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Ógra Shinn Féin launch 'Educate to be Free' campaign

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Wednesday December 10, 2008 16:14author by Educate to be Free - Ógra Shinn Féinauthor email osfnational at yahoo dot ieauthor phone 07885569940

At their National Congress in Cork City, on Saturday 6 December, Ógra Shinn Féin launched a new national campaign on education. The campaign, titled 'Educate to be Free' was launched by ÓSF National Organiser Barry McColgan, and was endorsed by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams who was present.

Following the launch, the republican youth movement organised a No! Fees Protest on Cork's Patrick Street, which was well recieved by the public.

The following is the text from the launch:

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Teideal an fheachtais seo, nath, cumtha go cáiliúil ag Thomas Davis, ‘Oil go mBeidh tú Saor’, ciallaíonn sé cumhacht uilíoch do dhaoine, ciallaíonn sé an ceart agus an gá le oiliúint a chur orainn féin agus gliúnta ag teacht.

The very title of this new campaign, a phrase famously coined by Thomas Davis, Educate that you may be free, suggests universal empowerment, it suggests the right and the need to educate ourselves and our future generations.

When Thomas Davis spoke those famous words, he was thinking from a liberation point of view. While the Irish people where oppressed, their language rights denied, and treated as second class citizens in their own nation, he reminded the Irish people the one thing the British Empire could not occupy was our minds.

Sentiments that would similarly be echoed over a century later by Mairead Farrell.

Education is a powerful tool, and has been one of the key factors in many key moments in our republican past.

The current phase of republican struggle was propelled forward and sustained in the early days by the Civil Rights Movement by a new generation of confident educated nationalists who benefited from the introduction of free education through the welfare state.

Education is a powerful tool, not only for liberation, but to empower our young people and our communities which is why it is essential that across Ireland we have a system of Free Education For All.

The upcoming campaign will deal with the broad spectrum of education and as a result is accessible for all cumann to undertake.

The main areas of the Educate to be Free campaign are:

- Irish Language Education – Calling for the universal opportunity to be educated in Irish at all levels

- Primary Education – Supporting the abolition of the 11+ and adequate class room sizes

- Free Education For All – Ensuring that all levels, especially 3rd level is free, and call for the abolition of all fees which incur massive debt on students

- Student Empowerment – Taking back the student unions for students, and radicalising the student movements especially in light of recent budget cuts

- Cost of Living – lobbying for a decent standard of living for struggling students

It will be run over 12 months, across universities, schools, and communities and include national forums, local debates, protests, petitions, booklets and DVD’s, support for running campaigns, letter writing and of course at a local level, more initiatives will develop and localised slants on the campaign will emerge.

We have already campaigned vigorously from the summer in opposition to fees, and we have been vocal in our support for the Assembly Education Minister Catriona Ruane in Sinn Féin’s progressive policy of abolishing the 11+.

Let us take the message to Irish Youth – Educate to be Free!

Related Link: http://www.osf.ie

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Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video


Comments (11 of 11)

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author by Brendan Hughespublication date Wed Dec 10, 2008 17:25

The British Minister of Education in the 6 counties is a Sinn Fein member who attacked the class room assistants in local schools to introduce budget cuts dictated by the DUP.
Educate to be part of the British system more like.

author by apublication date Wed Dec 10, 2008 17:36

Ogra Shinn Fein should start their campaign by demanding that the Northern Ireland Assembly Executive (which Sinn Fein are a major component of) scraps tuition fees in the North.

Until then nobody can take this 'campaign' seriously.

author by Sheffo - SPpublication date Wed Dec 10, 2008 19:48

Another very important question I have is this - why have OSF decided to go on a solo run on this issue, and not, like other student Political groups have done, join the FEE (Free Education for Everyone) Campaign?

There needs to be a strong, active and united campaign in the colleges to battle as hard as possible against fees etc, this move by OSF will lessen the ability to fight back, not strengthen it as they seem to be claiming...

So I would genuinely be very interested to hear from an OSFer why they have deiced not to join the FEE campaign

author by Joe O'Connorpublication date Wed Dec 10, 2008 20:21

How come Sinn Fein don't call for the removal of state support for private schools? 90 million euro of taxpayers money to educate the wealthy elite. Maybe, Mary Lou has an objection due to personal reasons?

author by Gemmapublication date Wed Dec 10, 2008 21:32

ÓSF have worked, participated and supported initiatives with FEE, including marches and occupations etc. I mean is there a formal vetting and recruitment structure where you sign on the dotted line?? Stop being so pedandic.

Also this is a campaign organised by young people, progressively calling for Free Education For All, and should be welcomed. Fair play to anyway making this call and working for it.

The sectarian scabbling from the micro left and pseudo 'republicans' is a disgrace, but hardly surprising.

Good campaign, and good demand.

author by Oisín - ÓSFpublication date Wed Dec 10, 2008 23:50

Ógra and Sinn Féin are opposed to state funding of private education. its just not the be all and end all of our views on education. We also didnt mention educate together in the release or even teaching maths, does that mean we are opposed to them...wise up.

Ógra have been involved with FEE sinces it beginning, you must not be to involved if you dont know that.

author by apublication date Thu Dec 11, 2008 00:47

Can OSF please explain how they can call for free education in the South when they are enforcing university fees as part of the Assembly Executive in the North?

Do OSF think people in the North are second class citizens and do not have a right to free education?

And please do not insult our intelligence by dismissing this question as squabbling of the micro-left.

author by Oisín - ÓSFpublication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 01:25

The assembly does not have the power to remove fees, that is in the hands of westminister, which is why we are campaign for both devolution of economic powers and the removal of fees.

You really should know this if you know anything about the assembly. I assume you do but you dont care about reality when it allows you to score some pathetic points on a website.

author by apublication date Sat Dec 13, 2008 17:48

You are wrong, the Northern Ireland Assembly does have the power to scrap fees but decided against it as it would be "too expensive" and would "contravene equality measures because offering free tuition to all would benefit the wealthy more than the disadvantaged."

author by Godotpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2008 20:34

SF MLAs failed to turn up and vote against increases in tuition fees last year in the assembly.

author by Joe O'Connorpublication date Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:48

" thats in the hands of westminster " - just about sums up Sinn Feins position.


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