Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Government of Ireland Act - 90 years on - Debate in Queens

This debate, organised by the Sheena Campbell cumann of Sinn Féin in QUB is part of the ongoing work of the United Ireland taskforce. All activists are welcome to come and the talk will be followed by a christmas social in Belfast.

Fáilte ar cách!

Belfast meeting on Climate Justice

Bairbre de Brún MEP to speak on 'Prospects for Cancún and beyond' 11.30am, Friday December 3, Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will this week be travelling to Cancún as part of the European Parliament's official delegation to the United Nations Climate Summit, which takes place from November 29 to December 10.

Sinn Féin and its partners in the European United Left/Nordic Green Left have campaigned strongly within the EU for a strong, legally binding global climate treaty that is based on science; that recognises the differing obligations between developing and industrialised countries; and that provides adequate levels of assistance to developing countries for adaptation and mitigation.

The MEP will be speaking at a seminar on the climate summit in Belfast, hosted by South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey, before departing for the conference.

James Orr from Friends of the Earth and Gary McFarlane from Stop Climate Chaos will also speak at the seminar.

Speaking in advance of Friday's seminar, Ms de Brún said: "I will work with environmental NGOs and local communities to keep up the pressure for an ambitious climate deal that really counts for the world's poor."

"I look forward to discussing the steps that we need to take now in the Assembly, in the EU and in the wider international community.....

"The global economic crisis cannot and must not be used as an excuse for inaction or for denying climate justice. On the contrary, developing a low-carbon economy is our most promising path out of the present crisis."

The seminar will be held at 11.30am on Friday December 3 in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast (registration at 11am). All welcome. RSVP to Conor Keenan at Alex Maskey MLA's office on
conor.keenan@sinn-fein.ie or on 02890 243 194.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sheena Campbell Memorial Lecture 2010

The Sheena Campbell Cumann in Queen's University Belfast, recently held their annual memorial lecture for the Lurgan republican.

The packed event which had Sheena's mother, father and son present, was held on 28th October, close to the anniversary of her murder which occurred on the 16th October 1992.

The night was co-hosted by Queen’s Sinn Féin members Megan Fearon and Laura McAleer, who read aloud the history of Sheena Campbell’s life.

The memorial lecture was held in Queen’s Student Union with former political prisoner, and current Sinn Fein MLA and Junior Minister Gerry Kelly the main speaker on the night.

Gerry recalled the activism and dynamism of Sheena as a young woman.

He explained how she was a role model to republicans through her strength, courage and determination in the struggle for a United Ireland.

Sheena studied Law at Queen’s University as well as handling the responsibility of being a young mother.

It is Sheena’s formidable spirit, her dedication as a mother, a student, and as a republican, that encourages the Sheena Campbell Cumann to remember her each and every year.

Mr Kelly included in his words how Sheena’s was an unbreakable and unyielding Sinn Féin activist that struck fear into the hearts of her opponents.

It was this very fear that resulted in her murder.

As Gerry Adams said at her funeral, "They fear us because they fear the future. They can see our potential."

After Mr Kelly had taken questions concerning Sheena as well as past and present political initiatives, a framed Proclamation of the Irish Republic was presented to Sheena’s family who attend the memorial event every year.

Speaking on a very emotive and successful memorial lecture, Chairperson of the Sheena Campbell Cumann, Megan Feron said,

"The event was extremely beneficial in educating another generation of young people about who Sheena Campbell was, her key role in building Sinn Fein into the party it is today and how she was murdered as a direct result of the British policy of Collusion."

"It was an extremely emotive talk, particularly because Sheena's family was present but also because it brought to life the hardships endured by this young republican women and student, that would result in her death."

"Ultimately it was inspiring to see that despite the harassment, Sheena never bowed to the intimidation and even following her brutal murder her family are as resilient today, in their quest for truth on her death and in the struggle for a United Ireland. The fact that Gerry Kelly said that we wouldn't be where we are today without people like Sheena Campbell says it all. We are extremely proud and honoured to have our cumann named after her and she will continue to inspire the young republican students and activists of today."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Video of Wicklow protest against IMF

As noted elsewhere Sinn Féin has showed leadership on the issue of the IMF, with posts already highlighting the protests in Dublin and Cork, but there were many more in Waterford, Mayo, Roscommon and elsewhere.
This video highlight's Wicklow Sinn Féin protest at Dick Roche TD's constituency office in Bray, with SF Cllr John Brady speaking.

IBSC and Ógra protest at Spanish Ambassador's visit

November 15th saw the Spanish Ambassador to Ireland visit UCC to give a lecture on Spain's premiership of the EU. Noting the profound irony in a state which sponsors regular and serious abuse and torture within its jurisdiction, the Cork Basque Solidarity Committee, along with support from Ogra Shinn Fein held a protest at University College Cork.

The protest was well supported, with many students interested by the issues which were unfamiliar to them. The group held an reenactment of torture being inflicted on a Basque activist by a member of the guardia civil.
A spokesman for the Cork Committee said "while advocating democracy, Spain refuses to negotiate with the Basque independence movement and, are in fact continuing or even increasing their repression, particularly with political prisoners".

The group were later refused entrance to the public meeting, but still managed to let the ambassador knew that the Basque Country does not walk alone, and raised awareness of the issues.

Video of Sinn Féin IMF protest outside Leinster House

Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin members including Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD were assaulted by police after they attempted to carry out a peaceful sit down protest inside Leinster House yesterday Monday 22nd November.

Four Great Republicans Honoured in West Tyrone

The annual West Tyrone Sinn Féin Dinner Dance was organised this year in honour of four republican stalwarts.

Jimmy McElduff, Tommy McNamee, Patsy McGarvey and Sean Harte are well known names throughout Tyrone and farther a field.

Each of them has played a significant role in the republican struggle, enduring many sacrifices along the way, but always remaining resilient and steadfast, providing four pillars for the republican people of Tyrone.

It was in testimony to the men's dedication and commitment down through the years that they were the honourees.

Hundreds of republicans came together at the Mellon Country Inn last Saturday (20th November) to pay tribute to the honourees, to join with the men and their families in saying thanks for their hard work throughout the years.

Following tributes being read on each of the men, they where called forward to accept a presentation from Pat Doherty MP and Guest Speaker on the night Martin Ferris TD. (Tommy McNamee's presentation was accepted by his eldest son Emmett, as Tommy was in hospital. We wish him a speedy recovery.)

The tributes were followed by a deeply inspiring speech by Martin Ferris TD who paid tribute not only to the honourees but to the republican people of Tyrone in particular all the men on the roll of honour, in their resilience in facing down a foreign oppressor.

He laid it on hard too to Fianna Fáil, the gombeens, property developers and bankers who he lambasted for selling Irish sovereignty down the drain, by inviting the IMF in with open arms.

The crowd gave the Kerry republican a standing ovation such was the enthusiasm in the room.

Ógra activist Liam Lappin sang 'The Drumnakilly Martyrs' in tribute to Geread and Martin Harte and Brian Mullin killed by the SAS on the 30th August 1988. The song was particularly apt and moving as the brother of Geread and Martin, Sean Harte was an honouree on the night and other members of the Harte family were present.

Speaking on a successful night, Tyrone Ógra activist Sean Gillespie said,

"It was a great privilege for the many Ógra activists at the event to pay tribute to the honourees for their dedication and commitment which has ensured a vibrant and growing republican confidence in the O'Neill County today."

"It is a very comradely initiative to honour activists who have given so much, to give something back, a small token of our appreciation for all the years of sacrifice each man give to the struggle. The event was about the men, but it was also about today and where we find ourselves, and the combined stories of the men's exploits and Martin Ferris' electrifying speech inspired hundreds in the room to continue on the struggle with confidence and vigour."

Na Fianna Martyr's & Padraig Barton Cumann Doire Fundraiser

Monday, November 22, 2010

SF and Ógra lead opposition to IMF in Cork

Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin were today at the forefront of the opposition to the IMF in intervention in Cork with a number of initiatives giving voice to the frustrations of ordinary Cork people.

The day of action began, with news filtering through of the increasingly unstable nature of the Government, with press releases from Cllr Jonathan O’Brien calling people on to the streets, and condemning the government for its plans to reduce social welfare and the minimum wage.

A solid team of SF and Ógra activists, as well as SF’s local Cllr’s took the streets in the city centre at lunch time to highlight Sinn Féin’s alternative and our opposition to the IMF intervention, as well as the national Rally and March in Dublin on the 4th of December.
The reaction was encouraging and positive, with many stating their disgust for the policies of the Establishment parties and the consensus for cuts, and a number of people showing interest in the march. The opportunity was also taken to criticise Government Minister Batt O’Keeffe, who’s state car caused the injury of a young Ógra activist the previous night.

A short time later, a team of half a dozen Ógra activists made their way to Cork City hall, and in to the council offices of Fianna Fáil, where they blocked the doors with filing cabinets and hung the Starry Plough and a banner stating 'EU/IMF take note - Ireland is not for sale' .
The group of activists remained in the office for a period of just under two hours, to the great displeasure of Fianna Fáil Cllrs, in particular the council whip.

The incident was covered in a number of news bulletins by both Red FM and 96FM, with National Organiser Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire making the point plainly that the IMF intervention was unwelcome and that ordinary people will suffer as a consequence of Fianna Fáil’s treachery. After being requested to leave on a number of question the activists agreed to leave after a period of time, feeling their point had been made.

In the meantime, the local paper covered a small press release highlighting the fact that Sinn Féin would again be holding a protest at the National Monument on the Grand Parade at 6pm. Having hoped for a few members of the public to turn up to support the protest, organisers were stunned at the size of the crowd, which was variously estimated to be somewhere between 250 and 400 people strong at various points. The crowd marched up Cork’s main streets and was addressed by Cllr’s Jonathan O’Brien, Thomas Gould and Chris O’Leary as well as economist Tom O’Connor.

The march was well supported and greeted with enthusiasm and encouragement from passers-by. The campaign locally will continue and SF will continue to provide leadership, and will protest at the Council budgetary meeting this Wednesday.

Reflecting on the day, National Organiser Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said ‘I am very pleased and very proud to be a republican at times such as these when we show leadership on such fundamental issues as these. Whether in Cork or in Waterford or Dublin or elsewhere, today republicans led from the front, with successful protests in opposition to the IMF and to the forthcoming budget. People are desperate for leadership and for a vision for the future in these dark times, it is crucial that SF is out there putting out its distinctive message and communicating its vision for a new Ireland.

Its particularly important that young people and Ógra activists are to the fore of such campaigns. However, while I would note that we can be pleased with today’s actions, we cannot rest on our laurels, and that we must push on, and bring the fight to the establishment. They are worried, and they are rightly worried because people are beginning to see that the old ways will simply not work anymore. We need to ensure that this message remains current, that we need an alternative. These campaigns will continue nationwide, I would encourage all activists to get involved.’

Youth Vote Could Decide Bye Election

Dearbhail Peoples
Ógra Shinn Féin
Lifford, Donegal

The Donegal South West bye election taking place this Thursday 25th November, is a hugely important poll that will help determine our future, both locally and nationally.

Young people will play a key role in this election, their vote could help decide the very future of Ireland.

The bye election will be dominated by the economy, in particular the Budget.

The December budget is the harshest in the history of the state, proposing over 6Billion Euro of Cuts, many of which will hit low and middle income earning families, while the bankers who created the crisis are rewarded with increased pensions.

We have a big choice when we cast our votes this Thursday, do we back the parties supporting the budget, namely Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour?

Or do we back the only party credibly opposing the budget, Sinn Féin?

While the other parties are giving the nod and wink to all manner of cuts targeting those most in need, Sinn Féin are putting forward grounded proposals on how we invest and work our way back to prosperity.

While the other parties are providing an open door to the IMF in selling our democracy, our very sovereignty down the drain, essentially surrendering the state to international money lenders,
Sinn Féin are opposing this and putting forward coherent and realistic proposals that avoids this criminal usurpation of our sovereignty.

Sinn Féin have constantly stood up for young people, we are the party that have called for job creation and free education, ensuring our most important asset, our young people are not forced to emigrate like countless generations before.

Pearse Doherty has been the youthful and vocal voice of Sinn Féin in opposing education cuts, in campaigning against youth unemployment and the cuts to social welfare payments to young people unable to get a job.

Pearse has also been key in leading Sinn Féin's taskforce on Irish Unity, re-igniting the debate on a United Ireland and articulating why now more than ever unity makes sense, doing away with the billions of wasted resources that comes with duplication of services, and the huge drain and division it has created in border areas like Donegal South West.

If your thinking 'what difference would my vote make?' look no further than this year's election in Fermanagh/South Tyrone when Michelle Gildernew got elected by only 4 votes.

One person's vote can make the difference in this election, YOU can make that difference.

This Thursday, stand up for Donegal, for the Irish people, and our collective futures by voting for Pearse Doherty!

Get on the Streets against IMF!! Protest tomorrow at 1pm

In response to the formal announcement by the government that it is applying to the EU and the IMF for a bailout for the banks we are asking all areas to organise whatever protests they can between lunchtime tomorrow (1pm) and teatime tomorrow (5-6pm).

The above poster highlights the Dublin protest tomorrow, but there are protests State-wide. Contact your local area, or any nearby areas if you are in the North, to find out the details for the protests.

Sinn Féin is providing the only real opposition to the government's economic policies including its capitulation to the EU and IMF. We need to make sure we are visible in this opposition by being out on the streets protesting tomorrow.

Areas should make placards and use anti cuts and budget alternative leaflets to hand out at the protests.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ógra activist Injured by State car at IMF protest

There were scenes of anger at Leinster House today in a protest involving Dublin Sinn Féin members in conjunction with local Ógra members. A sizeable contingent of Sinn Féin and Ógra activists gathered outside Government buildings to coincide with the request by the Fianna Fáil/Green Government for a European and IMF bailout.

After an emergency Cabinet meeting lasting several hours in Dublin and talks with EU states, ministers signed off on plans for the rescue package. Ógra Shinn Féin members picketed Government buildings, while just yards away, IMF officials were dropped off at the local hotel by official state cars.

Eventually, Government ministers were driven to the gates when Sinn Féin and Ógra activists staged a peaceful sit-down protest. A number Gardaí employed heavy handed tactics in an effort to move the protestors, while another Garda motioned for the state cars to continue on their path, with one state car, reportedly that of a Senior Minister running over the leg of a young Ógra Shinn Féin activist. The top of the range state car moved away at high speed down a laneway. An ambulance quickly arrived and the Ógra member was brought to hospital.

Ógra Shinn Féin spokesperson Dáithí Byrne criticized both the Government and the Gardaí who interfered with the peaceful sit-down protest;

'Today's developments has created huge anger in this country. We have, effectively, been bought and sold. The government has ran up the white flag of surrender to the IMF/EU who are notorious for their utter contempt for the rights of working class people. Already, within hours, the government is dancing to their tune, with rumours of cuts to the minimum wage and social welfare. Surely we cant be blamed in that context for protesting?'

"The Gardaí dealt with the peaceful protest irresponsibly today. The heavy handed tactics employed effectively resulted in a hit and run incident which has seen a dedicated Ógra Shinn Féin activist sustain an injury. The events today, coupled with those which took place at the recent national student march, demonstrate the widespread anger but also the low tolerance for peaceful protest."

The Ógra activist in question is reportedly OK, having been brought to St. James' Hospital but Activists who wish to know more show contact Dublin Ógra on 085-8195561 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              085-8195561      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Weekend of Events in Bandon

Any activists in attending any of these events should contact Donnchadh on 0868819653, and billets can be provided for activists who are travelling. Attendance is particularly encouraged for the Kilmichael Commemoration which is one of the best attended commemorations of the year, and which has a Sinn Féin speaker on this, its 90th anniversary, in the form of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Young republicans out on the Canvass Trail for Pearse

Ógra Shinn Féin activists were out in force today (Saturday 20th December), across Donegal South West on the campaign trail for Pearse Doherty.

Young republicans have been assisting with getting the Sinn Féin candidate elected from the moment the by election was forced to a start. People will go to the polls across the constituency on Thursday 25th November.

The by election is increasingly being viewed with national importance, as it could help decide whether the December budget passes or falls. The Ogra canvass teams received an extremely warm reception on the doors, according to Ogra activist Kerry McColgan,

"The people of Donegal South West are squarely behind Pearse Doherty, noting his crucial intervention in forcing the by election to actually take place, and his clear stance against a disastrously harsh budget laced with cuts against those most in need."

Stressing the importance of the election, and encouraging people to play their part in the last week of the campaign, Ógra Uladh Organiser, Pádraig Quinn said,

"We would encourage the people of Donegal South West to come out and vote for the only candidate who can beat the Dublin government, and is putting forward grounded proposals on how we can get the economy back on track."

"Pearse is the leading candidate as we enter into the last week of the by election. It is vitally important that as many people as possible help out with the campaign. Let's get him elected, so that the people of Donegal South West have a TD that will deliver for them, and the Irish people will have an extremely vocal voice in opposing the detached and cruel budget in December!"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Screening of Occupation 101 in St Marys

On Wednesday 17th November St Mary’s Sinn Féin held an event within the college to give their fellow students an insight into the brutality and devastation caused by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

They held a film showing of the highly controversial film 'Occupation 101' which is based on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The event was well attended which made it obvious that many Irish students are highly supportive and sympathetic to the Palestinian people and their cause. Dr Peter Collins, a history lecturer from St Mary’s and from the Friends of Palestine Group spoke briefly before the film, highlighting the importance of the campaigns for justice for the Palestinian people and also highlighted the importance of raising public awareness about the human rights abuses in the occupied territories. Another member of the Friends of Palestine group also spoke of the boycott of Israeli goods and urged students to take part in this.

Speaking after the event Orla McNamara from St Mary’s Sinn Féin said "We in SMU SF are thrilled to see so many people here today who have showed an interest in the film and who have left the room today more aware of the violations of international law and the historical causes of the injustices to the Palestinians. We in Sinn Féin have consistently raised the principles and lessons that republicans have learned from the Irish experience in relation to other struggles for national self-determination around the world and while no two conflicts are the same there are nonetheless broad principles which can be helpful in all conflict resolution processes. We in Sinn Féin believe the international community must exert the utmost pressure on Israel to abide by the countless UN resolutions it is currently violating, and to international law and standards of human rights".

St Mary's Sinn Féin will be working side by side various human rights groups to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people throughout this university term and the next. As more people become aware of the deliberate deceptions of those who have plunged the world into global conflict, the voices of dissent are growing louder. This impressive film shown by St Marys Sinn Féin Cumann today is a must see for those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of current global realities and injustices and St Marys SF would like to thank everyone who made the event a success on the day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In Flanders Fields etc...


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

It was with great delight and pleasure that papers such as the Belfast Telegraph reported that the Leader of the SDLP, Margaret Ritchie would wear a poppy on Remembrance day.
Now while this grates with me, I would like to begin by saying that in my personal opinion, the motivations behind her wearing them were understandable, and possibly even commendable.

The importance of reconciliation and of sharing our respective histories will not be lost on republicans, including members of Ógra who have participated in a number of such ventures this year. It is incumbent on us all, be it Unionist or Republican, to reach out the hand of friendship, and to seek to learn more about the difference and similarities between us is of immense importance, both in terms of peace on this Island and in terms of our objectives of building a New Ireland in which all traditions are valued and respected.

But where the motivations may have been commendable, it is nonetheless a hopelessly misguided gesture, based on a basic misreading of the significance of the symbol at hand.

Perhaps it would be of value to examine briefly the history of the poppy as a symbol. The use of the poppy as the symbol for remembrance stems from the poem from WWI soldier and poet John McCrae, as reproduced above. In the period towards the close of the war the battlefields in Flanders were covered with red poppies, providing a suitable allegory to the horrific loss of life and blood spilt on those same fields. In 1921, on the 11th of November, Armistice day, the tradition of wearing poppies to commemorate the dead of World War I and to raise funds for Ex Servicemen and their dependents.

From this momentum grew behind it, and it became a popular way of commemorating right across Britain and further afield.

However, with the passage of time, it picked up further baggage. While in Ireland the focus is very much on WWI, the reality is that it hasn’t been about that particular war for quite some time. The British Legion have turned it in to a symbol which represents British War dead in all wars, including for better or worse, every misguided, barbarous and pointless colonial adventures you care to think of.

From Aden to Malaysia, and Iraq to Afghanistan, all are remembered equally. Indeed the poppy is as much for the British Troops who were there on Bloody Sunday or Ballymurphy as it is for Verdun. And this is not a point that the Legion will deny. It openly accepts that, as illustrated by this picture – this isn’t merely historical reflection.

British Legion Poppy appeal poster.

So unsurprisingly it has become a contentious symbol here in Ireland. Republicans in particular have taken particular issue with it on account of the conduct of British soldiers here in the most recent phase of conflict, and feel that because the servicemen active in that period are equally remembered, that it would amount to a commemoration of those men as much as the men of the first world war. British atrocities are regularly highlighted as the reason not to wear the poppy.

Now in my humble opinion, while this line of argument is not without merit, I do not think it is the crucial point. Is it fair to suggest that when people wear the poppy that it is with the intention of commemorating those particular instances, and those particular periods of conflict, that they wear it? By way of analogy, let us look at Easter. Every easter we remember the men who fought and died in Easter 1916, but we also reflect on the sacrifices of all volunteers across all generations who fought for Ireland. Now, this may be a controversial thing to say, but the fact is that only the blind would deny that unconscionable and indefensible actions were carried out by the IRA and in the name of the IRA during its lengthy history – none of which is to negate its immense contribution to our struggle. But is it the case, that when we commemorate at Easter or when we wear the lily, that we are remembering those involved in those actions, as equally as the men of 1916?

With both symbols, I would submit, that to wear it is merely a remembrance of those who made sacrifices for their respective countries, which I submit is a legitimate motivation, and which is why I believe it is a Horse of an entirely different colour when a British person wears a poppy, or when someone who self identifies as British (eg Unionists) wears a poppy. It is to their eyes of recognition of their dead, and of their countrymen.

If that be the case, then for what reason should we object to the poppy?

I put the question to you – World War I – Was it our fight? Was Aden our fight, and was Afghanistan our fight? Was it crucial to Irish interests to be involved in these conflicts? No. They weren’t our fight, they weren’t fought in our interests, and had we a choice as a nation I am willing to wager that we would have chosen not to be involved.

It’s worth stating at this point, indeed it ought to go without saying that many Irishmen and women fought in first World War in British Uniforms. Many of them fought gallantly, and heroically. And while it is not for us to second guess the motivations of those who fought at the time for their own reasons, I submit it is likely that many fought because of the decision of the direction of Nationalist politicians, and thought that what they were doing was for the good of their country. I very much believe that these men, deserve remembrance. Is the poppy a suitable way to do so?

I believe not. The poppy is not a universal symbol, and it represents only those who have died in British Service. As a republican, I believe in pride of place being given to our own patriots. This is done throughout the year in many different ways marking different patriots by many different people.

However I also believe that we should remember all Irishmen who died, for economic, social, political or religious reasons, in the service of foreign armies. But we should remember them equally. This is the crucial point.

Given our history of emigration it is a fact that countless Irishmen fought in the armies of an enormous variety of different armies right around the globe. From Germany and Austria to France and Italy, right across to Mexico, Chile and America. And just as in the service of the British, some servicemen distinguished themselves through courageous actions, and some shamed themselves through inhumanity. They are not superior, but crucially they are not inferior, to those who died in the British army.

Those who fought on the German side in Verdun, or who fought at Gettysburg, or at Cremona, are no less deserving of remembrance than the British servicemen. And indeed, we should not omit that often forgotten section – the non combatants – who are also worthy of remembrance. Yet the poppy is not for them.
This is the difficulty with the poppy. It is not a universal symbol, and does not remember equally. It places British Servicemen on a pedestal. Which is one thing in Britain, and though I am dubious of the ubiquity of it, they are entitled to honour their servicemen who fought and died for Britain. The reasons why we should join in with this fawning over the British Military, I must say, has always escaped me.

Every summer, on the Sunday nearest July 11th, there is a National Day of commemoration, which remembers all Irish people who died in war. While this occasion is not perfect, it is a tasteful recognition of all deaths, be they combatant or innocent, and in the service of Irish Armies or foreign. This event, or something like it, should be our alternative to the poppy.
Wearing the poppy effectively undermines such commemorations.

Mary McAleese at National Day of Commemoration

Margaret Ritchie recently spoke at the McCluskey summer school of a new progressive nationalism. The sentiments I applaud, even if the speech looked a bit ropey. But wearing the poppy is far from an example of progressive nationalism. In fact, it is the opposite, it is regressive and it is exclusive. It is exclusive of non combatants, and of soldiers who fought for other foreign armies, and in particular those who fought in armies opposed to Britain during various wars. It is in reality a meek acceptance of the line that suggests their wars were ours and that we should seek to cleave to their traditions, and take their lead.

In which case one wonders what point is there in seeking a United Ireland at all, or indeed any form of independence? I once again will suggest that the poppy was likely worn with the best of intentions. But reconciliation isnt about trumpeting anothers cause as your equivalent to your own, it is about understanding and listening and agreeing to move forward on what common ground we have. We can do that without the poppy.

PS in Cork, poppys look like this. A far superior form of poppy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ógra O'Neills Hoodies

A new order is being placed for Ógra O' Neills hoodies (priced £35/40E) on Friday 19th November.

Hoodies will be ready for Friday 10th December and money must be paid by Fri 3

Ógra Hoodies come in Children sizes up to 13/14, and Adult sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL.

Please place your order by Thursday 18th November.

Send all orders to Barry on 07885569940 or osfnational@yahoo.ie.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ógra joint host Celebration of Escapees

Last Friday, 12th of November, Ógra Shinn Féin in conjunction with the East Tyrone C.C, held a dinner dance to celebrate all republican escapees.


The night which was held in the Ryandale, Moy, consisted of an introduction from Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, a DVD presentation created by the Coney Kilpatrick cumann, Ógra Shinn Féin, and a presentation to all the escapees.

Ógra also presented a special presentation to the family of vol. Hugh Coney, of whom the cumann are named after.

Speaking on the event, local chair and Cúige Uladh organiser, Pádraig Quinn had this to say;

"Friday night was the result of a huge amount of effort and planning from both the East Tyrone cc, and the two East Tyrone cumann, and I am sure that everyone in attendance would agree that it was a very enjoyable and fitting tribute to all republican escapees.

The night itself also had a huge emphasis on the future of the movement and the importance of political momentum. Caoimhghín spoke at length on the importance of remembering the past, but also on the importance of continuing to move forward. It’s true that the political circumstances have changed considerable in the last ten years or so, but our objectives and commitment has never, and will never diminish.

Caoimhghín also noted the importance of the upcoming Donegal by-election, and emphasised the contribution that northern activists must give. During the Westminster elections activists from across Ireland, particularly Donegal, gathered in areas like Fermanagh South Tyrone, and we must do the same.

Our cumann were also extremely pleased that we where able to formally thank the Coney family for allowing us to use Hugh’s name. Hugh was murdered on the 6th of November 1974 whilst attempting to escape from Long Kesh. He was a very prominent republican in the Coalisland Clonoe area, who is still talked about frequently, and it is a great honour for our cumann to use his name".

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pearse is our man!

Barry McColgan
Vol. Dermot Crowley/Paula Murphy Ógra Shinn Féin
West Tyrone

The Donegal South West by election on Thursday 25th November is THAT important.

Fianna Fáil are running scared, no more evidence needed than the successful high court challenge by Senator Pearse Doherty to drag the Dublin government kicking and screaming over the line to actually have the by election after 18 months of hiding.

In the very possible likelihood that Pearse wins, the Dublin Government will be hanging on by a thread to their tiny majority in Leinster House by a mere 2 seats, following last weeks resignation of Jim McDaid in Donegal South East.

That may well put their ideologically driven 6Billion Euro of cuts on ice, which could lead to a snap general election.

A general election would present a massive opportunity for Sinn Féin to promote and earn support for our alternative, and Pearse winning in Donegal South West would provide huge inspiration and momentum and deliver the perfect platform to get our message heard loud and clear.

Don't get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we get ahead of ourselves, and I'm certainly not holding my breath waiting for Fine Gael or Labour to come to the rescue but Pearse’s voice will be a vitally important one in opposition to these brutally devastating cuts at this crucial time.

And only Pearse can truly represent a fresh and progressive approach to government, a republican voice that provides sound and practical solutions to economic recovery, representing Sinn Féin which aims to build prosperity and equality, through imaginative and creative government investment and job creation, not through extremely harsh and unnecessary cuts.

The cute whore coalition are on shaky ground and further pursuit of the neo liberal policies that put us in this fine mess in the first place and executing drastic cuts at a time of severe hardship and uncertainty will not endear them to anyone.

The other side of the coin Fine Gael do not offer any alternative, neither do Labour, both accepting the previous Fianna Fáil/Green disgraceful budget cuts inflicted on people already struggling to cope.

Only Sinn Fein has provided an alternative. We have produced positive and practical economic solutions to the current crisis we face, we want to provide education not emigration, we want to provide jobs, not unemployment; we want unity, not division.

Only Sinn Féin isn’t afraid to say that partition is part of the problem.

Donegal like many border counties has been a victim of the division and unnecessary duplication created by partition. Irish Freedom is a big part of the solution and Pearse has been leading Sinn Féin’s taskforce on Irish Unity, ensuring that a United Ireland is put firmly and squarely back on the agenda and progressed.

So we have it all to play for, Pearse is our man, and the campaign is there to be won.

Like every election in the past, this is the most important one, only this really is, and if we all put our shoulder to the wheel and fully play our part in the next few weeks, we can have the result that we want and the Irish people need.

The tide may be turning, let’s help it on its way!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cork haunted by housing crisis this Halloween

While halloween night saw scores of young people dressed up as all sorts of scary creatures and ghosts, a ghost of a different kind was haunting Cork City.

A ghost or two was floating around Beechtree Avenue in Shanakiel in the Northside of the city earlier on that day as Ógra Shinn Féin activists highlighting the growing housing crisis in the City.

A motion submitted to the City manager the previous thursday indicated that there were 8081 people on the housing list for the city area alone.

Ógra spokesperson Aodhán Ó Brollacháin had this to say ''The spectre of the housing crisis hangs over cork city. There are some 8081 people on the housing list, many of them waiting for many many years for a house. And yet there are many houses in partially filled estates such as and in ghost estates around Cork City and county which could be used to house people.
Even if no one else joined the housing list at this point, it would take 12 years to fill it.

This would be bad enough on its own, but is downright scandalous when one considers the 300,000+ empty houses in the state. The housing crisis could be solved if there was the political will to do so.

Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin have been active in this regard over recent months, organising public meetings in Togher, the Glen, Mahon, and more to come in other neighbourhoods. We have also produced our policy document ending the wait, which brings forward simple proposals to solve the crisis in Cork, and to improve the lot of local authority tenants generally.'

He concluded 'We intend to further develop the campaign and to put pressure on the city to act. The crisis has reached tipping point - it's time to act.

Mayor hosts ceremony to commemorate death of Cllr Martin Mc Caughey

On Wednesday evening, 14th October, the Mayor of Dungannon Council, Michelle O Neill hosted a civic ceremony to commemorate the death of Cllr Martin Mc Caughey. Martin was killed on active service with Vol Dessie Grew on 9th October 1990.
The night began with a few words from Michelle and fellow Councillor Francie Molloy. They spoke at length on the two men’s roles within their communities, and emphasised Martin’s contribution as both a Volunteer and Councillor.
A framed commemorative portrait of Martin was then unveiled in the Mayor's parlour by Galbally Cllr and friend of Martin's, Mickey Gillespie.
The night then ended with a number of traditional songs from fiddle player, and Coalisland Clonoe Ogra activist, Álanna Campbell.

Speaking on the event Cuige Uladh organiser, Padraig Quinn had this to say:
“The event on Wednesday was a very fitting tribute to both Martin and Dessie. The significant role the two men had in the area is unquestionable, and from both Michelle and Francie’s speeches at the beginning of the night, it is clear that Martins role as both a councillor and a Volunteer contributed to the high capacity of the Republican movement within Tyrone.
"It was through Martins commitment to the Struggle that he stood for Sinn Féin and was subsquently elected to Dungannon District Council. Whatever was needed whether is was military actions or political actions Martin was to the fore.
"We have now come to a stage in the struggle where we can achieve our ultimate aim through entirely political actions, and I feel that Martin and Dessie, and many like them are responsible for us being able to do that”.

Dinner Dance to Celebrate Republican Escapees

This Friday, 12th November, East Tyrone Comhairle Ceantair will be hosting a Dinner Dance to celebrate republican escapes through the decades. The event will take place in the Ryandale, Moy, and will begin at 8pm sharp. Special quests include many escapees from the various prisons. Tickets are limited, and are priced at £25.00

Speaking on the event cuige Uladh organiser, Padraig Quinn had this to say:

"Ógra have played a vital role in the planning of this event, and because of this I feel it is very important that our activists make every effort to attend.

"Many of those who escaped where incarcerated at an extremely young age, not much older than many of our members, and I think it’s important to put that into context with events like this, as if it wasn’t for our pows and Vol. we would not be able to continue the struggle in the manner we do today.

"The Dinner Dance plans to be a light hearted celebration of not only the various escapees but a celebration of the fact that despite countless methods, the British government could never label our fight for freedom as criminal.

"Whilst there will be a strong contingent from Ógra Shinn Féin cumainn throughout the O'Neill county at this event we wish to extend the invitation to other Ógra or indeed Sinn Féin activists.

For more information on the event or to book your ticket contact: Coalisland Sinn Fein office, 0287748689 or email Padraig-quinn@hotmail.com.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Former Hunger Striker and blanket protester to be interviewed in Letterkenny IT

Letterkenny based Republican ex-prisoner centre Abhaile Arís has confirmed that they are to host an event in the LYIT to mark the 30th anniversary of the first H-Block hunger strike.
The event entitled 'Memories of the H-Block Hunger Strikes’ will take place on Monday 8th Nov 8pm.

Donegal republican Padraig MacLochlainn will interview former hunger striker Raymond McCartney and Síle Darragh who was OC of the female prisoners in Armagh Gaol during the blanket protest.

Abhaile Arís youth worker Jack Murray commented on the event;

“As 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of the first hunger strike in Long Kesh we wanted to host an event that would not only mark that historic era but also create an awareness and understanding among young people who weren’t even born at the time.

“This event will provide people with a unique opportunity to hear intimate and personal reflections on the hunger strike and blanket protest from people and the centre of that historic era.'

“I would encourage anyone and interest in politics and Irish History to come along and join in the discussion.''
Food and refreshments will be served at the event.

For more information on the event or for media enquiries contact Jack Murray on 0860281010

Abhaile Arís is funded by the EU European Regional Development Fund. Investing in your future.