3 July 2008 Edition

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Ógra republican youth camp success

ÓGRA: Giving voice to young republicans

ÓGRA: Giving voice to young republicans

ÓGRA Shinn Féin’s fifth annual Campa Náisiúnta Óige was held in south Armagh  the weekend before last with young republicans taking part in three days of debates, workshops, activities and music.
Speakers at the event, in the Tí Chulainn Cultural Activity centre, An Mullach Bán, in the picturesque ring of Gullion, included legendary British miners’ leader Arthur Scargill as well as young comrades from Catalonia.
The first forum (on Friday evening) was on the theme of Barriers to Young People in Society, where contributions were made by young ex-POW Tomas Marron, Irish-speaker Senan McAoidh, and Claire O’Hanrahan, who highlighted how  women are still not treated as equals in society.
On Saturday morning, the visitors (including many from overseas) travelled around south Armagh to see various republican monuments and locations where Irish republicans lost their lives in the latest phase of the conflict.
After the tour, there was a public talk on the Proclamation of 1916.
Various youth groups – including Labour Youth, Young Unionists and SDLP Youth – took part in a lively debate with Ógra Shinn Féin and other contributors.

The keynote speaker was Arthur Scargill, leader of the Socialist Labour Party but famous for being the leader of the miners’ strike. Arthur spoke passionately on the issue of “reclaiming our economic and political rights”. He also congratulated voters for rejecting the Lisbon Treaty, and also spoke about his political life, recounting many personal stories that forever shaped the course of British and world history. He spoke particularly on the part he played in the 1984-1985 coal miners’ strike and on the role that socialists have in creating a better Ireland and a better world.
Wrapping up political engagements for the youth camp was an international talk from members of the Catalan youth movement, JERC, and Sinn Féin’s youngest MLA, Daithí McKay. They spoke of the long-standing links between Irish republicans and republicans in Catalonia, and how each nation can continue to inspire each other as we progress to freedom and equality.
The Catalan comrades were later presented with a Hunger Strike bodhrán from Castlerea Prison.
Entertainment over the weekend was provided by Armagh trio Paddywagon and Derek Warfield of the Wolfe Tones.
Speaking following the weekend Ógra National Organiser Barry McColgan said:
“This camp provided an opportunity for young republicans and international delegates to come together, build comradeship and debate many key issues in our struggle.
“Every activist who attended the camp has left more informed and more confident in the struggle we wage for national liberation and socialism.”

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