gibraltar 3On Thursday 6th of March UCD Ogra Shinn Fein, An CumannMacDonagh/Farrell, hosted a public meeting and vigil to mark the 20thanniversary of the murders of the Gibraltar Three.

The public meeting was addressed by Rose Dugdale, who spoke about themurders of Mairead Farrell, Dan McCann and Sean Savage and theirlasting effects on the Republican movement. Rose spoke particularlyabout Mairead's life and inlfuence on republicanism in the context ofInternational Women's Week.

Activists distributed leaflets detailing the lives of the volunteersand their untimely death on the streets of Gibraltar. The meeting waswell attended by members in UCD, other college Cumainn, members ofvarious political societies and none. Following the meeting a publicvigil was held by the lake where placards and flags were held up inrememberance of the three volunteers.
Mick Reynolds of UCD McDonagh/Farrell Cumann said,
"This the event was a great success, it was truely an honour tocommemorate such brave and dedicated Republicans. We are inspired bythe stories of their life and extraordinary times everyday."

QUB Sheena Campbell Cumann Remember Gibraltar/Milltown

Last Wednesday 5 March, Sheena Campbell Ogra Shinn Fein hosted the opening event to remember the 20th anniversary of the Gibraltar 3, at Queens University Belfast.

It began with a black flag vigil outside the university front gates for 30 minutes as a mark of respect to those killed in Gibraltar and Milltown.

Following the vigil there was a talk and a showing of a film in Queens University.

The speakers at the event were Seamus Finucane, partner of Mairead Farrell when she was tragically killed, Jennifer McCann MLA, who was a close comrade of Mairead having been imprisoned with her in Armagh Gaol, she was also a close friend of Dan McCann, and West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff who was a student at Queens, at the time of the Gibraltar 3’s death.

Ogra activist Eunan Carlin, chaired proceedings.

All 3 speakers talked about the significance of the Gibraltar and Milltown killings, and give a personal account of the individuals. They all spoke of Mairead as confident, educated and articulate women, driven by her passion for freedom. Having already been imprisoned in Armagh, Mairead on her release immediately got re-involved in the struggle and also took up studying at Queens.

They spoke of Daniel McCann being a very capable and dedicated volunteer, who was massively respected amongst Belfast republicans, and Sean Savage who was only 23 when he was killed was said to have possessed great leadership skills.

They spoke about the bravery of those who pursued Michael Stone in Milltown cemetery when he launched that murderous attack. Their selfless actions saved the lives of dozens of others.

Barry McElduff also recounted the student takeover of the Chancellor’s Office at Queen’s when Mairead was killed. He talked about it being common practice for Queen’s University to lower the flag to half mast when a student died; they refused to do so for Mairead because they claimed she was a ‘terrorist.’ So a number of defiant students including Barry McElduff and the late Michael Ferguson proceeded to take over the Chancellor’s office and lower the flag themselves.

The event was very emotional, informative and deeply inspiring, the engaging film, and the personal accounts captured the audience and ensured everyone left the event better educated of the tragic events of 20 years ago.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I am Women!

Community Activist
Ógra Shinn Féin

Inequality of the sexes and institutional maltreatment of women is the oldest form of discrimination.

Women have from the dawn of civilisation been subjected to lower class citizenship, having been denied access to jobs, the right to vote, and if ‘allowed’ to work, the right to safe and proper paid employment.

Women have been subjected for centuries, if not millennia, to abuse and a life dictated by men, in their family and in power.

The systematic abuse of women has happened throughout history, from forced marriage, systematic slavery and the trafficking of women, which continues to this day.

From the obvious cases of slavery, like African women being robbed from their shores, shipped to America to be then forced into slave labour, or the horrific abuse and slavery of Irish women and girls in the Magdalene laundries of Ireland.

The list of abuse and inequality goes on and on…

Of course men suffered injustice throughout the centuries, but scratch the surface and a constant feature is that women have endured and suffered more.

These injustices, abuses of human rights, continue today and are not confined to the developing world, they are very much apparent in the supposed progressive western world.

Women still endure more discrimination and abuse in the workplace and at home.

We all have a duty at school, at college, in the workplace, in our communities and at home to challenge this patriarchal society that confines women to the kitchen, we need to challenge machoism and chauvinism and start to practice what we preach – equality.

Sinn Féin also needs to play a more active role in ending the inequality that exists, both in the party but also in society. True, we have made strides forward but this has largely been down to a few committed feminists in our ranks. Imagine the progress we could make with the assistance of all our activists.

We need every activist to challenge sexism wherever it rears its ugly head, we need male comrades to promote women and ensure that the party becomes more representative of Irish society with 51% of the population being female.

And of course the young women in Ógra and Sinn Féin need to claim their space and need to let their voices be heard.

While we all have a duty and moral obligation to this most vital of tasks, does any young women think Mairead Farrell, Maire Drumm or Sheena Campbell would have been waiting around for gender equality in our ranks to happen? – of course not. They would have been leading the fight and the young women in our ranks today need to be taking the lead, ably assisted by their male comrades.

Let’s use International Women’s Day tomorrow 8th March to commit ourselves to the task of liberation for women across the globe, by playing our small part in making our movement representative of society.

In the words of a song,

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an 'pretend'
cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again

Derry Youth Remember Gibraltar and Milltown Martyrs

On Thursday March 6th, the 20th Anniversary of the Gibraltar 3’s execution, the youth of Derry gathered in the Dungloe Bar for a showing of the recently produced film on the tragic events of 20 years ago.

Belfast Republican, Sean ‘Spike’ Murray spoke briefly about the significance of the events surrounding Gibraltar and formally launched the film in Derry, this was followed by Ógra activist Aoife McNaught reading out a statement for International Women’s Day.

Speaking following the event, Chairperson of Doire Ógra, Niall Doran said,

“The film was very emotive and informative, an excellent education of the Gibraltar 3, and I would urge other Ógra cumann and young republicans to host a showing in their area.”

“I, like many others attending the event, were not even born when the tragic events of Gibraltar and Milltown happened. Tragedies like these make us, republican youth, proud to remember the sacrifice of these brave people, and it makes us realise the ferocity of state violence and unionist death squads that was directed at our people and communities only 20 years ago.”

“The events of that time and the people that we lost did not deter republicans then and it certainly doesn’t deter us now. We are proud to remember those who lost their lives; their legacy is and will continue to be a determined youth working towards everything they died for, justice, equality and freedom.”

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Women of Ireland - Mná na h-Éireann

Ógra Shinn Féin

Countess Markievicz, Mary McSwiney, Maire Drumm, Mairead Farrell, Sheena Campbell…the list could go on and on.

The point is, though, women have always played a major role in the Republican movement. Women have been soldiers, political activists, prisoners, hunger strikers, wives, sisters, daughters, and mothers; often all wrapped up into one. So I see International Women’s Day as no better day, to pay tribute to all female activists who have taken up the struggle for Irish freedom, and to comment on the future of our movement in relation to gender equality.

It is easy to forget, due to the nature of society in Ireland, the every day battles women must endure and have had to endure over the years. In 1916 Padraig Pearse declared the Irish Republic outside the GPO, to ‘Irishmen and Irishwomen’, He declared the allegiance of ‘every Irishman and Irishwoman’ to that Republic, and proclaimed that the Republic would cherish ‘all the children of the nation equally.’ Yet despite this the 26 County state became a patriarchal state in favour of the few, and the 6 County state continued to have the unionist and British system of oppression.

There was a time not that long ago, when women like Mairead Farrell thought it necessary to wage war. Not just for Human Rights and for National Rights, but also for their rights as women. In modern Ireland this struggle continues; the struggle for national self-determination, for independence and for equality. The war has ended but the stereotypes and the old fashioned thinking has not ended in all quarters. Women continue to come across ignorance, chauvinism and sexism in their every day lives. It may be in the workplace, in social circles, in the community or elsewhere. But wherever it is, as Republican activists it is our duty to challenge these attitudes.

Sinn Féin has made great progress in recent times, moving towards a more representative, gender balanced party. Whilst there is still more work to be done, I must point out and acknowledge the great work done by those party activists working on the issues of gender equality. I would definitely praise their determination and commitment. But I would point out we all have a responsibility towards gender equality and building our party. We must all actively seek out women, young people and members of new Irish communities and encourage them to help us build Sinn Féin and the type of Ireland we want.

In my view these are important stepping stones towards our ultimate goals. We must be the change we want to achieve.

As I write this I think of our many leading female activists; from our Assembly team, to our councillors, to our other female activists playing leading roles throughout Sinn Féin and Ógra. I also think of women I’ve never met; people I’ve only heard or read about. I think of the determination, commitment and sacrifice of women throughout our struggle; and it makes me proud to say I’m an Irish Republican.

Vol. James Sheridan Remembered in UUJ

The inaugural Vol. James Sheridan lecture took place in the University of Ulster, Jordanstown on Wednesday 5th March where the college based cumann also launched a new banner in memory of south Derry volunteer, James Sheridan. The joint lecture was delivered by Belfast republican Flash McVeigh and south Derry republican, Ian Milne.

Ógra activist Liam Lappin introduced the lecture and gave a brief summary on the life of Vol. James Sheridan. James had once studied at UUJ when it was known as a technical college, so it was therefore a fitting tribute to him that the college cumann was named after him when it was formed almost four years ago. James Sheridan went on to join Oglaigh na h'Eireann and became one of the first volunteers in the south Derry brigade to be killed on active service in December 1971 when a bomb he was transporting exploded prematurely killing himself and two other volunteers in Magherafelt.

Ian Milne, a former republican prisoner of war and long standing republican activist gave a detailed account of what life was like growing up in south Derry in the 1960's. He spoke about the injustices and the oppression suffered by the people at the hands of the British government. These circumstances then led him to join the republican movement as a means of defending his community.

Ian admitted that although he first became involved through reactionary means, he later developed his politics and became a revolutionary activist. Like many other republicans, Ian worked hard at developing Sinn Fein in the south Derry area, making it the great machine that it is today where he now serves as a Sinn Fein councillor in Magherafelt council.

Flash McVeigh also gave an account as to the reasons which led him becoming involved after the hungerstrike in 1981 and spoke about the importance to branch out and bring more republicans into our organisation. The event ended with a presentation being made to Ian Milne in honour of James Sheridan and his comrades by the James Sheridan Ógra Shinn Féin Cumann, Jordanstown.