Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and Vice President Mary Lou McDonald were also in attendance.
The ‘Communities against Cuts’ campaign represents thousands of workers providing essential services to children, the elderly, disabled, recovering drug addicts, travellers, young people and women in the country’s most disadvantaged areas. Government cut backs have already seen the closure of community development projects and the McCarthy report proposals, if implemented, will result in the loss of a further 6,500 jobs in the Community sector.
Ógra Atha Cliath spokesperson Mick Farrell said; "The community groups who benefited least from the Celtic Tiger are paying the price for the government's failed policy of profit over people."
Some of the groups suffering from cuts include Drug Task Force groups, CDPs and community service programmes.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Graffiti in support of Ógra Shinn Féin’s call has sprung up on the now dormant, former PSNI Mountpottinger Barracks.
South/East Belfast Ógra Shinn Féin spokesperson Padraig Keenan said,
“We are calling for an immediate ban to plastic bullets; these lethal weapons have killed children in the past and should not have been used in the Strand at the beginning of the month. It was irresponsible and dangerous, it was wrong. We will be campaigning on this issue until these weapons become a thing of the past.”
Monday, September 28, 2009
Ógra Shinn Féin
Your vote is void, please vote again.
This effectively is the message being sent out by the incumbent Dublin Government as citizens across the 26 Counties are being asked to go to the polls again on Friday 2nd October to be good ‘wee’ Europeans and deliver the ‘right’ vote this time around on the Lisbon Treaty.
False promises of change, of guarantees, are little more than hearsay and lip service paid to the previous resounding No! vote.
In reality the Lisbon Treaty remains exactly the same treaty put to the 26 County electorate before. Not one iota of change.
The Lisbon Treaty remains the same anti workers rights, anti public services, anti neutrality, anti sovereign treaty that was presented the last time.
Some will claim the guarantee of worker’s rights, and obviously a sure sign of this is when working class hero and trade union champion Michael O’Leary is supporting a yes vote.
Defence Minister Willie O’Dea, the man who has continuously overseen and authorised illegal US Military rendition flights through Shannon Airport usurping Irish neutrality in the process tells us Irish neutrality will not be affected. It must be true then.
But, best of all, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, the man who brought us 500,000 jobless is now telling us to ‘trust’ him with Lisbon 2 and vote yes.
Would you buy a second hand car from this man? Never mind voting on his word on as important an issue as Lisbon.
The only job a yes vote in the Lisbon Treaty will save is his.
Ógra Shinn Féin believes and are strong advocates of a social Europe, a green Europe, a Europe of workers rights, democracy, public services and neutrality. As James Connolly, put it, ‘A free federation of free peoples.’
If you are happy with the current Dublin Government, the half million jobless, savage budget cuts on public services, re-introduction of student fees, drastic loss of Irish sovereignty and neutrality, by all means vote yes.
However if like me, you desire a social Ireland, playing a progressive role in a social Europe, then stand up for the over 500 million EU citizens denied a vote, stand up for our children, for the future of Ireland, and for Europe and vote No!
Now that’s democracy!
The response was very good on the day with all the newsletters being distributed within half an hour, and many young people genuinely interested about the republican youth movements activities in the Fermanagh area, stopping to chat, and ask about upcoming local and national activities.
“While we have been active over the past year, we are officially launching Fermanagh Ógra Shinn Féin in November, naming the cumann in memory of a local republican. In advance of the launch we wanted to raise awareness of our actions, and promote our politics to the young people of Enniskillen and further afield.”
Bhi béim iontach mór an bhliain seo ar dhaoine nach bhfuil focal Ghaeilge acu, bhí ranganna ar fáil dóibh siúd nuair a bhi an dream le Gaeilge líofa ag díospóireacht faoi struchtúir an pháirtí agus.
‘Tír Gan Teanga, Tír Gan anam’ a bhí mar téama don deireadh seachtain agus muid ag plé cén fáth a raibh an teanga chomh tábhachtach sin do Bhobby Sands agus Pádraig Mac Piarais. Bhí roinnt caint poiblí i rith an Slogadh faoi an teanga Gaelach sa lae inniu , bhí turas stairiúil de chontae na Mí, agus freisin ranganna rince ar an sean-nós agus seisiúin ceol gaelach san pobail áras i Rath Cairn.
ÓSF An Lorgain
Divide and conquer has always been a valuable tool used by imperialists throughout the ages. It is as effective as it is destructive. It is currently manifesting itself in the various groups that have emerged in recent times claiming to be continuing the ‘true’ republican flame.
In Lurgan, North Armagh, at the weekend a number of vehicles were burnt out on local railway lines and a number of skirmishes occurred. This was all directed with the aim of causing a riot and a reaction from the PSNI. I think the mainstream media made an exaggerated mountain out of what was really an insignificant mole hill in their interpretation of events.
The use of a riot is sometimes the best counter-maneuver against crown force oppression. It has been used throughout the struggle to prevent crown forces from pillaging republican communities. But this business of enticing the PSNI into an area for an altercation is both pointless and dangerous and serves to bring down the name and reputation of an area.
The PSNI were not the only targets. The fire services also came under attack and out of justified fears for the security of their officers and equipment, were instructed not to enter potentially unsafe areas. Had there been a house fire and people in urgent need of rescue, lives could have been lost.
I am not on the other hand rushing to defend the PSNI, for they are far from perfect and have much to do to win the trust of the republican community, but I am very suspicious of any group who want to make an estate a no-go area for the PSNI and would question the real reason why this is.
And what have the people who orchestrated the destruction and disruption of their own community to say for their actions? The usual response; nothing. I feel we should no longer use the term ‘dissident’ to describe what is a small, faceless and anarchistic group of people. I think ‘counter-revolutionary’ is a more accurate term.
As an Irish Republican my loyalty is to the idea and creation of a unified socialist republic. As such, I will support the movement that will deliver it with the greatest speed and success.
As for these other so-called republican groups, we must not let these counter-revolutionaries distract us from the change we are bringing and will continue to bring to the people of this country.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Liam first sang the song for the Na Fianna Éireann Dinner Dance held in Quinn's Corner on Saturday 15th August, and dedicated it to all the young Fians who give their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom, particularly Fian Tobias Molloy, who's family where present on the night.
Liam has included another verse at the end to modernise the song, and encourage young people today to become active in the freedom struggle, drawing their inspiration from Na Fianna, and the sacrifice of their young activists.
We are uploading the song for all to enjoy!
Gender Equality Officer
Ógra Shinn Féin
19 year old student Mairead Farrell from Galway has recently become Connaught Organiser for Ógra Shinn Féin. She comes from a family background steeped in politics and activism, and was involved variously in different social and political campaigns before joining Ógra.
She is a passionate advocate of the Irish Langauage and has campaigned pro actively on various International issues including Palestine.
When not protesting, agitating and organising, the young Galway girl likes to go clubbing, and when she finds time in her busy schedule goes to the gym.
She has a burning desire to establish a strong Ógra Shinn Féin presence across Connaught, and in only a short space of time has made huge progress.
Named after her Auntie, Mairead Óg possesses the same passion, confidence, and charisma of her late Auntie, who she no doubt derives inspiration from.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like going out clubbing with friends and going to the gym!
How did you get interested in politics?
Yes, I have been active in broad left groups in Galway for a few years. I was involved in the Galway Alliance Against War, Galway No to Lisbon , different Palestine campaigns and the clean water group. Then I decided to join the senior party and then a while after joining it I joined Ógra.
I had heard about Ógra a few years ago but I only really found out about it through a friend in college who is active in it. She told me to come along to a weekend, I did and decided that I definitely wanted to join.
Has your interest in politics come your family influence? And How?
What would you be doing if you weren’t involved in Ógra?
What actions have Ógra taken in your area (weekend’s protests etc)
I was very happy to become Ógra’s Connacht organiser, I’m looking forward to the challenge and hopefully maybe even some success!
Why do you think it is important for young people to get involved in politics?
What do you think are the major pressing issues for young people?
How do you think Ógra constantly makes itself relevant to young people?
The various campaigns put Ógra in the spotlight and are key to attracting young people. I think the fact that they tackle issues that are important to the youth results in people gaining respect and interest in the party.
Why is it important that Ireland once again vote no in the Lisbon treaty?
It’s extremely important that there is a second No vote for several reasons. Firstly it’s a disgrace that the government are putting an already rejected treaty to the people and then they have the nerve to talk about fixed elections in other countries! They are spending millions of euro, during a recession, in an attempt to ridicule the notion of democracy. This is happening at a time when vital services like the Sligo Cancer services are being taken from the people. Secondly the treaty itself is nine years old which means that the economics of the document is the economics which got us into the recession. It’s all about less regulation for banks!! Otherwise the fact that our voting rights will be halved whilst those of Germany will be doubled. This means that Germany will have 20 times our voting power.
Favourite Music / Artist:
Favourite songs :
Person most influential in your life:
If you were president of Ireland or Taoiseach what 3 things would you do to change Ireland ?
Have a united Ireland , have socialism and have Irish as the most widely spoken language in Ireland . A United Ireland and socialism clearly go hand in hand, those would be my aims but obviously that’s not the sort of thing that happens over night. The Irish language is extremely important, not only is it our national language but to lose any language is a terrible loss.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Ógra Shinn Féin
This week’s announcement by Mark Durkan to step down as leader of the SDLP has exposed serious fault lines in a party that has become increasingly rudderless and out of touch with the nationalist electorate of the six counties.
Mr Durkan is now SDLP party leader in name only, a lame duck politician who has committed a serious strategic error as we fast approach the Westminster election.
During the Stormont press conference to clarify his original announcement, which Mr Durkan had made a day earlier to BBC journalist Mark Davenport, he was flanked by senior SDLP personnel in a show of solidarity that fooled no one. Clearly the knives have been out for Mark Durkan for some time and he cast an isolated and lonely figure.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The Cumann elected their new officer board for the year ahead and also dealt with cumann issues and planning campaigns for the period ahead. This includes an intense campaign of youth engagement with community groups, youth groups and also engaging with local school students.
Fergal Connolly, newly elected chairperson of the cumann, said
“We look forward to continuing the work of engagement and campaigning on republican and socialist issues. Young people have been at the forefront of the struggle and Ógra Shinn Féin an Lorgain will continue to be at the forefront and ensure the voice of young republicans is heard in Upper Bann.”
Cumann member local Cllr. Johnny McGibbon commented
“The AGM proved a very positive meeting. We are now planning our work for the year ahead and look forward to Ógra growing from strength to strength in the Upper Bann area.”
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Meath Ógra initiated a campaign against the Lisbon treaty on Friday with a banner drop and distribution of leaflets.
On Saturday afternoon, delegates from across the country assembled outside Navan Shopping Centre with creative posters and banners. Local councillors joined the demonstration and reception from passers by was excellent.
"Like Lisbon round one, people are still not sure about the content or implications of this complex treaty. They are concerned and they have a right to be concerned. Its great to see young comrades from across the country joining us on this canvass. The reception from people in Navan has been great and we have done our level best in setting out our reasons to vote no a second time. One of the most critical points of our canvass was that Ireland will lose power. Article 6 of the Lisbon Treaty changes the way in which key decisions at the Council of Ministers are taken. Ireland's voting strength would be reduced to 0.8% while Germany’s would increase to 17% and Britain’s would increase to 12%.”
“Lisbon also equals lower wages. In recent years the European Commission has enacted policies and the European Court of Justice has made judgments that have the effect of driving down wages. The Protocol on the Internal Market and Competition contained in the Lisbon Treaty provides both the Commission and the Court with an even stronger mandate to undermine workers pay and conditions.”
Monday, September 21, 2009
The PSNI had set up a roadblock in the village and were asking drivers for their licences. However it is claimed that when PSNI members asked for Mr McNally’s licence they also asked him to pull his car to the side of the road. According to the local MP Mr McNally was spread-eagled at the back of his car and searched before having his car searched for the next 45 minutes.
Speaking Pat Doherty MP said:
“This type of policing is totally uncalled for and unwarranted. Those of us who are advocating community policing and wider community engagement are finding such incidents make the case for community engagement even harder. Such policing practices are counter-productive in terms of building support within the nationalist community for policing in the north.
“This young man was told that he was being detained under the Prevention of terrorism act and that the PSNI believed he could have items likely to be of use to terrorists. This is just the most recent case of harassment to young republicans in the local area. Indeed this young political activist was detained on spurious grounds after being taken off a bus by the PSNI whilst going to Belfast from Omagh a number of years ago.
“This is petty policing and harks back to days gone by. It is clear that some within the PSNI are intent on derailing Sinn Fein’s strategy of holding the PSNI accountable and bringing a new beginning to policing. There are some within the ranks of the PSNI who are finding it hard to deal with the new political realities and are resisting the changes that Sinn Fein are bringing to policing. They must realise that harassment and roadside detentions must be consigned to the dustbin of history.
“We have brought this issue to the attention of our representatives on the Policing board and DPP and I will be in contact with the PSNI District commander at the earliest convenience demanding an answer of the PSNI actions in regards this issue.
“This so-called operation dissent is causing a huge inconvenience to members of the public. I would question the nature and scale of the operation, which is confined almost exclusively to nationalist areas. This operation amounts to blanket harassment for people living and working in nationalist areas.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Meath Ógra Shinn Féin launched the ‘No to Lisbon Campaign’ in Navan on Saturday. At the launch Cllr Tóibín stated “Sinn Féin have been door to door canvassing for the last 10 days and I can tell you that the people of Meath are angry. They are angry that this government is wasting millions rerunning a referendum that the people have all ready rejected and at the same time will not see fit to give people a referendum on NAMA, the biggest gamble with taxpayers money in the history of the state’. ‘This week the government revealed the detail of its plan to bail out the Banks and the Developers with €54 billion of taxpayers’ money. They have created NAMA for the rich while there is no NAMA for ordinary citizens. This is grossly unfair. The government whose policies played a significant part in bringing this state to the point of bankruptcy and which failed to renegotiate the Lisbon Treaty are asking people to trust it. We have been canvassing people throughout this county I can tell you that people do not trust FF or the Greens one bit.
‘What we have from the yes side is a number of bland generalities that have nothing got to do with the treaty. They say that Lisbon is good for jobs and good for the economy. Interestingly the Wall Street Journal, the bible of big business, declared that these pronouncements were ‘patent absurdities’ and are ‘peddling phantom terrors’. In contrast Sinn Féin’s campaign is aimed at highlighting the content of the Lisbon Treaty and its implications for Ireland and the EU.
‘Lisbon equals lower wages: In recent years the European Commission has enacted policies and the European Court of Justice has made judgments that have the effect of driving down wages. The Protocol on the Internal Market and Competition contained in the Lisbon Treaty provides both the Commission and the Court with an even stronger mandate to undermine workers pay and conditions.
‘Lisbon equals less power for Ireland: The Council of Ministers is supposed to be where European countries meet as equals. Not so. Article 6 of the Lisbon Treaty changes the way in which key decisions at the Council of Ministers are taken. Irelands voting strength would be reduced to 0.8% while Germany’s would increase to 17% and Britain’s would increase to 12%.
‘Lisbon equals more military spending: Article 25 and 28 contain four separate obligations on military spending. Article 28(c)(3) states ‘Member States shall make civilian and military capabilities available to the Union for the implementation of the common security and defence policy.’ The same article also states ‘member states shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities’. In addition Article 25b(d)(3) states ‘The Council shall adopt a decision establishing the specific procedures for guaranteeing rapid access to appropriations in the Union budget for urgent financing of initiatives in the framework of the common foreign and security policy.’ While Article 25(d)(3)(TEU) states Preparatory activities... which are not charged to the Union budget shall be financed by a start-up fund made up of Member State’s contributions....”
The launch was accompanied by an energetic canvass on Patrick Street right at the heart of the city centre, and activists held placards urging a 'No' vote.
A new set of billboards was launched by the four Sinn Féin city Cllr's including former Ógra members Cllr Jonathan O'Brien and Cllr Fíona Kerins,
The contingent then travelled to Ballincollig where Ógra helped Gerry Adams canvass near the shopping centre, where he took the time to chat to local young people on their lunch break.
Ógra activist Alan Conway had the following to say 'Cork Ógra will be actively campaigning for a no vote on the coming weeks, this is the exact same treaty, and it is exactly as harmful to democracy, workers rights, neutrality and family farms as it was first time around. We hope to persuade yong people that they have to vote in their own interests, and their interests are best served by a no vote'
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The film traces Irish republican's views and ideals on education and how educated young people and students have been a dynamic engine of change in Ireland.
It traces the important role played by young republican students like Kevin Barry, Frank Ryan, James Sheridan, Mairead Farrell, and Sheena Campbell, and how their spirit continues in the Sinn Féin college cumann across Ireland today.
It also looks at the Civil Rights movement, which 40 years ago, was sparked by the student's of Queen's University, Belfast, many of whom had benefited from the introduction of free education through the welfare state.
We would encourage everyone to watch the video and to PASS ON to all contacts, especially anyone you know who is at, or going to University this year, encouraging them to join their campus cumann at freshers.
Go raibh maith agat!
All- Ireland Sinn Féin university structure plans for year ahead of ‘recruitment, education and activism’
Workshops on Education, Finance, Public relations, Campaigns and Recruitment were run on a collective basis by those present – sharing views and ideas across Ireland from Universities, ITs and Colleges. The Uladh Colleges Comhairle Ceantair gave a presentation to the university cumainn from the other three provinces on the model which they have developed during the last year – showing the advantages of efficient communication between third level campuses and the pooling of resources in a particular geographic area.
Commenting after the meeting Sinn Féin elected SU rep and Jordanstwon SF chairperson Caolan Quinn said,
“It is essential that any approach to building Sinn Féin in universities must be done with an all-Ireland approach. There is so much cross over in the Third Level Education sector with students choosing courses in campuses all over the 32 counties of Ireland. As the only all-Ireland party and such the only political movement involved in colleges across the island, Sinn Féin is ideally placed to recruit members across the country . Each college community provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to make contact with many 'movers and shakers' of the future and to expand our own contacts in different areas of expertise."
“Fresher’s Days provide a great opportunity for our Party in terms of recruitment, not just for the college cumainn but to the Party nationally. Last year Sinn Fein college cumainn attracted over 1,000 sign-ups across Ireland. However we intend to build on this further by promoting vibrant activism among new recruits. Already this year we have developed a new approach for our Fresher's Day Stalls and have developed new Freshers' Packs – with a greater variety of Sinn Féin branded items for interested students. This year Sinn Féin will have Fresher’s stalls at NUI Galway, GMIT, SligoIT, QUB, UUJordanstown, UUColeraine, UUMagee, UUBelfast, St Mary’s, LetterkennyIT, DundalkIT, NUIMaynooth, AIT, UCD, TCD, DIT, DCU, Griffith College, ITTallaght, UCC, CorkIT, CarlowIT and WIT."
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
They were hosted by youth movement JERC.
JERC are a pro independence youth movement established throughout the Catalan Countries and can trace their history back to the Spanish Civil war when they fought against the Fascist dictatorship of Franco. The delegation was only one of a number of engagements between the two groups in the recent past, with JERC attending and supporting the national Hunger Strike rally in Tyrone.
Ógra had a number of engagements with various, political, social and cultural groups as well as trade union’s and youth organisations. Amongst the groups they met whilst in the Catalan Countries was Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) who are in a coalition government in the Catalan Parliament.
Also included in the schedule of meetings were ‘Alliberats’, The Catalan Youth Agency, the Catalan youth forum and a meeting with Polo Democratico from Columbia. The delegation was also hosted in receptions with various mayors and in various town halls throughout the Catalan Countries.
Whilst in the Catalan Countries, Ógra took part in a number of public talks and conducted a series of interviews with various newspapers, radio stations and a regional television channel explaining their visit and also talking about the struggle in Ireland.
During the tour Ógra also attended a thronged meeting ahead of a referendum on independence in the town of Arenys de Munt. The meeting was attended by hundreds and was in support of the independence lobby in the referendum. During the proceeding the Ógra delegation was warmly welcomed to the public meeting. This welcome was met with sustained applause from the many hundreds who had gathered for the meeting.
The poll, organised in Arenys de Munt had been deemed void by the Spanish government even before voting commenced. However the pro independence movement pressed ahead with the poll on the Catalan national day, 11th September. In the poll, an overwhelmingly majority of 96% voted for independence from the Spanish state.
“Our week long tour of the Catalan Countries was very successful in a number of ways. Firstly it allowed the Irish delegation to give an update of the current situation in Ireland. It furthermore allowed us to learn of the current political and organisational realities in the Catalan countries and to learn from JERC’s admirable organisation and to take these lessons back to Ireland.”
“JERC is the largest youth movement in the Catalan Countries and their organisational capabilities are proven every year at the Acampa Jove where upwards of 30,000 young Catalans converge for a popular music festival organised by JERC.”
“While in the Catalan Countries we witnessed their progress for independence particularly with the referendum in Arenys de Munt. This demonstrates the huge support the independence movement enjoys in the Catalan Countries.”
The colourful parade which set out from Ballycolman shops, was led by a Colour Party followed by a contingent of Ógra Shinn Fein members dressed in uniform to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the foundation of Na Fianna Éireann.
Children followed carrying the names of the 24 local republicans listed on the West Tyrone Roll of Honour and Remembrance.
Three bands: the Strabane Memorial Flute Band, the Donegal Martyrs Flute Band and the Rising Sons of Rasharkin Flute Band accompanied the parade as it made its way over Strabane Bridge with large numbers of people lining the route in support.
En route, a wreath was laid at the Hunger Strike Memorial at Townsend Street before the parade proceeded to the Republican plot at Strabane Cemetery where Cllr Kieran Mc Guire (District Council Chair) chaired the main wreath laying ceremonies and commemorative tributes.
Delivering the main address, Barry Mc Elduff outlined the importance of local commemorations in showing continued solidarity with the families of the republican dead. He went on to speak of how Irish Unity not only made sense politically but also said that republicans need to increasingly articulate the massive economic and social benefits that would accrue from a United Ireland, particularly in the context of the current economic climate.
He concluded by encouraging everyone present to become involved in the weekend of events which are being planned from the 19-21 February next year to mark the 25th Anniversary of the summary execution, by British State forces, of IRA Volunteers Charlie Breslin, David Devine and Michael Devine.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
National Gender Equality Officer
Ógra Shinn Féin
18 year old Caoimhe Sloan from Kilbarry in County Meath has just recently become North Leinster Organiser for Ógra Shinn Féin. Caoimhe is currently studying History, Irish, Irish Studies and Politics in NUI Galway and has a keen interest in music, the GAA especially the Meath team and the players, the Irish language and obviously politics.
Caoimhe has been an active member of Ógra since the age of 15, holding various roles at a national level, and a passionate advocate of the Irish language.
Caoimhe comes from a republican family, and her uncle Fian Michael Sloan was killed on 11th January 1972, who has provided inspiration to her throughout her life.
How did you get interested in politics?
Through my Mother, who has been a Sinn Féin activist for over 30 years. I grew up in a republican family and from an early age I regularly visited POW’s in Portlaoise Prison.
I never realised that I was interested in poltics as I had just persumed for many years that most families had the life that mine did, but i soon realised that wasn’t the case.
It was only when I began secondary school, I soon discovered that people did not share my beliefs and opinions on the north and I found myself continously defending Sinn Féin. It was then that I truely became interested in the political aspect of the republican movement, and I wanted to make a difference in my community.
Were you involved in politics before getting involved in Ógra?
Yes, I have grown up surrounded by politics, so I have always been politically aware. I have never missed an Árd Fheis and I attended my first one when I was six weeks old. From an early age I helped my local cumann with leaflet drops.
I found out about Ógra Shinn Féin from being at other Sinn Féin meetings and through their campaigns and hearing about the many activities that Ógra were involved in.
Yes very much so, my father is from Ballymurphy, and had been interned at the age of 17 and both him and my uncle escaped from Crumlin Road gaol in 1981. My Mother has been an activist for over 30 years and has been working for An Phoblacht for more than 20 years.
So politics has always been a key factor in our family, it was an obvious step for me to become involved in the republican movement
What impact does Ogra have on your local area?
I have been a member of the National executive since 2006 which I am very grateful for and realise that we have a great amount of work to do to achieve a United Ireland.
What do you enjoy doing outside of Politics?
In my opinion you have to engage with them and you have to get them involved. Every area has a different problems, that we as republican activists must take upon ourselves to campaign on, and involve Ógra in our local communities to achieve change. Ógra have campaigned on issues which have a direct effect on the lives of the young people of this Island, major issues such as suicide, drugs and alcohol awareness and road safety are relevant to young people. At the moment the biggest issue in the 26 counties is the government’s attempt to re-intoduce fees for university which will affect most of our young population.
If there was one issue you could get young people active on, what would it be?
It would definatley be the issue of road safety as I feel very passionate about it and I myself have lost one of my best friends due to a car accident. I wish young people would realise that speeding is dangerous and that they are not only putting their life at risk but also putting innocent pedestrians and other drivers at risk. This is especially relevent to young men as they are affected more due to peer influence from their friends.
What issue is your cumainn active on currently?
Who has been a role model for you political?
Westcoast cooler (“,)
Bobby Sands Nothing But An Unfinished Song
- I would definately change the way in which the Irish language is taught to students, to be based more on the speaking of the language.
- I would extend representation in the Dail to include Northern representatives.
- I would have free education and health for every citizen
Monday, September 14, 2009
Ógra Shinn Féin's Barry McNally recently spoke with Aiden McAnespies nephew and Ógra activist, Caolan Loughran following a statement of regret issued by the British Government about the death of Aiden over 20 years ago.
Aiden was shot dead while crossing through a British army checkpoint in Aughnacloy on his way to a football match at Agahloo GAA Grounds. The British army issued a statement shortly after the shooting claiming it was an accident and a ricochet. However the family have always maintained that he was shot deliberately after being harassed regularly by the British army in the border town.
Barry started off by asking Caolan about Aiden.
“I think it’s important to point out that whilst I was alive at the time of Aidens death I was young and so I don’t remember the events surrounding his death. However I have heard anecdotes and stories about Aidens character.
Aiden was a good fella, fond of a few drinks and socialising like any other young lad of the time. He had a large circle of friends in the local area and enjoyed meeting up with them particularly at the weekends. He was big into his football but apparently wasn’t too good when it came to playing it. He would often use the excuse that he was injured when approached about stepping on the football field.
I was Aiden's only godson and on days off work or at the weekends I would accompany Aiden in the car wherever he went. Aiden would be driving and I would be perched up in the passenger seat barely able to look over the dashboard.
But in addition to all of this he received very bad treatment at the hands of the British army. He was harassed and threatened many times. Whilst driving through the checkpoint his car would be pulled apart. Aiden was continually being harassed at the hands of the British army but he never yielded to them. For numerous people at that time the only option was to move south where they could escape the harassment and torture of the British army, but I suppose for Aiden that wasn’t an option. He wouldn’t be put out of his local town by foreign strangers.
It was probably due to his determination and fortitude that he became a ‘marked man’. He was threatened by death many times by the British army. These threats became more frequent closer to his death. On Sunday 21st February 1988 Aiden parked his car in Aughnacloy, a short distance from the checkpoint. It was common for him to do this as he got less harassment and would be held less if he simply walked through the checkpoint. He was going to a Gaelic football match at the Aghaloo GAA Grounds just on the southern side of the checkpoint. It was whilst passing through the checkpoint that Aiden was shot dead by the British army.
The British spin doctors were soon on the case as a whole barrage of lies were coming from various sources. ‘Security sources’ were quoted in various media outlets as saying the shooting was ‘accidental’ and that it was a ‘ricochet’ and all sorts of stuff. But this never washed with the family nor the nationalist community who knew better. Aiden was murdered it was as simple as that.
So to have the British come out with a statement of regret over 20 years from Aiden death how does that make you feel or what are your thoughts on the issuing of the statement?
“Well obviously the family were happy in the sense that at least this is a good start. The family have fought hard to get this amount of recognition that in fact Aidens death wasn’t an accident. We as a family knew that Aiden was deliberately gunned down but to have the British government to come out with a statement of regret for what their solders did on that day was bizarre but long over due. Although we were shocked by the statement we are always conscious that the truth must come out the British cant get around this issue. We like many other families throughout the north and further a field demand answers and the truth about the death of our loved ones. There is an old adage which says ‘the truth costs nothing’ and it’s true. You see the British spending millions of pounds on public enquires to establish the ‘facts’ when in many cases they already know the facts and the truth but refuse to let it be known.
Asked whether he thought the British were forced to make the statement Caolans stated:
“The family have met with the British secretary of state, Sean Woodward about the issue and have campaigned long and hard so that recognition of this kind be made about the death of Aiden. But I think that not only were the Brits forced by the family but by other factors too. One obvious example would be the report by the Historical Enquires Team (HET) which admitted that the British soldiers’ version of events was the least likely version of events. The British solider had claimed that the gun discharged bullets when he was moved it in the Sanger with wet hands. It is these shots, he claimed that killed Aiden. So I think when you take into account these factors the British hands were forced unwillingly.
(Above: Aiden McAnespies Funeral passes through the Checkpoint at Aughnacloy)
Do you believe the statement was an admission by the British that Aidens death was a deliberate murder?
“Whether they like to admit it or not that’s exactly was Aidens death was, deliberate murder. This statement as you say is an admission of that. Not only were the British quick to the media with their version of events in the hours and days following the shooting but they have also been involved in a cover up of the truth since that day in February 1988. So whilst we welcome the statement it was still the British government which have made it so hard for the family to get the truth. Who knows, had it not been for the barriers they placed in our way we could have the truth of the events of that day.
Does the statement satisfy the family?
“Whilst we welcome it does nothing to satisfy us in our quest for the truth. We are looking for the truth and this is just one small piece of the jigsaw. We would like to see a cross border inquiry into Aidens death. Whilst the British have concealed and covered up the murder, the attitude of the Dublin government has also been anything but impressive. They are also sitting on a report on Aidens death that we as a family haven’t even seen. We would like them to publish this document. What have they got to hide? They have been less than helpful in our quest for the truth.
The campaign for Aiden will continue until we get the truth and it is recognised that he was an innocent man who was shot dead in cold blood on his way to a game of football.
Even twenty years on from his murder Aidens memory lives on. There is a Gaelic football team in Boston named in his memory, there is a ballad which was written by Gerry Cunningham in his memory, which many people would be familiar with and there is a permanent memorial in his honour at the spot he was killed.
Many young people and indeed older people are walking about wearing the Boston GAA jersey with Aiden's name emblazoned on the back. So it is clear that Aidens memory and legacy lives on. Hopefully sooner rather than later the full story of Aiden McAnespie will be told. We as a family will continue to push for the truth and for the full facts of the day to be known. Whilst the statement by the British is welcomed we demand the full truth.
There is a saying is Irish which I believe is apt: ‘Tús maith leath na hoibre’. It means a good start is half the work, this is exactly what this statement is, a start. However the work will continue until we force the British and the Dublin government to reveal the truth. Aiden deserves nothing less.
(Above is the Aughnacloy Checkpoint. Aidan McAnespies car is the Brown one parked in Cornation Park in Aughnocloy in the background of this photo)
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Sinn Féin and Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin in Lucan and Clondalkin held a day of action against the re-run of the Lisbon Treaty. Pickets were held at the constituency offices of Green party TD Paul Gogarty and Fianna Fail TD John Curran. Two large banners were erected on both offices by Ógra activists, which invited large support from passers by.
Spokesperson Daithí Byrne stated; "We are confident that the very same treaty will be rejected again for the very same reasons as before. The arguements presented by the 'Yes' camp lost credibility a long time ago. Approximately 50 million euro will be wasted on running the referendum again." Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin will be actively campaigning against the treaty in the coming weeks.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Activists from Dublin Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin confronted Brian Cowen's entourage on Wednesday as the cabinet was due to sign off on the controversial National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) legislation. NAMA will make the taxpayer overpay for bad loans given by reckless banks to greedy developers. ÓSF members were protesting as part of a United Alliance Against Cuts demonstration.
Cowen was greeted by Ógra activists who made sure to let him know what they thought of NAMA and cutbacks to the states health and education sectors. The NAMA bill, which will be published tomorrow, will also lend taxpayers' money to developers to finish their projects, when ordinary people and small businesses cannot get loans from the banks and face repossession. Following the An Bord Snip report, the government is planning to impose up to €5 billion more worth of brutal cutbacks on workers, the poor and the most vulnerable in or society. Despite this, the government is pushing ahead with NAMA which will cost us an estimated €60 billion or more.
Dublin Ógra Shinn Fein spokesperson Daithí Byrne stated “NAMA is the ultimate joke. The government is using our money, for their mistakes and they are getting away with it. Our children’s futures have been auctioned. Yet not one politician, not one banker, not one developer has been held to account. It’s a free for all for greedy, selfish developers and banks, but we must pay our bills. I call on everyone to join the national demonstration on Saturday 19th in Dublin. We must show the Fianna Fail/Green government what we think of them.”
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has appealed to students from Derry planning to go to university and who are looking for new accommodation to fully check out the letting agencies and the track record of private landlords who advertise on the internet before they sign any tenancy agreements or hand over large deposits for rent.
Martina Anderson said:
"Currently hundreds of A level students in Derry are making plans about what university they will attend and what accommodation they will need for the duration of their studies.
“For many of those students it will be the first time they have lived outside the family home and looking for accommodation can be a daunting task particularly in a new area. I would appeal to students and their parents to go through well established letting agencies and check the track record of private landlords who advertise on the internet before they sign any tenancy agreements or hand over large deposits.
“I was recently contacted by the parents of several students from Derry who had been caught out in a rental scam. The students were looking for accommodation in Belfast and saw a house they liked on the internet and paid nearly £800 pounds of a deposit. Then it all went wrong.
“They spent weeks trying to get paperwork and keys, both of which never materialised. The owner never answered their calls, the contact ran cold and they lost all their money. They then had to find a deposit for a new house. But it was a very costly and stressful period.”
Martina Anderson concluded by saying:
“Tenancy agreements help to protect your rights as a tenant and outline what your obligations will be. It’s important that anyone handing money over for a deposit for accommodation gets a receipt and copy of their tenancy agreements.
“I would urge students not to hand over any money until they have had a good look around the property; and to check for obvious signs of disrepair, damp, badly fitting doors or windows, or anything that could compromise your security. It might also help to take a friend or relative with them you to get their views on the property.”
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Commenting on the use of such weapons, Ogra National PRO Marcas Ó Mhaoldomhnaigh said: “The use of plastic bullets as a means of riot control is completely unacceptable. These weapons have been directly responsible for the deaths of at least 17 people in the north of Ireland. The majority of these were children or teenagers. Plastic bullets are lethal devices and have no place in an acceptable policing service.”
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Hundreds of Ógra activists, joined by international guests, descended on Galbally village, County Tyrone on Sunday 16th August to participate in the National Hunger Strike Rally.
Ógra activists played their part alongside thousands of other republicans in paying tribute to all the brave young men who have courageously given their life on Hunger Strike, and where ever mindful of local Hunger Strikers Vol. Martin Hurson and Vol. Sean McCaughey as they marched the quiet country roads of rural County Tyrone.
Young republican activists where involved in stewarding, republican flute bands, carrying banners, re-enactments of Martin Hurson’s life, and also organised a large colour party to commemorate the actual 100th Anniversary of the founding of Na Fianna Éireann.
Ógra activist Paddy Breslin laid a wreath on behalf of the republican youth movement, Ógra activists Laura Gildernew and Barry McNally read a short biography of each of the Hunger Strikers, and Kerry McColgan read the Ógra statement urging young republicans to play their part in the struggle today, by joining Ógra Shinn Féin.
Speaking on the Tyrone Hungerstrike Rally, National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin Barry McColgan said,
“Ógra Shinn Féin paid a fitting tribute to the Hunger Strikers and Na Fianna Éireann in Galbally. Fresh from a busy and successful weekend of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of Na Fianna and the 1981 Hunger Strike, Ógra activists displayed leadership and confidence in their various roles throughout the national rally, from the fitting colour party, to the fine speeches; they demonstrated that the republican struggle has a strong future.”
“The thousands of people who turned out in County Tyrone, shows the pride in which our heroes of 1981 are held. They serve as massive inspiration to Irish people and other oppressed peoples across the world who are fighting for their freedom. Thousands of republicans young and old left Galbally that day, more inspired and determined to achieve an Irish Republic that we can all be proud of.”