Irish and Basque youth links planned
A visit from Jarrai, the Basque youth movement, to Sinn Féin
Youth has strengthened growing links between the two groups.
Following a Sinn Féin Youth visit to Euskal Herria (Basque
Country) last March, members of Jarrai visited Ireland during
August. The trip, organised as a fact finding mission, is the
first in a series of delegations being organised by the two
groups over the coming year.
Focusing on the current situation of Irish youth in general and
republican youth in particular, Jarrai travelled across the Six
Counties and to Dublin in a hectic fortnight of meetings, tours,
and other political activities.
txon Livaitz, of Jarrai's National Committee, explained the
reasons for the visit: ``our objectives were firstly to use the
visit to get to know the reality of the political situation in
Ireland and especially the situation of Irish youth, and secondly
to break the information block that the Spanish State has built
around the Basque Country and to explain to Irish people the
reality of our conflict.
``We also wanted to reinforce our relationship with Sinn Fein
Youth. During our visit we explored a number of ways in which our
two organisations can work together and learn from each other,
helping to build our individual struggles and build international
Reflecting on his experience in Ireland Livaitz said, ``I have
seen the reality of a war in Ireland, a real war in the context
of Europe. It is true that there is a ceasefire but still I can
see the reality of occupation and military repression. It has
been particularly interesting for me to see the republican
movement's peace strategy at work''.
On the similarities between the two conflicts the Jarrai delegate
spoke about political prisoners, ``all our prisoners live under
very hard life conditions, but I have been impressed by the
important role which prisoners give to the struggle, as at home
they play a vital part''.
Livaitz also praised the spirit of community which he witnessed
everywhere he visited.
Sinn Fein Youth activist Niall O'Murchu said that the delegation
was of great importance to''the development of the republican
youth movement. We have a lot to learn from Jarrai. Sinn Féin
Youth and Jarrai are examining a number of possibilities for
working together, particularly in a European and International
context where resources and strengths could be effectively
The delegation began in Belfast with two days of meetings. Jarrai
met with youth workers in Beechmount, young people from West
Belfast, the Young Tongues project, and Sinn Fein Youth activists
involved in last year's visit to the United Nations. In addition,
a political briefing from Pat Rice of Sinn Fein's international
department, and a tour of West Belfast with local councillor Tom
Hartley were among the highlights.
The rest of the week was spent in Derry, South Armagh and West
The delegation also travelled to Dublin where they received a
political briefing from Ard Comhairle representative Ann Speed,
and Bernie Farrell of the POW department. Jarrai also met with
community drugs workers and former heroin addicts in Ringsend.
The second week included visits to both Long Kesh and Maghaberry
to meet POWs Joe Doherty, Harry Maguire and Martina Anderson.
Other meetings included a series of briefings from community
projects in West Belfast dealing with issues such as drugs and
the welfare state.