Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ógra Shinn Féin comment on Gaza flotilla attack

Ógra Shinn Féin has strongly condemned the sabotage of the MV Saorise, the Ireland based ship which joined the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

The attack came as the Irish vessel was about to embark on its voyage to deliver aid to Gaza, which has been illegally blockaded by the Israeli state.

Ógra Shinn Féin's International Officer Daithi Byrne condemned the act of sabotage;

"The Irish aid vessel MV Saoirse was stationed in Turkish territory yesterday for refuelling when the ships crew and later engineers found that the ship had been severly sabotaged. One of the propeller shafts had a component missing from it, which was alleged to have come off perhaps from the use of plastic explosives. It would appear that one or more divers under the ship removed the component and deformed one of the propeller shafts. This would eventually have led to a 'camshaft effect' which would see the propeller shaft rip through the hull of the vessel, into the engine room. Anyone in that area of the boat would have been injured or killed and the boat would have sank - no doubt resulting in loss of life."

This is the second vessel to have been imobilised. Days ago, the exact same damage was caused to the Italian vessel. There is wide speculation that the damage was caused by the Israeli military. These attacks come after months of Israeli efforts to halt the flotilla, with pressure being mounted on governments to put a stop to the solidarity act. In May 2010, Israel exhibited its characteristical opposition to humanitarian efforts when its navy commandos absailed onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara and murdered nine Turkish activists.

Ógra Shinn Féin would like to wish the humanitarian aid activists the very best on their voyage, despite the Irish ship being unable to take part. In particullar, we would like to wish Derry Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn all the best as well as Charlie Mcmenamin, John Mallon and Phil McCullough who were unable to find alternative space on the flotilla.

Sinn Féin Press Conference:

Irish Ship to Gaza:

Derry Friends of Palestine:

Gil Scott Heron: Ghetto Hero

Last month saw the passing of a music legend and a true revolutionary. Gil Scott Heron was the son of a Jamaican immigrant to the United States, Gil Heron, who became the first ethnic player for Celtic F.C. Gil Scott Heron held massive influence over African American music, mixing the cause of social liberation with new developments in music and sound. He championed causes from the anti-war movement, anti-nuclear arms, anti-apartheid and black liberation. His commitment to the improvement of the lives of the people in his community made him an inspiration to many musicians and activists that followed in his path. An accomplished author, his belief in the cause of the downtrodden shone through in his literary work. Despite chronic illness in his later years he continued to perform and record with such artists as Kanye West. He will be remembered as a champion of oppressed people throughout the world.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ógra Tour Armagh Gaol

Armagh jail is a building steeped in republican history. It is the place where republican, female prisoners engaged in the dirty protest demanding their rightful status as ‘political prisoners’ and also where the 1980 hunger strike took place. Currently, it sits in quite a derelict state; many ceilings have collapsed, interior walls crumbled, and only remain standing thanks to various well positioned scaffolding. However, upon entry to the gaol, the eerie chill can still be felt creeping down the narrow, dark, damp and dank corridor. Controversially, this building, which many republican female P.O.W’s called home, will soon be transformed into a five star hotel and restaurant.

On Saturday the 18th of June, the Coney Kilpatrick OSF Cumann organised a tour of the infamous jail as part of a series of planned political tours and trips.

Activists present were lucky enough to have not one, but two guides for the event, a local council representative with extensive knowledge of the early history surrounding the jail and an ex-P.O.W who was incarcerated during the late seventies early eighties, Ann Marie Quinn.

Speaking following the tour, Ógra activist, Álanna Campbell said;

Overall the tour was a very successful event. I feel that the personal insight and memories given by Ann Marie Quinn on her time spent as a political prisoner in Armagh Jail added a special element to the day, and was greatly valued by myself, and the Ógra activists in attendance.

Knowing that many ex-P.O.Ws entered jail at such young ages and spent their youth behind bars, puts things in perspective for young activists like myself. While we lend whatever time and effort we can to the struggle, we do so in a completely different environment; incarceration is merely a concept which due to both male and female P.O.W’s and their fellow volunteers will never become a reality to us.

Over the next few months the east Tyrone cumann will be organising various political tours of significant republican places and everyone is welcome to participate.

Republicans to commemorate Martin Hurson’s 30th Anniversary

Republicans from Tyrone and neighbouring counties are expected to converge in Galbally on Wednesday 13th July to mark the 30th anniversary of the death on hunger strike of Martin Hurson.
His sacrifice and that of his 9 comrades is also commemorated on the National Hunger Strike exhibition which will be on display in Galbally Community Centre on 13th July from 12pm until 9pm.

The 30th anniversary commemoration is being organised by the Fergal O Hanlon/Martin Hurson Sinn Féin Cumann, with the support of the Tyrone SF Commemoration Committee.

Speaking at the launch of the events, the chair of Sinn Féin in Galbally and Cappagh, Paul Kelly said:

‘The 13th of July is Tyrone Volunteers day, when we commemorate all of the people from this county who have given their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom. It has added significance this year, because it falls on the 30th anniversary of Martin Hurson’s death.

‘The people of this area are immensely proud of the bravery and courage of our neighbour, Martin Hurson. During the hunger strike, this area, like many others parts of the country, was a hive of activity with nightly protests and vigils in support of the hunger strikers.

‘Local people who were around that time, will remember the nightly rosary at Beechline, the hunger strike marches and torchlight processions, not only in Galbally, but in other areas, such as Pomeroy, Dungannon, Donaghmore and Carrickmore.

‘Martin’s courage and selflessness inspired many others to get involved in the struggle, and many from this area took up arms and got involved politically in pursuit of freedom and Irish re-unification.

Unfortunately, in Galbally/Cappagh and in other Republican communities, many young men and women gave their lives and it is imperative that we commemorate their bravery and show our support for their families.

Also speaking at the launch, Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Gillespie said ‘Reflecting back on 1981, like most people, I am full of emotion. I remember voting for Bobby Sands and the surge of elation that was experienced when he was elected. This brought hope that the situation in Long Kesh could be resolved and the lad’s lives could be saved.

‘I vividly remember the frustration when Martin narrowly missed out on taking a seat in the Longford/Westmeath constituency. Above all, I recall a sense of deep sadness, mixed with pride as the 10 men bravely gave their lives in defiance at the Brits attempts to label them as criminals.

Cllr Gillespie concluded ‘Whilst extremely proud, we are ever conscious of the hurt experienced by the Hurson family and all families who lost loved ones in the struggle. We will always stand in solidarity with the families of our patriot dead as we prepare to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike’.

The parade leaves Galbally Community Centre at 6pm following the annual Martin Hurson football tournament (women’s final 2pm; men’s final 4pm) and proceeds to the Republican monument in Cappagh where the main speaker is Francie Molloy MLA.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ógra take part in Dublin Gay Pride

Ógra took part in yesterdays Gay Pride march in Dublin. It was estimated that over 25,000 people attended the march. Ógra members carried a banner declaring 'Gay Rights are Human Rights'. Gay Pride celebrates many aspects of LGBTQ culture, from the jovial to the political. Ógra focused on the discrimination that gay people suffer under the Irish legal system where they are not treated as equal citizens.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ógra mobilise for Dublin Gay Pride

Dublin pride will be held on Saturday 25th of June with a parade traveling from the Garden of Remembrance to the Civic Offices at Wood Quay. The organisers of Dublin Pride 2011, along with the LGBT Noise and Marriage Equality are calling on all supporters of equality and the gay rights agenda to mobilise and attend. Support for this year's march is critical, as there is finally an equality agenda on the Programme for Government in Leinster House. Marriage Equality are calling on all supporters to come and show their support, and to send a message to this coalition that the issue of equality and gay rights will NOT be swept under the rug of increased bailouts and water charges. Anybody who can attend is urged to contact Ross at 0857303642 to arrange meeting points, and to assist with the banners and buntings.

Gay rights advocate and proud republican Ross Taylor is calling on the youth to mobilise, saying
"It is the duty of all young republicans to make an effort to attend pride events. This one is of great importance as it is being held in the capital of our country. Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin are the only ones who truly support full equality for same sex couples, in the fields of marriage and adoption, so it is imperative that we take to the streets to show solidarity and to make concrete support. As Fine Gael and Labour toy with populist ideas, republicans inside and outside Leinster House must be the leading voice on true change in our society. Dublin gay pride on the 15th of June is an ideal opportunity for us all to gather on the streets of our capital and send a message loud and clear that Sinn Féin will take the lead in demanding FULL equality for all, regardless of gender, age or sexual orientation. We must speak with one voice, and let that voice be heard on the 25!"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Paul Maskey elected MP for West Belfast

Paul Maskey has been elected MP for the West Belfast constituency in a by-election following the decision by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams to contest the Leinster House elections earlier this year. Paul Maskey won over 70% of the vote, retaining the seat for Sinn Féin. He had this to say following his election: “I take on the proud and strong legacy of Sinn Féin party president Gerry Adams, TD and look forward to new challenges in front of me.” All in Ógra Shinn Féin would like to extend our congratulations to Paul and wish him the very best as he serves Sinn Féin and the people of West Belfast.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A revolutionary tradition

This summer hundreds of thousands of people across the island of Ireland will participate in the celebration of cultural independence. This is a movement that many people attend and a celebration that is beamed into many more houses through television, internet and radio. Many people are already members of this revolutionary organisation but don't even know it. This organisation is none other than the Gaelic Athletic Association.

From its early foundations the GAA was at the forefront of the independence movement. It has pushed, not just for political independence, but also for cultural independence. It has championed issues such as the Irish language. It refused to let soldiers of occupying forces to become members. It ignored partition, remaining a thirty two county organisation. It has also been very progressive on women in sport, something that is often lacking in other sports. In recent years, it has been very open when GAA players have come out as gay.

The GAA, from the outset, had significant ties with the republican cause. Bloody Sunday of 1920 in Croke Park is just an early example of the links between the GAA and the republican movement. British forces knew that an attack on the GAA would be an attack on the struggle for Irish freedom. Michael Hogan, who was playing for Tipperary on that day, was also an active IRA volunteer. John Joe Sheehy managed to play for Kerry in Croke Park while still being on the run from Free State Forces. Aidan McAnespie, an enthusiastic young GAA member, was murdered by British forces on his way to a match in 1988. Crossmaglen Rangers GAA club received harassment from a British military base that occupied part of their playing grounds for many years. The community had the local GAA club as a rallying point for opposition to this oppression.

If you throw on a jersey this summer, or travel to a match, or just enjoy the sport from the comfort of your own home remember the proud tradition that you follow. Whatever county you support, remember that you are part of a revolutionary movement.

Cuban veteran visits UCC

'What does revolution mean to the youth of today?' This was the theme of the event which saw a delegation of Cubans visit the campus of University College Cork recently to mark the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs. Amongst the delegation was veteran revolutionary Victor Dreke Cruz. Victor Dreke had served closely with Che Guevara during the Cuban Revolution. He was also instrumental in organising students to fight with the revolutionaries.

A good humored and jovial Victor Dreke told of his time in the revolution and a diligent audience listen to him recount his tales of the revolution. Many questions were also asked from interested participants ranging from topics such as Cuba's efforts to help liberate African nations to the type of war planes used in the Bay of Pigs invasion. The audience was made up of the members of the Martin Hurson Cumann based in UCC. There was also a healthy attendance from the wider student populace who came along to hear the veteran revolutionary.

Following the talk the delegation were invited outside to lay a wreath at the republican plot in UCC. The plots holds the remains of volunteers who were executed by British forces in what was the Cork Gaol, where part of the college now stands. Victor Dreke was then presented with a portrait of the Hunger Strikers by the Martin Hurson Cumann.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Irish Unity: I dTreo Phoblacht Nua – Towards a New Republic

Within the next month, 2 major events will take place on the theme of Irish reunification in Dublin and Cork. The conferences, entitled 'Towards a New Republic – I dtreo Phoblacht Nua', aim at attracting a broad section of society to discussing this crucial topic in a full and comprehensive manner.

Ógra Shinn Féin believe it is of utmost important that young people have an input into this crucial debate and sowe are encouraging all young people, republican or otherwise, to come along and contribute in a meaningful and constructive way to the theme as outlined above.

The first conference takes place on Saturday June 18th in the Rotunda Pillar Room Complex, Parnell Square, Dublin 1 - beginning at 10am.

The second will happen a week later on Saturday June 25th in City Council Concert Hall, Cork - beginning at 7.30pm.

Speakers addressing the issue of 'Building the All-Ireland Economy' in Dublin will include Dr John Bradley (former research professor at the ERSI and adviser to the Europen Commission and World Bank), Dr Padraic White (former head of IDA and chairperson of the Employers' Service Board, West Belfast and Greater Shankill), Pearse Doherty TD (Sinn Fein spokesperson on finance) and Michael Darcy (Economic and Business consultant). Other subjects for discussion include Equality and Children and Catholic Protestant and Dissenter. Among the speakers for these sessions are Dave Adams (former member of UDA), Mary Lou McDonald TD, and Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD.

Creideann Ógra Shinn Féin go bhfuil gear-ghá ann do dhíospóireacht chuimsitheach ar aontú na hÉireann agus is deis ollmhór na comhdhálacha seo an díospóireacht sin a fháil. Dá bhrí sin speagfadh muid daoine óga ar fad freastal orthu chun a gcuid tuaraimí a nochtadh agus ceisteanna a chur ar dhaoine éagsúla. Bígí linn don ócáid fíor-thábhachtach seo. Glac do pháirt le Éire Aontaithe Úr Nua a thógáil.