Monday, May 28, 2012

Álanna Campbell Speech - Youth jobs - Ard Fheis 2012

Álanna Campbell
Coiste Náisiúnta - Óige Phoblachtach

A very relevant and current issue affecting our young people is the state of unemployment which is constant and unrelenting throughout our 32 county island. This is a serious issue which is affecting both Ireland and its young people.

Young people attend university, spending thousands of pounds on degrees and education in the hopes of increasing their potential job opportunities. The sad fact is that they are not able to achieve these hopes, dreams, aspirations and jobs in their own land and are forced to emigrate, moving to other countries such as Australia, America, Canada and bringing with them their skills, knowledge and energy.

Young people believe they have a better chance of employment and a better chance of a good quality of life if they leave Ireland, and it is out of necessity that they emigrate, many sad at the thought of leaving friends, family and their home, but knowing they have no other choice. It is the last option, but for many it is the only option.

When looking at unemployment figures we need to realise that this does not give us a clear and full picture. Rather, these figures are manipulated in an attempt to minimize awareness of the problem and do not take into consideration the many young people who have emigrated in the search for work.

People need only look at their own communities and towns to see the lack of jobs and everyone knows of a young person who has had to leave Ireland in the search of employment. We are losing some of our best skilled and trained professionals to other countries who are benefiting from them.

We need to see a change. We need to see an increase in job creation. And we need it now. This must be at the forefront of the agenda in both the 6 counties and 26 counties. We cannot afford to lose any more of our young people and they should not be forced to leave our country. We need to make Ireland attractive, prosperous and successful. Young people are not work-shy, they are not lazy, they want and need jobs and it is up to Ireland to provide for them.

Simon Gillespie Speech – Third level education - Ard Fheis 2012

Simon Gillespie
Coiste Náisiúnta Óige Phoblachtach

Nelson Mandela once said that ‘education is the most powerful instrument you can use to change the world. It is that great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of the peasant can become a doctor, that the son of the mineworker can become the head of the mine and that the child of farm workers can become president’.

Is fíor an raiteas é seo.

Sinn Féin has always believed that education, and in particular third level education, must be an essential instrument in building an Ireland of Equals.

Equality of opportunity, access and provision is a basic entitlement.

But the impact of cuts to maintenance grants, coupled with an increase in the student contribution fee and the looming possibility of the re-introduction of fee’s in their entirety is not only a restriction on a fundamental and basic right but such measures will have a detrimental impact on recovery and leave young people facing a difficult choice between the gates of a College or University and the gates of airport and ferry terminals across the island.

Shinigh an t-Áire Oideachas Ruairí Ó Cionn, cupla lá roimhe an tóghchan deirneach, conradh de chuid na Aontais Mac Léinne ag gealladh nach mbeadh ardú nó taillí triú leibheal d’aon sort ann. Anois agus é i gcumhacht, bhris sé an geallúint sin agus thacaigh sé leis an déine ina áit. Níl seo ceart nó coir!

Nach bhfeiceann an tAire an dochar atá a dhéanamh aige agus é ag cur tuilleadh brú ar dhaoine óga na tire seo? Daoine óga atá ag fulaingt cheanna féin. Ní mic léinn na tire seo a mhill an gheilléagar. Le bheith hionraice, is é an malairt atá idir lámha acú agus iad ag streachailt chun cuidiú linn ár gcuid fadhbanna a reitiú, ach, cosúil le cuid mhór dreamanna eile, is iad na mic léinn atá ag íoc as neamart lucht an gcumhacht.

Sinn Féin stands firm with the students of Ireland because we recognise the importance of Third Level education in developing our economy and society and achieving The New Republic.

In the words of Salvadore Allende ‘To be a student and not a revolutionary is a contradiction’. However, to be a revolutionary student today is a necessity in preserving equality of access to Third Level education.

Gan iad, bheadh ár gcuid colaistí agus ollscoileanna ina clós súgartha dóibh siúd le airgead agus tionchar i sochaí na hÉireann.
Seasann Shinn Féin le mic léinn na tire seo agus a cearta chun oideachas triú leibhéal fiúntach, saor in aisce a bhaint amach.

Mairéad Farrell Speech – Our generation can deliver Irish unity - Ard Fheis 2012

Mairéad Farrell
Coiste Náisiúnta - Óige Phoblachtach

Is maith a thuig James Connolly an toradh a bheadh ar Chríochdheighilt na hÉireann. "A carnival of reaction North and South" a thiocfadh dá bharr, a dúirt sé. Céad bliain i ndiaidh na cainte sin tá muid ag strachailt fós in aghaidh an dochar mór a thainig as an roinnt mí-nadúrtha a rinneadh ar an oileán.

But, comrades, progress has been made and is being made!

Sna Sé Chontae níl an pobal Náisiúnach faoi chois níos faide, ní saoránaigh den dara grád iad níos faide. Bíodh muid buíoch de chomrádaithe atá níos sine ná muid a sheas an fód in aghaidh an stáit Oráistigh a raibh tacaíocht na Breataine aige. Nuair a hionsaíodh léirseoirí a bhí ag máirseáíl go síochánta ar son cearta sibhailta agus nuair a maraíodh cuid mhaith acu ina dhiaidh sin ní raibh aon dul as ach réabhlóid armtha a thosú. Chaith cuid mhór acu tréimhsí fada i bpríosúin sa mBreatain agus in Éirinn. Maraíodh cuid eile acu. Is de bharr a gcuid íobairtí siúd gur féidir liomsa seasamh anseo inniu agus a rá "My gereration will create a United Ireland"

Our struggle in the Six Counties has reached an important new stage: as equals we approach our Protestant sisters and brothers and seek to overcome the centuries-long sectarian divide. We seek to show that our destinies are one, that our destinies can truly bear fruit in a United Ireland.
Ach ba mhaith linn a rá go soiléir lenár gcomharsana Protastúnacha agus Caitliceacha sna Se Chontae agus le muintir na Poblachta nach mbeidh aon chosúlacht ag an Éire Aontaithe atá ar intinn againn leis an stát frithghníomhach-- an banana republic- atá sa Deisceart inniu. Tá staidéar déanta ag Sinn Féin ar laigeachtaí na nua-choilíneachta atá sna Sé Chontae Fichead agus tá polasaithe soiléir curtha chun cinn againn leis an deisceart a athrú ar mhaithe leis an bpobal. Pobal comhionannais atá uainn ----Éire Aontaithe a bheas sásúil do mhuintir an oileáín ar fad ---"Protestant, Catholic or Dissenter".

Thanks to our older comrades, Sinn Féin is now the real opposition in the Twenty-six Counties. We are the party of real change on this island. Unlike the corrupt elite, we will not pay lip service to the goal of a United Ireland. Our day will come and it will be coming very soon!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Republican Youth show solidarity with Palestinian Hungerstrikers

Picture by Carlos latuff

Members of the Coney Kilpatrick East Tyrone Republican Youth Committee recently organised a demonstration outside the police barracks in Coalisland to show their solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners who are currently on hunger strike. The conditions inflicted upon the prisoners are so severe and unjust that over 1500 Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike. Most began their hunger strike on April 17th but two prisoners, Bilal Diab and Tha’er Halahlah, are in severe medical danger having both been without food for over 70 days. 

The prisoners are planning to continue their hunger strike until the Israeli Government recognise and act on their demands, which are as follow:

1) That International Law and its provisions with regard to administrative detention are respected.

2) That Israel ends its policy of administrative detention.

3) That Israel ends its policy of keeping prisoners in solitary confinement.

4) That prisoners are allowed to see their families.

SFRY activist and member of the National Youth Council, Álanna Campbell commented:

“Myself and three of my comrades, Cathal Óg Donnelly, Ruairi McLaughlin and Mickey McCrossan have just returned from Gaza as part of a republican delegation. Whilst there we were honoured to meet Hana Al Shalabi shortly after she ended her 43 day long hunger strike and I was able to present her with an Easter Lily. Having met the prisoner’s and their families and having read about the conditions inflicted upon the Palestinians in Israeli jails, I am filled with anger. Hunger strike is always the last resort of an oppressed people, and the fact that Palestinians have to turn to this as a method of protest is disgraceful in this day and age. 

In 1981 Ireland lost 10 brave volunteers who went on hunger strike to achieve their demands, and it is a sad reality that in Israeli prisons we have a similar situation. The policy of administrative detention is exactly that of internment in Ireland, and it means Palestinians are detained indefinitely without charge or trial and without any evidence against them. Many are held in solitary confinement in a tiny cell, they are permitted to only one hour of fresh air and sunlight a day, and at this time their hands and feet are bound in cuffs. The whole world needs to be aware of the situation in Palestine and the suffering and horrendous conditions inflicted and imposed on the prisoners and the Palestinians in general. It is the responsibility of young Irish Republicans to spread the message of the prisoners of Palestine and not to let them sit in a prison, while the world idly sit by, either not knowing what is going on, or worse, not caring.

Our demonstration in Coalisland today was to show our solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikers, it was also a means of raising awareness of the situation within our community. We placed a banner on the barracks with the words “Victory to the Palestinian Hunger Strikers” for all to see and this is just one step that we have taken to ensure that the plight of Palestine is known to our community and town. I would urge all young republicans to take similar measures and steps to show your solidarity with the Palestinian Hunger Strikers and to raise awareness in your local areas.”

Monday, May 07, 2012

Why I joined Sinn Féin

My name is Thomas O’Mahony. I’m a native of East Cork and it has been just over a year since I became a member of Sinn Féin. Unlike many reading this article, I was a late comer to Politics, having only become politically active in College and I Don’t hail from a Republican background. In fact, I come from a staunch Fine Gael family on my father’s side. My great grandfather was a Cumann na ngaedheal TD for East Cork between 1923 and 1924. My grandfather was a proud member of FG for much of his life and would often be seen canvassing for the local candidate(s) come election time. And my father while not an active member of the Party continues to be a supporter of Fine Gael to this day. The only Republican background I can lay claim too is my great granduncle on my Mother’s side, who died while on Hunger Strike in Cork jail during the War of Independence.

With this in mind, Comrades will not be surprised to hear that I only really became interested in Republicanism when I was in Secondary School. Specifically during the Leaving Cert cycle. My History teacher at the time, a Laois woman, made a point of ignoring events such as 1798 and 1916 and concentrating nearly exclusively on the Home Rule Movement whenever we covered Irish History. Being the curious sort that I was, and annoyed that my teacher would consciously ignore certain events to suit her own agenda, I started to do my own research in my spare time. It also helped that I became quite friendly (and still am) with a number of Republicans around this time, one of whom comes from a staunch Sinn Féin background. I would like to say that it kind of snowballed from there, that I went on and joined Sinn Féin at the earliest opportunity. But, as Comrades will see, the development of my Socialist Republican Politics was anything but straight forward.

Upon entering College, I initially joined Young Fine Gael and not Sinn Féin. Comrades may be asking, quite rightly too, what prompted me to join them rather than the Sinn Féin Cumann on campus. As I’ve already highlighted, I come from a Fine Gael background rather than a Republican one, so it seemed natural at the time to join them rather than Sinn Féin. I must also stress, that while I was introduced to Republicanism prior to my arrival at UCC, I still had no real defined Politics of my own. I just knew that Fianna Fáil and the Greens were slowly bringing the State to the brink of Oblivion and in my naivety I believed the rhetoric of Fine Gael that they were indeed an alternative to this. I was with them for 6 months in all, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t initially enjoy it. It felt good to be getting politically involved in the shaping of my Country’s future. I also made some good friends, many of whom I am still on good terms with despite my departure.

So, what prompted me to leave? Put simply, I soon realised that Fine Gael were far from the alternative they were making themselves out to be. It became quite apparent that you could not advance if you did not know the right people. It wasn’t about what you brought to the table in terms of ideas and ability, it was about Cronyism. On top of this, during the 6 months I was with them, my Politics continued to develop. As the Country was brought to its knees as a result of the failure of Capitalism and the rampant corruption and incompetence of Fianna Fáil, I gradually moved further to the Left. Concurrent to this, I developed my Republicanism as my research into the Movement gained pace. All of these factors converged 6 months after my initial meeting with Young Fine Gael in UCC and I left.

Comrades can be forgiven for thinking that my tale would conclude at that point. But as you will see, there were a few more twists to come. I will count it as one of the great regrets in my life that following my departure from Young Fine Gael, I did not join with Sinn Féin. While it is true that for a time I helped out with the College Cumann and went to the odd meeting and Protest with them, I would not join the Party for over a year later. I would instead, as some Comrades know, join the Socialist Party in Cork City.

To this day, I cannot explain why I didn’t join with Sinn Féin. I sometimes think that it was because of my family background, that I was simply too scared to join a Party which my father and mother simply hated with a passion. I spend all day thinking about possible reasons for why I did what I did, but I would not be able to come up with an acceptable reason. My stint with the Socialists was much longer than with Young Fine Gael, lasting just over a year. As with Young Fine Gael, I would be doing a dis-service to Comrades if I were to say that I didn’t enjoy my time with the Socialists. They, more than any other Group, have played the greatest role in how my Politics ultimately developed along the Socialist path that they have. Unfortunately for me as it would turn out, they weren’t just Socialist, but they were also Republican.

As some Comrades may or may not know, the Socialist Party has never been a friend of the Republican Movement. To be blunt about it, they hate us. It was made clear to me in no uncertain terms that you cannot be a Socialist and a Republican. Republicans, as one member told me, were little better than ‘genocidal murderers’ who were only interested in Sectarian warfare. Such an analysis was not just shocking to me at the time, but annoyed me greatly as it was blatantly inaccurate. I also learned as time passed that the Socialist Party was not interested in building the Mass Workers Movement they often talked about. Time after time, suggestions to expand into the South side of the City fell on deaf ears. I was told that it would take away from the work of their Candidate. That was not why I got involved with them when I did. To me, Politics should be about empowering local communities to better their lives. It should be about creating a more equal society in every part of this island. I didn’t join up to help certain people get elected into positions of power.

While such a lack of ambition and drive was annoying, it wasn’t the main reason that I would eventually leave yet another Party. From the beginning I felt that many within the Socialist Party simply did not trust me. Not just because of my past association with Young Fine Gael, but also because of my Republicanism. In the end I was left feeling isolated because of my refusal to accept that my Republicanism was wrong. I was left with no real option but to leave.

As Comrades can no doubt tell, I joined Sinn Féin a few short months after this. Since joining Sinn Féin, I have taken an active role in building the Republican Movement in my native East Cork. Of all the projects I have been involved with since joining, I am most proud of setting up the East Cork Cumann of Republican Youth. Several Comrades and I from across the Region came together late last year to form the Clonmult Martyrs Cumann to give Young Republicans a vehicle to become more politically involved in shaping and creating the All-Ireland Republic we strive for. The Cumann has since gone on to play a leading role in several campaigns since its foundation, including; the fight to retain ambulance services in East Cork, the fight to retain services in Mallow hospital, the presidential election and we are currently playing an active role in campaigning for a No vote in the upcoming referendum on the EU Austerity Treaty. This is on top of taking an active role in both planning and executing several regional Commemorations to honour East Cork’s Patriot dead. For me, joining Sinn Féin felt like coming home. I had finally found the courage to join the Party which not only best represents my Socialist Republican Politics, but which is also committed to empowering local communities through Community activism. While I will regret to my dying day that I did not join with Sinn Féin a lot sooner than I did, I will never regret taking that final step to join when I did.

Comrades may be thinking why I took the time to write this Article and share it with them. I wrote this Article as I firmly believe that it is the priority of every member of this Party, at both youth and senior levels, to build it from the ground up so that we can reach our ultimate objective of an All-Ireland Republic worthy of that name. In essence, that means getting new Members involved within the Republican Movement. One of the ways we can do this is by relating our own experiences and highlighting what it was which inspired us to take that first step which ultimately got us politically active.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Sinn Féin Republican Youth Express Solidarity with Palestinian Hunger Strikers

Sinn Féin Republican Youth wish to express solidarity with our comrades in Palestine who hunger for justice. Around 2,800 Palestinians Political Prisoners are on Hunger strike in Israeli jails in protest against the use of administrative detention (internment) and the conditions and treatment of Palestinians inside the jails. The strike began on April 17th and many more prisoners are joining the strike with each passing day. At the moment there are four prisoners who are viewed to be in danger they are administrative detainees Bilal Diyab, Tha'ir Halale, Omar Abu Shlal and Muhammad Siksak. Bilal and Tah'ir are currently entering their 69th day on hunger strike. The Israeli’s have begun to punish the Prisoners who are on the strike with routine beatings, strip searches, confiscation of belongings and periods of isolation.

SFRY activist from Coalisland, Cathal Óg Donnelly who has recently returned from a Republican delegation to Gaza along with 3 other youth activists Ruairi McLaughlin, Mickey McCrossan and Álanna Campbell commented:

“Khader Adnan had ended his 66 day hunger strike shortly before we arrived in Gaza and Hana Al Shalabi ended her 43 day strike while we were there, we had the honour of meeting her in her hospital bed and Álanna presented her with an Easter lily. She told us that during her strike she often thought of Bobby Sands and the Irish martyrs. These Palestinians refused to bend the knee to Israeli violence and injustice just as the many Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike now are striking a blow against injustice for their country and people. Bilal and Tha’ir are close to death while 10 prisoners have been hospitalised and over 1300 have entered their 3rd week on hunger strike, the western media as ever are silent, now is the time for action! While our comrades where dying in the H Blocks of Long Kesh the Palestinians stood by us, now it is our turn to stand by them. One people, one cause! Victory to the Hunger Strikers!”