On Friday, 11th October at 6.30pm in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone, Sinn Féin Óige Phoblachtach launched Sinn Féin's Pre-Budget Submission with Mary-Lou McDonald TD. The public meeting, entitled 'Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget: A Better Choice for Young People', was chaired by Athlone Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Hogan and it aimed to discuss some of the core proposals outlined in Sinn Féin's detailed Pre-Budget Submission and how these would specifically address the issues faced by young people in the midlands and across Ireland.
Youth activists such as David McWeeney (South Roscommon) and Mairéad Farrell (Galway City East) facilitated discussion of the proposals and Sinn Féin Vice-President Mary-Lou McDonald T.D. gave the keynote speech along with a piece from EU Parliament Candidate Matt Carthy.
Speaking after the event, Cllr. Paul Hogan - first elected to Athlone Town Council in 2004 at the age of 21 - said that the event was an absolute success. 'This public meeting provided an excellent opportunity for the young people of Athlone and surrounding counties to come along and hear why Sinn Féin is the only political party that has concrete, practical solutions which will radically tackle the concerns of Irish youth in today's society' said Hogan.
'Young republicans and socialists in Sinn Féin realise that our proposals can, and will, get Ireland back to work. Sinn Féin is the fastest-growing and most progressive force in Irish politics, north and south; the growing numbers and calibre of young people in our party are testament to this. Tonight's contribution's by David McWeeney, Mairéad Farrell and Brendan Killeavy, all of whom will be standing as candidates for Sinn Féin in the 2014 Local Elections, were nothing short of inspiring. It is becoming clearer every day that this country urgently needs a fresh approach to how we do politics. Inequality, corruption and the gombeen man have been a blight on our political landscape for far too long and now is the time for change. Young people remain under-represented on public forums across Ireland, they are completely disenfranchised with the political system. If you want an alternative to the failed politics of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party, you should join Sinn Féin Óige Phoblachtach.'