Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The event which, was held in Ballybough Community Centre, Dublin included robust reports and discussions, on Ógra Shinn Féin, republican presence in the Colleges and Sinn Féin’s engagement with youth in the community, as well as outlining the vision and objectives of the new national youth committee.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, National Chairperson Declan Kearney, and new An Phoblacht editor John Hedges also addressed the meeting.
Speaking on the meeting, Ógra National Organiser Donnchadh O’Laoghaire said,
“It is always extremely useful to get activists together to debate and plot the future direction of the struggle. There was a lot of extremely useful debate at the conference, with a unique coming together of both youth and experience, to shape our engagements with young people and the type of Ireland we want to build. The more engagements we have, and ideas we share, the more professional and successful we can become.”
National Organiser Donncahdh ó Laoghaire has described the decision by the Taoiseach Brian Cowen to open the door to such a visit as “Bizarre and Inappropriate”
''Many Media commentators, have and will attempt to legitimise this visit in the context of 'normal diplomatic relationships'. Such a point of view is based on the rather questionable basis that Anglo- Irish relations are normal. How normal is the British occupation of 6 Irish counties?'
Furthermore, Ógra opposes all the she represents. She is the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces, which remains a force of occupation and imperialism in numerous places across the World. She is head of state by dint of her birth, occupies a position no Catholic or 'Commoner' can occupy, and the entire basis for her position is based on priviledge and good fortune. How can any republican do anything other than to oppose the existance of such an absurd institution, much less its right to be received with a gracious welcome while her forces occupy part of Ireland?'
He added that this surely undermined Fianna Fáil's claims to be a republican party even further. 'The Taoiseach’s welcome came on the day he refused in the Dáil to give a commitment to raise the issue of collusion with the British Prime Minister. What more can be said - Fianna Fáil's uncritical and unquestioning welcome to Elizabeth Windsor is simply shoneenism.'
“Ógra Sinn Féin opposes the proposed state visit of Elizabeth Windsor, Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces. Until there is complete withdrawal of the British military and the British administration from Ireland, and until there is justice and truth for victims of collusion, no official welcome should be accorded to any officer of the British armed forces of any rank.”
Dermot Crowley Ógra Shinn Féin
Suicide is the biggest killer of our young people in Ireland.
Hundreds of young people tragically take their own lives every year across Ireland, with hundreds more receiving emergency treatment after self harming and attempting to take their own life.
There is no community, no family, and no section of society that has not been touched or affected by Suicide.
Ireland has one of the worst incidences of suicide, with reported suicides rising by over 25% in the last 10 years. It is an issue, a national emergency that we all have a stake in trying to prevent.
Infact it is an international emergency, suicide has no borders, with the WHO (World Health Organisation) estimating that as many as 1 million people take their own life each and every year.
The tragedy, sense of grief and loss to the family and friends of someone bereaved through suicide is always felt more acute because of the tragic and preventable circumstances of the death, which is why we as a community, as a people must come together to do all that we can to ensure that more and more people’s lives are saved and that we are all better equipped to prevent someone from taking their own life.
Suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and it is something that we as young people should be particularly active on.
There are many things that each and everyone one of us can do to prevent suicide.
We can all participate in Suicide Prevention courses like ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) or PIPS (Public Initiative to Prevent Suicide), which equip you with the skills and know how, to spot the signs of someone contemplating taking their own life, and then being able to intervene and prevent it.
The more and more young people involving themselves in these courses, which only last 2 days for ASIST and 1 day for PIPS, then the more lives can be saved.
People should also host these courses in their local area, and open up these suicide prevention life saving skills to people in their own community.
This literally could make all the difference in saving someone’s life, and from organizing a number of these courses I know this to be true, that is the importance of providing such events.
We can request that our community and sporting groups, schools and colleges host these programmes so that the widest group of people are availing of these skills.
We can also lobby our councils to facilitate ongoing suicide prevention schemes and courses so that the widest possible net is cast in promoting these essential life saving suicide prevention skills.
And we can raise awareness through leaflets, engagements with young people, and by painting murals like the suicide prevention wall in Beechmount Avenue, West Belfast. Suicide needs to be de-stigmatised, and awareness raising is key to this.
While suicide is an issue that needs to be addressed at a ground and community level, government has a huge responsibility in supporting, endorsing and resourcing these efforts, and need to do all that they can in preventing suicide.
Ógra Shinn Féin have been active in demanding an effective all – Ireland suicide prevention strategy. We want to see a national strategy that will promote an integrated, fully resourced, and holistic prevention strategy across all 32 counties of our country, so that these tragic and preventable deaths become less common and hopefully a thing of the past.
Get active on Suicide Prevention today; you could literally save a life!
Aimee-Grace McGuiness, a Mayo Ógra activist, said ‘The leaflet drop passed off very successfully and we are confident that it’ll inspire young people to join us in our struggle and join Mayo Ógra Shinn Féin.’
The Ógra contingent played an active role in the Gaughan Stagg commemoration, which followed the leaflet drop. The Ógra banner added colour to the march through the town and local Ógra activist Éadaoin Whyte read the proclamation.
Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg, both of whom died as a result of hunger strike, continue to provide inspiration to all Connacht Ógra activists but in particular those from Mayo. Gaughan who died as a result of pneumonia, caused by force feeding, showed immense courage and dedication. Stagg also died on hunger strike and is one of many of Mayo’s inspirations. Mayo Ógra strives to show the same determination and dedication that these men showed.
This Gaelic Football Tournament now in its 25th year gathers together teams from throughout Tyrone and beyond annually to commemorate the memory of Martin Hurson. There are two tournaments played out each year the Ladies Cup and the Men’s Cup.
The Ladies tournament will involve 4 teams from across Ulster competing for the Martin Hurson Memorial Tournament on Tuesday 13th July starting at 2pm. Further details of Teams and Players involved will follow in the coming weeks.
The Draw for the Men’s tournament was made on Thursday 24th June and nine teams will battle it out for the Martin Hurson Memorial Cup over the coming weeks. The teams involved are:
Mc Anespies – Aghaloo
Donaghys – Carrickmore
Corleaghan Emmetts – Clogher
Loughdoo – Kildress
The tournament officially started on Monday 28th June with Loughdoo defeating Cappagh by the narrowest of margins in a keenly contested opening preliminary round. Hurson’s and Finulagh will play the first of the quarter finals on Monday 5th July at 7.45 for a semi final place while the second Quarter final seeing Donaghy’s take on Galbally at 8.30pm.
The other quarter finals will take place on Tuesday 6th July starting at 7.45pm, with Preliminary Round winners Loughdoo taking on Corleaghan Emmetts (Clogher) . Holders McAnespies will defend the cup in 2010 taking on Altmore in the second fixture of the night at 8.30pm to see who will reach the semi finals.
The Semi Finals will take place on Sunday 11th July at 4pm and 5pm with the Final taking place on the 29th Anniversary of Martin Hurson - Tuesday 13th July at 4.30pm.
Finally on behalf of the Hurson family we would like to extend an open invitation to everyone to come along and support the participating teams throughout the tournament. All games are played in Pearse Park, Galbally; Co. Tyrone and we would like to wish all teams the best of luck!
Monday, June 28, 2010
It was heartening to see people of all ages coming out to give their support for 'those who cannot march' as the rally got under way outside Ss.Peter and Paul's Church. The protestors walked defiantly across the Athlone bridge, crossing the historical divide from Connacht into Leinster, and proceeded up to St.Mary's Square where the crowd assembled outside a platform and waitied for the local representatives to emerge and speak via microphone to the onlookers. The crowd's cry of 'Loughloe, Must Not Go' could be heard loud and clear from the office of Fianna Fail TD Mary O'Rourke, located on St. Mary's Square.
Among many emotional speakers, Paul Hogan, a Sinn Féin councillor in Athlone, gave a rousing speech to the spectators, in which he highlighted the apalling treatment of residents in Loughloe House and their families by the HSE. He said, 'I know of residents who were threatened with eviction if they spoke to elected representatives, I know of residents who were threatened with eviction if they refused a bed offered to them by the HSE, I know of residents who were threatened with eviction if they discussed with other residents the closure of Loughloe House or, as they (the HSE) put it "inciting other residents", it is an absolute disgrace!'. Cllr. Hogan continued by highlighting the facts around the case: 'The first Hickway report recommended 37 physical alterations, to-date, of these 37, 34 are now completed, there's 2 on-going which are nearing completion and there is one outstanding which is the issuing of a fire cert when all other works are completed. It's abundantly clear to me that there's an alternative agenda here on behalf of the HSE.'
'They say it's not a cost saving exercise, but I will say this to the HSE, moving people from Gentex to Loughloe House and saving on the lease is a cost-saving exercise, not employing agency nurses where they are needed is a cost-saving exercise and the re-deployment of staff from Loughloe House to St.Vincents is a cost-saving exercise!'.
Cllr. Hogan called on activists to make their message crystal clear to the local government TD, Mary O'Rourke that her public non-participation in supporting this campaign is not good enough and that the people of Athlone have had enough of her and her Fianna Fáil government.
Members of Ógra who took part in this protest march and the others preceding it have vowed to continue to march in support of this campaign as long as the government vow to close down Loughloe House.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Commenting on the initiative, Sinn Féin Councillor Phil Flanagan had this to say:
“The problem of drug and alcohol abuse in our society is one that has been around for many years, but with an increasing availability and a reducing price of illegal drugs, the problem is becoming more and more worrying. With the recent widespread availability of low cost 'legal highs', it is clear to see that urgent action needs to be taken to combat this threat to our society.”
“The goal of this campaign is to educate, mobilise support and to inspire people to act against drug and alcohol abuse. The campaign encourages young people to become more educated on drugs and alcohol, to put their health first and be more aware of the affects. The world drug campaign calls on young people, who are twice as likely as adults to take drugs, to protect their health.”
“Drug and alcohol abuse is preventable. We, in Ógra Shinn Féin are in the process of developing prevention activities that provide the public, particularly young people, with the information, skills and opportunities they need to make healthy choices, including the choice to avoid using harmful drugs.”
“Peer influence to experiment with illicit drugs can be strong and self-esteem is often low amongst young people in deprived areas. Also, those who take illicit drugs tend to be either misinformed or insufficiently aware of the health risks involved. One of the most challenging aspects of this campaign is that many of those taking drugs in Fermanagh come from all walks of like and social classes. Drug abuse is non-discriminatory and more needs to be done both to encourage people to make the right choices, but also to remove the drug dealers from our society.”
“There is also evidence that the PSNI in Fermanagh are failing to take the issue of drug abuse seriously and I have sought an urgent meeting with the Chief Superintendent to pass on my concerns about the ease of attaining illegal drugs in this county and to ask for more action to be taken by the PSNI to remove those selling illegal drugs from our streets.”
With the issue fresh in the mind of the public by Wednesday morning, young republicans in South Roscommon took to the doors on Wednesday evening armed with a plastic bag crammed with leaflets outlining why a United Ireland makes sense to both the Unionist Community and to the Irish people as a whole.
Spirits were not dampened by England’s ‘skin of the teeth’ triumph over Slovenia just hours earlier and following a comprehensive leaflet drop in a highly populated urban area local Ógra activist Laura Callinan had this to say:
‘It is crucially important that we keep the topic of Irish Unity in the minds of the public over the coming weeks, months and years. Many of the local people in this area would not have been shown the solid logic behind an argument for a United Ireland and I think that these leaflets do just that. It is essential that we put forward our opinions on the United Ireland issue and not let it slip off the agenda so that people understand the arguments fully and will be able to make an informed decision when it comes to getting a general concensus on the topic. Along with more of these leaflets being distributed across South Roscommon we will also be taking part in Connacht’s Day of Action on the National Campaign, Who Fears to Speak of A United Ireland, next Tuesday which will feature a number of areas participating with their own unique action in relation to the campaign. Watch this space!’
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The function which was held in the Ballymacnab Hall in Co. Armagh, consisted of a comedy introduction from Sinn Fein's Barry McElduff, a variety of Irish dancing, song and poetry was then performed by local republicans, before the guest speaker Martin McGuinness delivered his oration.
A special video on the two women, which was recently commissioned by local republicans was then played which included contributions from veteran republican Jim Monaghan and the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.
Presentations were then made to the two honourees on behalf of Ógra Shinn Féin and the Republican Movement.
Speaking at the event, Ógra activist Kerry McColgan said,
"I was delighted to have been asked to make the presentation to Rita and Tina tonight on behalf of Ógra Shinn Féin. Both women are inspiring role models for young republicans, and in particular young female republicans. The two honourees have been involved in the republican struggle for many years and tonight’s function was a fitting tribute to celebrate the role that they have played.
The Ógra Shinn Féin presentation consisted of a hand drawn painting of a Bobby Sands poem, illustrated by Derry Ógra activist Niall Doran.
A free bus has been provided to the National Sinn Féin Youth meeting this Saturday in Dublin, the bus will be picking up at the following locations;
Omagh (Bus Depot): 6.45am
Ballygawley (Roundabout): 7.15am
Dungannon (Bus Depot): 7.30am
Lurgan (Train Station): 8.00am
Newry (Five Ways): 9.00am
Anyone interested in availing of the free bus, please contact Barry on email@example.com. You need to pre book your seat to guarantee a place.
See you on Saturday.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The new cumann will cover the Pomeroy/Galbally/Cappagh area, and is named in memory of 17 year old IRA volunteer Dwayne O'Donnell who was killed outside Boyle’s Bar in Cappagh on the 3rd March 1991.
He was killed alongside his close friends Volunteer John Quinn and Volunteer Malcolm Nugent as they pulled up outside the bar after returning from a football match. The heavily armed UVF death squad having killed the 3 young men, then fired indiscriminately into Boyle's bar killing Thomas Armstrong.
The new Ógra cumann which has the families support and blessing, hope to keep alive the proud memory of Volunteer Dwayne O'Donnell, and work to ensure more and more young people from his home area are actively playing their part in achieving the free and new Ireland that he was so dedicated to before he was brutally murdered in an act of state collusion.
The official launch of the Volunteer Dwayne O'Donnell Ógra cumann will take place on Tyrone Volunteers Day, Tuesday 13th July in Boyle's Bar, Cappagh, following the march.
Music is by Blaisín from 8pm til 10pm. Taille is £5, for tickets ring Seana on 07787 141657.
Speaking on the launch, Ógra activist Seana Mallaghan said,
"We are extremely proud to be naming our cumann in memory of such a brave young IRA volunteer, and we will strive to keep his proud memory alive so that Dwayne continues to inspire a new generation from the Pomeroy/Cappagh/Galbally area to take up the fight for Irish freedom."
"In the year ahead we will be working in a broad range of issues, working on issues which directly affect young people like suicide prevention, drug and alcohol awareness and road safety, and we will also be working on anti - Collusion, and rolling out our national campaign for a United Ireland. We would welcome everyone to come along on the night to join with us on our official launch, and for any young republican interested in joining Ógra Shinn Féin to call the number above."
The Slógadh is a weekend for all lovers of Gaeilge and our culture! It is aimed at those who want to improve their Irish or start from scratch. The theme of the weekend is the politics of the Irish language with talks on the Irish Language Civil Rights Movement and Irish in Long Kesh.
As it is set in scenic Conamara there will be a tour of the Conamara National park as well as a republican tour of the surrounding area, including trips to Pádraig Pearse’s cottage and Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s school.
There will also be a bit of craic involved with a seán nós singing class and a gig by Connacht Ógra Shinn Féin’s PRO Fintan Warfield.
Connacht Ógra activist Mairéad Farrell encouraged young people to attend the weekend by stating: ‘This is an opportunity to learn about the importance of our culture in our own struggle. Mar sin bígí linn i mí Iúil!’
Contact Connacht Ógra Shinn Féin on:
Guthán: 0857167725/ 00353857167725
Full clár and booking form available from firstname.lastname@example.org Please return booking forms and payment before 9th July
Book now to avoid disapointment, places limited to 30.
Clár do Slogadh na nÓg 2010, Leitir Fraic, Conamara 16-18 July.
6pm - Clárú agus Fáilte i ‘Bard’s Den’, Leitir Fraic
7pm - Dinnéar
8pm - Caint ar an streachailt do cearta sibhialta i Connamara, le DVD
Talk on the struggle for Civil Rights in Connamara. and DVD showing.
10pm - Seisiún Ceol agus Craic i Molly's.
9am – Eirí.
10am - Turas poblachtánach trí Contae na Gaillimhe, ag stopadh ag teach an Phiarseach, Mainistir Kylemore, Teach agus scoil Mairtí O Caidhin, agus an Clochán do cuairt ar Dealbh Thomas Whelan, so bhreis ar aiteanna eile.
Tour of Galway, taking in Pearse’s Cottage, Kylemore Abbey, Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s school and house, and Thomas Whelan’s statue in Clifden, and more.
3pm - Dinnéar i 'Bard‘s Den'.
4pm - Ranganna Gaeilge, dóibh siúd atá líofa agus dóibh siúd atá ag tosnú, le gaeilgeoirí aitiúl.
Irish Language Classes by local Gaeilgeioirí, for advanced speakers and for beginners with local Irish speakers.
5.30pm - Ranganna i gCeol Sean Nós, le ceoltóirí aitiúl.
Classes in Sean Nós singing, with local musicians.
6.30pm – Béile.
7pm - Caint le Eoghan Mac Cormac agus Seamas Campbell ar úsáid agus tabhacht an Ghaeilge i Long Kesh.
Talk with Eoghan Mac Cormac and Seamas Campbell on the use and importance of Irish in Long Kesh.
8pm - Am saor.
10pm – Ceolchoirm.
11 - Turas go Páirc Náisiúnta Chonnamara.
Tour of Connamara National Park
1pm - Béile, agus críoch
Food, before departure
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Activists are asked to be at the Ballybough Community Centre at 10am, for what promises to be a highly interesting discussion on the future of our struggle.
The conference comes as part of a leadership led initiative to throughly examine the role of republican youth, and to allow it to reach its full potential. For the purposes of this, a National Youth Committee, which brings together a wide variety of youth activists and key party activists, has been established, and has begun a significant review of the way the party relates to Young People within and without the party.
The meeting will be opened by the Chair of the National Youth Ctte, Darren O'Rourke, and at 10.45, the Party President Gerry Adams, will address the meeting to give his perspective on the work that needs to be done to make Sinn Féin relevent to young people.
This will be followed by the presentation of three review documents on the work the Youth Committee has commissioned, on ógra, on the Colleges, and on Youth in the Community.
This will be followed by a plenary discussion on the proposals from these documents, and subsequently smaller discussion groups.
Following the lunch time break, there will be a discussion on the visions and objectives of republican youth, with Darren O Rourke, and party Chairperson Declan Kearney will conclude the meeting.
All Republican Youth activists are asked to make every effort to attend the meeting, but the meeting is not limited to Republican Youth Activists, and if you have friends who are interested, then they should be encouraged to come.
Directions to Ballybough at
Session Chair: Darren O’Rourke
10.30-10.45 Introduction – Darren O Rourke
10.45-11.00 Gerry Adams Address
11.00-11.10 Ógra Shinn Féin Report – Harry Connolly
11.10-11.20 Youth in the Community Report – Ciarán Doherty
11.20-11.30 Sinn Féin in the Colleges Report – Caoimhe Ní Shluain
11.30-12.00 Plenary and Q+A
12.00-12.50 Discussion Groups
13.30-14.00 Report Back
Session Chair: Harry Connolly
14.00-14.20 Vision and Objectives – Darren O Rourke
15.00-15.15 Wrap Up – Declan Kearney
Ógra Shinn Féin
'So let me get this straight - Larry King is getting his 8th divorce, Elizabeth Taylor is possibly getting married for a 9th time, Britney Spears had a 55 hour marriage. Jesse James and Tiger Woods are screwing everything, yet the idea of same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage?? Really? Really??'
I attribute this quote to Kerry republican Séan O'Reilly. He has always been determined to be mentioned in republican media so now his dream has come true!! Anyone opposed to equality and fair treatment for same sex couples should take a long look at this statement.
At the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis this year I spoke and congratulated the Uladh Cúige for putting forward a motion on the issue of gay rights. Part of the motion called on more Sinn Féin activists and supporters to attend their local pride events and show solidarity with the efforts of gay, lesbians, transgendered and bisexual people to demand equality and fairness. I also mentioned the work of 'Marriage Equality' and their demands for equal treatment by law in marriage. I mentioned how Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are bickering and quibbing over a proposed Civil Partnership bill which will soon be put before the Dáil for debate. I again shall make this clear. Anything but granting civil marriage for same-sex couples is pure discrimination. This is the call being made by marriage equality this year, to attend your pride event and show that families show support for treatment of, as the Proclamation promised "all the children of the nation equally".
The largest family in Ireland is the republican family. We have been through years of oppression, strife and struggle together and we always were there for each other. We mourned at the graves of fallen volunteers and we knocked the doors of constituents in the Fermanagh/South Tyrone by-election of 1981 when Bobby Sands became 'the people's own MP'.
Now it is time for the republican family to support our own in the new Ireland. The young people especially. Members of Ógra we do not have to fear imprisonment, oppression or death. Our contribution to our struggle is that we campaign for the Ireland we all desire. The rights of gay people go hand in hand with the rights of females, immigrants and children.
It is time for our older family members; our uncles, aunts, parents and grandparents to stand by us and to call for equality and fairness that we all desire. Our family is not the exception. We have gay, lesbian, transgendered and bisexual members who do not have a voice. They are being underrepresented at pride events and do not have the support of their family when they take to the streets to demand equal rights.
I call on all republicans young and old to get up and shout. If we continue to blow smoke we are not truely working towards the Ireland that all our martyrs fought and died for. Attend your local pride event! Stop into the Sinn Féin bookshop in Dublin and buy the SF pride tshirt- a bargain for which you get a spiffing garment and the money is returned to party coffers.
The time to act is now! It is up to us to show Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael that it is unacceptable that they use gay rights as a stick to beat each other with, and then discriminate in their own proposals. We need to show the gay community who really support their rights and who cherish them as Irish citizens. We cannot do this sitting on our couches watching France and England play in the world cup.
Dublin Gay Pride Saturday June 26th
for more info contact Ross 0857303642
The commemoration, which last year formed part of the National Youth Camp, is held annually in the memory of the various volunteers who had spent time in the Knockatallon and Monaghan/Fermanagh area but where later killed on active service or as a result of British State Collusion.
Speaking afterwards, Ciaran May of Fermanagh Ógra said,
"The Ógra colour party for the commemoration is fitting, given the role of young people in the most recent phase of our struggle. We are very proud to remember those volunteers who fought and died having spent time in this part of the world, many of them young volunteers. We are also very glad to be among the very fine republican community of this area, who displayed tremendous resilience over many years in the face of severe provocation, and who never wavered in their support for republican activists.''
'It's a great honour for Ógra to be asked to lead the commemoration, and those many volunteers remain a true inspiration to us in Fermanagh Ógra.'
Israel killed the humanitarian workers when they illegally boarded the Gaza aid flotilla, the actions have received international condemnation including from the EU last week.
The new mural, labels Israel ‘Pirates of the Mediterranean’ and the skull and cross bones have been painted to replace the Star of David on the Israeli flag to amplify the point.
The mural will be erected in a prominent location over the coming days.
Speaking on the mural, West Tyrone Ógra chairperson Kerry McColgan said,
“The slaughter of innocent humanitarian aid workers in international waters is nothing short of war crimes. Israel have reached a new low in their murder and act of piracy, these are actions by a rogue state, a state that murders and maims, carrying out acts of genocide with impunity. The international community must take a stand against these actions, and they must be stopped now.”
“International and local apologists cannot mask what happened when Israel boarded the ship. They can attempt to do a ‘Widgery’ and attempt to smear the innocent humanitarian workers who were slaughtered, but just as truth came to pass on Bloody Sunday, so too will truth be set free on this terrible atrocity carried out by Israel.”
Monday, June 21, 2010
Pádraig was involved in an accident outside Derry City in the early hours of Sunday morning (6th June) and tragically passed away in Altnagelvin Hospital on Monday 7th June.
Pádraig was a well known, extremely dedicated and likable Ógra activist, who will be fondly and proudly remembered by the many who met him, whether on their travels to the annual Bloody Sunday weekend, at the Hunger strike Republican Youth Weekend two years ago in Derry, or the many national Ógra Shinn Féin events which he attended.
He will be particularly remembered by the close knit, Na Fianna Martyrs Ógra cumann in Derry city whose activists are stricken with grief at the loss of such a great young fella in the prime of his life.
Pádraig, came from a family steeped in republican politics, his grandfather was republican stalwart Séan Keenan, his uncle Óglach Colm Keenan was killed unarmed with his comrade Óglach Eugene Mc Gillan, he has had relatives imprisoned for their role in the struggle and his family has endured the harassment and degradation wrought by the British state during the most recent phase of the conflict.
Therefore it was no surprise that Pádraig would become a republican activist, at just 13 years of age Pádraig was one of the founding members of the Derry Republican Youth group ‘Toirsire’ which later became Na Fianna Martyrs Ógra Shinn Féin Cumann, he showed himself to be particularly able and dedicated, always being a man of his word and participating and playing as active a role as he could. A quality which didn't go unnoticed by the Republican Movement in Derry when in 2008 Pádraig was chosen as one of the honorees at the annual Derry Volunteers Commemorative Dinner Dance where he was acknowledged for his contribution to the struggle.
Although quiet and reserved in nature, he always left a strong impression on those around him by his strong work ethic and his well mannered approach to life endeared him to everyone.
Pádraig lived for many things, his friends and family, his beloved Stoke City FC, and republicanism, which he embraced through his activism in Ógra Shinn Féin.
He was an easy going, positive young person who was a constant and a pillar to all; because you could always rely on him.
Pádraig was also very intelligent and academically astute having just completed his A Levels in St Columb’s Derry, and was set for going to University.
He had so much more to contribute in life, so much more to achieve, all of which makes his sudden death more heartbreakingly tragic.
On the day of his funeral, Pádraig’s remains left his beloved Brandywell home, the Irish national flag draping his coffin and his Ógra Shinn Féin comrades providing a guard of honour, accompanying him on his final journey through the streets of Derry.
It is hard to describe our collective sense of regret, sorrow and loss at the death of Pádraig, and we want to extend the deepest and most heartfelt condolences and sympathies to his family and friends in this difficult time.
We are buoyed on by his memory, we are extremely proud and honoured to have worked with and known such an inspirational and gifted young man, and we will do all in our utmost to keep his memory alive and to achieve all that he strived for in his short yet full life.
Sunny South Down did not disappoint, as the sun basked the camp throughout ensuring many left a little redder than they arrived and the Down people's faces were even redder having suffered defeat at the hands of the O'Neill County on the Saturday.
The area of outstanding natural beauty and great weather lifted the enthusiasm and atmosphere of the camp, and set the mood and tone for an uplifting and extremely insightful weekend.
Cuba, unionist outreach, 1798 and ‘building a free, green and left Ireland’ were just some of the topics which provided hours of education and debate.
Activists arrived on the Friday, greeted by a big BBQ; the first talk of the weekend began shortly after with Colin Halliday of the UPRG (Ulster Political Research Group) and Sinn Féin MLA Willie Clarke sparking a lot of interesting debate about community outreach and the importance of building relations between unionist and republican communities.
Friday night’s proceedings were brought to a close with a traditional session in Castlewellan.
Saturday morning began bright and early, following a hardy breakfast, the happy campers piled onto the bus to be taken around the Ballynahinch area to be shown sites of historical importance and have the 1798 Battle of Ballynahinch described at first hand and in detail.
Local republican's Micky Coogan and Marcas McRuairí provided a wealth of knowledge on the battle and its legacy.
Back to camp, and a talk on 'Ireland's future, free, green and left', began with John Hardy from the Green Party and Barry McColgan from Ógra kick-starting the debate. The talk touched on many issues including the new green economy, left progressive coalitions and the potential that Irish unity would unlock for the Irish people.
The debate ended with lunch, and following some free time to enjoy the sun, it was back for dinner, and straight into a talk on Cuba.
The discussion was facilitated by journalist Bernie Dwyer who first screened her documentary on Cuban dissidents, before talking about many more issues around the Cuban revolution.
The night ended with music by Irish Rebel and Folk Band 'Feck it' in Castlewellan's Brandy Pad.
Sunday morning came early for many, as it was back on the bus, this time bound for Bodenstown, County Kildare. The annual march to Wolfetone's grave brought the youth camp 2010 to a fitting close, as thousands of republicans from across Ireland thronged the roads, enroute to remember the founding father of Irish republicanism.
Speaking on a successful youth camp, Uladh Ógra Cuige Organiser Fra Cochrane said,
"We were delighted to host the youth camp this year, and everything came together on the weekend, with the great weather adding to the already uplifted mood of the camp. The debates were all very engaging and insightful and the social nights provided a great place to forge friendships and share ideas."
"We would like to thank everyone for attending, events like these are extremely important in building camaraderie, networks, and enhancing education and confidence. We'll see you all at the Slogadh na nÓg in Connemara!"
Last November, 34 youths were arrested in the Basque Country. Since that time, all but two have been sent to prison; all of those arrested suffered torture. It is not without irony that the demonstration calling for the right to be able to organise and engage in politics, free from threats and oppression were met with further acts of harassment and intimidation by the security forces of the Spanish. En route to Brussels, at the border between the French and Spanish states, the occupants of each busload of activists were removed, and one-by-one, individually photographed.
Despite this, an impressive turnout marched through the streets of the Belgian capital and assembled by the square of the country's National Museum, where speeches were delivered by Basque youth activists. David Collins, on behalf of Ógra Shinn Fein, addressing the crowd, re-affirmed Ógra’s solidarity with the youth movement at this time, and voiced support for the three demands being asked of the Spanish and French Governments; those being:
1. All political projects must have the same opportunities. All young people around the world have the right to organise and take part in politics and shouldn’t be threatened or oppressed for doing so. Thus, we ask the Spanish and French States to end the attacks against the Basque youth.
2. We call on the Spanish state to end torture and its policy of impunity for torturers. We ask the Spanish government to implement the anti-torture measures recommended by many different international human rights organisations.
3. We ask the Spanish and French states to take commitments towards a political and democratic resolution of the Basque conflict. We call on them to respect the Basque people’s say and decision and for an end to their current war strategy.
The Basque youth are asking individuals and organisations to support these three basic rights by contacting the Spanish and French Embassies in your country.
Spanish Embassy - Dublin
17A, Merlyn Park, Ballsbridge
French Embassy - Dublin
36 Ailesbury Rd., Dublin 4
Friday, June 18, 2010
The main speaker this year is our MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew who narrowly held on to her seat despite the best efforts of Unionism to take it from Sinn Féin in the recent election.
We are looking for a big turnout this year from all 32 Counties of Ireland and beyond so please come along and bring your friends and family. This is one of the most important events in the Republican calender so it is very important that people make the effort to come along. A good presence from young people and from Ógra will be especially vital.
A bus will leave the Youth Camp in Newcastle at 10am on Sunday, but if you are not at the camp, you should make every effort to attend. Ógra members are encouraged to bring black and whites and Cumann Banners.
If you having difficulty locating a lift to Bodenstown, ring 00353868819653 and we will do what we can to assist you.