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23 August 2001 Edition

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Ógra on the march in Munster

Ógra Shinn Féin's ever increasing strength growth was highlighted in Waterford City on Saturday 18 August as young Ógra activists from Kerry, Cork and Waterford participated in a full day of lectures and workshops. This coincided with a commemorative march in memory of 1981 hunger striker Kevin Lynch. The successful day was capped with an open air meeting featuring local politicians and others from further afield.

Local organiser David Cullinane briefed those gathered on Ógra Shinn Féin's newly released youth policy document. Cullinane, who will stand as the local candidate for Sinn Féin in Waterford City in the forthcoming general election, read from the document about how ``those in power so often undervalue the young people in any society''. Cullinane outlined Ógra's vision that ``young people must become more empowered and involved in the decision making processes that affect their lives''.

Former prisoner Seanna Walsh then provided a fascinating first hand account of life on the blanket. Walsh urged the young people present to simply ``identify your issues and go for them'', in much the same manner in which those on the blanket protest and hunger strike had done.

The afternoon session proved to be the most lively of the day's events, as discussion raged on whether republicans are progressive or conservative in their attitudes towards young people, drugs, anti-social behavior and representation. The drugs issue, specifically the issue of legalising cannabis, was vigorously debated as was the attitude of older republicans towards the new influx of youthful members. Many of those present felt a certain stand-offishness toward them by older republicans, and were grateful that Ógra Shinn Féin provided an outlet for their particular brand of vitalised republicanism.

BY CHRISTÓIR De RÁLAIGH

GUE-NGL-new-Jan-2106

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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