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Dublin Opinion >>
Ógra Shinn Féin organise successful and upbeat National Congress
Tuesday January 22, 2008 17:09 by Republican Youth - Ógra Shinn Féin osfnational at yahoo dot ie
Young Republican delegates from across Ireland and representatives of International youth movements mobilised in Dublin this weekend to take part in a packed and upbeat Ógra Shinn Féin National Congress.
Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams delivered the main address and helped launch Ógra’s new drugs and alcohol campaign called N.A.R.C. (Not Another Ravaged Community) campaign.
The Sinn Féin President told the assembled; Comhdháil Náisúnta, that the Lisbon treaty was a bad deal for Ireland.
“The Lisbon Treaty, like many of the treaties that went before it, does not deliver reform, efficiency or democracy. It is a bad deal for Ireland. We deserve and can achieve better.”
The weekend long republican youth event was the ninth annual Ógra Shinn Fein congress.
On Friday night, Dublin T.D. Aengus O’Snodaigh welcomed delegates and facilitated a debate on the encroaching Lisbon Treaty.
Following a lively and engaging discussion exploring exciting and innovative ways to bring the campaign to Irish citizens, delegates then dealt with motions on the peace process, environment and Europe.
Delegates then attended a video showing on the Basque Struggle, which was a prelude to a discussion on the importance of Internationalism.
Eoin O’Broin opened proceedings on Saturday morning. The first National Organiser of Sinn Féin Youth (97-98), said that the seriousness and level of debate at the Ógra congress is what sets it apart from the other youth wings.
A new introduction to the National Congress was workshops, delegates formed up discussing pressing issues including policing, building a mass youth movement, gender equality, Lisbon Treaty, community engagement, Irish language, and education.
The workshops where extremely engaging with the majority of delegates participating in discussion, they also acted as a confidence builder with many more delegates speaking to motions following.
Before activists broke for Lunch, Lou, a member of the Tara campaign addressed the importance of mobilising against this attack of National Heritage.
A statement was then read out from the Republican POW’s which thanked Ógra activists for their solidarity actions. Jim ‘Flash’ McVeigh the last OC of IRA Prisoner’s Long Kesh, read out the statement.
Gerry Adams then delivered the leadership address. He paid tribute to the campaigning work of Ógra and urged for Ógra to lead a vigorous and innovative campaign for a no vote in the Lisbon Treaty.
He also welcomed the N.A.R.C. campaign being undertaken by Ógra, saying that whilst illegal drugs were having a detrimental effect on communities we also need to focus on the huge problems associated with alcohol abuse.
Following the leadership address, Cuige organisers give their reports to the congress. The organiser’s reported back a steady level of activism throughout Ireland and also informed Ógra of numerous new cumann set up throughout the Cuige areas in the last year. Indeed these cumainns were represented at the congress.
During the International Section, addresses where made by Segi (Basque), JERC (Catalan) and GI (Corsica), all spoke of the importance and inspiration that Ireland remains to them. All delegations received a standing ovation.
National Organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin, Barry McColgan delivering his National Address spoke of the growth and professionalising of Ógra over the past year.
“In the past year, Ógra have continued to drive forward a radical agenda, building a mass republican youth movement that can and will affect necessary change across this Country. In the past year our organisation has strengthened, our activism has increased and as a result we are now without doubt the most visible, fastest growing and impacting youth movement on this Island.”
“We have professionalised our organisation over the past year, greatly increasing the output of news especially on the BlogSpot which now receives on average 500 hits daily, producing top quality films on issues ranging from Republican Youth and the Basque struggle; we also launched a new National Website, and have continued circulation of Glór Na nÓg and the circular.”
“The past year has been a hectic, difficult yet rewarding; we need to step up our actions and further the growth created. It is very realisable that next year we will launch a further 12 cumann and double our membership, if every activist implements a simple logic of recruiting one member each.”
“The N.A.R.C campaign, an extremely engaging campaign on an extremely important issue can assist in this greatly. So lets turn our words and thoughts here today into unstoppable action, let us campaign, recruit and educate and be a shining light to all those who have gone before us. Let us be the generation that see’s the rising of the moon!"
Tíocfáidh ár lá!”