Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Físeán Nua - Slogadh na nÓg 2008

Tá físeán nua ann, ar an Youtube! Seo é an scannán gearr den Slogadh na nÓg 2008!

Chuaigh thart faoi 30 duine, baill d'Ógra Shinn Féin san áireamh, go dtí an ceantar álainn Dún Lúiche, i gContae Dún na nGall. Bhí ranganna, ceol, cultúr, craic, turas ann agus i bhfad níos mó.

Feeling foolish Mr Platini?

Anti Sectarian
Ógra Shinn Féin

A week has passed since Fulham and Celtic squared up to each other at Craven Cottage in London. What was supposed to be a fun family day out, descended into shame after David Healy made the score 3-1 to Fulham.

Some spectators who considered themselves to be fans of Glasgow Celtic began chanting ‘Where were you on the 12th?’, questioning where Healy was on the day his fellow ‘norn iron’ brethren were celebrating their bigoted sectarian festival.

Healy’s response brought cold memories back to a similar bigoted incident from Paul Gascoigne, when he celebrated a goal by mimicking an Orange flute player. I attended the game with my young sisters. I am outraged that this kind of bigotry was exposed to my family, who know that sectarianism is completely unacceptable.

First of all, to those supposed fans I say this. Glasgow Celtic Football Club was founded in 1888, as a charity to help impoverished people in Glasgow, many of whom had left Ireland during or after the famine.

These people became the victims of sectarian attacks and discrimination. The main aim of Glasgow Celtic is to continue on the proud traditions of the anti sectarian charity it was founded as. Take your sectarianism elsewhere, it will not be welcomed by genuine Celtic fans as myself or my 8 year old sister you exposed it to!

Dear Mr Healy, of all people you should be most remorseful of the events. A person such as you,
who had been awarded from one of the greats of the game Michele Platini for achieving the remarkable feat of scoring as many goals as you did in ‘Norn Iron’s’ qualifying campaign, you should know that in the north of Ireland, children from all walks of life look up to you as a role model.

What kind of role model would portray an Orange bigot in front of 20,000 plus soccer fans, and to English people who do not know the curse sectarianism has had on our country.

An apology goes some way to repairing the hurt caused, but much more needs to be done.

I call on David Healy to publicly renounce sectarianism in all its forms, and to meet with cross community groups to offer a SINCERE apology for your actions, and to figure out a way that you might make amends for your disgraceful behaviour.

The time is soon coming to a united soccer team for all of this island, and I for one will not cheer for you, regardless of your immense talents, if you do not make severe steps to combat sectarianism.

I also call on UEFA president Michele Platini to publicly denounce Healy’s actions, and to make serious policies of combating sectarianism, racism and any other form of bigotry in European soccer.

By commissioning a prize for David Healy, you rightly celebrated the talents of a gifted soccer player.

Now show your commitment to combating bigotry by implementing a REAL plan to extinguish this scourge from soccer.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

“Fidel, we dedicate to you, this 55th anniversary of the 26th of July.”

Orlagh McCauley
International Officer

Ógra Shinn Féin

Thousands of Cubans and tourists assembled yesterday to commemorate those who lost their lives during the assault on the Moncada Barracks. This unsuccessful attack eventually led to the fall of the United States’ supported dictator Fulgenico Batista and the creation of the Cuban Revolution which 55 years later is still going strong.

It was only fitting that Cuba’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba, home of the Moncada Barracks was chosen for this anniversary. Every year a different city houses the National Festival Day. The most prosperous province from the previous year is the chosen venue, an incentive for development and progression for all local Governments.

In the last year Santiago de Cuba has seen the creation of a new community of 100 houses as part of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. The second largest airport, Antonio Maceo International Airport has extended the terminal and is now able to accommodate approximately 300 people per hour. As part of ‘Operation Libertadores’ the water supply in city has been greatly improved to meet the demand from the people as well as medical and social centres.

In the field of health care there have been major improvements to cancer services after the installation of modern equipment. Many local health clinics have been renovated and now cater services which were only available in hospitals. There is a new ophthalmological center, the intensive care unit is in the process of being expanded and the Children’s Onco-Hematology ward and a burns unit is being renovated. There are now 6000 doctors and 1000 dentists in Santiago de Cuba.

Nationally, Cuba has seen the retirement of Fidel Castro after 49 years as President and Commander-in-Chief, his younger brother Raúl succeeding following an election by the National Assembly on February 24th. Since last year the number of tourists to Cuba has increased by 14.8%, with 1.3 million visiting the country. The Cuban Army has upgraded their armament and equipment and training is ongoing. Trade relations with Russia have entered a new stage and in total the Cuban economy grew by 7.5% in the year 2007. In light of rising food prices more effort has been made to reduce imports therefore producing more internally. Pensions have been increased and the transport system has seen the arrival of more buses.

In the main speech of the day delivered by Cuba’s President Raúl Castro, he reminded the word that the Cuban Revolution is the Socialist Revolution of the poor, by the poor and for the poor.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stand up for Gay Rights! – Join in Belfast Pride Celebrations

The Belfast Pride Festival begins this Saturday 26 July, lasting a week and culminating with a huge march through Belfast City Centre on Saturday 2 August, assembling at Customs House Square @ 12noon.

The march attracted record numbers last year with over 6500 in attendance, each participant supporting the rights of the local gay community and the core premises of the international gay pride movement.

Other highlights of the festival include the Amnesty International lecture by human rights and gay rights activist Peter Thatchell, and a ‘Pride Talks Back’. All events and further information can be viewed at http://www.belfastpride.com/.

Encouraging maximum turnout for the Belfast pride events, National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin, Barry McColgan said,

“The gay community are an integral part of Irish society, and the Belfast pride festival, which continues to grow year on year, has become a hugely positive and productive community event.”

“Ógra Shinn Féin are urging maximum attendance at this year's pride events, to demonstrate solidarity with the gay community, and to stand up for their rights, in the face of discrimination, attacks and the deeply offensive and insulting remarks from Iris Robinson.”

“Stand up for human rights on Saturday 2 August, celebrate diversity, and send a message out loud and clear that bigotry will be overcome, and an Ireland of equals achieved.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

National Republican Youth Weekend - Come to Derry!

A short film has been produced promoting the upcoming National Republican Youth Weekend in Derry on 15 - 17 August.

It covers the main aspects of the weekend, including some of the talks, mural launch, political tour and the Hungerstrike march.

We are asking all activists and supporters to watch the short film, and also to promote it as widely as possible through bebo, myspace, email, and online forums, in order to encourage the largest possible attendance at this year's National Hungerstrike Rally in Derry.

The weekend will be packed full of education, debate and craic, and will be a great experience for any young republican.

If you are interested in coming to Derry on 15 - 17 August, please contact osfnational@yahoo.ie or 07871 298 718.

Bígí Linn!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rath ar Slógadh na n-Óg!

Senan MacAoidh
Ógra Shinn Féin

Tá eagraithe Slógadh na n-Óg thar a bheith sásta leis an ócáid ar fad a bhí ar siúl ag an deireadh seachtaine. Bhí muid ag súil go dtiocfadh léar mór daoine amach chuig an an ócáid agus sin a tharla. Bhí an-chuid baill d’Ógra Shinn Féin i láthair fosta agus measann muid gur bhain achan daoine an-sult agus an-tairbhe as.

Bhí an deireadh seachtaine féin lonnaithe i gceantar álainn Thír Chonnaill, i sráidbhaile beag darbh ainm Dún Lúiche, suite faoi scáth mhór Earagail. Roghnaíodh an áit áirithe seo fá choinne an tslógaidh de bharr an mhéid ghaeilge a labhairtear ann, atá go h-ard agus de bharr na tacaíochta áitiúla don slógadh a chuaigh go mór chun ár leasa.

Thosaigh cursaí ar an Aoine nuair a tháinig an bus isteach ón ómaigh timpeall a cúig a’ chlog. Láithreach d’imigh dhá chomradaí dicheallach isteach sa chistin agus chuir futhu ag ullmhú bhéile mór an lae. Bhí caint dar teideal ‘Athghabháil na h-Éireann’ ann in ionad cois locha idir dhá loch Dhún Lúiche.

Thug Gráinne Mhic Ghéidigh, comhairleoir áitiúil de chuid Shinn Féin, agus ionadaí ar Údaras na Gaeltachta, ise a thug an chaint. Labhair sí leis an dream bailithe, meacan máirí idir glan-tosnathóirí, foghlaimeoirí agus daoine le Gaeilge líofa, labhair sí leo fá dtaobh de stair na teanga agus an tabhacht a bhaineann leí agus fá dtaobh de na tógraí lastigh de Shinn féin atá ag forbairt úsáid na gaeilge sa pháirtí. Bhí sí ag caint as béarla agus as gaeilge agus dúirt achan daoine ina dhiaidh go raibh sé iontach suimiúil dóibh.

I ndiaidh na cainte sin le Gráinne bhí Rang gaeilge bunúsach againn le Paul Brady as Béal Feirste. Léiríú thar a bheith anamúil a bhí ann agus bhain an múinteoir úsáid as drámaí beaga agus súimheanna laethúla, mar shampla ag ceannacht earraí sa siopa, chun focail agus phrasaí áisiúla a theagaisc. Ag a naoi a’ chlog d’imigh muid uilig síos go teach tabhairne Mhic Ghéidigh fá choinne cúpla deoch agus giota craic.

Maidin Shathairn, i ndiaidh Ranga Ghaeilge eile chuaigh muid ar thuras bus timpeall an cheantair agus bhí bean áitiúil darbh ainm Catríona mar theoraí againn. Thug sí míniú dúinn stair na tírdhreachta agus na spriocanna agus na fothracha éagsúla a bhí scapaith ar fud na háite. D’inis sí finnscéalta na háite agus caidé mar fuair báiltí a n-ainmneacha.

Bhí cuid chainteanna eile againn ar an Sathairn sin. D’inis Jhonny McGibbon, ball d’Ógra agus comhairleoir san lorgain, d’inis sé dúinn faoina thaithí ag foghlaim na gaeilge le tamall beag anuas agus an dul chun cinn ata á dheanamh aige. Labhair sé go hiomlan dátheangach. Caint an-ionspóireadach a bhí ann do na foghlaimeoirí a bhí i láthair agus thug sé ardú croí do na daoine sin a bhí a cuir faoin ghaeilge a fhoghlaim.

Thug Jim Monaghan, iar-bhall da thrúir na Colóime, thug se caint dúinn fá dtaobh den eacnamaíocht, an nua-liobrálachas go háirithe agus na dúshláin nua ata romhainn mar shóisialaigh. Mhínigh sé bun-phionsabail na heacnamaíochta mar shampla, ag míniú caidé go díreach é caipitileach. Caint shuimiúil agus domhain a bhí ann, agus cinnte go bhfuil gá le níos mó dá leithéid in Ógra chun ár n-aigní a dhíriú ar na mí-cothromaíochtaí atá ann sa chóras seo againne, an chaipitilíochas.

Ar an chaint dheirneach a bhí againn san ócáid, bhí Féilim Borland de chuid na hirise NÓS*, ag labhairt fá dtaobh dá iris agus faoi na Meáin ghaeilge i gcoitinne. Labhair sé as gaeilge amháin agus labhair sé le paisean faoina tionscnaimh nua ata ag tarlú le míonna beaga anuas maidir le seirbhísí nua ata ar fáil sa teanga agus deiseanna atá ag daoine anois scéalta as gaeilge a scaipeadh sna meáin ar nós Raidió Rí-Rá, ar ndóighe NÓS*, blaganna, podchraoltaí srl.

Ar an oíche sin chuaigh muid amach go dtí Pub Mhic Ghéidigh arís agus d’fhan ansin ró-fhada b’fhéidir! Bhí ceol curtha ar fáil le ceolteoirí áitiúla agus daoine eile a bhí linne a ghlac leo uirlisí ceoil. Ainneoin na hoíche déanaí sin d’éirigh daoine ag a hocht a’chlog ar maidin fá choinne bricfeasta agus dhreap ansin suas Earagail! Nuair a tháinig muid arais bhí Lón againn agus chuaigh muid abhaile go dtí an Ómaigh ar bhus.

To finish in English (a mhalairt a bhíonn fíor de ghnáth, ta fhios agaibh caidé ‘tá a rá agam a ghaelgeoirí!).

The whole event was definitely a success and we aim to make this an annual event. The weekend, of which this is only a small snapshot, included a lot more and was popular mix of activities, physical, political, cultural, musical and educational, all with an emphasis on promoting an Ghaeilge.

See you's next year!

Join the walk for Pearse Jordan's family campaign for Truth and Justice

IRA volunteer Pearse Jordan was shot dead by undercover RUC officers on the Falls Road on 25th November 1992 in a pre-planned shoot-to-kill operation.

Pearse Jordan’s parents, Hugh and Teresa, have continuously fought for an inquest into the killing of their son.

Their struggle for justice has been marked at every turn by concealment and cover-up by the British state.

The British state has refused to pursue prosecutions and has consistently engaged in attempts at cover-up, including delaying the inquest.

The Jordan family have fought a 16-year legal battle to have the RUC members involved in his killing give evidence in court and Sinn Féin will continue to support them and other families whose loved ones were killed by the British State or their surrogates.

On Saturday, August 2, we will gather for a sponsored walk to raise money for a mural in support of the Jordan family campaign for truth and justice.

The mural will be placed at the former Andersonstown RUC barracks, which was used as a base to carry out the murder of Pearse.

The walk will begin at 12pm at the National Trust car park at 12 Divis Road and will go to the site of the former Andersonstown RUC barracks for the public unveiling of the Pearse Jordan mural at 2pm.

We hope that you will support the walk and attend the unveiling.

Anyone looking sponsor sheets, please email osfnational@yahoo.ie

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thronged and Upbeat Crowds at L'Acampa Jove - An Inspiration

Damien White
Ógra Shinn Féin

Following the recent visit of JERC to the Ógra Shinn Féin National Youth Camp, it was fitting that we sent a delegation to the Acampada Jove.

The youth festival, in Sant Celoni in Catalonia, a 4 day music, and political concert has been running for over 13 years and it has proved a great way to bring the Catalan struggle to the consciousness of the young Catalan people. Last year over 35,000 people thronged to this event.

The Ógra Shinn Féin delegation was due to arrive on Wednesday the 9th of July but due to the disastrous radar failure in Dublin Airport, we did not arrive until Friday night and missed the opening of Acampada Jove.

This forced the postponement of an interview by the press which later happened on the Saturday Morning.

Upon arriving I was greeted and taken straight to the Acampada Jove set in the roaming hills of Sant Celoni, where the night’s concert had already kicked of and thousands of people were enjoying themselves. The atmosphere was electric with an uplifting atmosphere from the enthusiastic crowd.

The music from many of Catalan Countries top bands continued throughout the night, into the early hours. Flanking the stage where huge banners highlighting socialism, feminism, Independence and liberty. The final act of the night was the presenting of national flags, of people’s in struggle, with the Irish National Flag taking precedence and receiving the biggest cheers from the thousands of assembled youth

The night was the time to enjoy yourself, build comradeship with activists and share views and ideas. During the day, the concert hall was turned into an arena were the political aspect of the event came into its own.

A number of meeting’s throughout the day highlighted social problems in the Catalan Counties and many where linked to the apathetic and uncaring administration of the Spanish Occupying forces.

One particular issue was public transport, highlighting the lack of Spanish funding to the infrastructure leading to the Catalan public service not being able cope with the growing demand for upgrades.

There was also talk from the editor of a banned Basque pro Independence newspaper, he talked about the need for getting a left independence message out to the people and about the time he spent in prison for doing just that.

In the early evening of Saturday 12th, the main public event saw a wide range of Catalan cultural events and their many form’s of traditional dance, which was followed by the public political addresses, by the international youth movements.

In our address we outlined our current political situation, of our experiences of government in the Assembly, our successful campaign to reject the Lisbon Treaty, and our views for what Europe should be, ‘a free federation of free peoples.’

We sent solidarity to the Catalan and Basque independence struggles and we highlighted the growing need for more international links so we can learn from our joint experience to help bring our struggles forward.

The address received a huge applause and cheer from the crowd.

As a way of thanking JERC, for the invitation and ongoing solidarity we presented them with a commemorative plague of our fallen comrade Óglach Brendan Watters who died on active service, 8th August 1984, while engaging an RUC Land rover in Newry.

Following Ógra Shinn Féin’s speech, came the main address by the president of ERC, who spoke of the importance of international links and made a special welcome to Irish Republican Youth.

Despite a very upbeat and flawless day, the weekend took a sour turn as a massive thunder storm began, with weather turning so bad that the music event of that night was forced to a close.

Ending Acampada Jove earlier than hoped or expected, the majority of people carried on partying regardless. The miserable weather may have stopped the main event but it certainly did nothing to dampen the spirits of the happy campers.

This was a great opportunity to learn how our international comrades engage a broad section of youth, educating them in a setting where young people enjoy participating.

The organization of this event shows the admirable strength of JERC, who had over 300 activists working at the festival, many with little to no sleep for the 4 days.

Ógra Shinn Féin and the Irish republican struggle in general can learn a lot from this event, on how to engage with mass of young people, and make our politics and history relevant in a modern context.

We also welcome the growing links with the struggles of the Catalan and Basque peoples, and as we progress to our freedom, we must remember and assist our international comrades. Their struggle is our struggle!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

National Republican Youth Weekend Set For Derry

A National Republican Youth Weekend is set for Derry City on 15 – 17 August. The weekend will coincide with the National Hungerstrike Rally which for the first time in 27 years is being organised outside of Belfast.

The weekend which is open to everyone, will include, historical tours, talks, workshops and craic agus ceol, and will see young republicans come from across Ireland. A number of international youth movements will also be in attendance.

Urging young republicans to attend the weekend of events, Nial Doran of Derry Ógra Shinn Féin said,

“It is an honour for Derry Republicans to host the National Hungerstrike Rally this year, and we intend to make it a major success and a fine tribute to our fallen comrades. The theme for this year’s march is ‘The Struggle Continues’ and it is apt that we are organising a Republican Youth Weekend, as it will be the modern day youth who are the inheritors and activists who will ensure the continuity and successful conclusion of the struggle.”

“We would urge all young republicans, across Ireland, to mobilise for Derry on the weekend. The clár contains many educational talks, tours and workshops, and we have a good social dimension to the weekend to ensure that working relationships, comradeship and ideas are built and shared. We look forward to seeing you in Derry!”

If anyone is interested in attending the weekend, please contact 07871 298 718 or osfnational@yahoo.ie.

National Irish Republican Youth Weekend
‘The Struggle Continues’

15 – 17 August

Friday 15 August

6pm: Arrival and Registration

6.15pm: Failte

7pm: Dinner

8pm: ‘The Struggle Continues’

10pm: Rebel Night

Saturday 16 August

9pm: Breakfast

10am: Workshops: Banner Making, Publicity and Propaganda, Organisation, Gender Equality

12noon: Unveiling of Ógra Shinn Féin Mural

1pm: Tour of Bogside

2.30pm: Lunch

3.00pm: ‘Youth in Struggle’ DVD showing and Public Talk

4.30pm: ‘The Hungerstrike – Internationalising the Struggle’ Public Talk

6.30pm: Dinner

8pm: Ban Taser Guns Protest @ Strand Road PSNI Barracks

10pm: Hungerstrike Committee Function

Sunday 17 August

10am: Breakfast

11am: Assisting with preparations for Hungerstrike March

2.30pm: Hungerstrike March

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Strabane ÓSF Remember Fian Tobias Molloy

Ógra and Sinn Féin activists from Tyrone and Derry gathered in Strabane on Wednesday 16th July, to commemorate the 36th anniversary of the death of recruit Tobias Molloy, Fianna Eireann.

The activists assembled at the spot near the former “camel’s hump” checkpoint, where in 1972, the young Fian was shot dead by a rubber bullet fired by the British crown forces.

Tobias Molloy was 18 years old when, returning from his girlfriend’s home in Lifford, he was struck above the heart by a rubber bullet fired by the British army. The British propagandists were quick to claim that Tobias was shot while taking part in a riot but these claims were disputed by local eyewitnesses, who were adamant that he was nowhere near the riot, and was shot down in cold blood without reason.

Local youths helped carry the injured Tobias to Lifford hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

As his body was taken home from across the border, accompanied by hundreds of mourners, it was attacked by British soldiers as it passed by their army base. Mourners were forced to fight their way through as they were attacked with batons and rubber bullets, some of which hit the hearse which carried the dead Fianna boy’s coffin.

The funeral which was attended by thousands of people from the West Tyrone area stretched over five miles to the Donneyloop graveyard in Donegal. As the remains reached the cemetery it was surrounded by hundreds of Free State soldiers and Gardaí, who were there under the auspices of preventing an IRA tribute, a tribute that had already been paid before Tobias’s remains left his hometown.

At the commemorative vigil on Wednesday night, Strabane Sinn Féin councillor Brian McMahon spoke of the determination and bravery shown by the youth of Strabane and West Tyrone throughout the war.

“As we stand at this spot 36 years on from the murder of our comrade Tobias let us not forget that this was a young man aged only 18 years, the same age as some members of Ógra Shinn Féin here today. I think it is particularly symbolic that those young people that have organised this vigil here tonight are of the same age and from the same community as this brave young Fian. The youth of Strabane should educate themselves on the brave activities of our past generation of Republican youth, and take inspiration from their example and join in the struggle for independence.”

(Ógra activists with members of Fian Tobias Molloy's family)

Also speaking at the vigil was chair of Strabane Ógra Shinn Féin, Seán Mac Giolla Easpaig who thanked everyone for turning out despite the bad weather.

“It is important that we commemorate the death of this young member of Na Fianna Eireann who at such a young age saw the need to stand up for the rights of his community and country and join the freedom struggle. This area has a strong history of Republican youth and we in Strabane intend to continue that proud tradition as we plan to name our local Ógra Shinn Féin cumann after Tobias Molloy.”

Fuair Siad Bás Ar Son Saoirse Na hÉireann.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

World Oil Crisis

Lee Casey
Ógra Shinn Féin

An Lorgain

Oil has long been the food that has fed the capitalist beast that is the global economy. Oil has been the motive for many a war as demonstrated by the on going US and British occupation of Iraq.

However oil will not last forever. The geological process which creates the stuff takes millions of years and even the most optimistic scientific experts have projected that all known oil reserves will be depleted by the end of this century. Humanity is currently consuming the last crumbs from earths table.

We will one day live in an oil-less society. The demise of oil as an energy source isn’t just disastrous for human transportation. Oil is used to make plastic which is key in the production of important medical equipment. The price and supply of oil also has a huge effect on global food prices. One example would be rice. Rice is the staple diet of two-thirds of the world’s population. The weakening of the global economy which has had a knock on effect on the price of oil has resulted in the price of rice increasing by 50%. This has hit the poorest people in the world the hardest.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is made up of thirteen countries that control two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves. Despite global oil supply increasing, OPEC has failed to increase oil production in an attempt to calm the market. Basic supply and demand and the weakening global economy have increased oil prices. Oil prices have increased by 40% this year alone, a barrel of oil now costing $139. The thirst for oil is already a huge problem, but with the emerging economies of India and China, demand is far out-running supply.

All the complexities of the production, and economics that surround the oil industry, cannot and should not divert us away from the fact that oil is running out. If the proper steps are taken now then the end of oil as an energy source would not be so apocalyptic. More investment into renewable sources of energy if done effectively would create more jobs as well as prepare us for the onset of an oil-less society.

Not only should there be investment into renewable energy sources, there should also be a greater emphasis on research into renewable energy, with an aim of maximizing energy efficiency. Some forms of wind turbines are so insufficient, that if the whole of Ireland were to be covered with them, the turbines would only generate enough energy to power just Belfast.

We must also be careful that in the construction and positioning of renewable energy sources we do not damage wildlife habitat or the wider environment. We would only be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Governments and the international community setting reachable targets in the gradual phasing out of oil and other non-renewable energy sources would also bring about greater change at a faster rate. The world should look to Sweden for such an example. The government of Sweden announced in 2005 that it intended to make Sweden the first country to end its reliance on non-renewable energy sources. If Ireland were to follow suit then it would not only be a good thing for the environment and the biosphere. It would protect the Irish economy from the dangerous price fluctuations that have been seen recently and ensure stability in the supply of energy.

OXEGEN – Ar dóigh!

Senan MacAoidh
Ógra Shinn Féin

Bliain eile, oxegen eile, agus ar ndóigh ní raibh an ócáid gan phoilitíocht!

Well, what can I say? Oxegen was brilliant, truly one of the greatest festivals and not one without its fair share of politics. How wouldn’t it be with Rage Against The Machine playing? The famous Metal/Rap/Funk band from California in the USA played at the main stage on Sunday night.

The tension was mounting well before they came on with hardcore fans queuing for up to 10 hours to get into the pit. By the time the Kaiser Chiefs came on, the last band before Rage, the crowd was immense, 10s and 10s of thousands, full of people wearing Rage t-shirts, chanting ‘Rage Rage Rage’ with fist in the air.

I felt sorry for your man singing for the Kaiser Chiefs as he responded in a pissed-off manner, shouting ‘We Are the Kaiser Chiefs!’ and acknowledging that the crowd wanted Rage, singing ‘Angry Mob’. They left the stage with the words ‘Enjoy Rage Against The Machine’. By this time it was undoubtedly the largest and most enthusiastic crowd that had appeared so far at oxegen and it was on fire, the atmosphere was invigorating with the crowd surging.

A huge red star on a black background (symbol of the EZLN) as the backdrop for the band and a portrait of Ché Guevara, it set the tone for the entire performance. They leapt out on stage, receiving the most compelling roar from the masses. The crowd went crazy as they opened with ‘Testify’ they then followed on with the likes of ‘Bullet in the Head’ and ‘Guerrilla Radio’, taking a breather near the end and playing aloud the Internationalé and then finishing with ‘Killing in the name of’.

It was great to see that with Rage back together, their spirit and the spirit of their fans had not gone away. The crowd, mental as it was, sang along to the lyrics and made left fist gestures in the air.

Níor sháraigh aon ghrúpa eile iad ag Oxegen, bhí RATM ar fheabhas agus comh fuinniúil sin. D’fhág siad rian suntasach I measc an tslua agus beidh caint futhu cibé uair a labhraíonn duine faoi Oxegen ’08.

The band always emphasises the importance of activism, that its music is only the beginning. It takes clear stances on many issues and it is openly socialist and fundamentally anti-capitalist. According to their guitarist Tom Morello,

‘America touts itself as the land of the free, but the number one freedom that you and I have is the freedom to enter into a subservient role in the workplace. Once you exercise this freedom you've lost all control over what you do, what is produced, and how it is produced. And in the end, the product doesn't belong to you. The only way you can avoid bosses and jobs is if you don't care about making a living. Which leads to the second freedom: the freedom to starve.’

Rage Against The Machine were oxegen this year.

And if their support in terms of fans could be harnessed to create action, wouldn’t that be a great thing?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ógra Shinn Féin challenge BBC and UTV on 12th July Coverage

Ógra Shinn Féin activist Cllr. Johnny McGibbon has reacted angrily to this week’s widespread and mainstream media coverage of the 12th July Parades.

Cllr. McGibbon has questioned why similar coverage is not afforded particularly on BBC and UTV for the annual 1916 Easter Commemorations.

Cllr. McGibbon commented,

“Both BBC and UTV aired a dedicated 30 minute programme of the orange order parades throughout the north, spending considerable time, effort and resources to promote the 12th July parades.”

“There is no similar practice by the BBC and UTV to cater for their Republican and Nationalist audience, by covering the annual Easter 1916 Commemorations which take place annually across Ireland, including the north.”

“With the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, a flourishing peace process and republican’s in government in the assembly; it is an absurdity that our rights, and history are being ignored by these media bodies.”

“In the year ahead Ógra Shinn Féin intend to lobby and campaign to ensure that next year’s Easter 1916 Commemoration’s are afforded the proper media coverage which they deserve. Our rights and our history will not be ignored.”

Martin Hurson and Tyrone Volunteers Remembered with Pride

“A guiding light to lead the fight to free my green Tyrone,
The voice of truth for Irish youth to rid of the British throne.”

Sunday 13 July marked the 27th Anniversary of Tyrone Hungerstriker Óglach Martin Hurson. And it is also the calendar date selected by the Tyrone National Graves to honour all Tyrone Volunteers who have given their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom.
As every other year, the commemorative day kicked of with the annual Martin Hurson Memorial GAA cup final which was played at Galbally Pearses Football Field. The Hurson’s team the eventual victor’s overcoming a spirited Aghaloo side.

Following the completion of the match and the trophy ceremony, thousands of Republicans, including family, friends and comrades of Martin’s, lined up at Galbally GAA Centre to march to the Tyrone Volunteers Monument in Cappagh Main Street.

A strong contingent of Ógra Shinn Féin activists from counties Tyrone and Derry contributed in the parade, many in the bands, while others carried banners.

The main speaker on the day was Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff, who spoke of the enormous courage of men like Martin Hurson and Martin McCaughey, and how the IRA in Tyrone showed great ingenuity in fighting a very intelligent war.

He also spoke of the resilient community who opened up their hearts and homes to the IRA, and aided immeasurably to the success of the IRA campaign.

Turning his attention to today, he said young people must think in an All Ireland context and through small anti-partition actions they can change mindsets and bring about meaningful change, one particular initiative he urged was to ensure that Tyrone’s post boxes and other such red ones across the north should be painted green, to harmonise post-boxes across Ireland.

Barry McElduff said that the struggle must continue that we must stay united as one republican movement and progress to the Republic for which our fallen comrades died to achieve.

“Through tortured nights your prayers brought light and soothed my fears and pain,
And though I'm gone you must fight on till Ireland is free again.”

(Ógra Shinn Féin activists at Martin Hurson's Monument with his Brother Brendan)

An Internationalist Perspective

Ross Taylor

They say hindsight is a wonderful thing. Why in the name of all that is humane, do world leaders not think about it?!

Watching a British House of Commons Q&A session with Gordon Brown, I noted the amount of MPs who were calling on peers to honour the memories of more British troops killed in Afghanistan.

A death, no matter what side it's on, is nothing to celebrate, especially as tragic as a young person with a lot of potential.
I was quite taken aback, however, that not one peer called for a withdrawal from Afghanistan!

Surely now, the way to avoid more deaths is to take troops, armed to the teeth, out of the country! Similarly, in Iraq, one problem that was kept under control by Saddam was the sectarian killings we seem to be seeing on a daily basis now!

If the American and British leaders claim that they invaded these countries to depose dictatorial regimes, can they explain the amount of bloodshed we see in the news on a daily basis?!

If democracy is their goal, then why don't they invade Zimbabwe to depose the bloodstained rule of Robert Mugabe?

The reason is, simply, because people like Mugabe were put into power by America and Britain, as they suited their neo-capitalist agendas.

Can somebody please email me a picture of Queen Elizabeth II with a red neck on her? After all, didn't she award Mugabe with a KNIGHTHOOD!! Removing a knighthood, now that'll surely deter Mugabe's bloodlust! He's been removed from they exclusive club which contains other dictators and despots such as Sir Mike Jackson, the man who reigned over the British Army occupation of the North of Ireland.

Does Whitehall really think that by refusing to play a game of cricket against Zimbabwe that the dictatorial regime will fall?!

The greatest white elephant in the world, the UN will never do anything but sit and talk. The League of Nations crumbled and collapsed after it was clear it was a failure, why so do we still have, after 60 years, the UN?!

Ireland is said to be in recession now, so why do us taxpayers still fund this white elephant?! Why has Brian Cowen cut our overseas aid by €45million, denying the people who REALLY need it and putting children’s' lives at risk, whilst he wastes BILLIONS on diplomacy and niceties.
Why do Irish troops now occupy a country which has split up because of a colonial war?! Any right thinking person would say we've had 800 years enough of colonial wars!!

It is time to put the myth of international terrorism, that Bush and Brown wave over our heads to keep us in a submissive state of fear, as in fact the real terrorists, and those who finance terrorism, are those who sit at the UN, those who dip their hands in the pool of blood being shed in Iraq, Ireland is one of those, and the G8, who talk about increasing aid to €50 billion, but instead spend it on the much needed caviar and champagne they so urgently require at their summits.

Thousands Commemorate Óglach Seamus Woods

On Saturday July 5, Ógra Shinn Féin joined with thousands of republicans from across County Tyrone and further afield to commemorate Óglach Seamus Woods in a march through his home village of Pomeroy.

The brave volunteer, who was only 23 at the time of his death, was killed on active service 20 years ago in Pomeroy village, when mortars he was preparing for an attack on crown forces prematurely exploded.

A huge turnout demonstrated the huge respect in which Seamus was held and the large number of young people in attendance is testament to the lasting republican legacy of his ultimate sacrifice.

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly who delivered the main oration said,

“Seamus (Woods) was a brave man who was in the IRA and proud of it. I was in the IRA and I am proud of that. That is something we all can be proud of."

In reference to the one man protest by failed political maverick Willie Frazer he said,

"I know there is some eejit protesting up the street, but we won't worry about him because we have here a very dignified commemoration."

The commemoration was a fitting tribute to a fine patriot who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the ongoing struggle for Irish Liberation.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

So Much for Unionist Unity.

Vótáil Sinn Féin

The decision to hold a by election after the death of DUP councillor in Fermanagh has left in tatters any notion of ‘unionist unity’ between the DUP and UUP.

After taking the reigns of the DUP, their leader, Peter Robinson said that he would work towards the DUP and UPP working together. He stated "If, in the future, that does bring us so close together that we can have one organisation, so be it."

Somehow I can’t see this happening in the near future.

And what of Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) will they upset the applecart further by fielding another unionist candidate in an attempt to steal a seat from the DUP. The Jim Allister brigade will be watching the situation closely no doubt.

However Reg and the clan over in the UPP HQ reckon they are back on track. The Paisley dynasty they say is gone, the DUP are sharing power with republicans and the Dromore By election victory have got them feeling invincible.

The DUP have inevitably hit back and the claws of Arlene Foster have come out. The fear of another by election defeat and embarrassment for the DUP seems to be well founded. The DUP will also be anxious not to lose another Council seat ahead of the European elections next year.

So who will take the Fermanagh by election seat? If I was a betting person I would fancy a few pound on the local Sinn Féin candidate. However as for Unionist unity I wouldn't go placing any bets yet.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ógra Visit Catalan Countries

Ógra activist Cllr. Johnny McGibbon writes a brief outline of his recent trip to the Valencian Country. Johnny attended a weekend event organised by SEPC (Sindicat d'Estudiants dels Països Catalans), a student based Catalan organization.

The SEPC are a leftist, student and independantist movement in the Catalan Countries. Recently I travelled to the Valencian Country, to take part in an event, focused on education and curriculum in the Catalan Countries.

I arrived in Barcelona on May Day, to attend a May Day rally in the city. The march saw thousands parade through the centre of the city, from various different political, cultural and worker’s organizations. The march was one of a number of large marches through the city on the day.

I moved on the next day to a town in the Valencian Country, where I was to attend a weekend event on education. The weekend started brightly with a 4 hour bus journey from Barcelona, and a pleasant hold up from the Guardia Civil at the entrance to the town. Stopped at a dirt-track at the side of the road, just large enough for a coach, I was told it was a routine check-point. It was convenient nonetheless.

We arrived at the organizational headquarters for the weekend soon after. Here a local school was used for registration and general administration of the weekend.

The actual talks and debates took place in the local Town Hall, with 2 events always running simultaneously. This meant activists had the choice of which event to attend and which topic to discuss. Topics covered a wide variety of subjects within education and issues effecting students; ranging from bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, to education through the Catalan Language.

A wide variety of speakers from within both Catalan independence circles, and wider educational circles, were brought into make presentations and facilitate discussions on the various issues. I was lucky enough to be accompanied by a translator, and was able to understand and contribute to the workshops which followed.

My main participation of the weekend was a talk on education. I was asked to talk about the education system in Ireland, while another representative from the Basque Country, outlined the strategy the Basque Independence movement are currently applying, to form a new Basque Curriculum.

I discussed with them our vision of education in Ireland, our ministry in the north and did my best update them on recent developments like the removal of the 11 Plus. I also highlighted the development of education through An Ghaeilge and the ongoing battle for language rights in both education and general society.

Overall I believe the event was an interesting, worthwhile and well run weekend. I think we learnt some lessons, and hopefully shared some experience with the Catalans.

'Orange marches not welcome in nationalist areas.'

Ógra Shinn Féin stood alongside the residents of the Springfield road in protest last weekend as the orange order marched through the area. The area was virtually sealed off for some hours on Saturday to facilitate 50 Orangemen marching from the gates at Workman Avenue through the nationalist Springfield road.

The parades Commission announced that a single lodge, consisting of around 50 Orangemen would be allowed to pass through the Workman Avenue area, and onto the Springfield road, while the remainder of the parade would be diverted through the site of the old Mackies factory.

Heading up the Ógra delegation on the Springfield road was Róise McGivern of West Belfast Ógra Shinn Féin. Miss McGivern said the parades commission had ‘given in to loyalist violence’ by its ruling.
“It is beyond belief that the Orangemen are permitted to march along the Springfield road. The message that this sends out to nationalist is that loyalist threats work. We all remember the disruption that was brought to Belfast and further afield when orange rioting erupted after the parade in 2005. The only conclusion that can be reached by nationalists is that loyalist threats work.”

“We in Ógra Shinn Féin are standing firmly behind the Springfield road residents in their call for this march to be banned from passing their homes. Orange marches are not welcome in nationalist areas.