28 September 2006 Edition

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Ógra to host massive Demilitarisation Weekend in Omagh

Ógra Shinn Féin will welcome delegates to Omagh in October for their fifth annual Demilitarisation Weekend. Youth from throughout the 32 Counties, as well as international delegations from Britain and the Basque Country, will converge to "claim victory" according to local Ógra Shinn Féin chairperson Barry McNally.

The weekend, organised from the 6-8 October, will be the fifth annual weekend focusing on British demilitarisation in the County Tyrone town. In the past, the weekend has been the target of hoax bomb alerts and huge British military and RUC surveillance.

Massive progress has been made on demilitarisation since last year's weekend, with the last British Army regiment vacating the Lisanelly Barracks in August of this year. The British Army barracks, which occupies over 300 acres of prime development land, will be completely vacated by the British MOD in August 2007.

Events begin on Friday with a Women in Struggle theme. A talk by women former POWs will be followed by the screening of a DVD on women in the freedom struggle.

On Saturday, a life in struggle lecture from Tommy McKearney is followed by a discussion on the Hunger Strike with representatives drawn from a number of political parties.

Delegates will take part in a tour of the area, visiting local sites of republican interest. Barry McNally said: "This year, the weekend will focus on the achievements of the Ógra Shinn Féin weekends in previous years.

"The weekends acted as a local catalyst in raising the issue of demilitarisation, leading to the formation of the Omagh Residents' Demilitarisation Committee. Guided by the concerns of residents, it took on the British Government over its massively oppressive military presence in Omagh.

"To signal the demilitarisation of Lisanelly Brit Barracks, this year's weekend will be titled Slán Abhaile. It will be an opportunity for Ógra activists to claim victory for the campaign of the last number of years. We have succeeded in our campaign to demilitarise the British war machine in Omagh and would like to see this replicated throughout the Six Counties."

• Anyone interested in attending the weekend, please contact your local ÓSF cumann, or contact the Omagh Sinn Féin office on 02882 253040 (04882 253040 from the 26 Counties) or by email on [email protected]

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