Friday, October 29, 2010
As a reponse to this the UIS is organising a National Protest in Parnell Square, Dublin on next Wednesday the 3rd of November at 12.30.
As Republicans it is crucial that every effort is made by us to support this initiative.
It is students from the backgrounds we represent which will be worst affected by potential increases in registration fees, by scaling back of grants etc, and this forms part of an effort to target young people generally.
It is crucial that young people respond, and that republicans are seen to be to the fore - all activists from all over the country should attend if possible.
There will be buses leaving many of the various universities, and all activists in those universities should register for buses where possible. If non college activists can get on these buses too, then attempt to avail of that opportunity.
Remember it is crucially important for young people to defend their rights, be there next Wednesday and get behind this cause.
STUDENT MARCH, THIS WEDNESDAY
Tribute was also paid to outgoing organiser Fra Cochrane. Fra, who has played a key role for Ógra, stepped down as organiser earlier this month due to conflicting commitments with university. Speaking on his time as Cúige organiser, national organiser, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said 'Fra has done a brilliant job as organise over the past two years and I have no doubt that he will continue to play a key role in Ógra. He has been one of the most dedicated and hardworking activists and deserves a huge deal of thanks.'
Following the meeting Ógra activists attended a rally outside Belfast city hall, to show there anger at the current economic situation, and the proposed cuts to the North’s block grant by the Tory government.
The rally which was organised by the trade unions took place outside Belfast city hall and had thousands n attendance. This was a clear indication of the disgust felt by the public following last Wednesday’s statement by the British Chancellor, George Osborne.
Speaking on the event, Cúige organiser Padraig Quinn had this to say,
'Following Saturdays successful Cúige meeting, Ógra activists attended the rally, carrying placards and handing out Sinn Fein’s leaflets containing our proposals for tackling the economic situation. It is vital that Ógra activist voice there anger on these cuts, especially as young people will be among those most affected. The party has presented a clear and realistic alternative to the cuts, and we are the only party to do so. At this stage it is important not to role over, and remember large mobilisation like this can make a difference. In the coming months Ógra nationally, will be working on this issue, giving a voice to young people and presenting the parties innovative and creative ways of tackling this problem.
On the 4th of December Sinn Fein will be holding a nation wide rally opposing cuts. This will be an extremely important date and youth activists north and south must make every effort to attend.
Sinn Féin Rally, 4th December
Sheena Campbell Cumann
Queens Sinn Féin
Hundreds of students gathered outside Queen’s University Student’s Union on Tuesday in protest over the proposed increase in tuition fees as outlined in the Browne Review. This plan explains how students are to ‘have far more power to shape their own future.’
This claim has been dismissed by students who are trying to understand how they can have more power to shape their own future when they will inevitably be faced with paying off even more tuition fees, as universities will no longer be constrained by the current cap of £3,290.
These new fees can extend up to figures of £30,000 after a three year degree, and this estimated figure does not include maintenance loans to cover living costs which are also on the rise. Browne claims that students will be ‘put in the driving seat of a revolutionary new system,’ the obvious problem being whether or not students can afford to be on this seat. Under these new plans outlined in the review, universities can ‘vary what they charge but it will be up to students whether they choose the university.’
Strong opposition to these plans point out the increasing demand for higher education, hiking fears that more and more students will almost be forced into taking up placements at universities with a package of debt that outweighs any current levels of student loan repayments, or either give up on higher education entirely. The Review significantly dilutes governmental regulation and involvement in higher education and students protesting at Queens fear what can only be described as ‘unchecked’ rises in tuition fees.
Strabane District Council
The very title of this exercise by Ógra Shinn Féin demonstrates that there is an underlying belief that a United Ireland would be a cross between a vague Celtic Mysticism and a Marxist Utopia.
Let me quote from the song/poem ‘Who fears to speak of Easter Week’:
Upon their shield a stainless field,
With virtues blazoned bright;
With Temperance and Purity
And Truth and Honour dight
So now they stand at God's Right Hand,
Who framed their dauntless clay
Who taught them and brought them
The glory of today.
The spirit wave that came to save
The peerless Celtic soul,
From earthly stain of greed and gain
Had caught them in its roll;
Had swept them high to do or die,
To sound a trumpet call;
For true men though few men
To follow one and all.'
Ever since I was a child living in lodgings in Strabane County Tyrone, because my father could not afford to buy a house, I have been enmeshed in the ideal of the unification of Ireland.
It was a vague idea to begin with, a kind of them against us scenario, them being the ‘Prods’ and us being the ‘One true holy and apostolic Catholic church’. It was a childish idea but I would also quote for you another famous few lines.
‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.’
I started to wonder what a United Ireland would look like. How would it be made up? What political system would best suit its divided people?
Would a united Ireland be a welcoming place for those who, in my childish ways, I had considered my enemy?
This is why I wonder about the title of this exercise, valid though it undoubtedly is. The word fear has for too long been associated with the concept of a united land. Its main protagonists down the ages have resorted to violence to achieve this aim and it is my belief that this is not the way to get the result that I hope to see in my lifetime.
Dialogue – Dialogue – Dialogue.
When we are truly partners in sharing our plot of God’s creation, then I believe the barriers will drop away and there will be no need to shoot and kill a man who disagrees with my concept of our united country.
The phrase United Ireland would be better put in context by using United Irishmen and Irishwomen….. United People.
As I wish to comply with your request for brief submissions I would highlight my vision thus:
1. I believe we should all work to lower the barriers of sectarian fear that undoubtedly still exists today.
2. I believe that, when we can live together in peace and growing harmony that is the time to introduce the benefits that must accrue from being united as a people and a jurisdiction.
3. I believe we should be prepared to embrace all sections of our community and aim for the target set out in the 1916 Proclamation ‘that we should cherish all the children of the nation equally’.
4. I believe we must renounce military action as a means of achieving this equality….. after all, one cannot kill a man because he doesn’t want to be equal to you.
I wish you well in your worthwhile venture.
The commemoration began outside the family home of Joe Murphy on Pouladuff Road. From there it proceeded to the republican plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, led by the MacSwiney/MacCurtain Republican Flute Band.
The recently formed band is a welcome addition to the republican family in Cork. Band member and Ógra activist Dave Barry said 'We are very pleased to see the band making progress already. It's a good way to get young people involved in Republicanism and it's good to see a number of members of Ógra involved. We hope the band can go from strength to strength and continue to contibute to republicanism locally, and get young people involved. We are particularly proud to play at such a commemoration, remembering two young men who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the struggle. They were both very young men particularly Joe Murphy, and the death of McSwiney sent shockwaves around the earth and had a huge impact on the struggle.'
Ceremonies at the plot were chaired by Cllr Henry Cremin. He noted that while today marked the 90th anniversary of the deaths of Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy, Volunteers Michael Fitzgerald, Andy O’Sullivan, and Donnacha de Barra, who likewise died on hunger strike during the years 1920-23, also deserved to be remembered. Cllr Cremin concluded by commending the band, which although formed less than six months before has grown swiftly and had a strong turnout on the day.
Wreathes were laid on the graves of Terence MacSwiney, Donnacha DeBarra, Joe Murphy, and at the monument to all republican hunger-strikers.
The main oration was given by Cllr Chris O’Leary, general election candidate for Cork South Central, who spoke of the courage and self-sacrifice shown by men like Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy in the most difficult of times. “When Terence MacSwiney became Lord Mayor of Cork in March 1920 his predecessor and close friend Tomás MacCurtain had just been murdered. Cork was under nightly curfew, and looting and shootings by the British army and the Black and Tans were a daily occurrence. Terence MacSwiney gave the city leadership at a time when Britain was doing its utmost to break the Irish people’s resistance, and his death on hunger strike resonated around the world.”
“Patriots like those we are commemorating today would be spinning in their graves at the actions of the political and business elite running the country. Corruption and mismanagement have not merely pushed Ireland into the worst recession in its history, but imperilled the sovereignty for which men like Joe Murphy and Terence McSwiney died. The price for the government’s disastrous economic policies is being paid by ordinary citizens, while €50 billion has been spent bailing out bankers who brought the country to its knees.”
Cllr O’Leary concluded by calling for a new spirit of patriotism and a new generation of political leadership in the country which would draw inspiration from the lives of men like Terence McSwiney and Joe Murphy and finally bring their vision of a free and independent 32-county republic to fruition.
The commemoration concluded with the playing of Amhráin na bFhiann.
Joe Murphy, from Pouladuff Road in Ballyphehane, joined the Irish Volunteers in 1917 and took place in numerous actions during the War of Independence. He was arrested in July 1920 and imprisoned in Cork Jail. He subsequently went on hunger strike with a large group of prisoners included Lord Mayor of Cork Terence McSwiney. Joe Murphy died after 76 days without food on 25th October 1920 – the same day as Terence McSwiney – aged 25 years. He is buried in the republican plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery.
International officer for Ógra Shinn Féin John McDermott has condemned the arrest of 14 suspected youth activists of the Basque independence youth movement Segi. The 14 were arrested in raids in the Basque country and Catalonia last Friday. (22nd Oct)
An estimated 300 heavily armed agents of the Spanish state clad in balaclavas were involved in the dawn swoops.
In November 2009 34 people accused of being Segi members were arrested. Following the arrest last week the Spanish alleged that the arrested people were Segi members and were involved in leading the organisation following the arrests of November 2009.
Speaking following the arrests John McDermott, Ógra Shinn Féins international officer said the continued escalation of repression by the Spanish government shows their fears of the growth and support for the pro independence movement:
“These arrests come with a backdrop of initiatives by the pro independence movement aimed at moving the situation in the Basque Country forward by peaceful means. This is somewhat contrasted by the response of the Spanish State.
“It is no coincidence that just this week fifteen Spanish policemen have gone on trial in the Basque country over alleged torture of ETA suspects. Such torture has been commonplace for many suspected Basque independence activists. This along with the arrests should end.
“Only this week Gara (The Basque newspaper) reported that a new pro independence party would be formed and aimed to field candidates in Basque local elections next year, advocating exclusively peaceful means toward Basque independence. It would seem that the Spanish feel threatened by the prospect of the pro independence movement gaining support through this method.
Also this week Sinn Féin party president was joined by Sinn Féin assembly members in calling for the release of Basque prisoner, Arnaldo Otegi as well as the other Basque pro independence suspects imprisoned.
Glenn has been a familiar face to many in Ógra Shinn Féin through his many years involvement with the youth movement. Locally in West Tyrone Ógra he was an active member and held the position of secretary for a number of years and also overseen the expansion of Ógra Shinn Féin into his native Dromore.
Glenn will fill Barrys McElduffs seat on the council, after Barry stepped aside to focus on his role as an assembly member for West Tyrone and honoring the commitment by Sinn Féin to end ‘double jobbing’. Glenn has been active on many community issues in the west Tyrone area over the past number of years in preparation for his role on the Sinn Féin council team on Omagh District council. He has been assisting Barry McElduff in carrying out constituency work in the Tattyreagh, Fintona and Eskra areas.
He is also secretary of the Patsy Kelly Sinn Féin Cumann in Dromore, secretary of Omagh Comhairle Ceantair and a member of board of governors at St. Patricks P.S., Eskra and St. Lawrences P.S., Fintona.
Glenn Campbell had this to say ahead of his appointment to the Omagh District Council:
"Barry Mc Elduff MLA has set a very high standard for me to follow and has been a great mentor. He will continue to work closely with me, and all the local councillors, in the time ahead. I am fortunate to be joining a ten strong team of councillors on Omagh District Council. Their experience and expertise will be of great benefit to me as a new Councillor.
"I am passionate about achieving a United Ireland. I believe that the interests of all the people in Ireland will be best served within a United Ireland"
"I was born in Dromore in December 1981, seven months after the death of Bobby Sands on Hunger Strike. Bobby Sands was MP for the area and his dedication to the republican struggle was a huge inspiration to me. I often reflect on his courage and commitment, and that of his nine comrades. Sinn Féin's primary objective of a United Ireland was what attracted me to the party when I joined 12 years ago. My most inspirational read was the 1916 Proclamation. The ideals and principles of the Proclamation are as relevant today as they have ever been."
Commenting on Glenn’s co-option West Tyrone Ógra activist, Barry McNally, who also works alongside the Omagh Sinn Féin council group in his role as Council group co-ordinator said:
“Glenn will be a great addition to the Sinn Féin council group on Omagh District Council. I first got to know Glenn through his role in West Tyrone Ógra when I first joined in 2003. I got to know Glenn as a dedicated and hard working member of Ógra. It was therefore no surprise that this dedication has seen him become the new face on Omagh District Council.
“Glenn will join nine other Sinn Féin members on the council and I have every confidence in Glenn to continue the good work he has undertaken to date and wish him well in his new role.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The meeting will be followed by activists travelling to the City Centre to participate in a mass rally against cuts, and all young activists should ensure their attendance, as it is crucial that a message is sent to the British Government that we will not simply lie down to their cuts.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Dermot Crowley/Paula Murphy Ógra Shinn Féin
We all remember the slogan's so well, 'Yes for Jobs and Investment', from the soldiers of misfortune, 'Yes it's that important' from the latte supping continental sophisticated lot, and even got exposed to a pair of melons and a tight pair of EU branded Speedos in a sexed up poster campaign from the blue shirts, all in promotion and pursuit of a yes vote for the Lisbon Treaty this time last year.
Even Ireland's most lovable entrepreneur, lover of the poor and champion of worker's rights, the modest Michael O'Leary weighed in behind a Yes vote.
And it worked; the scare tactics of 'Ireland needs Europe' and the already mentioned false promises of jobs and investment in a time of severe uncertainty and recession won the yes vote for Lisbon II on the 2nd October last year.
So one year on and despite endless promises and guarantees, the simple straight forward question on everyone's lips has to be, "Where's the jobs and investment?"
Let the Europhiles and the Lisbonites answer that, their blue and gold starred cavalry never came riding over the hill to the rescue. Uncle EU and aunty Lisbon forgot the jobs and investment when they came round for dinner.
The simple fact of the matter is that the Lisbon Treaty was never ever going to secure more jobs, or more investment, all Lisbon was designed to do was to further usurp Irish sovereignty and lessen Ireland's voice in an increasingly centralist European Union.
In lay man's terms, take more power away from Dublin and place it in the hands of bureaucratic Brussels.
And this isn't an article rubbing it in your face, gloating at the fact that we were right, that Lisbon was nothing but a farce, no far from it, I like anyone else who urged a no vote is suffering as much as anyone else, but I suppose at least we knew not to expect the resurgence tipped by those on the 'Fishes and Loaves' camp.
And that's what it would have taken for Lisbon to make a positive impact on Ireland, a miracle, and they knew it.
The Lisbon Treaty was never going to create a stimulus for the economy, the cynical 'Yes to Jobs and Investment' and the many other plaudits afforded to Lisbon by the yes men, was nothing more than exploiting people's sense of vulnerability at a time of economic uncertainty. That's what Fianna Fail and all the other gombeen politician's do best, exploit an opportunity for their own gain.
Hopefully people now see the gombeens for what they are, for the lies that they told and the mess that they have created.
We never promised a no vote would have absolved all of our problems. It wouldn't have, but by rejecting the staid old neo liberal policies of Regan and Thatcher through a firm rejection of Lisbon and by standing up for democracy and giving voice to the 500 million European citizens censored and denied a vote on Lisbon we could have began a forward move towards a social Europe, a Europe that cherishes it's citizens and holds truth, equality, liberty and justice as cornerstones, or as Jame's Connolly put it, "a free federation of free peoples."
The vote has come and gone on Lisbon II, a year has passed and Ireland's still hasn't got its jobs.
If one good thing comes out of the passing of Lisbon, people will realise the lies they were fed and begin to reject the gombeens that have made a living out of it, and bled Ireland dry by hoodwinking everyone and their granny.
Cute whores out!
Monday, October 04, 2010
It has recently been renamed the Na Fianna Martyrs and Pádraig Barton Cumann.
At a packed event in the Gasyard in the Bogside, a new banner was unfurled in tribute to Pádraig.
Chaired by Ógra members Michael McCrossan and Chilena Toland, the evening began with a moving video by his friends and comrades recalling Pádraig’s life and activism.
Speaking on behalf of Ógra Shinn Féin, Chilena Toland said:
“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 who were stricken with grief at the loss of such a great young fellow in the prime of his life.”
Also in attendance was Danny Murphy, Coiste Youth Development work, Joe Doherty, Coiste Ex Consortium and Paddy O Dowd, Coiste Family Support development worker.
The first seminar that evening was facilitated by Joe Doherty. This presentation was based around the history of imprisonment, from Internment to the H Block protests. Joe Doherty also touched on the educational and self-development strategies within the prison and the discussion documents around political developments, including the peace strategy and understanding of diversity. Danny Murphy, Coiste Youth Development worker, introduced the Left In Limbo document and went through the many interviews with political ex prisoners’ family members, including the stresses and strains on family relationships. Again there followed a question and answer session, before the young people were given the rest of the evening to get to know young people from different backgrounds from all across the north.
Danny Murphy, Coiste Youth Development worker, introduced the Left In Limbo document and went through the many interviews with political ex prisoners’ family members, including the stresses and strains on family relationships. Again there followed a question and answer session.
The following morning was taken up with two presentations by Patricia Lewsley, Children’s Commissioner and Michael Culbert, Director Coiste na n-Iarchimi.
Patricia Lewsley gave a detailed breakdown of government policy and strategies, taking into account those young people affected by the conflict, including children of political and political prisoners. Ms Lewsley did recognize the traumatic experiences of children of political prisoners and political ex prisoners and acknowledged the findings of the Left In Limbo document.
After a question and answer session with Ms Lewsley Michael Culbert followed up with a presentation as the Director of a republican ex prisoners’ organization and as a counsellor. In presenting the Coiste strategies on family support and counselling Michael Culbert added to the concerns of those children who have suffered the trauma of losing a parent through imprisonment. Michael went further to highlight the long-term psychological nature of parent/child relationships and the need for further research and investment into family support programmes.
Danny Murphy introduced to the Children’s Commissioner the recent launch of the Prisons to Peace educational package for schools. It was viewed that the Children’s Commissioner should fall in behind the programme. The session ended up with a workshops on the two day seminar programme, followed by a role-play workshops and presentations, followed by a bus trip to see rural Fermanagh including to the shores of Lough Erne from where several counties can be seen.
All the young republicans who attended stated that they had found this an immensely interesting and affecting weekend, where they learned a great deal about themselves and of the struggles both prisoners and their familes have endured and are indeed still enduring.
Articles 2 and 3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann refer to the fact that the State’s objective is a peaceful reunification of the country, and Fianna Fáil’s principle has always been a united Ireland. To achieve unity it is incumbent upon us to explain to the Unionist community how a united island would be beneficial to us all. We must be aware that any changes necessary to create this one nation would require sacrifices, but the sacrifices would be insignificant compared to the sacrifices of previous generations.
The event had local young people, Ógra Shinn Féin and Sinn Féin College cumann activists in attendance.
The day's proceedings were opened by republican veteran and current Mayor of Newry/Mourne, Mick Murphy before Conor Murphy MP/MLA give an address.
Conor spoke about his life in struggle and the interesting journey he took from being an IRA volunteer involved in armed struggle, to being an elected activist and Minister in the Assembly.
He noted the huge bravery and sacrifices endured by republicans but also the huge progress which had been made. Conor also stressed the need for young people not to become complacent and to realise that they too have ownership of the struggle and it will be their energy and vision that will achieve the new and United Ireland for which so many paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Following a hardy lunch, the young activists watched the new production 'South Armagh - A Century of Struggle', before 2 former political prisoners of war Jimmy Fox and Miceal Caraher spoke of their personal experiences as republican activists, the work they are currently involved in, and the opportunities which exist for the current generation of young republicans.
To bring the excellent day to a successful close, Mary Lou McDonald, Vice President of Sinn Féin spoke of the current situation in
She also stressed the huge role that young republicans have always played and will continue to play in the future and only through our commitment, determination and ingenuity will we succeed in our republican objectives.
The names of the 24 men on the South Armagh Roll of Honour, stretching from 1970 until recent years, have been inscribed upon the marble monument, which has the picturesque backdrop of the Slieve Gullion Mountain. Also included in the memorial garden is a bronze depiction of ancient Irish warrior Cú Chulainn, who has been reputed to have a strong connection to South Armagh and Slieve Gullion in particular.
A number of marching bands, various banners from Sinn Fein cumainn from throughout Ireland as well as hundreds of Republicans formed up just outside the village of Mullaghbawn before proceeding to the Tí chulainn centre for the unveiling ceremony.
As Republicans converged at the Tí chulainn centre a jovial atmosphere was in the air as musicians welcomed the throngs of people to the monument. There the proceedings commenced with the unveiling of the monument by two leading Republicans from the South Armagh area, and who were imprisoned for their role in the struggle. There were also a number of wreaths laid from the Republican Movement, various Sinn Féin cumainn as well as a lily for each of the names on the monument, laid by young people from the area. The Roll of Honour was also read aloud by Megan Fearon of South Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin.
Deputy first minister, Martin McGuiness gave the main oration in which he spoke of the importance of remembering Ireland patriot dead. He also said that as Republicans gathered in South Armagh it was not in a solemn mood but one of confidence and pride, which celebrated the lives of each of the volunteers listed on the memorial.
Following the main oration musicians once again took centre stage with a number of ballads and laments accompanied by presentations to the families of the South Armagh patriot dead by Conor Murphy M.P. Amhran na bhFiann then sounded to draw proceedings to a close.
Present at the commemoration was a strong contingent of Ógra Shinn Féin members from throughout Ireland. Speaking following the commemoration, Barry McNally of Ógra Shinn Féin said:
“The impressive memorial unveiled today is a fitting tribute to the 24 names on the South Armagh Roll of Honour. Although there are various memorials throughout South Armagh to volunteers killed over the years this is the first of its kind in the area where all 24 names are inscribed together. The huge attendance at the parade today shows the respect that is shown for the fallen volunteers of the Irish Republican Army and their families.
“The strength of Irish Republicanism is without question in this part of Ireland and this is evident on a daily basis, with widespread support for the republican project being driven forward by Sinn Féin and the continual growth of Sinn Féin in the South Armagh area.
“In the time ahead we must continue to grow and advance to Irish Reunification, for which these volunteers as well as hundreds of other died to achieve. It is then that we can truly honour the memory of all our patriot dead.