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Basque Youth Visit Armagh and Newry

19 August, 2008 - by Mickey Brady

A delegation of Basque youth is touring Ireland this week. The group which is being hosted by Ógra Shinn Fein will be engaged in a number of public meetings, and will also use the mobilisation to learn of the peace process in Ireland. Along with their hosts from Armagh Ógra Shinn Fèin they met with Newry and Armagh Sinn Fèin MLA Micky Brady to discuss the current political situation, with the parallels between Basque Country and the North of Ireland being highlighted.

Following on from this meeting there was a tour of South Armagh with points of interest being shown to the visitors who were impressed with the demilitarisation of the area, with the removal of watch towers being the most evident sign of this.

One of the Basque youth said "We have seen images of these towers on television and the internet and to now see them gone is a significant development, like here the Basque people want a peaceful solution to the conflict in our country. Despite this, the Spanish and French have continued in their campaign of repression, torture and arrests. We denounce these repressive acts, which show the Spanish and French belligerence to working on a meaningful peace process in the Basque Country."

"We look to the positive progress which has been made by the Irish people through the Good Friday Agreement and we are keen to study its successes."

Speaking of the Basque visit to Armagh, local Ógra Shinn Féin chairperson Damien White said:

"From past visits to the Basque Country I know that the Basque struggle is our struggle, we support the rights of the Basque people to national self determination and delegations like this are important to keep the Irish people informed of developments in the Basque country."

"The current repression and human rights abuses against the Basque youth are appalling and it is an inspiration that despite this torture they continue to mobilise confidently towards their objectives."

"The Basque youth are one of the most inspiring and innovative movements globally, we can learn many lessons from their vast experience and through visits like this we can enable them to learn from our struggle in Ireland and for Ógra members to learn from theirs."

"We in Ógra Shinn Féin stand shoulder to shoulder with the struggle for Basque freedom and independence. The reluctance of the Spanish and French governments to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Basques is unacceptable and does not go anyway in resolving the ongoing political conflict in the Basque country." ENDS

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