Monday, May 31, 2010

Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin Condemn Israel's Murderous Piracy

Young republicans from across County Tyrone outraged by today's murderous piracy by Israel have organised a number of actions over the coming week to protest and highlight local anger over these brutal abuses of human rights.

So far 19 deaths and dozens of injured have been claimed when Israeli soldiers boarded a ship and opened fire on civilian humanitarian workers who were bringing much needed aid to the stricken and besieged Palestinian people living in Gaza.

Actions will include graffiti, murals, protests and vigils. A protest is organised by South Tyrone Ógra at the Ballygawley Roundabout at 5pm today, Strabane Ógra and Coalisland/Clonoe Ógra will each be organizing protests respectively and West Tyrone Ógra having already adorned the now vacant Omagh Brit Camp with graffiti, will be erecting a mural.

(Omagh, County Tyrone, Monday 31st May 2010)

Condemning Israel for their most recent acts of human rights abuses and murder, Tyrone Ógra spokesperson Barry McColgan said,

"The depths and depravity to which the fascist Israeli state will go have reached a new time low, this attack and murder on international humanitarian workers is made even more barbaric and sickening, considering the innocent victim's were merely bringing much needed medical, food, fuel and clothing aid to the starving and poverty stricken, men, women and children of Gaza."

"These actions demonstrate Israel for the fascist state which it is, and we would call on everyone to support all local, regional and national demonstrations in the future to protest these murders and show solidarity with the victims family and friends, and with the besieged Palestinians who will now not receive the 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid which the flotilla had on board. We would also call on the Dublin government to summon the Israeli Ambassador and remove him from our country with immediate effect. A clear message should be sent to the world that Ireland does not harbour war criminals."

Israel, have you no shame?

Seán Ó Briain
Ógra Shinn Féin

Aware that a Flotilla of aid was soon to reach Gaza – I woke this morning, expecting some updates on it's progress. What I read sickened me to my very core.

For the past few days, a convoy of ships had been travelling towards Gaza. Their intent was to break Israel's illegal blockade of Gaza waters, and to deliver much needed aid to Gaza. I understood that Israel had already made the decision to engage aggressively, when a few days ago – an Israeli spokesperson made a statement hoping that "the international community would understand Israel's response.”

Israel's intentions were set in stone, before the Flotilla even set sail.

So when I woke this morning to find out that Israel had murdered innocent aid activists, my concerns were confirmed. Reports are currently estimating between 10-20 humanitarian activists were killed.

While the English language may have 250,000 words – None of them can express the depths of how repulsively immoral Israel's actions are.

Israel's propaganda campaign began before the Flotilla set sail. They claimed that the Flotilla was unncessessary, on account of Israel already allowing sufficient aid into the region. They asked the international community to understand their response, before the ships even set sail. Israel knew exactly what it was doing, and was not going to let humanitarian activists affect Israel's illegal control over Gaza waters.

The UN Human Rights Council issued a statement countering these claims stating that “the blockade keeps undermining human rights on a daily basis." further adding that "the current situation falls far short of what is necessary for the population to lead normal and dignified lives”.

Israel, and Rupert Murdoch's media will certainly put forward the idea that these humantiarian activists attacked the Israeli Defense Forces first – but I think, and hope that the world will be wiser and see through the propaganda and lies, for what really happened.

It's time for Ireland and indeed, the whole world to send a clear message to Israel. We are calling on the Irish Government to make a strong statement to Israel and without hesitation, end diplomacy with the state. We are calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin to deport the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland.

Details of protests against Flotilla Killings

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who had hoped to be on board the Free Gaza Flotilla which was attacked by the Israeli Army overnight leaving at least sixteen people dead, has described the attack as cold and calculated.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said there must be action from the International Community and called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to summon the Israeli Ambassador and expel him from the Country.

Speaking this morning Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“It looks as though this cold and calculated attack took place in international waters, in breach of all international maritime laws. There must be action from the international community.

“Foreign Affairs Minister Mícheál Martin must summon the Israeli Ambassador and expel him from the Country. Furthermore the preferential trade agreement with Israel must be ended.

“This was a humanitarian aid mission carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to the besieged city of Gaza. The blockade of Gaza is illegal under International law.

“At all stage of preparations to join the flotilla the organisers reiterated non-violent and peaceful resistance to any boarding by Israeli army. The Israelis had nothing to fear from this flotilla.

“The attack has left up to 20 dead and fifty injured 10,000 tons of much needed aid wasted.

“My thoughts are with the families of those who died. They were courageous men and women as was each and every person on the flotilla.”

We are calling on all activists to get active as soon as possible. Contact the embassy and express your anger and contact local public reps expressing your desire that the Israeli Ambassador be expelled.

Please note the following protests, and attend if possible.

DUBLIN - the Spire 6pm
CORK - Daunt Square 1pm
DERRY - Guildhall 5pm
BELFAST - City Hall 4pm
DUNDALK - Town Square 7pm
WATERFORD - Tower Hotel 16.45

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dublin ÓSF call for action over jobs crisis

Dozens of Ógra Shinn Féin activists attended the Right to Work Protest outside Leinster House again this week.

At the rally outside the Dáil, hundreds of protesters heard a first hand account of how a young family were forced from their home in south Dublin due to their inability to pay mounting debts.

Speaking at the protest, Dublin Ógra spokesperson Mark Ó' Maoldomhnaigh said:
"It's great to see so many people turn out here at the gates of Leinster house to call on the government to do something about the current crisis and to initiate a job creation campaign. However, If we want real change it is the Fianna Fáil TD's who need to be out of a job. They are not interested in helping out ordinary people - they are only interested in keeping their fat-cat pals onside."

"We have seen bankers who have plunged this country into billions of debt getting bailed out by the government, meanwhile a young family in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown are evicted from their house because they are unable to pay their bills. It is a complete disgrace!"

"A national jobs demonstration will
take place in the coming weeks and we would call on everybody who is fed up with this government and fed up with being unemployed to take part and let them know what you think."

Above: Gardaí protect Anglo-Irish bank

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What about the Dinosaurs Nelson?

Barry McColgan
Dermot Crowley Ógra Shinn Féin
West Tyrone

According to the north's 'one culture' minister Nelson McCausland, the earth was created by God over 6 24 hour days sometime between the last 5,700 and 10,000 years.

In a stinging attack, one of the DUP's very own back wood’s men lambasted the Ulster Museum for disproportionately promoting this aul notion of evolution.

Instead Nelson demands the museum to afford equal space to his concept of 'creationism' which he claims is supported by some 30% of the north's population.

If that 30% exist according to Nelson, who don't forget, also claims that Ulster Scots is a language and that the Orange Order is a cultural body, then perhaps the Assembly should invest in a crane to lift the big rock they've been living under for the past 200 years.

'Young Earth Creationists' which can count great thinkers like 'George W Bush' in their ranks, dismiss Darwin's theory of Evolution, mountains of scientific fact, the discovery of tonnes of fossilised animals, plants, and dinosaurs, carbon dated millions upon millions of years back, never mind a good dose of common sense.

But hey, who ever let science, or a wee bita carbon dating get in the way of a good story.

While some in the bible belts of the USA and north Antrim, may take the word of the bible literally, when it suits them, most Christians, or anyone who has read the bible with even an incline of common sense would accept or understand that Genesis is merely attempting to describe the creation of earth to a simpler people, in a simpler time.

To interpret it any other way or take it literally in the 21st Century is too dismiss human progress and piss on all the hard work of generations and civilisations of evolving our understanding of life, the universe and everything.

You can have three attitudes to this;

- Agree with Nelson, good luck with that.

- Believe that he is entitled to his point of view irregardless of how mad it is

- Highlight and oppose the craziness of such a senior figure in the north, a minister attempting to promote view through museums and schools that would be at home with Pol Pots year zero logic.

May common sense prevail and that big rock be lifted.

Let there be light Nelson.

Gerry Adams address to Ógra Shinn Féin National Congress 09

Go raibh maith agaibh as an seal le bheith ag labhairt libh inniu, ag comhdháil Ógra Shinn Féin agus tá fáilte romhaibh uilig anseo fosta.
Fáilte go Beál Feirste.
I want to commend Ógra, its National Executive and membership for all of your dedication and hard work in the last year.

A special word of thanks to Barry mcColgan who steps down this year as National Organiser and failte to Donnchadh O’Laoghaire from Cork who will be taking over.
These are difficult and testing political times.

The recession is hurting citizens across this island and there are major international issues that concern Sinn Fein and the Irish people and which Irish republicans must be active on.
Sinn Féin also faces significant challenges as we seek to advance our primary goal of Irish reunification; secure the transfer of powers on policing and justice, and make the partnership political institutions in the north workable and effective.
Achieving this means continuing to build political strength.

Ógra has a key role to play in this and in strengthening and growing the party.
This year you have been involved in a wide range of activities, including:
- the ‘Educate to be Free’ campaign against the re-introduction of 3rd level fees;
- commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Na Fianna Éireann;
- mobilizing against the government’s economic policies and cutbacks;
- protesting in support of the Palestinian people;
- as well as holding a number of successful youth events (National Youth Camp in Knockatallon, - Slogadh na nÓg in Rathcairn and the Tyrone Hungerstrike Youth Weekend).

Ógra also organised:an intensive child protection training scheme aimed at putting100 young activists through child protection courses;
You delivered suicide awareness programmes through the PIPS lifeguard training and ASIST programme in communities and colleges across Ireland;
And you had a very successful freshers where 1,500 people applied to join Sinn Féin.

So, Comhghairdeas to everyone involved.
But there can be no resting on laurels.
We need an Ógra Cumman in every third level college.
We need an Ógra presence on every internet forum, blog and social networking site possible.
We need Órga Shinn Féin taking the lead on campaigns and in making Irish Republicanism relevant to young people across the island and in this changing world.

2009 has seen Sinn Féin significantly step up our campaign to achieve Irish reunification.
This is not some pie-in-the-sky aspiration for republicans.
This isn’t some irrelevant idealistic goal with no importance to people and communities.
Irish reunification is essential if society is to effectively and efficiently tackle the divisions that exist, including the class, regional and sectarian divisions.
Bobby Sands understood this.
In his prison diary, on the first day of his hunger strike Bobby described our new Ireland well when he said it would be a place in which the Irish people would “control their own affairs and determine their own destinies as a sovereign people, free in mind and body, separate and distinct physically, culturally and economically.”
In an earlier phase of struggle James Connolly also understood the devastating impact partition would have on Ireland and was implacably opposed to it.

In 1914 – 6 years before partition, he predicted that it would:
‘… would mean a carnival of reaction both North and South, would set back the wheels of progress, would destroy the oncoming unity of the Irish labour movement and paralyse all advanced movements whilst it endured.

To it Labour should give the bitterest opposition, against it Labour in Ulster should fight even to the death, if necessary, as our fathers fought before us.’
Those words are as relevant to today’s Ireland as they were to the Ireland of 1914 or 1920.
Moreover, we have witnessed and lived through the economic, cultural, social and violent consequences of partition.
We have experienced its adverse affects.
We can see in the two conservative states created on this island, and the deeply flawed responses of the established parties to the recession, the negative affects of partition.
Partition and partitionism is inefficient, divisive, makes no sense on an island this small, with a population of just over 5 million.
Unionist opposition to equality and power sharing is a consequence of partition.

So, Sinn Féin is for Irish reunification and for fundamental change in society across this island.
The Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements provide a legislative basis for tackling much of this – which is why some elements of political unionism are absolutely opposed to this new dispensation, while others seek to minimise, to dilute and to delay its potential.
For this reason making progress on the Transfer of Powers on Policing and Justice has been slow.

Significant elements of unionism fear change; fear equality; fear the institutional and legislative reforms brought about through a decade of very focused negotiation by Sinn Féin.
The Good Friday Agreement is the core of the new political dispensation.
The Good Friday Agreement accepts that it is for the people of the island of Ireland to determine our own future – to exercise our self-determination.
In the event that a majority of people in the north prefer a sovereign United Ireland then the British government will legislate for it.
The agreement also sets out the mechanism by which this will happen – by means of a ‘border poll’.

So, there you have it. The people living on the island of Ireland can determine our own future, and – when a majority in the north and a majority in the south opt for Irish re-unification, the constitutional process to bring that about will kick in.
Sinn Féin seeks to build on this by working in partnership with others of like mind in Ireland to build political support for Irish reunification.
There is a particular responsibility on the Oireachtas – the Irish Parliament - and particularly the government in Dublin to actively work for reunification.

We also have to persuade unionists – or at least a section of unionism – that such a development makes political, social and economic sense – that it serves their self-interest.
There is therefore an imperative on Irish republicans to reach out to unionists and there is a particular onus on republicans to spell out to unionists what sort of united Ireland we seek - one that is inclusive, built on equality and justice and human rights.
There is also an onus on the British government and the British people to accept that they have to stand up and support the reunification of Ireland.

Though the international economic downturn has been a major factor in the current economic crisis, the Irish government’s mismanagement of the economy, particularly during the boom years, has left the state more vulnerable than almost any other in the world.
Instead of dealing this crisis properly the government rushed through cutbacks attacking school children, the elderly and working families.
Over the last few weeks tens of thousands of citizens have taken to the streets to protest at government policies, including the withdrawal of the Christmas bonus, and to oppose the planned further cuts in the December budget.

On a visit this week to Dolphins Barn I met local people, active in their community in support of the most vulnerable, who are deeply worried that the Fianna Fáil/Green Party budget is likely to rip the heart out of that community.
The scrooge-like mentality of the Fianna Fáil/Green Party government knows no bounds.
It has consistently underestimated the severity of this economic crisis.
It has pursued a fiscal strategy which has not worked and which will drive hundreds of thousands more into poverty.
It has no real strategy to stimulate the economy or to create jobs.
The government has clearly indicated that next months Budget will be about cutting social welfare payments and the public sector pay bill, slashing health and education, and capital building budgets.

Sinn Féin is fundamentally opposed to these policies.
A more imaginative and alternative approach is needed.
There is a need for new and innovative planning.
Sinn Féin is for a Budget that invests in the future, creates jobs by building schools, hospitals, houses, the renewable energy sector, and business infrastructure.
Such a long term approach will take the pressure off now while helping to solve longer term problems.

Sinn Féin has detailed proposals in our pre-Budget submission to raise €7.623 billion.
With this money the state can create a package to reduce the deficit by €3.7 billion and a stimulus package to encourage the economy.
The reality is that the economy can be turned around in a fair and equitable way.
On Monday Sinn Féin will publish our Pre-Budget Submission and we will put it directly to the Government in the Dáil debate on Tuesday.

So, Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin face many challenges in the time ahead.
Are we equal to those challenges? Yes.
I believe we can and will succeed.

Our journey’s end is a free Ireland; a reunited Ireland in which the words of the 1916 Proclamation will find fulfilment.

The Proclamation speaks to all of the Irish people; nationalist and unionist and republican; to our men and women and children; to every citizen it guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally.
The achievement of these universal values will fulfill the dream of centuries of Irish patriots.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Martin Doherty commemorated in Dublin

The 16th anniversary commemoration of Volunteer Martin 'Doco' Doherty took place on Sunday last. Dublin Brigade Volunteer Doherty, was gunned down by a British-sponsored loyalist death squad while heroically attempting to prevent a massacre in Widow Scallans pub on 21st May 1994.

A large crowd gathered in Finglas village for the commemoration parade to the grave of Martin at Glasnevin Cemetery. The Dublin Republican Flute Band and the Volunteer Martin Doherty Republican Flute Band from Glasgow were in attendance. An Ógra Shinn Féin colour party, dressed to mark a century of republican youth in struggle also played a significant part in the commemoration.

Martin's comrade, Eamon Nolan, gave the main speech at the commemoration.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

National Youth Camp 2010 set for Sunny South Down

A highlight of the republican youth calendar, Ógra Shinn Féin's National Youth Camp is set for Sunny South Down from 18th - 20th June.
The popular sea side resort of Newcastle will host what is sure to be an excellent weekend of education, debate, craic agus ceol.
Like previous years the youth camp will be a good mix of educational and social, ensuring people learn and develop their skills in a fun and relaxed environment.
The youth camp is a great forum for Ógra activists and young republicans too come together, build friendships, and share ideas.
A bus will make its way from Derry, going through Strabane, Omagh, Ballygawley, Dungannon, Lurgan, and Newry picking up people on the way.
The weekend will cost £40, which covers everything including site for tent, camp facilities, all meals, transport to camp and Bodenstown on the Sunday, and access to all talks and social events.

(Video of National Youth Camp '08)

Encouraging everyone to attend the 2010 National Youth Camp, Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin Organiser Fra Cochrane said,

"The youth camp is set to be an excellent event, with alot of interest from young people across Ireland. The event is always a highlight of the year, marking the end of school and exams to many, and the beginning of summer to more.”

"The National Youth Camp will include tours, debates, talks, workshops, as well as a healthy dose of social nights, and will be sure to act as a forum for building friendships and developing ideas, as previous camps have. We would encourage maximum attendance from Ógra activists and young Republicans. Bígí Linn!"

A full clár will be made available in the coming days. If you are interested in attending contact Fra Cochrane on 07783453986 or your Ógra Cuige Organiser.

(Youth Camp in Monaghan, June 2009)

(Debate and Discussion at Youth Camp 2009)

(Establishing Base Camp at Youth Camp 2008, South Armagh)

(Youth wings debate at Youth Camp 2008)

Friday, May 21, 2010

World Cup Sweepstakes!!!!

With a handball from Thierry Henry, Ireland's interest in the forthcoming world cup was brought to a sorry conclusion.
So while many republicans will be casting an eye over proceedings, most won't be too sure who's fortune's they should be following.

Ógra has decided to solve that problem for all soccer mad republicans by organising a World Cup Sweepstakes!!
Once everyone with an interest in the competition makes themselves known, every player will be paired off with a team from the following groups.

Group A
South Africa, Mexico (not the free state, but the South American country), Uruguay, France

Group B
Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece

Group C
USA, 'them across the water', Algeria, Slovenia

Group D
Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

Group E
The Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon.

Group F
Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Group G
Brazil, The People's Republic Of Korea, Cóte D'Ivoire, Portugal

Group H
Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile

Entry is 10e/10stg, and if your team wins, you can claim a cool 70e/70stg.
The draw for teams will be done on the 8th of June, and will be overseen by Dave 'the Bull' Barry, who will ensure there is no funny business.

To sign up email, or ring or text 00353 (0)8819653 before 8th June.

So who will get who?
Will Barry McNally finally find a use for that English jersey he has hidden away?
Will Daithi Byrne be giving a left handed salute to every glorious victory for the People's Republic of Korea, and their wonderful leader Kim Jong-il, may he rule forever.

Will Jason Doyle be matched off with Honduras, - like Wicklow, almost certain to pick up the wooden spoon (but hard to beat at Aughrim/Tegucigalpa).

Will a member of the Galway cumann be matched with fellow perennial bottlers Argentina.

And will justice be done and will a Corkonian be matched with their South American equivalents, Brazil?

Whatever happens, if you're not in, you can't win, get those names in!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ógra Youth Unemployment Conference - Bí ann

Ógra Shinn Fein has announced details of their forthcoming National Youth Unemployment Conference, to be held in the Teachers Club in Dublin on Saturday the 5th of June @ 11am.

National Organiser Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has this to say 'The conference has at its aim to bring together various strands of opinion from the Trade unions, political parties, and youth organisations, to explore the issues surrounding youth unemployment, and to examine what needs to be done, socially, politically, and economically to combat youth unemployment.'

The conference will open with a discussion on what the reality is for the young unemployed in Ireland in 2010. This will be followed by a selection of workshops on Job Creation, on Trade unionism, and on 'Creating a vocal lobby for young people'. These talks will include speakers from organisations such as the INOU, TASC, the Union of Students in Ireland, the National Youth Council, and more. It will be concluded by a Youth political Debate between Ógra Shinn Féin, Labour Youth and Socialist youth, on 'Creating a political alternative', and a closing address.

Calling for young republicans to mobilise for it he added ' This conference promises to be an extremely interesting and thought provoking event, and will hopefully provide an impetus for a real discussion and what we as a society need to do, both to create jobs, and to create a political alternative. It should be a fascinating event, and I would encourage anyone with an interest in the rights of young people and in progressive politics to attend.'

Full details and clár will be posted shortly.
Contact Donnchadh at or 0868819653 for more information

Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin spearhead anti-government demonstration

Dozens of activists from Ógra Shinn Féin piloted a massive protest against the twenty-six county government yesterday. The protest was organised by the Right to Work Campaign and consists of trade unions and political parties and organisations. Ógra activists from Dublin and across the country assembled at the Anglo-Irish bank HQ where the angry procession was for a short time, blocked by Gardaí, some of which were on horseback.

Demonstrators made their way to Leinster House to join about one hundred Sinn Féin members and in all, protestors numbered about three thousand. A number of speakers including Senator Pearse Doherty and artist Robert Ballagh expressed their anger and disgust at government policy aimed at bailing out banks, decimating jobs and prioritising wealthy elites.
Criticising government policies which have led to a jobs massacre, Senator Pearse Doherty said; “We in Sinn Féin were the only party to have produced costed and comprehensive proposals for getting Ireland back to work. We have produced proposals which would see 50,000 young people off the dole and into employment or education. Sinn Féin is leading the way in terms of bringing about positive proposals for job creation and getting people off the dole, back from the brink of emigration and back to work. “Ordinary people have had enough. We deserve to work. We have a right to decent public services like health and education. We will not stand idly by while unemployment gets progressively worse. We will not stand for attacks on the most vulnerable. We will not accept the agenda of cuts as laid down by this government and other right wing parties such as Fine Gael who offer no real alternative. “Let’s get on the streets, stay on the streets and send a message to this government – jobs for the unemployed now.” Ógra Shinn Féin are calling on all activists and supporters from across the country to attend next weeks demonstration on Tuesday evening at Leinster House.

To contact Dublin Ógra; 0851754158

Sinn Féin 'Jobs for the Unemployed' website:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ÓSF shocked at lack of rehab and detox services

Ógra Shinn Féin have reacted with shock to yesterday's story in the Irish Examiner.

The article which included research from the Matt Talbot Adolescent Services (MTAS) society in Cork showed that children as young as eight years old have begun using hard drugs including heroin.

The article went on to state that "there are only 28 detox beds for an estimated 14,500 heroin users in Ireland and none of those detox beds are in Cork or the Munster area. Waiting lists of up to one year for treatment exist in the public healthcare system."

Such statistics make the Dublin government's proposals to cut €2.6 million in funding to the National Drugs Strategy even more outrageous.

Current statistics clearly show a rise in the number of people attending drug addiction services. It is completely unacceptable to expect these services to continue to operate with a smaller budget when they are already hugely underfunded.

Ógra Shinn Féin demand that adequate resources be provided to tackle drug and alcohol addiction. Any cuts to drug addiction services are completely unacceptable.

Oiche Cheiliúradh - Fáilte romhat gach duine

Quinns Corner, Tyrone

Fri 21 May 2010

Doors Open: 9:30pm

Sinn Féin in Fermanagh / South Tyrone have unveiled plans for an Election Celebration evening this weekend. Billed as ‘Oiche Cheiliúradh-Election Celebration night’ the Friday night event will be exactly what it says on the tin.

Sinn Féin, still riding high following the electoral success of all three Sinn Fein MPs in the Tyrone area, are using the occasion to thank the party faithful as well as the tens of thousands of voters who returned three Sinn Féin MPs from the O’Neill county.

Monaghan quartet Shanachíe are set to headline the event this coming Friday (21 May). Coming from the Irish word ‘Seanchaí’ meaning storyteller the band are renowned for their eclectic mix of country, Irish ‘rebel’, traditional tunes along with a wide array of ballad songs.

Drawing members from various bands including the acclaimed ‘Tri-axle’ they have been on the road for nearly ten years. In that time the band has played all over Ireland and toured England and Scotland on numerous occasions. During the summer seasons they are often found in holiday resorts of Santa ponza and lanzarote.

With a wide ranging repertoire of songs their visit to Quinn’s Corner on Friday 21 May will be sure to be an evening for all ages and dancing abilities.

Tá Fáilte romhat gach duine.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hugely Successful and Comradely 'Women in Struggle' Dinner Dance

"A very comradely initiative" is how guest speaker Barry McElduff MLA described Ógra Shinn Féin's 'celebrating the women of struggle' dinner dance.

The national event held in the Fir Trees, in Strabane on Saturday night attracted a large crowd from across Ireland gathered to pay tribute to the woman on the roll of honour, to their families and a number of honourees.

Chaired by Ógra's National Gender Equality Officer, Gemma McKenna, the proceedings on the night got underway with a fáilte from National Organiser Donnchadh O'Laoghaire, Maureen McGuinness then read aloud a beautiful rendition of 'Invisible Women.'

Ógra's very own Bard of Armagh, Liam Lappin sang 'Four Green Fields' before the main speaker of the night, West Tyrone MLA and former corner half forward for Carrickmore, Barry McElduff took to the mike.

Barry commended Ógra for the event which he described as 'a very comradely initiative' and spoke at length of the hugely important roll that women have played in Ireland's freedom struggle.

Indulging in some lose chat he recalled his experience in working with some extraordinary women like Mairead Farrell and he also spoke of his huge fondness and admiration for the honourees.

On another matter, he talked about the huge hassle currently being created by volcanic ash on air travel, however, to rapturous applause and bringing it back to topic, he noted that Rose Dugdale was certainly not hampered by volcanic ash on her last ‘flying’ visit to Strabane.

Saoirse O'Neill was next, reading the Republican Women Roll of Honour, which was followed by presentations to the families of the women.

Short bios were read about each of the women being honoured, and they were each presented with a small token of appreciation from Ógra Shinn Féin.

The women honourees were Susan McGillion, Rose Dugdale, Padraigín Uí Mhurchadha , Eibhlin Glenholmes, and a posthumous presentation to the family of Paula Murphy.

A big 4 course meal followed the presentations and the night was brought to a lively conclusion with music by 'Paddywagon.'

Speaking on a hugely successful event, Barry McColgan said,

"The inaugural 'celebrating the women of struggle' dinner dance was a huge success. It was an honour to host the families of the women on the roll of honour and the honourees; they deserve the recognition, admiration and ongoing solidarity of all of us. Everyone had a great night and we would like to thank everyone who assisted in any little way."

"Ógra are committed to ensuring that this becomes an annual event, as a focus on bringing the issue of gender equality to the fore and also ensuring that the many stories of women in struggle are told and more and more republican women's sacrifice and hard work is honoured."

‘Women in Struggle’ Honouree - Eibhlin Glenholmes

Eibhlin Glenholmes is as close a friend to Irish Republican Youth as you get.

Eibhlin has been a supporter, and a mentor of Ógra Shinn Féin from the moment and time she was safe to return home to Belfast having spent many years on the run.

Born into the staunchly republican Shortstrand in the heart of Loyalist East Belfast, she was surrounded from an early age by a very tense and alive interface that could have boiled over at any stage and often did.

In her early years she would experience the full whack of the Unionist State and naked sectarianism as loyalist mobs assisted by the state militias attempted to burn the Shortstrand to the ground.

The people, many friends, and family of Eibhlin got of their knees and the IRA, the people’s army, repelled the baying mobs.

It was a lesson that the risen people would confront and bring to an end these gutless bigoted and murderous acts on what were defenceless innocent civilians.

All these actions and the subsequent arrest of her father Dickie, had a deeply politicising affect on the young Eibhlin who enraged by the bigoted brutal actions of the Unionist state joined the Republican Movement to play her part in changing all the wrongs facing her and the people she lived amongst.

Becoming active in the republican struggle became a vocation which she has kept resolutely to this day, and it has led her to living a very interesting yet selfless life, a life which many would otherwise avoid.

Due to her political activism Eibhlin has endured prison, harassment, arrest, extradition proceedings which she successfully defeated twice, long periods where she could not return home to enjoy simple things like family birthdays and weddings, she has been labelled the ‘most wanted women’ by the Brits and has suffered the loss of many of her close friends including Bobby Sands and Brian Keenan.

Despite this extraordinarily difficult life, Eibhlin is always beaming with joy and excitement to meet fellow republicans, always glad to impart her knowledge and wisdom to younger activists, to another generation much more fortunate than her.

Eibhlin is an inspiration too Ógra for many reasons, because she is always there to lend a helping hand, weather simple advice, speaking at an event or lobbying and arguing in support of republican youth internal to the movement.

Eibhlin has engrained an ethos of gender equality into Sinn Fein, because of her actions, hundreds of more young republicans are proud to call themselves feminists, hundreds more young republicans are pro actively working to bring equality to the gender imbalance that exists within the party and society, because of her actions more and more young women are becoming involved in Ógra and Sinn Féin, and because of her actions, we are inspired to organise events like this tonight, where we honour all the outstanding women who have gave so much for this struggle, women like Eibhlin.

We are honoured to know Eibhlin personally and to have the pleasure of working with her.

‘Women in Struggle’ Honouree - Padraigín Uí Mhurchadha

Padraigín Uí Mhurchadha wears her past lightly. With her affable, approachable and ever cheerful nature, one would not note that she has a past so full of commitment and sacrifice.

Padraigín, was raised in a republican household in Monaghan Town, and saw from a very young age the malign influence partition had on the country, and on her locality, and she along with others in her family and from her area rallied against it.

Padraigín’s brother, Fergal Ó Hanlon, joined the republican movement at a young age, and was killed at the age of 21 along with Sean Sabhat, during the raid on Brookeborough Barracks on New Year’s Day 1957.

Following their deaths, another brother of hers, Éineacháin Ó hAnluain, stepped forward to stand as a candidate for the 1957 general election for Sinn Féin, and he was duly elected as TD for Cavan Monaghan, along with John Joe Rice, Ruairí Ó Bradaigh, and John Joe McGirl. This sent a clear message to the hypocritical Free State establishment.

So Padraigín comes from a proud tradition of republican resistance, but she marked herself out as a leading activist in her own right. A long standing activist she got involved in the republican movement at the tender age of 18.

She remained involved in republicanism throughout her life, and was a committed activist. She like her brothers saw the importance of building political support, and a political movement in the form of Sinn Féin, and was not found wanting when Sinn Féin began to contest elections again in the 1980’s.

She along with a number of others across county Monaghan and across the country , stood successfully on a Sinn Féin ticket, and was elected to Monaghan Town Council in 1985, and has held her seat ever since.

And she is as keen as ever to pull her weight in elections, and could be found just a short two weeks ago, enthusiastically canvassing for another great woman of struggle, Michelle Gildernew, in Dungannon.

She remains a committed activist, and indeed, following in the proud republican tradition of her family, a number of her children are active in republicanism today. She is regarded with great affection and respect in the town, where she remains an effective, committed and popular councillor.

Is Gaeilgeoir flúirseach í Padraigín chomh maith, agus bíonn sí de shíor ag moladh úsáid ár dteanga dúchais, agus is mór an sásaimh a thugann sé di labhairt le daoine óga as Gaeilge.

Padraigín has always been a keen supporter of Ógra down through the years, encouraging its development locally, and supporting Ógra events and activists in any way she could, and values greatly the role of young people in the party.

So tonight is an opportunity to repay Padraigín for her support for Ógra, for her commitment to republicanism, and to salute her as an exemplary activist.

Beán Cróga, Bean stuama, is bean dílis í. Is mór an honóir dúinne a bheith in ann omós a thabhairt di.

Finally we would like to congratulate Padraigín and Matt on being married 40 years this 4th July. Matt always reminds people that American gained its independence on that day, and he lost his.

‘Women in Struggle’ Honouree – Rose Dugdale

Rose Dugdale is proof that a person’s background is no evidence of their political belief.

Rose was born the daughter of an English Banker, into a wealthy background. An intensely intelligent woman, she excelled at education, progressing successful through school, and gaining a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, a Master’s in Philosophy, and a PhD in Economics. At the age of 18, she was presented as a Debutante to the Elizabeth Windsor, during the royal social scene, marking her out as among the elite of the elite.

Despite being born in to an English establishment background, and despite having the world at her feet, Rose found herself increasingly radicalised by the development of revolutionary movements throughout the world, in Ireland and elsewhere. This found expression as a young student, as she protested against the sexual discrimination rife with the Oxford students Union. Later on she left her job as an economist to commit herself full time to working with the poor, and supported many international struggles during this time.

She travelled to Ireland many times to participate in the civil rights movement. As time went on, as she saw more and more of the reality of the northern state, and its utter unwillingness to reform, she concluded that marching would only achieve so much.

Her growing commitment to revolutionary politics prompted her turn her back on the world in which she was reared. She cashed in her shares in Lloyd’s bank, and gave it to the poor. In 1973 she was arrested following the theft of valuable silverware and paintings from the Dugdale family home. She was given a suspended sentence of two years.

Soon after she travelled to Ireland and joined the republican struggle. In 1974, only some miles from here, allegedly she, along with Eddie Gallagher took part in a daring raid on Strabane RUC barracks in a hijacked helicopter.

She was jailed in June 1974 for her part in a raid on Russborough House in Kildare. As was the case in her previous trial she used the courtroom as a political platform and pleaded ‘proudly and incorruptibly guilty’ to the charges which she faced. On her release in 1980, she returned to the republican struggle, no less committed than when she was first imprisoned.

She immediately threw her weight behind the struggle of the hunger strikers for political status and to building Sinn Féin as a revolutionary political movement. This continues to this day, being a valued and committed member of Dublin Sinn Féin.

We in Ógra have a particular high regard for Rose, as someone who has continually supported us in our endeavours, and someone who continually supports the role of young people in our struggle. She regularly attends our events, congresses and talks, and is always ready to offer members advice or a word of encouragement.

In short, Rose remains a personification of revolution. She had the option of a comfortable life, a life at the heart of the Establishment. Yet she followed her instinct and threw her lot in with the revolution, committed her life to the cause of Irish freedom, and to the bettering of life for all the people of Ireland. And this commitment remains undimmed by the passing of time, and her willingness and commitment to the cause would put many younger activists to shame.

On this evening when we honour the female activists who have participated in our struggle, we salute Rose Dugdale, as one of the very finest of that company. A revolutionary to her very core.

‘Women in Struggle’ Honouree - Susan McGillion

Susan or Mrs McGillion as she is fondly known is a stalwart and a backbone to the republican movement in Strabane, no more, no less.

Despite her advanced years and at times ill health she is a constant at all events and a key figure in the background, supporting and assisting in the organising of all that needs to be done.

While many at her age would have justifiably hung up their boots, and retired following many long years of hard work and service, to Susan, it simply is not an option, republicanism, achieving our objectives is not simply politics, it is a struggle and has become a way of life to her.

She has been involved in every major struggle in the past 40 years, marching with her good friend Ivan Barr and the people of Strabane for Civil Rights, organising against Internment, protesting and campaigning for the young men and women enduring the blanket, no wash protests and eventually Hungerstrike, and she was a key figure in the PDF in Strabane, always ensuring that the political prisoners and their families had enough to get them by.

Other’s needs always came before hers, and she has led a selfless life that inspires the younger activists of today. She is a model of how we should act.

Mrs McGillion was devastated on hearing of the death of her loving and close friend, civil rights leader and Sinn Féin Cllr Ivan Barr just 2 years ago, and in his memory she ensured that their local Sinn Féin cumann was renamed in his memory.

The McCafferty/McAleer/Barr cumann as it is now known, possess a new banner which will play as a constant reminder of Ivan. In times like this Susan demonstrated the strong loyalty and sense of duty to her friend’s and their memory.

A proud Irish language activist, she has worked to ensure the promotion of the language, and uses it as much as possible. She was the oldest person in the north to achieve a GCSE in Irish, reminding people that you’re never too old for anything.

We in Ógra never fail to be amazed at the work ethic of Mrs McGillion, as she is always present and supportive of Ógra events in Strabane. There are more pictures of Susan on the Ógra blog than there are of some Ógra activists.

It is people like Susan that makes us realise what it means to be a republican, makes us feel proud to be part of a movement and struggle that possesses the finest people that Ireland has known. Susan is one of those people.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gildernew smashes Sectarian Candidate

Fermanagh Ógra would like to thank the people of Fermanagh/South Tyrone for electing Michelle Gildernew as their MP.

Despite efforts by the Orange Order to drag Fermanagh south Tyrone into the past by trying to frustrate the desire of the constituents for good representation, purely because that representative was a nationalist.

Fermanagh Ogra activist Brian Hoy had this to say,

"On behalf of the youth of Fermanagh/South Tyrone I would like to praise Michelle for her excellent track record in representing us, and for sending a clear message that the people of Fermanagh/South Tyrone reject the Tories."

He added,

"I would like to thank in particular the voters from a unionist background who voted for Michelle in this election. They stood up to sectarianism, they came to realisation that Michelle was the best candidate, and voted for her instead of Connor."

He finished by recalling the words of Arlene Foster after the first count,

"This will lift the people across the country."

It sure did!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

'Women in Struggle' Posthumous Honouree - Paula Murphy

Barry McColgan
Dermot Crowley Ógra Shinn Féin
West Tyrone

Paula Murphy was born on 15 March 1985 into the Republican Strathroy Estate in Omagh Town.

Strathroy would become her loving home for the next 18 years, and played a role in shaping her into the young women she became, forging the friendships that would endure her until her untimely and tragic death.

Paula really was a happy go lucky person, always optimistic, always full of laughter and always willing to go to extraordinary lengths for her friends and family.

Educated at Christ the King Primary, Saint Brigids High School and then enrolling in a beauty therapy course in the Omagh Tech, Paula was well educated and an extremely likable and popular young women who always gained new friends no matter where she went. She always had a strong circle of friends around her when you seen her at school or at the tech.

She possessed all that it is to be a republican, humility, a strong community spirit, a passion for Irish freedom, and a desire to help and improve the lives of others around her.

In her short yet full life, she got to the heart of the community involving herself in the local youth club and summer scheme, and participated in 2 cross community international trips in Germany and France, demonstrating an early commitment to bridge building between communities and anti sectarianism.

Paula was a young republican and she made this clear through her membership of the Martin Hurson Republican Flute Band, and becoming an active member in the newly formed West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin.

Paula always did the band proud as she played the flute at the many parades across the north and throughout Tyrone, and it was a fitting send off for her as uniformed members of the Martin Hurson Band provided a guard of honour at her funeral.

She always demonstrated leadership and dedication as a Republican, on one particular occasion Paula suffered a broken leg when she was pushed by a member of the PSNI outside a local nightclub.

Undeterred by her injuries and this act of intimidation she was out the following week, with the aid of crutches, protesting with Ógra Shinn Féin in blocking the front entrance of Omagh Brit camp in opposition to the then impending US and Brit invasion of Iraq.

Paula appeared on the front page of the Ulster Herald that week criticizing the PSNI for their heavy handed actions over breaking her leg, and then you flicked over the page and she was on the inside protesting outside the Brit Camp.

That was typical Paula, despite a broken leg and while she should have been nursing her injuries, she was out on the frontline standing in solidarity with the people of Iraq and demanding ‘Brits Out!’ of Omagh.

7 years on from the many protests that she was involved in, the Brit camp is closed, she played her part in it, not only by her actions but as a constant inspiration to us following her death.

On Easter Sunday (20th April) 2003, not long having returned from the Tyrone County Easter Commemorations in Carrickmore, Paula was tragically killed in a car accident. She was only 18 years old.

Following her death, the entire republican family in Tyrone and the local community was in shock that such a bright young life was cut short in such tragic circumstances. Her wake and funeral were the biggest that Strathroy had ever witnessed, evidence of her huge popularity in life and the tight knit community, which rallied around her family.

West Tyrone Ógra have gone on to become the most active, most vibrant cumann of the leading youth movement in Ireland.

While there are many factors to this, one of the main reasons is Paula's memory which has spurred us on to be bigger and better and more innovative in everything we do.

She puts our lives and struggle in perspective; I know that I am fortunate enough to have the opportunities to achieve anything I want too, opportunities that Paula never had a chance to realise.

She is a constant inspiration to us and as we continue to grow and move towards national independence she is always in our thoughts.

Paula will remain many things to many people, a friend, a daughter, a niece, a cousin, a sister, but to us she will always be our inspiration.

Paula’s mother and father, Pauline and Bosco will receive a presentation on Paula's behalf at the ‘Celebrating the Women of Struggle’ Dinner Dance this Saturday night 15th May 2010 in the Fir Trees Hotel, Strabane.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Young people will be the deciding factor

Chris Conwell
Ollie Reilly Cumann
Ógra Shinn Féin Fermanagh

Young people have always played a crucial role in our struggle, be it in political agitation, in Na Fianna, in the person of countless brave volunteers. But far too often in election time, the role of young people is downplayed. But lessons from the past tell us that when young people get behind a campaign or an election, then they can turn the balance.

Look at the election of Bobby Sands, MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, who died 29 years ago yesterday. Sands himself was only 27 years of age, but because young people came out and voted in their droves, and campaigned for Bobby, he won the seat, and struck a hammer blow to the attempts to criminalise Irish Republicans.

The election that happens today, happens in a different context, where we can pursue our objectives in a democratic way. But some things remain the same. And the importance of young people getting out there and getting their voices heard is one of those things.
It’s too easy to be complacent, and apathetic about politics these days, many feel it doesn’t have the same urgency it once did and that politicians don’t care about young people. But in reality its every bit as crucial.

How do we expect politicians to be interested in our concerns and our issues if we don’t vote. Because the turnout among young people is lower, our concerns are very often ignored. Sinn Féin doesn’t ignore young people, and will stand side to side with young people when it comes to securing their rights.
That’s why Sinn Féin alone among the northern parties produced a Youth Manifesto (available at to communicate to young people that we are a party are interested in their concerns, and indeed that young people play a key role in Sinn Féin as a party.

But it’s crucial that young people who think along the same lines as Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin do get out and vote for our plans and policies, to ensure that young people aren’t left behind, and that their rights are top of the agenda.

It’s especially crucial in constituencies where the alternative is a regressive candidate who has little interest in young people, and those belonging to parties who want to drive us back in time, and undo the progress that has been made in recent years, for young people, and for the people of the north as a whole.

One of those constituencies is Bobby Sands’ constituency, Fermanagh South Tyrone. The MP is Michelle Gildernew, a woman who has proven to be a great representative for the area, and responsive to the needs of young people. The choice is between her and the male, pale and stale Tory Rodney Connor, who could will be part of a Tory government that will implement massive cuts to the services and benefits that young people need.

But if young people turn out in force, and vote for the candidate with their interests at heart, we can once again make history, and keep the Tory out.

Who would you choose -Sands or Thatcher? Michelle or Orange Rodney? The votes of young people are crucial in such decisions.

Get out and vote, and vote for the candidate who has your interests at heart.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Launch of Ógra Youth Manifesto Video

Video of Ógra Shinn Féin Youth manifesto being launched in Downpatrick with Education Minister Catríona Ruane. Full Manifesto available at

Ógra Fermanagh Launch Youth Manifesto

Young republicans from the Ollie Reilly Cumann of Ógra Shinn Fein in Fermanagh were joined by the Minister for Agriculture, and the MP for the area, Michelle Gildernew, in the local launch of the Youth Manifesto for the 2010 Westminster Elections.

Local activist Ciaran May had this to say 'This youth manifesto has been drafted by Young people for young people.
It contains concrete proposals and ideas and covers all the key issues facing young people today, including Education, job creation, mental health and Irish Unity'

'Other Parties ignore young people in the course of an election. Sinn Féin doesnt make that mistake, and we prioritise young people's concerns. We are calling on all young people to vote Sinn Féin, and in particular in this constituency to vote for Michelle Gildernew. She has been an excellent minister and representative for the constituency, and will place far more emphasis on the concerns of young people than the Orange Order's preferred candidate, Rodney Connor. On the 6th Vótail Michelle Gildernew.'

Taxi - gate scandal rocks Successful Ogra Sponsored Run

This article was written by an anonymous contributor, who had an excellent view of the race from the back of the pack.

Athletic and not so athletic Ógra activists alike participated in the
Belfast Marathon 2010 on Monday 3rd May, in a successful fundraiser with moneys raised going to Marie Curie Cancer, Worldwide Concern and Ógra respectively.

The Ógra team consisted of a couple of Cork mucksavages, a Donegal D4 wannabe, the Greysteel Destroyer, Wee Laura, a Bald Eagle, The South Derry Stud, Strabane Washing Machines, Maxi McDonalds, The Coalisland Mafia, and The Boy from the Roy.

The majority put in a good show, however the clean sheet and hard dedication by the overall majority of Ógra runners, may have been in vain with a scandal that would even rock the Robinson household.

During the course of the arduous event, 2 members brought shame and disrepute onto the goodname and standing of the organisation when one 'bald' eagle eyed runner spotted the unsavoury individuals make their way into fonacab offices.

Undeterred by witnessing such an act, the cool and cleanly shaven Eddie Gallagher went on to finish second in terms of Ógra runners, he was outrun and tipped at the final straight by Fintan Butler, the only Donegal lad to have ever acquired a D4 accent.
3rd in and with a strong showing all the way from Cork, Mucksavage and Ógra National Organiser Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.

Fresh from daily routines of carrying Washing Machines and Televisions under the arms, Strabane man, and bennyhat loving John McDermott came a respectable 4th, he was followed in 5th place by South Derry stud, Ballinascreen's very Mr Incredible, Eamon Conway.
Like all modest Tyrone people, Clonoe's Cathal Quinn could have won the race, but was content to allow others pass by him, so finished in 6th to be followed by the silent yet deadly Greysteel Destroyer, Tadhg Óg Ó Dalaigh.

Padraig 'hurt my ankle' Quinn had indulged people before the run of stories of personal bests and ambitious running times, yet on the day came in a humiliating 8th and as predicated reverted to the good old 'hurt my ankle' excuse.

Fonacab aka Maximus Decimus McDonalds and Laura 'Family Team Building' Gildernew, aka the disgraced duo, were chauffered to 9th and 10th position disrespectfully, but their no good, shameful actions, which have prompted calls for an apology, have rendered their 'participation' on the day void.

Second last place went to another Corkonian Mucksavage, David 'How's agoin boy' Collins who was unsuited to the modern terrain of Tarmac. All his life Dave has worked on the bog, and an old road with a line of grass up the middle of it, is about as modern as it gets for poor dave as he was training. The sheer enormity of technological advancement was too much for the bog man and so was resigned to second last.

Last but in no means least, place went to Barry 'The Boy From The Roy' McColgan, like all good republicans, he allowed his friends and comrades to go first, making sure they had returned safely to base before gracing the finish line.

Thanks goes out to all who ran on the day, apart from the Taxi-gate two, to all who collected money and a special mention to all the people who sponsored us to take part.

See you's all next year again.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Free buses for Fermanagh/South Tyrone Students on Election day

The 6th of May is Election day.

SF is organising free buses for students to Fermanagh/Sth Tyrone.

The Buses will leave QUB Students Union at 1pm, & 6pm on Thursday the 6th of May. Return Buses will leave Enniskillen at 9pm that Evening, also stopping in Balllygawley and Dungannon.

Please contact Colleen for more details on 07709130339

MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT - Vote for Michelle Gildernew!!