Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ógra calls for the release of Brendan Lillis

Ógra Shinn Féin call for the release of Brendan Lillis who is being held in Maghaberry Prison despite being seriously ill. As an act of compassion Ógra call on Justice Minister David Ford to release Brendan Lillis into the care of his family.

Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann after a recent visit to Brendan Lillis in the prison hospital said,

He should be released immediately on humanitarian grounds as clearly he is no danger to the public. If he is released he can avail of medical treatment in a hospital setting surrounded by his family, not as currently is the case where he is held in an inadequate room which is virtually a cell as part of the prison hospital clinic.”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ógra Shinn Féin urges Support for Belfast Pride 2011

Ógra Shinn Féin’s Uladh Organiser, Cllr Padraig Quinn has urged support for this Saturday’s Belfast Pride Parade.

Sinn Féin’s youth wing is calling on the public to support ‘Ireland’s largest Pride Parade.’

The day will kick off with a party in Custom House Square from 12noon, with the parade kicking off at 2pm sharp.

Cllr Quinn said,

“Belfast is host to Ireland’s largest Pride Parade and is a culmination of a weeklong celebration of equality and diversity. It is also the biggest cross community festival in Ireland and last year, almost 17,000 came out on to the streets in support of the LGBT community.”

“Join with us this Saturday in supporting this colourful and vibrant parade. Stand shoulder to shoulder with all the people who are working to build an inclusive society, one that respects equality and diversity.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Details of National Hunger Strike Youth Weekend Announced

The weekend of the 12th to 14th of August will see young republicans from all over the country converge on Camlough in South Armagh for this year’s Hunger Strike Youth Camp.

The Hunger Strikes remain a key moment in recent Irish history and the weekend will be an excellent opportunity for young republicans come together in remembering the Hungerstrikers, and to learn more of that period in our struggle, as well as the opportunity to consider our present struggle.

It will be a weekend of discussion and debate, ceol and craic and all young republicans are encouraged to attend the event, and we are asking all party members to highlight this event to young republicans in your area, and to encourage them to attend. This is a camping type event, and activists will need tents.

There is a small registration cost of £9/€10, which covers buses, functions and other costs.
If you are interested in attending please contact the below.

- David Collins (0876112463; )
- Luke Callinane (0868309431;
- Padraig Quinn (07834592880; )

Follow the National Hunger Strike Weekend on Facebook;!/event.php?eid=146306055445580

Below is a provisional Clár for the weekend

Friday 12th

4pm Arrive in Camlough (transport can be arranged for people arriving by Public transport to Newry)

Set up site

6pm Break for Dinner

7.30 - 9.30pm Discussion and Debate ' Legacy of the Hunger Strike. Speakers Jim Gibney and Gerry McConville.

10.30pm function

Saturday 13th

10.30 Hunger Strike Exhibition

11.30 Bus Tour of South Armagh

2pm Break for Lunch during tour

3.30 Discussion and update on the basque country, with a speaker from the basque youth movement

4.30 pm TBC

6.30pm break for Dinner

8.30pm Function

Sunday 14th

2pm National Hunger Strike Commemoration, Camlough

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin take part in Martin Hurson Commemoration

Representatives from Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin recently attended the Martin Hurson commemoration in Lanesbourough in County Longford, which was held on Sunday. Organised by the North Leinster ‘81 committee the parade took place through the town to the Martin Hurson memorial.
Martin Hurson stood for election in the constituency in 1981 where he received over four and a half thousand votes. Present on Sunday were Martins brother, Brendan and Martins girlfriend, Bernadette.

Led by a republican colour party with music provided by the Burns and Moley Republican Flute Band the parade was attended by a significant crowd from across Leinster and beyond. At the monument local councillor Paul Hogan chaired proceedings. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Republican Movement, Sinn Féin and the ‘81 Committee. There was also a reading of the 1st entry in Bobby Sands' diary as well as a reading of the Hunger Strike Roll of Honour and the 5 demands.Martina Anderson was then introduced as the main speaker for the commemoration. Martina spoke of the groundbreaking events of 1981 and urged those present to leave to commemoration re invigorated and determined to work towards republican objectives so that the cause for which the Hunger Strikers died is realised.

Following the parade Tyrone Ógra spokesperson Peadar McNally said:

'We were proud to be involved in the parade here today in memory of Tyrone Hunger Striker Martin Hurson. Many of the young people involved here today were not alive when the Hunger Strike happened. However the sacrifice of the ten men inspires our generation to take the struggle forward. Throughout Ireland and worldwide tens of thousands will gather this year to remember the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike and the ten men who died. The names of Bobby Sands, Martin Hurson and the other 8 men who died in 1981 are now listed beside the names of Connolly, Pearse, and Tone and will live on. The only fitting way to pay tribute to the men and women who died is to achieve the republic for which they died. It is then that Irish Republicans will truly honour to memory of Irish men and women who died in the struggle for Irish Freedom.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dublin Ógra highlight youth emigration

Last Saturday Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin organised an action to highlight the problem of youth emigration from Ireland. Currently we are witnessing the highest levels of emigration that this generation has ever experienced. Every young person has a family member or friend who has emigrated and there is no doubt that many more of the country's youth are considering seeking employment abroad. Dublin Ógra took it upon themselves to highlight the waste of our greatest natural resource, our youth. Their protest involved writing the names of those who have emigrated in chalk on O'Connell Street. The action received a great response from the public with many helping to add the names of their own loved ones to the list.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ógra stand in solidarity with the people of Norway

Ógra Shinn Féin would like to send their sincere condolences to the people of Norway following the tragic events that have occurred there. We would like to express our sadness at the horrific loss of life. We also condemn the senseless violence that has been an attack on the people of Norway and the values that they hold.

Expressing his condolences, Ógra Shinn Féin National Organiser, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said “The terrible acts of violence in Norway are an attack on the values that all democratic people hold. We would like to express our condolences with those affected by these terrible events. We stand in solidarity with AUF and its members who have suffered greatly. We stand in solidarity with their principles and their beliefs. These attacks will only cement our commitment to creating a more equal, open and peaceful society.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Plaque unveiled to Fian Tobias Molloy

Republican activists from Tyrone gathered in Strabane on Saturday 16th July, the 39th anniversary of the death of recruit Tobias Molloy.

The activists assembled at the spot near the former ‘camel’s hump’ checkpoint, where in 1972, the young Fian was shot dead by a rubber bullet fired by the British crown forces to unveil a new plaque.
Tobias Molloy was 18 years old when, returning from his girlfriend’s home in Lifford, he was struck above the heart by a rubber bullet fired by the British army.

The British propagandists were quick to claim that Tobias was shot while taking part in a riot but these claims were disputed by local eyewitnesses, who were adamant that he was nowhere near the riot, and was shot down in cold blood without reason.

Local youths helped carry the injured Tobias to Lifford hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

As his body was taken home from across the border, accompanied by hundreds of mourners, it was attacked by British soldiers as it passed by their army base. Mourners were forced to fight their way through as they were attacked with batons and rubber bullets, some of which hit the hearse which carried the dead Fianna boy’s coffin.

The funeral which was attended by thousands of people from the West Tyrone area stretched over five miles to the Donneyloop graveyard in Donegal. As the remains reached the cemetery it was surrounded by hundreds of Free State soldiers and Gardaí, who were there under the auspices of preventing an IRA tribute, a tribute that had already been paid before Tobias’s remains left his hometown.

At the unveiling Tobias’ cousin Anne Caldwell spoke about her memories of Tobias as a young man. She described Tobias as a quiet young man who came from an a-political family and because of the events around him he educated himself in Republicanism and then made the decision to join the ranks of the Republican movement.

Also speaking at the unveiling was chair of Strabane Ógra Shinn Féin, John McDermott who thanked everyone for turning out, especially the Molloy family who have supported all events.

John also made a call for young people to get involved in activism within their communities saying;

“It’s great to see so many people here, and more so – so many young people. I would call on young people here to educate yourselves on the brave activities of our past generation of Republican youth, and take inspiration from their example and join in the struggle for independence. There are many avenues in which you can get involved be that joining Sinn Fein and becoming a political activist.”

“Sinn Fein are to the fore in leading our country to reunification and I urge you to get involved. Strabane National Graves are involved in sterling work behind the scenes – they maintain monuments, plaques and graves of our Republican dead. They carry out a crucial part of ensuring the legacy of the fallen volunteers struggle aren’t forgotten. Gael Phobal is central to the promotion of the Irish language in the Strabane area, and the GAA which is a volunteer led, community based organisation that promotes Gaelic games. It is part of the Irish consciousness and plays an influential role in Irish society that extends far beyond the basic aim of promoting Gaelic games. I call on the young people here today to make contact with one – or all of the organisations and play your part in making a better Ireland.”

Ógra Summer BBQ

Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin are holding a Summer BBQ tomorrow, Saturday 23rd July, at 44 Parnell Square. It will kick off about 4pm. The food is free and drinks will be sold at a reasonable price to cover the costs. It guarantees to be a great event!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ógra invite you to tackle youth emigration

Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin are getting active on the problem of youth emigration. This Saturday, 23rd July, they will be holding a protest to highlight the issue. The protest will involve writing the names of those young people who have emigrated in chalk along the walls and streets of Dublin. You too can help. We are asking the public to send us names of those who have emigrated. You can contact us through here or you can leave the names on the Facebook event page.

One of the organisers of the event, Sorcha Ní Bhéara, said The Action on Emigration protest provides young people with the opportunity to call on the government to make youth employment a priority. Young people are emigrating in their thousands, and Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin believe that sustainable economic growth is not possible with our talented, eager and educated youth leaving for other shores. We are aware that the government can claim a decrease in welfare figures, but this will be due to unemployed people forced out of their home country to seek opportunities elsewhere, not because of economic progress. We are calling on everyone affected by emigration to join us and make our voices heard.”

The action will take place between 14:00 – 15:30 and it will be followed by a BBQ in 44 Parnell Square. We encourage all those who wish to tackle the scourge of emigration to come along to this event.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ógra condemns Joan Burton's comments

Yesterday, an article in the Sunday Independent quoted Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection in the 26 counties, claiming that young people on social welfare choose it as a “lifestyle choice”. She believes that “what we are getting at the moment is people who come into the system straight after school as a lifestyle choice.” The most pressing question about this statement is; what planet is the Labour minister living on? This country has now the most serious levels of unemployment in a generation. According to the Central Statistics Office the unemployment figures now stand at 14.2%, that is 446,800 people signing on the live register. If Minister Burton feels that there is an abundance of jobs for young people on social welfare, then perhaps she should be given the brief of the Department of Finance and let her get the 446,800 people back to work. In a time of severe economic difficulty social welfare offers a net of protection to those who cannot find full time employment. Those who come straight out of education receive a mere Є100 a week. Basic economic understanding will tell you that Є100 will almost certainly go back into the local economy, therefore keeping someone else in a job and off the live register. If young unemployed people are unable to receive some financial assistance to help them survive then they will have no choice but to leave the country and seek employment elsewhere. If they emigrate they will not be of any benefit to the Irish economy and the current government will only repeat the mistakes of previous governments and encourage a brain drain from this country.

There is very little “lifestyle” to be had on Є100. Minister Burton is looking at a social problem from the wrong end. Instead of asking why there is a higher percentage of people in certain areas who rely on social welfare, or why the poverty gap in growing in Ireland, the Minister has lashed out at young people claiming that they are lazy. Yet when questioned on the issue the Minister was unable to give a figure as to how many young people were abusing the system. It seems that the Labour Minister has inherited the social bigotry of other parties and is failing to provide a real alternative to young people, or simply offer then hope. Ógra condemns Joan Burton's comments and calls on her to do more to aid and assist the unemployed youth of this country.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Athlone Youth remember the Hunger-Strikers

The young men and women who undertook to go on Hunger Strike within both Armagh Jail and the H-Blocks in 1981 caused a series of events which ultimately became a watershed in the republican struggle. I firmly believe that this generation of young people is one that will bring about real change to society and culture across Ireland, but it is essential that young republicans are to the forefront in that process. Today’s young people are the next generation of Irish politicians and policy makers, therefore I urge you to ignite the debate among all young people about the kind of a republic you would like to see Ireland become’ said Sinn Féin MLA Seán Lynch as he addressed a large crowd of republicans, young and old, in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel last Wednesday for an event organised by Athlone Ógra Shinn Féin.

Seán Lynch MLA addressing the crowd

Significantly, the event, entitled ’30 Years On: Athlone Youth Remember the 1981 Hunger Strikers’, took place on the 30th anniversary of the death of Hunger Striker and former general election candidate for Longford-Westmeath, Martin Hurson, in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. Activities on the night included a book launch of the recently re-published Bobby Sands’ Diary, a talk on the topic of ‘Youth in Struggle’ given by Seán Lynch MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone and a DVD showing of Blanketmen – a documentary by Belfast filmmaker Barry Curran which focuses on the 1976-81 H-Block no-wash protests that eventually led to the hunger strikes and is told on screen by a number of former republican prisoners.

It really is heartening to see so many young people from around the town turning up for tonight’s event’ said local Ógra Shinn Féin member David Mc Weeney afterwards. ‘It goes to show how much the 1981 Hunger Strike still resonates with people up and down the country who were not even around during the 1980’s. However, as Seán mentioned this evening, we must take strength from the courage and conviction shown by individuals like Martin Hurson to strive for real political change across today’s Ireland. We have had dreadful government mismanagement for too long on this island and it is up to the young people of this country to start deciding what we want for Ireland’s future. After only just 4 months in Government, Fine Gael and the Labour Party have hiked third-level education fees, cut vital services to Roscommon County Hospital and laid out plans to slash wage protections for the lowest paid in our society among a plethora of cuts and u-turns on election promises. That is certainly not the Ireland those 10 men died fighting for in the cells of Long Kesh.

A group of young people from Athlone who attended Wednesdays event in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel along with Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Hogan and MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone, Seán Lynch

I believe the best way to honour the memory of Martin Hurson, who received a first preference vote from over 10% of the Longford/Westmeath electorate, is for young people to get involved in campaigning positive change within their communities in whatever way possible. I would encourage all young people to join Ógra Shinn Fein and help us build the campaign for a united, egalitarian Ireland. Ar aghaidh linn d’Éire Aontaithe, Éire Shóisialach agus Éire níos fearr.’

I ndíl chuimhne orthu siúd ar fad a fuair bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Republicanism: A message on Bastille Day

Political engagement and the place of the ordinary citizen in politics has come to the fore of the Irish political debate in recent months. The economic meltdown and the inability of the average person to control the destiny of the country has caused some to take notice and reevaluate their connection with politics and the political process. This is quite apparent in the 26 counties where, after more than a decade of Fianna Fáil power, people realised that they had lost their connection with politics and the ability to shape their own collective future. During the Celtic Tiger years, we were fed the message that we were individuals and should only be concerned with individual interests. Following the collapse of the economy, people awoke to the sharp realisation that they were part of a wider society. Decisions were being made beyond their control, and many discovered that as long as they remained removed from political activism they had little direction over their own future.

However this awakening was not just contained to the 26 counties. Simultaneously there occurred democratic uprisings all across North Africa and the Middle East, now known as the Arab Spring. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in countries such as Libya, Egypt and Bahrain. This tide of democratic uprising caught like wildfire as it as it shook the old political orders of the Arab world. While there may not be the same level of political protest in Ireland, there can be no doubt that those scenes of democratic, republican action has awoken a hibernated thought in the Irish people. The scenes of thousands of people demanding political change in Tahrir Square can only have given courage to people throughout the world.

In Ireland there has been a severe lack on engagement with the political system, especially in the 26 counties. During the boom years, the political culture encouraged people not to get involved in decision making, to look after themselves first and to focus on making money. This political culture trickled down into youth culture. There appeared to be very little engagement between young people and the political process. This can be exemplified with poor voting turnouts amongst young people, not just in general elections, but also in student elections on campuses. This disengagement allowed the elite to operate with almost immunity from the traditionally most vociferous of groups, the youth.

As a member of Ógra Shinn Féin you are one step ahead. There is little engagement by young people with the political system and even less become political activists. This is not to say that young people are not idealistic, progressive or passionate. It is rather that they do not see politics as relevant to them. As a member of Ógra you have clearly made the decision that you will make politics work for you. This is often not an easy battle. It can be tedious and disheartening. With so many young people feeling detached from politics it can often feel that you are speaking to a brick wall. However this is struggle that we will win.

Not only are we young political activists, we are also young republicans. It is sometimes a word that we take for granted. What do we mean when we say we are republicans? What role can republicanism play in a modern Ireland? As republicans we believe that the end of partition is the only means by which Ireland can move forward. While partition remains all other efforts are stunted. Yet surely republicanism means something beyond partition. Republicanism must be part of everyday life. It must be part of our interaction with others and our interaction with politics. It requires us to be active citizens. Not just to vote or be a member of a political party. It requires us to take an active role in our communities, whether that be community organisation, sports club or Students' Union. As republicans we should never accept things as they are, but always seek to question. As Bobby Sands said “Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play.” Therefore, we have a duty to be active citizens, we must take hold of our own destiny. No one else will do it for us. We, as revolutionaries, must ensure that our revolution is constant. Democracy those not reach an end, but is constantly seeking to improve.

So on this Bastille Day, a day that celebrates the idea that ordinary people can have control over their own destinies, we should reaffirm our own republican principles. This is the time for republican politics. Let us storm our own Bastille and take charge of out own destinies. Let us spread the message of Liberty. Equality and Fraternity. Let all tyrants quake. While the politics of today may be dejection, let the politics of tomorrow be republican.

Monday, July 11, 2011

12th July. A Republican Tradition

There are heartwarming scenes all across the north of the country this evening. As a republican it joyful to know that the cause of liberty, equality and fraternity is alive and kicking in the north of the island. A sense of history and internationalism is also clearly evident from the glorious celebrations taking place. Street corners are illuminated with colour and there is a sense of excitement in the air. What else could it be but the red, white and blue to celebrate Bastille Day. That fateful day, from which sprung the cause of republicanism throughout the world, is being celebrated all across Ulster. So eager are they to celebrate the republican cause they march on the 12th July, slightly earlier than the French. They cannot hold in their excitement as they march through the streets, holding aloft depictions of a king they too wish had gone to the guillotine. These ardent republicans will cry 'No Surrender' to emphasize their unflinching commitment to republicanism. Calling themselves the 'Orange Order' (after the fruit reportedly hated by Louis XVI), they are the most hardline of republicans. So as they march along the streets of Ireland we applaud their cries of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité!

A President for All

The hype, gossip and rumour in Irish politics is now flowing from the race for Áras an Uachtaráin later this year. With several candidates already selected, and more seeking a nomination, the media and the wider political world is alive with talk of the upcoming election. However, most are missing the elephant in the room. Though the title is 'Uachtarán na hÉireann', a large chunk of the Irish population are unable to vote. Those living in the six counties are denied the right to play their part in choosing the President of Ireland. Though the President welcomes players from the 32 counties at the 6 nations championship and the All-Ireland final, a significant proportion of the country have no say in who that president is.

Ógra Shinn Féin have launched a campaign aimed at highlighting this lapse of democracy. The President for All campaign aims to have voting rights extended to citizens in the north. You can lend your support to this campaign by liking the Facebook page, and by looking out for further updates on this blog, Facebook, and other outlets on how you can give a helping hand.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Who says politics and sports doesn't mix?

Who says politics and sports doesn't mix? This week Casa Rebelde opened in Dublin, a clothing shop which caters for the revolutionary sports fan. As we have seen from our international comrades, such as the Catalans, sport can be used as a tool for political agitation. Sporting events can be used to spread political messages and to show solidarity and defiance. We wish Casa Rebelde the very best of luck. You can find them here on Facebook.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Ógra stand by JLC workers

Yesterdays ruling by the High Court will allow employers to avoid employment terms set out by the Joint Labour Committee (JLC). The action taken by several fast food companies will remove working conditions, such as increased pay on Sundays and Bank Holidays. The majority of those employed in areas affected by this ruling are lower waged workers, those on the bottom rung of the employment ladder. This action by the fast food companies does not just harm ordinary workers, it also has a negative effect on the economy. Nat O'Connor of the progressive economics think thank TASC wrote:

"Say one business cuts the wages of its staff - that business has saved money and, all things being equal, should become more profitable (although staff performance might also fall). However, one stores's employee is another store's customer. If the 200,000+ generally lower paid workers protected by the JLC system all suffer pay cuts, that is going to lower demand in the economy; i.e. they are all going to have less money to spend in the local economy. And people on low wages spend most or all of their money. (All of this is basic economics). "

Ógra Shinn Féin would like to reaffirm its position and stand beside the low paid in our country. The protection of wages is vital in the battle of protecting workers rights. If we aspire to any form of social improvement we must ensure that the lowest paid receive fair pay for the work that they do. Ógra Shinn Féin calls on the Government in the 26 counties to make sure that workers rights are protect and to prevent a race to the bottom in our economy. Ógra activist and part time worker Alan Conway announced “Ógra must help with the battle against the erosion of hard won workers rights. We call on Ógra members to assist in any strike action workers wish to carry out to protect their livelihoods. It is in the interest of low paid workers and young people that this is a battle we win.”

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Poor Paul Williams

With the announcement that the News of the World is set to close this Sunday we can't help but feel sorry for 'journalist' Paul Williams. Known for his amazing and intricate pieces of fiction, Paul was seduced by the News of the World with a big, fat paycheck to fill their pages with his fanciful stories. This less than meager wage was also supplemented by work portraying Shell Oil as a brave warrior fighting heartless and cruel communities in the west of Ireland. Poor Paul will now surely be feeling the pinch after such a reputable newspaper has been shut down. We here at the Ógra blog would like to extended an invitation to poor old Paul to have a fiction section on the blog. The pay might not be great (or non existent) but we promise him artistic freedom. We also promise he can use all the sensationalist headlines he wants. Don't be a stranger Paul.

Roscommon Hospital: A fight for equality

The most isolated and vulnerable are at the coalface of the battle once again. This time it is a fight to be treated as equal citizens. While the elite of the state have signed its citizens into exploitation at hands of the EU and IMF, they are simultaneously pushing those on the verge of society closer and closer to the brink. This time the fight is for the retention of services in Roscommon hospital.

A constant stream for some of the media and organisations such as IBEC tell us that we must “get to grips with reality”. They attempt to convey to us that we are living in some form of 'social welfare bubble' and we can't understand the harsh realities of the modern, capitalist economy. The dramatic irony of such allusions would be comical if the situation were not so serious. The facts is that those at the top, those in elite positions, cannot understand what happens to ordinary people when you take away their most basic rights.

The people of Roscommon and the surrounding areas are at a disadvantage. While they are equal citizens, pay equal taxes, have an equal vote, they are not treated equally. Due to partition they are separated from their natural economic heartland, and therefore the area those not produce the wealth that the elite believe is needed for them to be equals. This is the harsh reality of modern Ireland, this is the harsh reality of modern capitalism.

All along the western seaboard there are people living at a disadvantage. Ireland's wealth seems to be contained to certain pockets and those outside must suffer the consequences. This is not just a rural phenomenon. Those living in poorer urban areas can also be disregarded by those making the decisions. For example health services in the northside of Cork city have been threatened. What is so incredulous about these decisions is that they are made with such ease and the life and death consequences can be so severe.

Yesterday well over a thousand people stood outside Leinster House with a simple request. They were not demanding a 'center of exclence', they were not demanding to be given treatment, they were simply asking to be treated as equal citizens. The people of Roscommon and surrounding areas asked that their A&E department should not close. Sinn Féin TD, Michael Colreavy, addressed the Minister for Health yesterday evening and told the Dáil that those standing outside Leinster House “are the eyes and ears of their community and they have come here to see how Sinn Féin debate to safgeguard our health services.”

This is a battle likely to continue up and down the country. It is vital that Ógra Shinn Féin stand beside their community and the most vulnerable in society. This is not just a battle for the retention of A&E services, it is a battle for what a future Ireland will be like.

Youth Against H-Block; Cork Event.

On the 13th of July at 8.00pm in An Spailpín Fánach, Cork Ógra Shinn Féin will host an evening of discussion around the hunger strikers of 1981 and other young prisoners in the H-Blocks and Armagh Jail at the time; as well as the role of young activists outside the prison who were to the fore in the Anti H-Block/Armagh campaign.

On display will be a Cork Anti H-Block exhibition documenting the campaign in Cork with a particular focus on the Cork North-Central constituency where Mairéad Farrell stood in the 1981 general election.

Discussion topics will include "A Background to the 1981 Hunger Strikes", "The Role of Young People in the H-Block Campaign" and "The Legacy of the Hunger Strikes", and as the event coincides with the 30th anniversary of the death of Volunteer Martin Hurson, a talk on the life and times of Martin will be presented by a member of the Martin Hurson Cumann (University College Cork).

Strategy Meeting + Upcoming Hunger Strike Event: ÓSF Athlone

On Tuesday evening last, Ógra Shinn Féin Athlone held a very successful planning meeting in order to formulate a youth strategy for the area over the coming months and cement plans for the upcoming Youth Hunger Strike event in the town.

The meeting was well attended and included activists from both Roscommon and Westmeath sides of the town including Sinn Féin Town Councillor and the candidate for Longford-Westmeath in the most recent General election, Paul Hogan. Plans were discussed for the summer and thereafter including reforming of the Athlone cumann to incorporate both electoral divisions and a strategic work-plan was discussed by the group which will help to guide activity into the future.

There were a range of ideas put forward at the meeting in relation to youth campaigning and we hope to transform the strategy into comprehensive and co-ordinated on the ground activism very soon. In the short term, Ógra Átha Luain are encouraging republicans from all across the midlands to attend their regional Hunger Strike commemorative event taking place on Wednesday 13th July at 7.30pm in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone.

This event takes place on the 30th anniversary of Martin Hurson’s death while on Hunger Strike in the H-Blocks. Martin stood in the 1981 General Election for Longford/Westmeath, polling over 10% of the vote and just missing out on taking a seat in that constituency; he remains to this day an inspiration to the people of Athlone and indeed to all young republicans.

There will be a specific focus on the topic of ‘youth in struggle’ for this event which will include a book launch of the recently published ‘Diary of Bobby Sands’, a DVD showing of ‘Blanketmen’ which gives an insight into the lives of republican prisoners around this time and a talk given by Seán Lynch, a former republican prisoner in Long Kesh and recently-elected MLA for Fermanagh/South Tyrone who was central to the anti-H Blocks campaign throughout the 1980's. The event will be chaired by Athlone Town Councillor Paul Hogan.

David McWeeney of Athlone Ógra Shinn Féin is encouraging people to attend this unique event making the point that ‘while the death of Martin Hurson and his fellow hunger-strikers wrought much grief and anguish for people across Ireland, its aftermath certainly brought new beginnings; the Hunger-Strike evoked emotions worldwide and a new emphasis was placed on the republican struggle. It is now, 30 years later, that we must reflect on what these people have achieved for Irish republicanism and acknowledge the enormous level of courage and bravery involved in undertaking the overwhelming task of a hunger-strike, not knowing whether they would live or die.

‘An interesting aspect of the republican movement is that it doesn’t matter how far you go back, youth have always been to the forefront in the struggle for Irish freedom, and the hunger strikers were no different - young men and women with sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers.

I think going forward it is vital that today’s generation of young republicans and, indeed, young people in general, have an understanding of the commitment and determination these people possessed, as well as the fact that they were young people themselves. This type of event is unique to the area and is a fantastic chance to meet new friends, discuss republicanism with other young people and learn something new in a relaxed atmosphere. There will be coffee, tea and refreshments served afterwards and of course, everyone is welcome to come along, young or old. Bígí linn!’

To find out more about this event or about joining Ógra in the Athlone area just contact ÓSF Átha Luain at or call on 086-8309431.

Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin ócáid seo nó faoi ÓSF in Átha Luain é féin, téigh i dteagmháil linn ag nó cuir glaoch orainn ar 086-8309431.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Ógra build for Hunger Strike Weekend

Ógra have announced the first details of the National Hunger Strike Youth Weekend. This years weekend is to take place in South Armagh and will remember those who gave their lives for the Republican cause 30 years ago this summer.

The weekend will take place between the 12th and the 14th August. It is set to be a great weekend with a lively mixture of political debate, ceol agus craic, historical tours, and the National Hunger Strike Commemoration.

Encouraging Ógra activists to attend, National Organiser Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said
"This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Hunger Strikes. As young republicans it is only fitting that we remember their sacrifice through Republican activism of our own. This weekend will be a highlight in the calender of Ógra."

Book your place for the now Make sure to honour the memory of the hunger strikers on this special weekend.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Belfast Youth Hunger Strike Event

The Andersonstown '81 Committee have organised this event to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike.

** The day is particularly aimed at young people but is open to all ages, so no excuse for older comrades! In fact, if older comrades have stories from their experiences at the time of the Hunger Strike it would be fantastic if they can come along and share them **

Youth Day for 30th Anniversary of 1981 Hunger Strike, Saturday 2nd July, West Belfast


10:30am - Meet at gates of Milltown Cemetery for Republican walking tour of Andersonstown and Lenadoon area. Will take in Republican plot in cemetery, local monuments, homes of local Hunger Strikers and much more.

1pm - Tour will finish at the Roddy McCorley club, where there'll be an opportunity to have a look around the grounds of the club including the Hunger Strike monument and Womens memorial garden. The fascinating Roddys musuem will also be available for viewing. Light refreshments will also be provided in the Roddys.

2:30pm - The day will be concluded with talks, debate and discussion with people who were young Republican activists at the time of the Hunger Strike. The event will be chaired by East Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor and youngest ever Mayor of Belfast Niall Ó Donnghaile.

Look forward to seeing you on Saturday.