Republican Youth address Syriza conference in Athens


Education Officer for Republican Youth, Rachel Coyle, addressed the annual conference of Syriza Youth in Greece at the weekend.

Speaking from Athens, Rachel Coyle said;

"It is heartening to see so many young people here to influence your party in the difficult period ahead.

"It is no secret that despite efforts to to introduce a fairer and more progressive society in Greece, the European establishment ensured that, regardless of vote results, your country's path remains predetermined.

"We have all learned the ugly truth and that is that currently politics must service the needs and the agenda of capital or else!

"To focus first on the positive though, it fills me with hope see so many delegations here.

"It is an acknowledgement that as our enemies operate beyond borders, we too must do so.

"Young people have always been pivotal inprogressive national and social movements.

"The difficulty remains that progressive parties seeking access to decision making often have to temper policies and messages for electoral advancement.

"This pragmatism is understandable and so it is the responsibility of the youth wings to ensure that this pragmatism does not become party principle.

I"t is especially important in the face of the now emboldened and strengthening right. 

"We must develop a stronger, more coherent left narrative and, as a start, instead of allowing the differences within the left to divide us, we must learn to see them as a strength. It reflects the conviction of our individual movements.

"Sharing a narrative and a platform does not have to be prescriptive. Let us foster diversity and play a part in demanding a fairer society. 

"We must use our youth spaces unrestricted by electoral game playing to campaign, educate and to idealise, to ensure maximum radicalisation of the next generation.

"I just want to touch on Brexit for a moment as its outworkings will indeed impact disproportionately on Ireland.

"Sinn Féin’s position in the campaign was clear - we opposed Brexit - not because we don't have legitimate concerns about the nature of the EU but because we could not imagine a situation where our small island could be divided in such a way.

"You must understand that 6 counties of our island remain under British occupation.

"We are a small island of 6.4 million people. We have suffered economically, socially and politically as a result of Partition. 

"The people of the north voted to remain in the EU. That result must be respected. 

"The prospect of customs tariffs and the restriction of the free movement of goods, services and most importantly, people across the Irish border, as a result of Brexit is unacceptable and has become a source of massive concern especially to businesses, workers, students and farmers in the border region.

"Sinn Féin Republican Youth are committed to building a united, socialist Ireland that delivers for citizens. That is difficult in the context of our restricted sovereignty as part of the EU. 

"There is deep and widening concern about the democratic deficit at the heart of the EU project and its domination by a neo-liberal agenda which has caused so much hardship to people across the EU member states.

"Sinn Féin is working for a different kind of Europe - a Europe of sovereign, independent states working together for the people, not the EU superstate that some political leaders are seeking to create.

"We want a Europe of solidarity, equality and social inclusion which plays its part in promoting peace and human rights internationally, not an increasingly militarised EU, moving ever closer to NATO.

"Above all, Sinn Féin wants a Europe that works in the interests of citizens.

"The European Union must cease seeking to construct a superstate and fundamentally reform to become a co-operative Union of nation states committed to working together on issues such as climate change, migration, trade and using our common strengths to improve the lives of EU citizens.

"If it does not, the disintegration of the EU will become a real possibility along with the accelerated right.

"So the obstacles are clear let us stand up together to smash them!

"Tiocfaidh ár lá!"

Ógra Shinn Féin