Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Maskey attends launch of Youth Manifesto

23 November, 2003

Sinn Féin Councillor Alex Maskey speaking at the launch of the party's Youth Manifesto for the Assembly Elections said "this is a manifesto written by and for young people. It sets out their demands for Irish Unity, for youth rights and against racism and sectarianism." Mr. Maskey said:

" Sinn Fein is the second largest party youth wing on the island. It is an active youth organisation which plays a crucial role within Sinn Féin also. Membership of Ográ Shinn Fein is not a pastime. It is a campaigning movement. It is unafraid to take to the streets of Belfast to demand a new beginning to policing, to the streets of Dublin to demand a fair deal on insurance for young drivers or to the streets of Drogheda to demand the closure of Sellafield.

"Young people who join Ográ Shinn Fein believe they can make a difference and this is the feeling that is missing from other young people across the island. They believe their vote makes no difference and they are asking why the British brought in regulations to make it harder for young people to vote,ensuring that many young people will be disenfranchised in this weeks election.

But they can deliver change. They can make a difference. But to do so they must vote for a party that can deliver change, for a party that is genuinely different. In Sinn Fein they see a revolutionary political party. They sense change coming, great change, and they want to be a part of it.

"Listening to the young people speaking here today I am reminded of the huge contribution made to the development of the republican movement and Sinn Fein by young people across Ireland. It was young people, from North and South, who took part in the first civil rights marches that challenged the discriminatory Northern state. It was young people who sacrificed their youth, sometimes their lives, in the internment camps and prisons where the British government tried to destroy Irish republicanism once and for all. And it is the energy, radicalism and commitment of young people that has spearheaded Sinn Fein's dramatic electoral successes of the last five years and the successes we will enjoy on November 26th. Increasing numbers of young people are joining Sinn Fein, standing behind the Ográ Shinn Fein banner that bears the slogan Independence and Socialism, and working for a better future and an Ireland of equals.

Among the priorities of Ógra Shinn Féin in this election are:

  • Irish Unity and Independence
  • Radical social and economic change;
  • The abolition of the 11 plus;
  • The re-introduction of student grants and the abolition of student fees;
  • An increase in the minimum wage for 18-21 year olds to bring it into line with that received by over 21s;
  • Training for young people to lead youth peer education and self esteem programmes, we want to play a vital role in transforming local communities into safer and cleaner districts.
  • The end of British Army and PSNI harassment of young people, and young republicans in particular.
  • The voting age should be lowered to 16;
  • All political institutions should have shadow youth assemblies or councils;
  • Measures to reduce the cost of car insurance for young drivers;
  • A Minister for Children and Young People.
  • A root and branch change to the institutional structure of our society, so that all people irrespective of race or religion have equal access to services, employment, resources, rights and entitlements;
  • Internationalism is the real alternative to corporate globalisation;
  • Developing World debt must be scrapped.

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