Monday, August 29, 2011

Ógra Shinn Féin Proudly Support Derry Pride 2011

Ógra Shinn Féin were out on the streets of Derry on Saturday (27th August) supporting the second annual Foyle Pride parade. They were joined by Sinn Féin activists including Junior Minister Martina Anderson MLA, and Cllr Paul Fleming.

The thousands who marched in support of LGBT rights made their way from the Waterside Station to Guildhall Square, and were greeted along the way by cheers and rapturous applause from an enthusiastic crowd of shoppers and supporters.

Ógra Shinn Féin spokesperson Joe Dunn said,

“Young republicans were proud to come out in support of LGBT rights today and the message went out loud and clear from the pride parade that Derry will stand up for equality and diversity. Equality is a cornerstone of Irish republicanism, and we will always lead the fight and stand shoulder to shoulder with all who work to achieve and uphold this basic human right.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Connacht Ógra members attend Galway Pride.

Members of Ógra from all over Connacht attended the Galway Pride Parade on Saturday along with hundreds of others marching to celebrate not only the strides made over the years by the LGBT community but promote the unity of the LGBT community in their fight for equality.

Rousing speeches were made that celebrated the recent news of New York’s recent legalisation of Gay Marriage and the achievements the LGBT community has made over the past year in Galway and worldwide but remembrance and tribute were also paid to those in Ireland who were exiled from their homes as the southern government criminalised homosexual activity.

Conor Stitt, chair of the NUIG cumann said “Sinn Féin are a party that is fully focused on building an Ireland of equals. Sinn Féin, unlike many other parties do not confess to deny citizens their equal rights because a person’s sexuality. We believe that equality is a pillar of democracy and is laid before is the 1916 Proclamation and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil.

We chose to attend this march so we could show our solidarity to those fighting for LGBT rights but also, show that Sinn Féin is there to fight their corner in the Oireachtas, Stormont or in Local or County council. We were the only political party to attend. While the pride for many was for to be ‘gay and proud’, many Ógra members were proud to march alongside so many committed social activists on LGBT issues”
We also wish to give best wishes to all including our Sinn Féin comrades that will be marching the Foyle Pride parade on Saturday in Derry.

Friday, August 19, 2011

FG/Lab need to act to provide employment opportunities for school leavers

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD joined members of Ógra Shinn Féin on Tuesday the 17th, to protest at the limited prospects for leaving cert students, and the need for the Government to invest in a stimulus package.

Deputy Crowe said the Government must invest in a jobs creation package to stimulate the economy and to give our young people a future in their own country.

“Thousands of leaving certificate students will get their results tomorrow but the unfortunate reality for many of them is that if they cannot afford or do not want to go to college the only option open to them is emigration. That is the sad reality we live in today in Ireland.

“The failure of this and the previous government to invest in a proper economic stimulus and job creation package has extended the unemployment crisis.

“Despite the promises of both Fine Gael and Labour in the run up to the general election they have delivered a miserable jobs initiative with only €29 million of expenditure on capital projects and €11 million on additional training places.

“Fine Gael promised an investment of €7 billion to create 100,000 jobs. Labour promised a jobs fund of €500 million and a Strategic Investment Bank with funds of €2 billion.

“Sinn Fein believes that the government must invest €2 billion from the National Pension Reserve Fund to fast track labour intensive infrastructure projects and to assist small and medium sized businesses to save and create jobs.

“The government should stop using taxpayers’ money to bailout unguaranteed bondholders. Rather they should be using this money to stimulate Ireland’s domestic economy.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Youth Camp culmination of year long rememberance of Hunger Strike

Young republicans from the length and breadth of the country gathered in Camlough last weekend for the National Hunger Strike Youth camp, to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike.

Recreation of Hunger Strike Cell in Derry

The weekend came as the culmination of commemorative events organised by young republicans over many months

30 years to the day after a 24 year old Martin Hurson died on Hunger Strike after 46 days, the 13th of July saw young republicans the length and breadth of the country active in remembering the Hunger strikes.

Public Talk in Dublin with Seánna Walsh and Martin Ferris TD

In recognising the role played by young people in the hunger strike, and the young age of those who died on hunger strike, young republicans participated in events as diverse as book readings, public talks, film showings, banner drops, white line pickets, commemorations, football competitions and demonstrations. The actions involved young people all over the country, with actions taking part in Athlone, Mayo, Tyrone, Belfast, Cork, Donegal, Derry, Meath, Dublin, Wexford and Sligo.

The same week saw young republicans in Donegal participate in the production of Laurence McKeown's acclaimed play 'Laughter of our Children' (above).
These form part of a year long acknowledgment and commemoration of the role which young people played in the hunger strike and which they are still playing today, a point which is of particular significance with the advent of the National Youth Strategy, to be officially launched at the Ard Fheis.

Public Talk in Athlone with Seán Lynch MLA

White Line Picket in Belfast

This effort which involed the day of action, as well as other commemorations and reconstructions had as its highlight the National Hunger Strike Youth Camp.

Campers arrived in good numbers on the Friday evening, and in good humour, despite the mixed weather.

After the camp was set up, activists were welcomed to Camlough and the camp was officially opened before the contingent travelled to the Barcroft Community Centre in Newry for a talk on the Legacy of the Hunger Strike with Gerry McConville and Jim Gibney. A fascinating discussion touched on issues such as the feelings of the families and the role which they played, and the relationship with prison warders before during and after the Hunger Strike.

Following the well attended and emotional event activists returned to camlough for a lively function, music provided courtesy of activists themselves, with Dave Collins and Daith Kellaghan being particularly to the floor, however with no contributions from Liam 'I have a cold' Lappin.
Further entertainment was provided by the regular entry of a bat to the function room. Speculation that the Bat was sent by Jim Allister MLA to observe the camp remains unconfirmed.

The Saturday morning began with activists visiting the Hunger Strike Exhibition located in the Old School building in Camlough, where Raymond McCreesh himself had gone to school. The exhibition of Hunger Strike artefacts from 1981 as well as information about their context and previous hunger strikes has toured around the country over recent months, but had been greatly added to with local artefacts, including personal effects of Raymond McCreesh, letters to and from his family, reconstructed cells.

The Radio which prisoners used to listen to the election of Bobby Sands as MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone

In a similar vein, activists then embarked upon a historical bus tour of South Armagh with ex-prisoner Thomas Marren. The tour brought them from Raymond mcCreesh's grave in Camlough, to Mullaghbane, to Crossmaglen, and back, taking in sights such as former British Army Barrack sites, scenes of ambushes, monuments, and involving discussions of the resistance shown in South Armagh over many generations, and indeed the earlier history of the area, which was an area of great political significance in early Ireland.

Young Republicans in Crossmaglen

Following a short break upon returning to Camlough, former hunger striker, Laurence mcKeown, spoke on the way that the Hunger Strike has been portrayed in the Arts and in literature in 'Artisitic Impressions of the Hunger Strike'. Laurence had co-written the play 'The Laughter of our Children', and the screenplay for the acclaimed H3, and was therefore uniqeuly well positioned to discuss this area. The fascinating discussion noted how the impressions of the hunger strike had shifted significantly over recent years, on account of the development of the assembly, the absence of conflict, and indeed the initiatives of particular artists, such as Steve McQueen and the recent film 'Hunger'. Activists engaged with the discussion to a great extent, and Laurence, challenged all present not to take all regarding the Hunger Strike, or even politics generally, as a given but to question and to find out for themselves.

The final talk of the weekend involved the ongoing developments in the Basque country, with the development of the Abertzale Left, and Bildu. Izaskun Goienetxea of the Irish Basque Solidarity Committees, and a Basque Youth activist, explained to comrades the current situation in the Basque country, the great successes in the recent municipal elections, which showed the political strength and appeal of the nationalist movement, but also the difficulties which still existed as regards state repression, as regards prisoners, and the legal difficulties put in their way by the spanish state. Izaskun signalled that they would take heart from current successes, and intended to develop the movement by ensuring that they would move in tandem with, and on behalf of the community, and that ultimately the community would succeed in reaching their political objectives.

The evening saw further entertainment and music in Camlough, as activists from all over the country took the opportunity to meet other young republicans and develop new friendships.

Sunday the 14th represented one of the most significant days of this year for republicans, as some 20,000 republicans gathered in Camlough to commemorate the sacrifice of the 10 Hunger Strikers, and the role they played in the struggle. It was heartening to see such a large crowd, and indeed a youthful crowd.

Young Republicans with 'Delorean Nationalist Workers' banner from 1981

The sacrifices of the Hunger Strikers continues to inspire young republicans even today, and stand as remarkable example of selfless commitment to their political cause. Throughout the year young republicans have endeavoured to remember and commemorate them, and will cotinue to do so, and to take inspiration from them for years to come

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ógra Shinn Féin Doire take part in internment re-enactment

To mark the 40th Anniversary of the introduction of internment in the 6 counties, Republicans gathered at Free Derry Corner where a rally had been organised by Republican ex-prisoners group Tar Abhaile. The event was chaired by former internee Gerry McCartney.

During the event the unsuspecting crowd was ambushed by members of ÓSF dressed as British Paratroopers and RUC men, certain people in the crowd had been highlight to be 'arrested'. They were pulled from the crowd, forced against Free Derry Wall and a pillow case was pulled over their head. The families of those murdered during the Ballymurphy massacre were also present, to highlight their case people came from behind the wall and symbolised some of those who were murdered and the families who were left to mourn them.

Ógra Shinn Féin Doire host Hunger Strike event.

Ógra Shinn Féin in Derry organised an event around the role of youth during the 1981 Hunger Strike as part of the Gasyard Féile. The aim of the event was to show young people from all over the city how youth have led the struggle and to explore the role of young Republicans today. The event also had an international aspect as it was attended by several members of Basque group SEGI.

On the panel sat Ógra Shinn Féin activist Ruairí McLaughlin, Jim Gibney (PA to Assembly member Jennifer McCann), Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McLaughlin and community worker Charles Lamberton.

Speaking afterwards Ruairí McLaughlin who chaired the event hailed it as a huge success "I would like to thank Jim, Elisha and Charles for taking the time to come here tonight. It was very interesting to hear their personal motivations for becoming involved in Republican politics and to hear their personal accounts of the hardship they experienced. It was also good to hear Jim Gibney reaffirming Sinn Féin's position on the ongoing case of Brendan Lillis - he must be released, it is not a political issue, it is a humanitarian issue."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ógra call for the extension of voting rights to the north

Earlier today Ógra Shinn Féin held a demonstration outside Leinster House demanding that voting rights for the Irish Presidential Election be extended to Irish citizens of the six counties.

Members of ÓSF wearing GAA jerseys from each of Ireland's 32 counties took part in the event with those wearing the colours of the six-county teams wearing gags to symbolize the fact that Irish citizens living in Antrim, Down, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry and Armagh have no say in the election.

Speaking at the event, Dublin Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe, pointed out that under the current rules President Mary McAleese would have been unable to vote for herself. Deputy Crowe also called on each of the Presidential candidates to indicate their position regarding the issue.

Ógra Shinn Féin National Organiser, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, called on the southern government to extend voting rights to Irish citizens living in the six counties in time for the Presedential Election later this year adding that: "as the President of Ireland represents the Irish people, it is only logical that all Irish citizens should have the right to decide on who the president should be."

Monday, August 08, 2011

Updated Clár for Hunger Strike weekend - Registration cost now just 6stg/6e

Please note

People are expected to arrive reasonably early to pitch their tents and get themselves prepared so as not to delay the clár

If you need a lift from Newry to Camlough, we will be arranging lifts. You can get onto one of the following to do so.

- Donnchadh O Laoghaire(0868819653)
- David Collins (0876112463)
- Luke Callinane (0868309431)
- Padraig Quinn (07834592880)

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

Below is a clár for the weekend

Friday 12th

4pm Arrive for Camp 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. Barcroft Community Centre Newry

10.30pm function

Saturday 13th

10.30 Hunger Strike Exhibition

11.30 Bus Tour of South Armagh

2pm Break for Lunch during tour

3.45 Talk with Laurence McKeown (former hunger striker, academic, and screenwriter of h3, and other productions) - "Artistic Impressions of the Hunger Strike"

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

6.30pm break for Dinner

9pm Function

Sunday 14th

2pm National Hunger Strike Commemoration, Camlough

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

West Tyrone Ógra's Big Summer BBQ

Big Summer BBQ
In The Boe Inn, Dromore, County Tyrone
Saturday 20th August
Music by Liam Lappin & Disco
Food Served; 9pm
Tickets; £10

Organised by Paula Murphy / Dermot Crowley Ógra Shinn Féin, West Tyrone

Derry Talk on 1981 Hunger Strike

Monday, August 01, 2011

Sinn Féin Proud to Support Belfast Pride 2011

Sinn Féin was out in strength on Saturday 30th July proudly supporting Belfast Pride 2011. Ógra Shinn Féin activists and the Sinn Féin LGBT group were joined by Belfast Mayor Niall O’Donnghaile, DCAL Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, Gerry Kelly MLA and a host of Sinn Féin councillors to celebrate the biggest pride parade in Ireland.

Ógra Shinn Féin spokesperson Cllr Pádraig Quinn said,

“Sinn Féin are proud to support Belfast Pride. It is an excellent week of events, and a brilliant cross community celebration of diversity. We fully support equality for the LGBT community and call for everyone to support future pride events organised throughout Ireland.”