South and East Belfast Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Youth/Ógra

About Ógra Shinn Féin

Ógra Shinn Féin is the official youth wing of Sinn Féin. We are an Semi-autonomous section within the broader party, bound by the party's constitution and subject to both the Ard Fheis and Ard Comhairle, but with the freedom to develop our own style of politics and set our own agenda. We are a youth led movement, by young people for young people.

Ógra Shinn Féin is committed to Irish independence, the ending of partition and a complete British withdrawal from our country. We believe that an independent Irish republic is a fundamental right of the Irish people. We also believe that it provides the best vehicle for achieving real democracy and peace in our country.

Ógra Shinn Féin is also committed to a socialist Irish republic. Our version of socialism is one, which sees power and resources resting with local people, enabling them to determine their own future in accordance with their needs. Ours is a community led socialism built on principles of empowerment and participation, where need is placed before the interests of capital, and radical democracy replaces bureaucratic and self- serving liberal democracy.

Ógra Shinn Féin is also committed to ensuring that young people are given a central role in shaping our society. Young people need to be given ownership of the political processes, which govern our lives. We need education, we need employment, we need equality before the law, we need to live free from state police and foreign illegitimate army harassment and violence, but most of all we need democracy. Not tokens like the right to vote, but a real say in the democratic process. We have a right to participate.

Through educating and mobilising ourselves as young republicans, Ógra Shinn Féin is ensuring that as young people, we will have our say, and the political process will be ours. Independence for our nation, independence for our communities and independence for ourselves. With all this comes real freedom!

Visit Ógra Shinn Féin Béal Feirste and the Ógra Shinn Féin Blogspot

History

The first structured organisation for young republicans was Na Fianna formed in 1909 by Countess Markievicz in order educate the youth in national ideals and to re-establish the independence of the nation.

Na Fianna was the youth wing of the IRA and assisted them and proved invaluable in all their armed campaigns from 1909 until 1994.

However, with 1994 and the historic IRA ceasefire came massive opportunities for peace and freedom. Politics being seen as the main vehicle to accomplish these goals ensured that a new era dawned in republican youth.

Ógra Shinn Fein, the official youth wing of Sinn Féin. Founded as Sinn Fein Youth in 1997, then reconstituted as Ógra Shinn Féin in 1998, the youth movement has kept burning the strong tradition of Republican Youth, continuing on the invaluable role that young people played in the struggle for Irish Freedom.

Ógra was established in what has become, very important and exciting times for Irish Republicans, and it has seen many ups and downs in its early days. Having seen surges in membership and activity and then with the exit of key activists has seen itself back to recruitment and building.

We have seen a number of National Organisers and Leaderships come and go in a very short space of time, Ógra has now got a new restructured, committed and determined leadership and has finally forced itself firmly into the Irish political landscape.

Politics

Ógra Shinn Féin is a socialist republican organisation and wants to see the establishment of a United and Sovereign Ireland, free from British interference, an Ireland where all the citizens are treated equally, and everyone is entitled to basic rights like proper policing, housing, health, education, and a job.

Our version of socialism is one, which sees power and resources resting with local people, enabling them to determine their own future in accordance with their needs. Ours is a community led socialism built on principles of empowerment and participation, where need is placed before the interests of capital, and radical democracy replaces bureaucratic and self-serving liberal democracy.

Ógra Shinn Féin is also committed to ensuring that young people are given a central role in shaping our society. Young people need to be given ownership of the political processes, which govern our lives. We need education, we need employment, we need equality before the law, we need to live free from PSNI/RUC, Gardai and British Army harassment and violence, but most of all we need democracy. Not tokens like the right to vote, but a real say in the democratic process. Economic equality. We have a right to participate.

Through educating and mobilising ourselves as young republicans, Ógra Shinn Féin is ensuring that as young people, we will have our say, and the political process will be ours. Independence for our nation, independence for our communities and independence for ourselves. With all this comes real freedom…

Ógra Shinn Féin objectives

  • Our ultimate objective is to establish a Sovereign 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic (see proclamation)
  • To build a vibrant, radical mass movement across Ireland whose many activists will work to ensure the establishment of a republic as outlined in the 1916 Proclamation
  • Ógra Shinn Féin activists will promote Socialist Republican ideals amongst the youth of Ireland
  • To ensure the empowerment of local people through actively advancing community politics
  • Putting youth rights, facilities, work rights, sports, education, drugs, sexual awareness, suicide prevention, harassment and youth alienation to the fore of local, regional and national governments

Role of Ógra Shinn Féin

Recruitment, Education and Campaigning

To ensure that young people are recruited into the movement, educated on history and Irish Socialist Republican ideals with a view to campaigning on relevant issues which advance the struggle in pursuit of our objectives - campaigning and activism will result in recruitment (recruitment is achieved through action) and the cycle of recruit, educate and campaign will continue

Create a mass Socialist Republican youth movement, creating a new generation of activists and supporters, ensuring strong support for Sinn Féin objectives amongst the youth of Ireland, and building broad popular support.

Irish Socialist Republicanism

"Humankind can never attain real freedom until a society has been built in which no person has the freedom to exploit another person. The bulk of humanity's resources will never be used for the good of humanity until they are in public ownership and under democratic control". - Joe Slovo


"Our freedom must be had at all hazards. If the men of property will not help us they must fall; we will free ourselves by the aid of that large and respectable class of the community - the men of no property." - James Connolly


While the demand for social justice has always been central to the democratic objective of Irish Republicanism, the Rising of 1916 saw the realization of the necessity of socialism in the political program of the liberation forces. The best example of this is to be found in the writings of Padraig Pearse. In his 'The Sovereign People' essay, written shortly before the Rising, he stated that: "the nation's sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the nation but to all material possessions of the nation, the nation's soil and all its resources, all wealth and wealth-producing processes within the nation. In other words, no private right to prosperity is good against the public right to secure strictly equal rights and liberties to every man and woman within the nation."


While many others have contributed significantly over time to making socialism an important element of republicanism, there can be no doubt that it was James Connolly who succeeded in making socialism a fundamental element of republican political philosophy. This element has endured right up to today and is central to the political objectives that we, the young revolutionaries of Ógra Shinn Fein, are working to achieve. Connolly realised from his readings, experience and early struggle that national separation was not enough; a socialist programme was desperately required to destroy the poverty, inequality and exploitation which existed throughout Ireland. In his political writings he sought to bring home to Irish men and women the importance of socialism allied to nationalism. Connolly made this point when he very concisely wrote: "Political and social freedom are not two separate and unrelated ideas but are two sides of the one great principle, each being incomplete without the other."


Connolly realised also that the ownership of Ireland was not just political, that it had an economic basis. He knew that even if the British army left Ireland imperialism would still control the country through its economic grip - through its control over the financial, industrial and agricultural life in the country. When we think of how successive Dublin governments have used the 'freedom' won after the Tan war it is very apparent how prophetic his following words have proven to be: "If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle unless you set about the organisation of the socialist republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her finances, through the whole array of commercial and individual institutions she has planted in the country."


The Proclamation of 1916 and Democratic Programme of the First Dail of 1919 are explicit in their view that socialist policies are essential if we are to speak of true freedom. The Proclamation declared "…the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be sovereign and indefeasible."


Typical of the terms of the Democratic Programme of the First Dail of 1919 are the assertions that:
"It is the duty of the nation to assure that every citizen shall have opportunity to spend his or her strength in the service of the people."


"In return for willing service we, in the name of the republic, declare the right of every citizen to an adequate share of the produce of the nation's labour."


Clearly, therefore, Irish republicanism has not been a static concept but a living, developing and growing ideology. By 1919 it had clearly evolved to embrace socialism.


Any suggestion that socialism is alien to so-called traditional republicanism is unfounded. Equally incorrect is any suggestion that in the context of a struggle for national freedom nationalism and socialism do not march together.
Our task as a revolutionary movement at this stage in the struggle for freedom is to act as the mass organiser of the people, and young people in particular; to lead them in agitational activities on issues such as better working, living and social conditions, showing them in all these fights that their enemies are their landlords and their gombeen exploiters banded together into the establishment.


The objective is both nationalist and socialist - a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic.
Ógra Shinn Fein is totally in agreement with Connolly's assertion that "An Irish Republic, the only purely political change in Ireland worth crossing the street for, will never be realised except by a revolutionary party that proceeds upon the premise that the capitalist and the landlord classes in town and country in Ireland are criminal accomplices with the British government, in the enslavement and subjection of the nation. Such a revolutionary party must be socialist, and from socialism alone can the salvation of Ireland come."


Liberty


Freedom or liberty is a value. In its broadest sense it is the ability to do or act as one wishes. It means freedom of choice, civil liberty and privacy, or the achievement of some identifiable goal or benefit. It can be expressed as 'freedom to' or 'freedom from'.

Equality


Equality is a value to which almost all people subscribe. The political division is more acutely observed in whether they define it in terms of 'equal opportunity' or 'equality of outcome'. Republicans advocate equality of outcome.

Fraternity


Perhaps best understood as the 'human community' the concept of what diminishes any one of us, diminishes us all....the global village...one world, sharing the hard times and the good times.

Join Ógra


A Chairde,
Young people have been at the forefront of Irish republican politics and struggle since the time of the United Irishmen in 1798 and continue to play a key role as we build for Irish unity and independence.


The past decade has been the decade of the peace process in Ireland. We have seen how politics can work. But the past decade has also been the decade of lengthening hospital queues and housing waiting lists.


With your help we can build a new Ireland where the imperialism and partition of the past is replaced by energetic campaigners fighting for quality public services including the provision of housing, hospitals, affordable childcare, schools, facilities for young people and universal access to third level education.


Ógra Shinn Féin is a radical, campaigning activist party and is the fastest growing youth wing of any political party in Ireland.


I am asking you to get involved with Ógra Shinn Féin and to make a difference to modern Irish politics. At a time when more and more young people feel detached, not just from politics, but also from society in general, Ógra provides young people with a platform to campaign on issues which both interest and effect them. Ógra Shinn Féin is represented at all levels of the party's structures and affect Sinn Féin policy and decisions.


Join with us in building an Ireland of equals - change is in your hands.


Ádh Mór,


Gerry Adams MP MLA


You can join Ógra Shinn Féin if you are between 15 - 29 years old and live in Ireland.

Campaigns


The long-term aim of Ógra Shinn Féin is to establish a 32-county democratic socialist republic.
Below are some issues that we support and are actively campaigning on:

  • Irish unity and independence
  • Opposing American/British/Israeli and all other forms of imperialism
  • promotion of the Irish language
  • an end to racism in Ireland
  • an end to sectarianism in Ireland
  • complete dismantlement of the British war machine in Ireland
  • a total ban on the use of plastic bullets
  • disbandment of PSNI Special Branch
  • truth to be revealed in relation to British State collusion with Unionist death squads, including the Dublin Monaghan bombings
  • children's rights to be properly protected in law
  • minimum wage to be increased for young people and legally enforced
  • motor insurance to be lowered for young people
  • funding to be directed at tackling inequality at all levels of the education system
  • student grants to be increased to social welfare levels
  • all the people of Ireland to be allowed to vote for the President
  • effective political representation for young people
  • electoral voting age to be lowered to 16 years
  • all future elections and referendums to be held at weekends