30 April 1998 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

SFY discuss document

Conway Mill was the venue for a national Sinn Fein Youth conference on Saturday 25 April to discuss the Good Friday Document.

Over 50 young people from Lurgan, Craigavon, South Tyrone, South Armagh, Derry, South Down, Newry, Dublin, North, South, East and West Belfast, Twinbrook and Poleglass took part in the conference to express their concerns and opinions on the document.

Proceedings began with a summary of the main points contained in the document followed by a general discussion where each person expressed the worries and opinions of the young people of their area concerning the document. The general consensus was that there was difficulty in understanding the complex wording of the document and it was felt by all that this was done intentionally which therefore resulted in the young people not being able to form an opinion, or worse, adopting the opinions expressed on the television and in the newspapers.

However, the main points of concern for the young people seemed to be proposed changes to Articles 2 and 3, policing and the prisoners issue.

From the outset of the discussion it was established that this was not a republican document and its aim was to defend the union. However, it was also stressed that this was not a solution or final agreement.

The young people did acknowledge that there may be some good things in the document, but because of its vagueness and ambiguous nature, the British had a ``pull-out'' clause on every issue, at which point it was stated by another SFY member that ``we also have a pullout clause, Sinn Fein can pull out at any time''.

There were many differences in opinion but one thing was clear and this was the need for unity. The young people noted that the centre of popular nationalism has moved towards Sinn Fein and the party are now leading the nationalist community, therefore unity is essential to maintain this success.

Each representitive stated how they would vote in the forthcoming referendum. A no vote in the 26 counties was unanimous. However, in the 6 counties views differed, while most people opted for a free vote others decided on a straight yes or no vote.

When deciding on whether or not Sinn Fein should enter the Assembly, some SFY members thought they should, others thought they shouldn't, while some were undecided.

All in attendence thought this conference was informative and constructive and SFY have pledged to continue to consult its membership and discuss the document.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1