Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ógra Shinn Féin activists meet with Education Minister in Stormont

Ógra Activists With Sinn Féin Ministers Caitríona Ruane And Michelle Gildernew
A delegation of Ógra Shinn Féin activists met with the north's Education Minister Caitríona Ruane MLA, this week, to discuss a range of education issues relating to Ógra's recently launched ‘Educate To Be Free’ campaign.

Speaking after the meeting, Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin activist Laure Gildernew commented:

"This proved a very productive meeting with the Minister and has proved mutually beneficial with regards to a number of issues.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to have met the Minister as it allowed us to discuss a number of issues including the emotional health and wellbeing of students, the Irish Language and the current reforms of the education system. We also discussed how we as young republicans can help in the battle to ensure equality within the education system.

"The ending of academic selection is particularly relevant to young people and we have a significant role to play if we are to ensure that everyone is catered for within our education system. Caitríona has been instrumental in ensuring positive changes to the north’s education system and we in Ógra will continue to support the work of Sinn Féin to ensure education is a right and not a privilege."

A video outlining Ógra's 'Educate to be Free' Campaign can be found at:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ógra activists participate in Youth canvass in CIT.

Toireasa Ferris, along with many of the other Ireland south European Parliament candidates, was in Cork Institute of Technology recently where Ógra activists from UCC and CIT assisted her in canvassing the students. Ógra was there in good numbers, and were able to help the Kerry County Councillor engage with the students. Many were canvassed in the college’s main cafeteria and the surrounds.
CIT activist Joe Lynch said that he was very satisfied at the reaction.
‘I feel that Toireasa got the best reaction of all the European candidates here today. As a young intelligent female candidate, she connected very well indeed with the student body, and I would be hopeful that she can continue to attract young voters to Sinn Féín. Going on the reaction we got today, she will do quite well indeed in the upcoming European elections.’
Ógra activists will continue to be active in both the local and European campaigns, and indeed have already been quite active. If you wish to get involved, please contact your Cúige organiser.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ireland's History is Not For Sale Protest - Bígí Linn!

Ógra Shinn Féin and Sinn Féin members protested today outside Adams Auctioneers, St Stephen Green in Dublin after it emerged that the auctioneers were once again planning on selling off historical Irish memorabilia and artifacts to private collectors.

Both Ruadhán Mac Aodháin (north inner city candidate) and Oisín Ó Dubhláin (Pembroke - Rathmines candidate) attended the protest.

Ógra Shinn Féin will be protesting at the Auction at Adams Auctioneers on Tuesday 28 April.

We are urging maximum attendance on Tuesday for those who think Ireland’s History should not be for sale!

Assemble at 11am at the corner of St Stephen’s Green and Kildare.

Ireland’s history is not for sale! Bígí Linn!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin Angry at Easter Lily Censorship

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin has expressed its disappointment that staff members at the Armagh City Hotel were asked to remove their Easter Lilies on Monday 13th April, as republicans paraded through the city for the annual Easter commemoration to honour Ireland's patriot dead.

The employees were shocked, angry, and confused, as to why the hotel took the action. They were shocked that in this day and age republicans are not allowed to remember their patriot dead, angry at the lack of equality, and confused because members of staff had worn the Easter Lily for the whole week leading up to Easter without the management raising the issue.

They instead waited until the day of the Easter Commemoration in Armagh City before deciding to enforce rules which discriminate against those of a Nationalist background who wish to honour Ireland’s Patriot Dead in a dignified fashion.

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin spokesperson Damian White who also works in the hotel but was not in work on Easter Monday, said,

“I was dismayed and confused as to why members of staff were asked to remove their Easter lilies; I wore the Easter Lily myself in work. Although the Hotels emblems policy allows the wearing of the poppy without interference, it does not allow the Easter Lily to be worn; this policy is based on guidelines from the Equality Commission. When management did not raise the issue with me or others who were wearing the Easter Lily I thought that the hotel was showing discretion and giving the people who worked there freedom of expression, to remember their dead, in an honourable and non intrusive way.”

“This decision discriminates against republicans; we feel that we are not being afforded the same liberty as those of the unionist community within the hotel. Only this weekend a union flag was on a display stand at a conference contrary to the same emblems policy, and its removal wasn’t sought by management. Yet when Upper Bann Sinn Féin held a dinner in the hotel only a few weeks ago, the tri-colour was removed from the room by management and locked in an office, this is just one example and there are others, of how the hotel is being seen as a cold house for republicans and their actions on Easter Monday will strengthen that belief.”

“The hotel’s action on Monday is merely a symptom of the problem. The root cause lies firmly at the door of the Equality Commission and their latest guideline ruling on the Easter Lily, which states the ‘clear view’ that the Easter Lily was not an emblem which can be worn in the workplace.”

Warrenpoint Talk on Republican Youth a Success

Padraig Pearse Ógra Shinn Féin in South Down recently organised a public talk on ‘A Century of Republican Youth in Struggle’ commemorating in particular the 100th anniversary of Na Fianna Éireann.

The talk took place in Warrenpoint Town Hall, and the packed room was addressed by the National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin Barry McColgan, and former Na Fianna member and current Ógra activist, Eddie Gallagher.

The talk traced the formation of the first republican youth movement, their role and development, and also looked at the emergence of Ógra Shinn Féin in recent times as the leading republican youth movement.

The talk focussed on the changed realities of struggle and the need for activists to adapt and change in order to progress the struggle, and how Ógra need to be the radical campaigning edge of the party, taking inspiration from Na Fianna, and recruiting a new generation of activists constantly.

Speaking on the talk, Noreen Rodgers, chairperson of Padraig Pearse Ógra Shinn Féin said,

“This is a significant year in the republican youth calendar, marking the 100th anniversary since the formation of Na Fianna Éireann. The talk was organised as part of a number of commemorative events we will be organising throughout the year, and the high level of interest as demonstrated by the numbers present show the constant relevance of republicanism to young people.”
“We will be using the inspiration of Na Fianna to awaken an interest in Irish youth, to campaign on the major issues facing young people today. While times and the realities of struggle change, until we achieve our objectives, republican youth will continue to campaign and agitate on the most important issues facing the communities across Ireland, and continue to challenge the illegal occupation of our country until it is ended.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ógra join with FEE to occupy Department of Finance

On Thursday April 16th, members of FEE ‘Free Education for Everyone’ from UCD and NUIM, including some ÓSF members gathered at St Stephens Green in Dublin to discuss the planned direct action at the Dept of Finance that day.

With more numbers gathered than expected, it was agreed that there could be an occupation coupled with the proposed blockade. Amongst those to volunteer to occupy inside where a number of ÓSF activists.

After gaining access into the building the members proceeded to occupy the main staircase chanting 'Students and workers unite to fight the cutbacks' and ‘No cutbacks no fees, no Fianna Fáil TDs'.

The students gained the attention of the workers in the building and swiftly enough members of the Gardaí arrived.

After a prolonged debate with the Gardaí present, the students managed to secure a meeting with a Dept of Finance official.

The official listened intently to the students' concerns surrounding the recent supplementary budget, including the issue surrounding cuts in supports for schoolchildren with disabilities raised by an ÓSF activist and promised to relate these concerns to the relevant authorities.

After an hour the official agreed to dispatch a letter which was written and agreed upon by the students to the minister, and also agreed to pose with a FEE member for a photograph, a condition set by the students if they were to leave the building.

Ross Hallinan, an Ógra member who occupied the Department of Finance said,

“I was extremely pleased with the positive outcome of the action. All parties took the time to listen to our concerns and to discuss the issues raised in depth. This act was a legitimate form of civil disobedience, and was successful in raising the issue; more of these types of actions will follow in combating student fees and throughout the ‘Educate to be Free’ campaign. As ever with FEE actions, the role played by ÓSF cannot be underestimated, which I am very proud of. It also is encouraging that many radio stations took the time to listen to the students taking part in the day's actions.”

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dublin unites to save Moore Street!

Yesterday Sunday 19th of April, roughly 500 people gathered outside 16 Moore Street to demand respect for the national monument by the planners of Dublin city.

Moore Street was the last headquarters of the Provisional Government of The Irish Republic 1916. It was held by 300 men and women with British forces at each end. Elizabeth O'Farrell a nurse who tended to the injured in the GPO during the week left 15 Moore Street with a white flag and delivered the notice of surrender to the British forces at the Parnell Street end of the street.

The crowd joined hands to form a ring around Moore Street and Moore Lane, standing for a minutes silence in memory of the sacrifices of past generations.

In solidarity members of Ógra Shinn Féin scaled scaffolding on O'Connell Street to drop a banner highlighting the issue.

Ógra Átha Cliath spokesperson Michael Farrell had this to say:

"Although designated as a place of historical importance which should be preserved after a long campaign the site has been allowed to slip into further disrepair and is now once more in danger of complete demolition.

The plans for a massive shopping centre based around the old Charlton Cinema on O'Connell Street would see Moore Street vanish with only the facade of No.16 remaining. Hardly a fitting monument to the cradle of the Irish Republic and the memories of those who fought for it.

We must continue to fight for this site as an absolutely crucial part of our national story. To demolish this terrace of buildings would be no less a crime than to do away with Newgrange or the GPO. We cannot let this pass."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Equality Commission Office Blocked in Protest at Easter Lily Ruling

Ógra Shinn Féin blocked the entrance to the Equality Commission’s Office in Shaftsbury Square, Belfast in protest at their recent ruling on the Easter Lily, which states the ‘clear view’ that the Easter Lily was not an emblem which could be worn in the workplace.

The entrance was blocked for an hour, from 10am to 11am, in what the republican youth group describes as an ‘act of civil disobedience at this disrespectful decision and double standards’.

Ógra Shinn Féin have been busy on this campaign throughout Easter promoting the Easter Lily, in communities, schools and universities across Ireland. They have also launched a petition in support of their aims to gain equal status for the Easter Lily, so that it can be worn freely and openly in all public spaces including the workplace.

Speaking from the protest, National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin, Barry McColgan said,

“The Easter Lily should be afforded equal status, and it is a crazy, archaic decision to forbid the wearing of it in the workplace or anywhere else. This blatant act of censorship, has deeply annoyed republicans, who are hurt and angry that the Equality Commission would disrespect the Easter Lily and with that Ireland’s Patriot Dead.”

“Our protest today was act of civil disobedience at this disrespectful decision and double standards. It was aimed at highlighting the absurdity of the Equality Commission’s decision in this day and age when we have Republicans in Ministerial positions in the Assembly, and we are calling for equal respect for Ireland’s patriot dead, and that the proper status is granted the Easter Lily so that it can be worn openly and freely.”

“The days of second class citizenship are over. This campaign will continue until this ridiculous decision is overturned and republican rights respected.”

‘Educate to be Free’ Forum in Dublin – Bígí Linn!

Ógra Shinn Féin are hosting a forum on education next weekend as part of their current national campaign.

The ‘Educate to be Free’ forum which is being held in The Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square, Dublin, on Saturday 25 April between 2 – 5pm will look at the main issues in Education across Ireland at present.

As well as a talk on the issue of student fees, their will also be a video presentation on the campaign, and a debate on free education.

Encouraging maximum attendance at the event, National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin, Barry McColgan said,

“The issue of education is absolutely key to Ireland’s future, at this time of economic collapse and uncertainty; we should be safeguarding the biggest asset that we possess, an educated workforce, and a knowledge economy. Any decision by the Dublin Government to re-introduce student fees is a retrograde step, shows lack of foresight and will bring Ireland, not to mention thousands of student’s, further woe and hardship.”

“The ‘Educate to be Free’ forum is aimed at educating activists and sparking a debate, and ideas on how we can transform education across Ireland, looking at the curriculum, 11+, the whole issue of student fees, and Irish language education. We will be covering many issues at the forum and we would encourage everyone to come along and join in the debate and campaign to ensure a free and equal world class educational system in Ireland. Bígí Linn!”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ógra Shinn Féin on the March in the Basque Country

Ógra Shinn Féin activists have returned from an international delegation to the Basque Country over the past week.

They were there at the invite of Basque youth movement Segi, to celebrate the Basque national day (Aberri Eguna) and to participate in international workshops. The theme for the workshops was Todays Europe: Youth and Rebel.

Representing Ógra were Barry McNally from Tyrone and Caoimhe Sloan from Meath. Whilst in the Basque country the Irish delegation took part in public talks and discussions with various groups and organisations about the situation in Ireland currently.

There were several other left wing groups from throughout Europe and beyond that took part in the international workshops.

Whilst in the Basque country the Ógra delegation also took part in the Gazte Martxa (Mountain March).

For three days over 2,000 young people hiked through the mountains of the Basque country symbolically crossing from Spanish into French occupied territory in the Basque country. In wet and at times snowy conditions the hike amounted to 35 km and took just over 14 hours spread over 3 days.

Concluding the march on Easter Sunday there was a celebration and festival to mark the Basque national day.

Before the festival commenced there was political act highlighting various aspects of Basque history and culture which was watched by many thousands of Basque young people. Many more had descended on the town of Donibane Garazira to join those 2,000 finishing the Gazte Martxa.

Speaking upon their return to Ireland Barry McNally had this to say:

“The recent visit to the Basque country is one of a number of engagements in recent years with the Basque youth movement Segi to build upon our already strong international links. We also used the occasion to build links with other European groups who were present.”

“The highlight of the week in the Basque country was the mountain march or Gazte martxa. We joined over 2,000 Basque young people in the 3 day hike. It was amazing to see so many young people turning up for the hike. It was also inspiring that the Basque youth movement could deliver on a project on such a scale. The organisation behind it was immense and the event was a huge success.”
“At the same time, as thousands of people were mobilising throughout Ireland to remember the patriots of 1916, thousands of Basques were mobilising in Irun to take part in their national day march. This once again highlights the longstanding relationship between Ireland and the Basque country as the Basque national day was chosen in reference to the 1916 rising in Ireland.”

“Whilst in the Basque Country we also experienced the repressive measures faced by many Basques on a daily basis. We call for such repressive measures to cease. The conflict in the Basque Country can only be solved through the ending of repression, inclusive dialogue between the French, Spanish and Basque Left Independence Movement, aimed at evolving a true democratic process which allows the Basque people to freely organise towards their objectives of Independence and Socialism.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Lily should be Afforded Equal Status

Barry McColgan
National Organiser
Ógra Shinn Féin

The refusal by the Equality Commission to grant the Easter Lily the proper recognition ensuring that it can be worn without discrimination in the workplace, at school and college is an outrage, and has caused major upset, hurt and anger to many Irish Republicans.

The Easter Lily which is worn by Irish Republicans throughout the Easter period is a symbol of remembrance for Ireland’s patriot dead and all Easter Lily collections are used for the upkeep and maintenance of Republican graves and monuments.

Is the Equality Commission by their refusal to grant equal status to the Easter Lily insinuating that Ireland’s patriot dead are less important, and do not deserve to be remembered publicly?

This is a complete farce in this day and age, when Irish Republican’s hold key ministerial roles in the Assembly, that the Easter Lily be refused its proper status.

Irish republicans have promoted this important symbol since its inception in 1925, and despite difficult and repressive circumstances throughout the century, have continued to ensure that annually thousands wear the Easter Lily in proud remembrance of all those who died fighting for Ireland’s freedom.

Again this Easter, Republicans throughout Ireland promoted the Easter Lily, and Ógra Shinn Féin in particular encouraged young people to wear it in schools and universities.

The current status which the Equality Commission has granted the Easter Lily is disgraceful, and has demonstrated an inequality in our society that will be challenged and put right.

Ógra Shinn Féin have campaigned on this issue in the past number of years, and we will step up the campaign in the time ahead to ensure that next Easter, the Easter Lily and what it represents is afforded true equality and that we have as much right to remember our dead, publicly and proudly like anyone else.

This issue won’t go away, until the Equality Commission get with the times, and realise that we no longer live in an Orange state.

That was smashed and so will this crazy decision.

New book marks centenary of Fianna Éireann

A NEW BOOK on the history of Na Fianna Éireann, Na Fianna Éireann and the Irish Revolution, 1909 to 1923, has just been published by Damian Lawlor to mark the 100th anniversary of what used to be the republican youth movement.

Na Fianna Éireann was founded on 16 August 1909 in an old rundown hall at 34 Lower Camden Street. A committee which included Constance Markievicz and Bulmer Hobson called the meeting to recruit boys in Dublin to a new nationalist body.

The hundred or so boys who attended were creating an organisation offering an alternative to the British and growing Baden-Powell Boy Scout movement.What developed over the next 14 years was a veritable boy’s army which played a crucial role in the Irish revolution.

This book is unique in telling the history of Na Fianna Éireann. It charts its growth and development from 1909 to 1923, giving, for the first time, access to the stories of individual members

.The book also analyses its expansion into a truly national organisation with over 30,000 members spread throughout Ireland’s 32 counties.

The book describes in detail:–

• Development of Na Fianna Éireann in its early years;
• A history of the flag, badge, uniform and song of Na Fianna Éireann;
• Launch and growth of the Irish Volunteers;
• The Howth and Kilcoole gun-running operations;
• The Fianna circle of the Irish Republican Brotherhood;
• Fianna involvement in 1916 Rising;
• Reorganisation of the Fianna in the aftermath of 1916;
• The Fianna’s participation in the Tan War.
Na Fianna Éireann and the Irish Revolution, 1909 to 1923, is available from the Sinn Féin Bookshop, Dublin (price €10) or by post from the author at (€14.50 in Ireland and €15.50 elsewhere)

Public Talk on Republican Youth – A Century of Struggle

Padraig Pearse Ógra Shinn Féin South Down are hosting a public talk this Friday night 17 April, on ‘Republican Youth – A Century of Struggle’.

The talk is being organised to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Na Fianna Éireann, the first republican youth organisation, to explore the important role that young people have always played in the republican struggle whether in Na Fianna or today in Ógra Shinn Féin.

The public talk is being held in Warrenpoint town hall at 7pm and will include a talk from former Republican POW Declan Murphy, an Ógra speaker and a DVD showing.

The night will continue with an Irish night in nearby Rostrevor, with the Armagh Bandits playing upstairs in Fiddlers Inn. Doors Open at 9.30pm and Taille is £3.

Noreen Rodgers, chairperson for Padraig Pearse Ógra Shinn Féin said,

“2009 is a massive year in the republican youth calendar, marking 100 years since the formation of that key organisation, Na Fianna Éireann. They proved the ingenuity and selflessness of republican youth time and again, and it is right that we fittingly commemorate their role throughout this landmark year.”

“The talk will focus on the major role that young people have played in every phase of our struggle, and in many cases where the engine for momentum and change, we want to instil the same ethos in the youth of today, that it is up to them, to continue on that proud tradition, and be the inheritors of the republic.”

“We would encourage everyone to come along; all are welcome to this informative public talk and to the Irish night afterwards. It will be a brilliant night, and will be a small part in the year long celebration of that proud republican youth legacy.”

Billets available for Ógra activists travelling – send an email ASAP to

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hands around 16 Moore St

500 volunteers are wanted to form a human chain around the National Monument Site at Moore Street.


Moore Street, site of the last headquarters of the 1916 garrison, is still under threat from developers who want to build a shopping mall around the site.

This is an independent community organised event.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tobias Molloy Cumann active on Easter Lily campaign

Ógra Shinn Féin in Strabane have this week called on the public particularly our young people to ‘pay tribute to our patriot dead’ by attending local commemorations and wearing the Easter Lily.

Speaking following the launch of a billboard calling on people to wear an Easter Lily, Chairperson of the local Ógra Shinn Féin group Seán Mac Giolla Easpaig said;

“Throughout this week our activists have been working hard on the ground promoting the wearing of the Easter Lily among our communities. We feel it is important that this symbol of remembrance in the Republican tradition be proudly worn by all those who support the notion of Irish unity during Easter week.”

“In this the 100th anniversary year of the foundation of the first republican youth organisation, Na Fianna Eireann, Ógra Shinn Féin would especially urge the young people of our communities to learn of the sacrifices made by our past generations of youth, and pay tribute to them this Easter.”

“This week we have also been distributing leaflets calling for the Easter Lily to be afforded equal status to that of the ‘poppy’ which is worn to commemorate British soldiers and loyalist paramilitaries. We would ask the ‘equality’ commission why Britain’s war dead are given official recognition in schools and in the work place, in the six counties while Ireland’s patriot dead are afforded no such status? There is no barrier preventing Sinn Féin ministers in Stormont wearing their Easter Lily at this time of year, therefore we believe there can be no justification for banning this symbol from being worn in schools and in the work place.”

“We believe this is a simple issue of equality. The Easter Lily is a symbol of remembrance for fallen comrades who took part in a conflict in which all sides suffered. Affording one side of this conflict the right to remember their dead while denying others is simply an injustice which will not go unchallenged. Ógra Shinn Féin will be at the forefront of this campaign until the equality commission take steps to end this discrimination”

NOTE: The local Easter commemoration in Strabane will take place in Strabane graveyard at 1:00pm, the Drumboe Martyrs commemoration will leave from Johnson’s corner Stranorlar at 3:00pm.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Republican Youth perspective on dissident actions

Ógra Shinn Féin

The last number of weeks we have seen a number of pieces on the blog and elsewhere by prominent republicans on the recent attacks by dissident republicans.

Excellent and worthy contributions, but I feel that an Ógra point of view has been lacking. Our voices are as valuable as theirs are, there cannot be any hierarchy of opinion in republicanism and we must remember that opinions are right because they are right, not because of who they come from.

In looking at theses actions, impartial observers have asked why are these attacks different to those of the IRA during the most recent phase of struggle?

Surely it’s an expression of the exact same attitude the IRA had in the past?

In fact, is Sinn Féin speaking out of the two sides of their mouths?

Absolutely not.

Then what distinguishes these attacks?

Some have volunteered popular support as a difference, pointing to large support networks of support in communities for the IRA, and the election of Bobby Sands and Kieran Doherty in 1981.

In my opinion, this merely confuses the issue.

Popular support is not relevant to the constitutional issue, or at least insofar as it relates to the right of resistance.

If it was where would our revolutionary forbearers have started from? In 1916, was there a popular mandate? Did Sean South have a popular mandate? Did Robert Emmet, or Wolfe Tone have a popular mandate?

Even in the most recent phase of armed conflict, only after the armed campaign ended did Sinn Féin overtake the SDLP in terms of popular support. Selective use of mandates only injures our own arguments.

A mandate is important for a government to able to justify economic policies, or to sanction its international policy, or other such actions, but not relevant to the integrity of the nation. Ireland is Ireland, and will always be Ireland, and no amount of elections can change that.

As long as Britain maintains a presence in Ireland, the right of the Irish people to oppose that presence, will remain. Irish republicanism is based on this premise, that the Irish people will always have the right to be masters of their own destinies. We must never forget that.

But surely, you might say, this excuses the actions of the RIRA and CIRA of late?
I don’t see it that way. The difference is this – now, there is an alternative. Now we have the opportunity to finally succeed in our goals by peaceful and democratic means, through the opportunities of the Good Friday Agreement.

The orange state, which refused civil rights to Catholics, would never brook any possibility of power sharing, or all Ireland structures, and Thatcher’s Britain would never accept that Britain ought to have no selfish or strategic interest in Ireland – indeed she thought the north was ‘As British as Finchley’.

We are now progressing to a United Ireland, in a way which costs no lives, and under such circumstances no armed actions can be justified.
It really is that simple.

Only when a democratic and peaceful route is blocked by force and impossible does the right to oppose become a right to armed and violent opposition, and only then is it legitimate.

In short what was different then? There is a litany of symptoms –

‘A protestant state for a protestant people’, No ’one man one vote’, Bombay Street, Internment, Pogroms, Bloody Sunday, B Specials, Ballymurphy massacre, Burntollet, the murders of Aidan McAnespie and Pat Finucane and many others likewise, Diplock courts.

The list is endless, I could go on, but the point is clear.

Sinn Féin will continue along this path it has chosen, of peaceful and democratic means, until we achieve our goals, despite any obstacles that come our way, and be aware - this is by no means the first or the greatest.

But Ógra has its role to play as well.

These groups will do their best to target young people, to attempt to win them over to their ideas, with dubious invocations of the past, with some romantic notions of war and armed resistance.

Older activists who have experienced armed struggle will tell you it is nothing romantic or glorious. Necessary maybe, at times, but always horrific.
But the young people who can barely remember the ceasefire will be a targeted as recruits for these groups.

It is our job to get out there first, into our communities, and promote our way to them, and as a radical youth group show them how they can play their part in changing this nation, achieving unity and establishing a socialist republic.

Ógra ought to be at the forefront here, and I have no doubt it will be.

Ógra Shinn Féin Easter Message 2009

In this the 93rd anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, Ógra Shinn Féin remembers proudly all those who died for the freedom of Ireland.

We send fraternal greetings to our imprisoned comrades, their families and the families of Ireland’s patriot dead.

We also extend solidarity greetings to our international comrades, in particular, pledging our ongoing support for the oppressed people of Palestine who have stood steadfast in the face of a brutal massacre.

As we gather throughout Ireland this weekend, commemorating our Patriot dead, it is important that we re-commit ourselves and increase our efforts to achieving an Irish Republic.

There are significant tasks that lie ahead, building a progressive left movement for change, send another resounding no to the Lisbon Treaty and advance the Peace Process.

The economy is in critical downturn, and the 26 County Government have demonstrated their inability to effectively deal with this crisis, the people of Ireland demand a progressive movement that can implement a programme of change that stays true to the 1916 Proclamation.

By building a left movement for change across Ireland, we can also reverse the budget cuts, in particular on education, and any contrived decision to introduce student fees. There has been no better time to build such an alliance, and we are committed to making it a success.

Last year the Irish people stood up for the over 500 million citizens across the EU who where denied a vote, and rejected the Lisbon Treaty. Young people in particular played a significant role in this, voting in massive numbers for a social Europe and against Lisbon.

The undemocratic, and disgraceful decision taken to re-run Lisbon, must be responded to by a convincing no vote. The time and resources wasted should have been spent getting a better deal for Ireland in Europe. We commit ourselves to playing our part in ensuring the Lisbon Treaty is rejected and we urge others to do likewise.

The peace process has ensured massive progress in our republican project, and ensured a positive transformation to society and young republicans can now express and pursue their republican goals in an open democratic manner.

The orange state has been smashed, republicans and nationalists are no longer second class citizens, and more and more people are supporting a United Ireland everyday, popularised through our community activism, and demonstrating quality leadership in the Assembly, Leinster House and councils across Ireland.

Huge progress has been made and further progress will be made on outstanding issues by remaining focused and united in our actions.

2009 is a milestone year in Irish republican youth history, marking the 100th anniversary of the first Republican Youth Movement, Na Fianna Éireann.

Na Fianna, founded on Lower Camden Street, Dublin on 16 August 1909, demonstrated the bravery, energy and ingenuity of young republicans throughout its existence, playing a key role in the Easter Rising, and training many young republicans into important leadership figures in the freedom struggle.

Na Fianna proved time and again its commitment and dedication to achieving an Irish Republic, with many young Fians paying the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of our Republican objectives.

In all 54 Fians died fighting for an Irish Republic, and we honour their commitment, and pledge to fittingly commemorate their legacy throughout this year, educating a new generation of their actions, and inspiring the Irish youth of today to take up their task, to achieve and build a Free, Democratic, Socialist Republic.

We appeal to all young republican men and women to play their part in the struggle, by joining Ógra Shinn Féin. We are the generation who will make the Irish Republic a reality.

Béirigi bua!

Teachtaireacht na Cásca – Ógra Shinn Féin

93 bliain i ndiaidh Éirí Amach na Cásca in 1916, cuimhníonn Ógra Shinn Féin le mórtas agus le bród orthu siúd go léir a d’éag ar son saoirse na hÉireann.

Gabhann muid beannachtaí dlúthpháirtíochta d’ár gcomrádaithe a bhfuil i ngéibhinn, a dteaghlaigh agus teaghlaigh tírghráthóirí marbh na hÉireann.

Anuas ar sin, gabhann muid ár mbeannachtaí dlúthpháirtíochta d’ár gcomrádaithe i gcéin, ach go háirithe na Pailistínigh, agus treisíonn muid leo a sheas an fód in éadan áir fhuiltigh.

Agus muid ag cruinniú ar fud na hÉireann an deireadh seachtaine seo, ag cuimhniú arn ár dtírghráthóirí mairbhe, tá sé tabhachtach do ndearbhaíonn muid ár n-anam athuair agus go méadaíonn muid arn ár n-iarrachtaí le Poblacht na hÉireann a bhaint amach.

Tá dushláin suntasacha amach romhainn, gluaiseacht na heite clé ar son athraithe a thógáil, diúltú cumhachtach eile a thabhairt do Chonradh Liospóin agus dul chun cinn sa phróiséas síochána.
Tá spealladh iomlán tagtha ar an gheilleagar agus tá míchumas an rialtais ina leith léirithe go soiléir, éilíonn muintir na hÉireann gluaiseacht fhorásach a bheas in ann tuilleadh athruithe a chur i gcrích agus a chloífidh le Forógra 1916.

Frí gluaiseacht chlé ar son athraithe a thógáil ar fud na hÉireann thig linn na ciorruithe cáináisnéise a chur ar chúl fosta, go háirithe san oideachas agus aon chinneadh suarach taillí ollscoile a thabhairt isteach. Níl am ar bith níos fearr ann le haontacht den chineál seo a thógáil agus tá muid tiománta le go n-eireoidh leis.

Anuraidh sheas muintir na hÉireann an fód do bhreis is 500 milliún saoránach ar fud na hEorpa ag a raibh vóta séanta daofa agus dhiúltaigh do Chonradh Liospóin. Bhí ról lárnach ag an lucht óg san éacht seo, méideanna ollmhóra acu a vótáil ar son Eorpa sóisialta agus in éadan Liospóine.

Caithtear freagairt don chinneadh mídhaonlathach náireach Liospóin a ath-reachtáil trí vóta diúltuithe láidir. Ba chóir gur úsáideadh an t-am agus na hachmhainní a bhí curtha amú fá choinne conradh níos fearr d’Éirnn san Eoraip. Dearbhaíonn muid ár n-anam lena chinntiú go ndiúltaífear do Chonradh Liospóin agus impíonn muid ar chách ár sampla a leanúint.

Chruthaigh an Próiséas síochána dul chun cinn ollmhór sa tionscnamh poblachtach againne agus chruthaigh athrú dearfach iomlán d’ár sochaí agus thig le poblachtaigh óga anois a gcuspóirí poblachtacha a chur in iúl agus a leanstan.

Tá cliste ar an Stát Buí, ní saoránaidh den darna grád poblachtaigh agus náisiúnaithe a thuilleadh agus tá níos mó agus níos mó anois ag tacú le haisling na hÉireann Aontaithe, curtha i mbéal an phobail trín ár ngníomhaíocht phobail, agus ag lériú ceannasaíocht den scoth sa tionól, i dteach laighean agus i gcomhairlí ar fud na hÉireann.

Tá dul chun cinn iontach curtha i gcrích agus tá tuilleadh le theacht ar cheisteanna suntasacha trí fanacht dírithe agus aontaithe in ár ngníomhachtaí.

Cloch mhíle atá sa bhliain seo i stair an óg-phoblachtachais Éireannaigh, céad bliain i ndiaidh bhunú na chéad gluaiseachta poblachtaí óige, Na Fianna Éireann.

Ba iad na Fianna, a bunaíodh ar Sráid Camden íoctarach, Baile Átha Cliath ar an 16 Lúnasa 1909, a léirigh crógacht, fuinneamh agus intleacht na bpoblachtach óg frína bheith ann, a bpairt lárnach san Éirí Amach agus go leor poblachtaigh óga a oiliúint le bheith ina gceannairí tabhachtacha sa streachailt ar son na saoirse.

D’fhíoraigh na Fianna arís ‘s arís eile a ndílseacht agus a ndíograis i leith bhaint amach na poblachta, b’iomaí Fian a chuaigh ar shlí na Fírinne sa tóir arn ár gcuspóirí poblachtacha.

Ina iomláine fuair 54 Fian bas ag troid don Phoblacht agus onóiríonn muid a ndíograis agus gealann muid comóradh ceart a dhéanamh ar oidhreacht ‘sacu i mbliana, oideachas a chur ar ghlúin nua faoina ngníomhaíochtaí agus óige an lae inniú a spreagadh go nglacaidís lena ndualgas, Poblacht Shaor Dhaonlathach agus Shóisialach a bhaint amach agus a thógáil.

Imíonn muid ar na poblachtaigh óga uilig, idir mhná agus fhir, glacadh lena bpáirteanna sa streachailt frí dul le hÓgra Shinn Féin. Muidine an ghlúin a chuirfidh an Phoblacht i gcrích.
Béirigí Bua!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Youth Wings Unite to Launch YMHS

The main political youth wings in the North of Ireland have united to campaign and lobby for an effective youth mental health strategy (YMHS).

Young political activists have been working together in the past months, alongside St Columbs Park Derry, to bring the broad issue of mental health to the fore, particularly targeting suicide prevention and drug and alcohol awareness.

The group comprising youth from Sinn Féin, SDLP, Green Party, Alliance, UUP and DUP launched their campaign for a youth mental health strategy at Belfast City Hall today (Monday 6 April).

Spokesperson for the youth wings, Karly Greene said,

“The young wings have been working closely together over the past number of months identifying the key issues of mental health, and drawing up a plan on how we can best tackle these issues from a youth perspective, ensuring it is relevant and effective.”

“We have written to every Assembly member, and are arranging a meeting with the Health Committee, we have engaged with a number of voluntary and community groups who are at the coalface in dealing with mental health.We are also arranging for our members to undertake the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) programme, and are producing a short film, that will be launched at a youth forum on mental health. The youth forum aims to bring young people from all communities together, spark debate and formulate ideas on how to deal with this common issue.”
“Mental Health affects everyone regardless of age, race, sex and religion, and it is a progressive step forward that the young political activists are demonstrating unity and leadership to other young people on such an important issue.”

How relevant is the 1916 Proclamation in Ireland today? Public talk in QUB

Sheena Campbell QUB Sinn Fein cumann hosted a very successful debate in the build up to this year’s Easter commemorations. The debate entitled ‘How relevant is the 1916 proclamation in Ireland today’ took place in the University last week.

The panel included Brian Feeney, Irish News columnist, former member of the IRA and hunger striker, Tommy Mc Kearney, Roy Garland, a unionist columnist for the Irish News and SF MLA Barry Mc Elduff. The event was chaired by QUB SF member Gemma McKenna. The talk was attracted some 50 students of all political persuasions.

Spokesperson for the QUB Sinn Féin Shane Boylan stated that:

“The cumann felt that it was important to organise an event to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Easter rising. The event sparked great debate about all aspects of the proclamation. We as a cumann wanted to encourage all of the student body to attend and so were eager to invite unionist Roy Garland to share his views on the proclamation.”

He added that:

“The cumann is already planning further events for the rest of the year that will be relevant to students of today. We are keen to create ties with other political parties in order to encourage as lively a debate as possible.”

Shane concluded by stating that the large crowd of students that attended the talk was evident that the proclamation is still relevant to our young people today.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Fine Gael fiddles while 700 people queue for Food in Dublin.

Ógra Shinn Féin

No you didn’t read that wrong.

700 people queue for food.

In Dublin.


The same day that Ógra Shinn buried ‘education’ and with it the economy, making a point in a light hearted way, that same point was hammered home in a way that is all too serious, as 700 people queued for foodstuffs as basic as sugar, bread and beans outside the Capuchin Friary in Dublin in scenes akin to the Great Depression.

If ever a damning indictment of our economic system was needed, then this is it. Surely a sight to anger the most patient and decent citizens of the country, the failed policies of Fianna Fáil and the Green party has put our citizens on the breadline – literally.

And like a further slap in the face this week Fine Gael proposed the most callous and mindless economic policies imaginable. 15,000 public sector workers to be made redundant and no increase in Income tax. The logic is astonishing. The waning tax intake, which helps the capuchins provide food to these people, is not to be bolstered, and the amount of people drawing the dole is to be increased.

A note to those who believe that this will save money. The more people who draw the dole, the more money taken out from the exchequer. Tax, of course is not payable on this, and thus none of this is going back to the exchequer. These people have a very limited income, and thus will not be buying anything other than the absolute essentials.

The former Guard who bought a cup of Coffee on his break will no longer be doing so. The former nurse who liked to go to the pub on a Friday night can no longer do so. The redundant binman who used to go to the pictures with his wife on a Saturday won’t be doing that. What does this mean, multiplied by 15,000? More jobs lost in cafés, bars and Cinemas, and so on. More people on the dole. The cycle continues.

All the while the amount of people forced to destitution and the ignominy of queuing for food increases, with reduced money for the capuchins to provide this service – something’s got to give, and unless one of the friars can manage a fishes and loaves trick, then the food runs out. All the while, our vulture government will probably attempt to cut social welfare, limiting the quality of life for many of our citizens. Fine Gael would only do the same.

This is a reminder that Fine Gael can never be an alternative. I would volunteer that the only difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is that Fine Gael relish cutbacks and austerity even more than Fianna Fáil. Even in opposition, they remain as great a threat as the Government.

It’s up to us to continually provide a realistic alternative to these slash and burn economics. No cutbacks in frontline services, or in wages, or in social welfare, and if necessary, increase tax to support our public services, and the most vulnerable members of society.

Otherwise the grim reminder at the capuchin friary of the human cost of this recession will become more and more widespread.

For shame.

Gníomhaí Ógra tofa do Aontas na Mac Léinn i UCC

Toghadh gníomhaí de chumann Máirtín ó hÚrsain mar oifigeach Gaeilge ar Aontas na Mac léinn i UCC le déanaí. Tá Seán Ó Sé, ón gCromáin, Cill Órglán i gContae Chiarraí, gníomhach sa chumann i UCC ó 2007, agus toghadh é mar chathaoirleach ar an gcumann le déanaí chomh maith.

Dhein sé stocaireacht ar ceisteanna ar nós cur i bhfeidhm na gcodanna de bhunreacht an aontais a bhaineann leis an dátheangachais; níos mó imeachtaí cultúrtha a chur ar fáil, agus a ionad ar an aontas a úsáid chun an troid i gcoinne táillí a chur chun cinn.

Bhí sé seo le rá ag Seán ; ‘‘Is mór an onóir é a bheith tofa mar Oifigeach Gaeilge. Is mór an dúil atá agam sa Ghaeilge, agus táim ag súil le mo chuid a dhéanamh chun úsáid na Gaeilge, agus an cultúr Gaelach i gcoitinne a chur chun cinn so choláiste. Chomh maith le sin, is dóigh liom go léiríonn sé seo an obair atá a dheánamh ag Ógra i UCC, go bhfuil ionadaí anois againn ar an aontas. Déanfaidh mé mo dhícheall dualgais an ról seo a chomhlíonadh chomh maith agus is féidir liom.’’

Ógra activist elected to UCC Students union.

A member of the UCC Martin Hurson Cumann was recently elected to the position of Irish Language officer on the UCC students Union. Seán Ó Sé, of Cromane, Killorglan, Co. Kerry has been involved in Ógra on campus since 2007, and was recently elected chair of the cumann in UCC.

He campaigned on the issues of proper upholding of the provisions on biligalism in the Students union constitution, which to this point have been neglected, more cultural events, and using his position on the Students Union to combat fees.

Seán had this to say ’It’s a massive honour to be selected as the Irish language officer. I have always had a great interest in Irish, and hope to do my best to promote it’s use, and promote Irish culture on campus. Furthermore, I believe it’s further reflection on the good work done on campus by Ógra that we are now represented on the Union. I will do my best to fulfil this role in best manner I can’.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. – An Inspirational Revolutionary

Lee Casey
Ógra Shinn Féin
An Lorgain

The ability to inspire and awaken people is the most potent weapon that any revolutionary can wield and one such inspirational revolutionary is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the second child of Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. His parents knew all too well the power a good education could bring and sent Martin to school before reaching the legal age of 6.

When it was discovered, he was asked to leave until the following year but despite this setback he excelled at school skipping both the 9th and 12th grades and at the age of 15 he entered Morehouse College. He was ordained a pastor in 1948 and continued to study degree after degree culminating in his Ph.D. in 1955 from Boston University.

Dr King became the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and played a central role in the Civil Rights movement. He strategically used many of the same techniques Mohandas Gandhi had previously used; non-violent civil disobedience to agitate and arouse the American political consciousness and it brought the daily torment of intolerance, ignorance and inequality to the forefront.

Speaking of the atmosphere at the time, in his famous ‘I have a Dream’ speech Dr King said ‘the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in a vast ocean of material prosperity….. and he finds himself an exile in his own land’.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. is an inspiration to republicans and people everywhere alike who attempt to make real the concepts of justice, equality and freedom. Despite his stance of non-violence and peaceful protest Dr King was arrested 30 times for his civil rights actions.

His soul-stirring oratory and his ability to effectively organize and invigorate a beaten-upon and ignored section of society into a movement for change earn him not only the title of inspirational but revolutionary aswell.

Dr King dedicated his life to meaningful change and he did not die in vain. We must use his example for our own march to freedom. The people who marched with him, listened to his oratory and protested with him, knew they had a mountain to climb if they were to achieve their goals, but as Dr King said himself ‘All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence’

On the 4th of April 1968, Dr King was assassinated by James Earl Ray as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. As Jesse Jackson, another prominent civil rights leader and friend of Dr Kings put it ‘little did they know that when they shot him they had also immortalized him’. Dr King personifies what people can do in the face of wrongful and unjust adversity and long may he be remembered.

‘I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man.’

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dissident Actions are pointless, futile and counter-productive

Bobby Storey
Belfast Sinn Féin

There are a large number of tiny, micro-groups, who all claim to be republican but by their actions, are clearly not.

Some have been around for over 20 years but most are recent. They include : INLA; CIRA; RIRA; ONH; IRLA; Saor Uladh; Saor Eire, and so it runs on.

When you look at the activities of these groups over a prolonged period of time nobody has been able to articulate any political, moral, strategic or other reason for what they are doing.

On the contrary they have no popular support, no strategies and no programmes which can in any way advance the core republican goal of a United Ireland.

In addition there is substantial evidence linking all of these groups to criminality; grudge attacks; killings; contract shootings; robberies; tiger-kidnappings; the importing and dealing of drugs; and the extortion of drug dealers.

The community, individual business people, local residents and victims have all testified to this.

There are many examples of this.

CIRA was paid £10,000 in a contract to punish 2 criminals who had been involved in a robbery. INLA and CIRA had been heavily involved in extortion from local business people, for amounts up to £20k.


A leading dissident living in Spain, and a member of a well known west Belfast crime gang, arranged for a petty drug dealer to import into Belfast 120 kilos of drugs. The CIRA, with whom the dissident is linked, then extorted £90k from the drug courier / dealer.

One serious consequence of this is that these drug dealers then seek to expand their efforts within our community to pay off these groups.

At Casement Park, a JCB was destroyed by CIRA in an attempt to extort money from a businessman involved in carrying out renovations at the site. And there is more.


Why are there so many of these micro groups, and why are they involved in criminal activity?

Because these groups revolve around personalities and cliques, not politics or ideology.

Their interests are self-serving - not political.

For example, the CIRA split in Belfast and some of them joined the RIRA. A further split resulted in the establishment of the IRLA. And then members of the RIRA formed another group called ONH. In all of these examples the groups involved number no more than a handful of people.

One example of how these groups split and sub divide into even smaller groups is the IRLA. One of its members gave evidence in court about an internal feud which had resulted in two deaths, including one man beaten to death with a spade. The same individual, who gave state evidence, then went on to form his own group called 'Saor Uladh'.

All of this is reminiscent of the INLA/IPLO splits and feuds of the 1980s.
If all of this wasn't so serious, it would be akin to a Monty Python style 'Life of Brian' series of groups.

In addition, crossover in membership between these groups is common. But these groups also publicly and privately disown members as expedience demands.

What has any of this got to do with republicanism and achieving a united Ireland?

Absolutely nothing.


In reality, the only objectives they all share are a desire to destroy the peace process and undermine the Sinn Féin strategy to achieve a United Ireland.

If there are some within these micro groups who are republican, then there is a responsibility on them to stop these criminal actions. They need to take a stand against crime. If they are not prepared to do this they should leave the groups to which they belong.

It is also generally accepted and understood that all of these groups are heavily infiltrated by British intelligence.

In the same way, that we can look back now at loyalist groups and feuds and see the role which British agents have played in that, I have no doubt that in years to come we will be able to look back at these micro groups and see the same sinister influences at work.