Thursday, 25 June 2009


New Generation - New Opportunities

Gemma McKenna
Ógra Shinn Féin

Regardless of class, religion, race or gender all young people in our society have new opportunities that were not available to our parents.

As the younger generation we have a civic responsibility to cease the opportunities given to us to shape our society for the better. We need to rise to the challenges that lie ahead and although we have inherited many difficulties from the older generation we need to come forth and overcome those obstacles.

It is only though engagement and action not apathy that we can build on the foundation that have been laid down for us and also rectify the mistakes others have made

The peace process has carved the way for lasting peace and increased co-operation between republicans and unionists.

While this is currently happening through outreach programmes at interface areas between ex prisoners and community organizations, much more needs to be done. In order for our society to move forward we need to tackle sectarianism at its very core.

This can only be done by engaging and debating with unionists. Ógra Shinn Féin has begun to do this through participating in a group with all the youth wings within the north and together finding solutions to problems that affect young people.

It is currently working on tacking mental health issues that young people face.

Increased co-operation between unionists has been occurring through the power-sharing institutions. We now have a unique opportunity to debate on our differences and ultimately move our society forward together. Without us, the next generation the peace process can not be sustained or moved onwards, we have a key role in ensuring that young people support the new political agenda that all the main parties are involved in.

We have the chance to be a society where different cultures; religions and race can live side by side. This is not an easy task and building communities that welcome differences not exclude and divide can only be done by changing the mindsets of those who live within them.

Racism is becoming a key feature within Ireland and can not be tolerated. We as the youth have a duty to ensure that every-one who lives in this country has their basic rights protected and the opportunities to grow and develop.

Increasingly we are becoming a selfish and inward looking nation but this has to change in order to build and grow as a community, a society or indeed a nation, we need to respect and cherish all those who live within it.

Under the current capitalism system this has not be happening, instead the bankers have been bailed out whilst the people of the nation are losing their lively hoods.

Job cuts, education cuts, health cuts, the lists goes on.

Young people have been protesting, campaigning against the current government led by Brian Cowen in order to ensure that the next generation will have a future. The recent election results show clearly the FF and the Greens have little support.

Neo liberalism is dead and so is the legitimacy of the current government. Thus it is now time to put forward a socialist strategy for government that is centered on the people not an elite.

However, many young people are not interested in politics and most do not even vote.

Apathy is indeed our biggest challenge to affecting any change. Regardless of race, gender, religion or political views all young people should be encouraged to participate in politics in whatever way appeals to them.

Through working with different sections of societies and campaigning on key issues such as suicide prevention, drug and alcohol awareness and the current campaign of educate to be free, Ógra Shinn Féin is engaging with young people and making politics relevant to their daily lives.

By educating each other through debate and discussion we are empowering one another so we can make changes to our communities. The huge changes I talked of previously can only happen through people working together and collectively changing the way we are governed.

As the new generation we also have the opportunity to build our nation towards a united Ireland.

Differences should not be ignored but welcomed and through debate we can understand and engage with every-ones views. Now is the time to be putting forward our vision of an Ireland of inclusion and equality. It is not a strategy that should be feared as at its center is all the people of this island.

We as the new generation all have the opportunity to change and create a New Ireland but many difficulties and challenges lie ahead.

The youth are always at the forefront of any radical movement.

If we want a different Ireland, a country that is united and socialist based on the principles of equality and inclusion then we must work to create it.

Being young is not an easy task, whilst we may have energy and enthusiasm we also have roles and responsibilities.

This is due to the fact that as the young people of this society, change and direction should come from us, we can not and must not leave it up to any one else.

1 comment:

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