Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Phoblacht - April 2012

The April edition of An Phoblacht is out today, this issue includes:

* Crisis at the Top: Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil in Trouble over Household Charge, Mahon and EU Treaty

* All the information about Easter Commemorations

* Symphysiotomy: A clinical scandal on par with the clerical scandals

* Belfast City Council spearheads development plan for facilites services and jobs

* Fracking: New US Tea Party darlings from Ireland backing controversial practice

* Release Marian Price

* Mary Lou McDonald on the Mahon Tribunal and 1916

*This Generation can Deliver Iris Unity - Sinn Féin Republican Youth Congress

*The Murder of Sam Marshall - UVF death squad struck while British Army looked on

*Left-wing republican elected leader of Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales

* Love Rural Ireland campaign launched

Available from Sinn Féin Bookshops and all usual outlets. Also order a single copy and get it posted to you from the Bookshop website here

Iris - The Republican Magazine (Spring/Summer 2012) out now

The Spring/Summer 2012 edition of Iris - The Republican Magazine is out now.

The latest edition includes an exclusive interview with legendary musician Christy Moore about his music, hopes and memories of the H-Blocks.

Also, Iris speaks to two female former IRA prisoners about their experiences in Maghaberry Gaol and activists report direct from Palestine about the realities of living under Israeli occupation. The controversial "fracking" gas extraction process is looked at in detail and our editor reports from Corsica, where a low-level armed campaign by Corsican separatists is still being waged against French rule. Of particular note to young activists is a piece by former Hunger Striker Laurence McKeown who speaks about the role of young republicans and how this generation can deliver Irish unity. There are also comment pieces, book and cd reviews and much more.

Iris - The Republican Magazine is €3.99/£3.20 for a 64-page full-colour magazine. It is available from your local Sinn Féin Bookshop, Constituency Office or you can order an edition online here.

If any Sinn Féin Republican Youth branches wish to purchase several copies of Iris to sell for fundraising then please contact Tommy on for a special rate.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Irish Delegation to Gaza

Four members of Sinn Féin Republican Youth have been invited to travel to Gaza as part of an Irish delegation to the region. Álanna Campbell and Cathal Óg Donnelly from Tyrone and Ruairi McLaughlin and Mickey McCrossan from Derry will be travelling along with other Palestinian activists and Sinn Fein members this coming Wednesday.

Cathal Óg Donnelly commented,“This visit to our Palestinian comrades is a chance for us to show again our dedication to the goals of Palestinian Statehood and freedom. The people of Gaza endure immeasurable suffering each day at the hands of the Israeli state from lack of water supplies, controlled by Israel to military brutality on an unimaginable scale. Only last week the Israeli air force through a series of air strikes killed 25 Palestinians including women and children in Gaza. The use of administrative detention (Internment) by the Israelis has been highlighted by the recent Hunger strike of Khader Adnan (Internee) from the West Bank. We as Irish republicans understand these concepts as well as anyone and in that vein we hope that our help and solidarity can prove beneficial to our comrades in Palestine. We must stand against injustice and torture and help in whatever way we can to deliver Palestinian freedom!”

The Irish delegation organised by Derry Friends of Palestine will be visiting a refugee camp, meeting several NGOs and the political parties of Gaza, as well as visiting Universities to build links with their Irish counterparts and meeting with the Gazan Education Minister.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Women in Struggle - Álanna Campbell

Álanna Campbell
Coney Kilpatrick Cumann
Óige Phoblachtach East Tyrone

Today is International Women’s Day, and an important day typically where we, as republicans, reflect on women’s role in our struggle, and celebrate the many strong females we have today, who are a major part of our movement and advance it every step of the way.

However, I do not feel that a token day is enough to remember the dedication and life commitment that these women gave, rather we should remember with pride the women who contributed to the cause of Irish freedom and unity every day and strive to keep their memory alive and to continue what they dedicated their lives to; a 32 county socialist republic.

Women have played numerous, important roles throughout Irish history and politics, each as important as the next, and women continue to be a driving force behind our movement. We have had strong female leaders who committed themselves to the re-unification of Ireland such as Countess Markievicz and Mairéad Farrell, women in Armagh Gaol who participated in no wash protests and the 1980 Hunger Strike, along with the male prisoners of war in Long Kesh at the time, and the famous images of women banging the ground with bin lids depicts how the women in the Falls area of Belfast courageously warned their neighbours that the Brits were coming whilst the area was on curfew in July 1970.

Women passed messages in and out of the jail between the republican prisoners and the outside world, they provided safe houses for those on the run and continued to maintain a sense of normality and carry on with everyday life within their families, often becoming single parents and juggling the many different roles such as wife, mother, daughter, sister, soldier, freedom fighter, prisoner of war and so on.

Indeed women have always been instrumental in the fight for Irish Freedom and continue to fight for that justice today. In the many different twists and turns our struggle has taken, women have been to the forefront of this; whether it was joining Cumman na mBan and bravely giving up their lives for their country up until the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998, or now fighting our struggle in the assembly in Stormont and being active in their communities promoting the necessity for a united, socialist Ireland.

Women are still not equally represented in politics and are very much a minority in the typically and traditionally patriarchal, male dominated sphere and although the role and importance of women’s contribution to our history has been overlooked in the past, I believe in this progressive age, and in the progressive nature of Sinn Féin as a party and the dedication and the enlightened and revolutionary views of our youth movement, Sinn Féin Óige Phoblachtach, that the future of women in politics and in our movement is bright. Women will continue to play an active role in politics, in the shaping of our country and their actions and contributions will be recognised, and celebrated eternally, and not just on one day a year.

In the words of Mairead Farrell:
"I'm oppressed as a woman, but I am also oppressed because I'm Irish. Everyone in this country is oppressed and we can't successfully end our oppression as women until we first end the oppression of our country. But I don't think that's the end of it. It happened before where women took the back seat. But women today have gone through too much, no way will they allow that to happen.”

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Women In Politics - Gisele O'Connell

As the first in a number of articles and interviews marking international women’s day, Gisele O’Connell from Carlow shares her views on women’s role in politics;

Women have consistently had a subordinate position within the political sphere. At no time in history has the number of women elected to Dàil Èireann surpassed fourteen per cent of total membership. In spite of significant social changes, the use of a proportional electoral system and no obvious bias among voters, the number of female Teachtaì Dàla (TDs) remains stubbornly low by international standards.

There are many causes for the lack of representation of women in politics. Part of this is due to the degree to which society has historically held a negative attitude towards the involvement of women in politics. Many people still hold somewhat traditionalist assumptions regarding a woman’s place in society. There are also on-going concerns about the challenge presented to women in combining motherhood with employment. However, I believe it is fair to state that this attitude is gradually shifting and therefore, it is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the situation!

So what exactly is being done to encourage more women into political activism and participation? We are aware of the Oireachtas crèche facility and also the rather generous paid maternity scheme. These incentives are an effective way of making our political institutions more family orientated and less male dominant. However, many of the difficulties for women to emerge onto the political scene are due to candidate emergence at the nomination stages of the election game. Due to this, there have been several Government proposals such as changing our electoral system to that of a list based system. This would mean that political parties would have to put a list of candidates forward to run in an election with a certain proportion of these to be female. Furthermore, there are current proposals to introduce a ‘Quota System’. This would entail that political parties would be encouraged to run a certain percentage of women to stand for an election or else they may run the risk of losing state funding. However, there are arguments for and against this scheme. Some individuals claim that this will certainly improve the male to female ratio within Dàil Èireann, which is of course, a positive step forward. Interestingly enough, the opposition to this has been predominantly driven by feminists who believe that this will only encourage a ‘token female’ in public office. Furthermore, they claim that any position or job should be rewarded solely on merit rather than on an obligation purely based on gender, race, age and so on. Whatever initiative is taken, it has to be acknowledged that we are now finally beginning to see the benefits of a woman’s voice in parliament.

I believe we need a woman’s voice in politics to represent the concerns of women today which may be overlooked by our male counterparts. It is imperative that we see an increase in female representation which will not only voice the concerns of motherhood and parenting in the current climate but can also add very unique opinions and will offer a different vantage point on topical issues which may be neglected by men. Furthermore, I believe if we succeed in achieving better representation, it will create a more dynamic and exciting parliament which will be echoed across the global stage. 

This Generation Will Deliver Irish Unity

Hundreds of young republicans from across Ireland recently gathered at the 16th annual Ógra Shinn Féin congress. The event marked the end to a long period of restructuring and assessment of Sinn Fein’s youth movement, with the election of the new national youth committee and the passing of a motion which will see the constitutional amendment transforming Ógra Shinn Féin.

Over the two days the activists engaged in various discussions around the role of media, the current political situation in the Basque country and the impact of Scottish independence on Ireland.

Speaking following the congress, one of those elected to the new national youth committee, Cllr Pádraig Quinn said;

“Over the past 16 years Ógra Shinn Féin has played an invaluable role within Irish republican politics. From campaigning on issues such as student fees, suicide prevention, drug awareness etc, to producing top class political activists like Pearce Doherty and Eoin O’Broin; Ógra has undoubtedly contributed greatly to modern day Ireland and the political machine that is Sinn Féin.

These achievements however have not come lightly or quickly. Developing Ógra and staying relative and radical to young republicans, has required continuous assessment and has lead ultimately to a number of significant and sometimes difficult decisions.

Despite all its good work, the vast amount of recruits and its continuous status as Irelands fastest growing youth movement, Ógra in its form, was limited and could never have reached its true potential. This was not because we lacked creativity, skill or commitment. Rather it was because of a lack of input from the senior party and an old out-dated and limited structure.

Republicanism is an ever changing force and in order to stay relevant we must adapt and re-adapt to that force. With this in mind Sinn Féin produced the National Youth Strategy. It is an extremely important step, one that puts youth at the fore and creates a new, significant modern structure fit for the pressures and potential a movement like Ógra contained. Now known as Óige Phoblachtach Sinn Féin, the youth wing has an even brighter future that it once did. 

We now have the support and the means to reach that potential that previously eluded us, however, it will not be gained without great effort, work and commitment.” 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Armagh to launch Óige Phoblachtach Committee

Sinn Féin Óige Phoblachtach continue to grow throughout the six counties, with yet another republican youth committee set to launch in County Armagh.

The committee was formed following a number of important meetings and discussions on the new National Youth Strategy, which were attended by many young activists throughout the Bandit County. The launch will officially take place in the form of an Ógra weekend set for the 23rd and 24th of March.

Encouraging maximum attendance, Óige Phoblachtach activist and member of the newly formed cumann, Saoirse Gildernew said;

“It is vital that young republicans have a voice within the continuously changing spectrum of republican politics. Sinn Féin have recognised the need for a new progressive strategy and a refocus on youth engagement, and have addressed this with the recently launched Sinn Féin national youth strategy. This document is a ground breaking one and the launch of this cumann is a fitting testament to that”.

“We hope that as many young republicans can attend this weekend of events to mark the formation of Armagh’s first youth committee”.

Friday 23rd March
4:30-6pm: Registration at Armagh youth Hostel.
 Light buffet will also be served between these times.
7pm- Late: Powerful '1981' stage play by Tony Devlin then a Presentation by Martina Anderson MLA
 Followed by rebel function featuring 4 piece Irish band, Paddywagon

Saturday 24th March
10- 10:45am: Breakfast (Provided)
11am: DVD showing about Armagh Gaol
12-1pm: Tour of Armagh Gaol from ex political prisoner Cathy Rafferty and Greeting from Newry and 
Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan
1:15-2pm: Lunch (Provided)       
2-3pm – Presentation from the Pat Finucane Centre on Collusion followed by Q&A
 This will be followed by a short break
3.10-4:30pm: Speakers Paddy Quinn, Seanie McGerrigan and Freddie Toal.  The Three men collectively spent over 6000 days on the blanket protest in Long Kesh between 1976 & 1981. Paddy Quinn also spent over 50 days on hunger strike in 1981. This will also include Q&A.
4:30 – Close of weekend and departure with Refreshments.


Cost of the weekend is £20 for any more information contact the numbers below we urge everyone also to book early as there are limited places.

Blaine on 07590668781 0r Megan 07927899900

Armagh Sinn Fein on 02837511797