Ógra Fianna Fáil
|Ógra Fianna Fáil|
65–66 Lower Mount Street,|
Dublin 2, Ireland
|Mother party||Fianna Fáil|
The organisation was founded in 1975 by party leader Jack Lynch under the guidance of party general secretary, Séamus Brennan. It is active on an all-Ireland basis, with branches (called cumainn) in major third level institutes and parliamentary constituencies in the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland it is organised on a county and city basis, along with third level branches at the University of Ulster and Queen's University Belfast. In October 2014, Ógra became an official full member organization of European Liberal Youth at their annual congress in Berlin.
Membership for Ógra Fianna Fáil is open to anyone between the ages of sixteen and thirty who supports the aims and ideals of the organisation and those of the general party itself.
From the inception of the organisation until 2011 Ógra was chaired by a member of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party. Since 2011 Ógra have elected a president of the organisation. The first President of Ógra was Eamon Quinlan who later became mayor of Waterford City in 2015.
In 2013 Blackrock's Kate Feeney was elected as the first female leader of Ógra. She is a daughter of former Senator Geraldine Feeney and was elected to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council whilst President of Ógra in 2014.
James Doyle of Malahide, Co. Dublin currently holds the role.
Foundation and early years
It was during the period of 1974 and 1975 that a specific youth section of Fianna Fáil was established to cater for the needs of young people within the party. To that end, the party leader Jack Lynch and the general secretary of the party Séamus Brennan moved to found Ógra Fianna Fáil. The first National Youth Conference was held in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin in January 1975, and had four delegates from each Dáil constituency. By the second National Youth Conference, a national youth scheme had been formulated, establishing youth committees in each Dáil constituency. From then on, the annual National Youth Conference has been the cornerstone around which all youth activity within Fianna Fáil has revolved.
The 1977 general election had a very visible and high-profile youth campaign with a special advertising programme geared to winning the youth vote. The election results brought in a range of new young members to the Fianna Fáil ranks in the Oireachtas; among them future Government ministers, party leaders and Taoisigh such as Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen and current party leader Micheál Martin, TD – the latter two of which had served as Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) of Ógra Fianna Fáil.
As the 1980s and 1990s progressed, Ógra became an essential component of the Fianna Fáil Party as a whole. It gained the right to vote in all candidate selection conventions. It developed an active policy formulation role, a role that became increasingly recognised by party spokespersons, policy-makers and government ministers.
An organisation-wide review conducted in 2006 found that there was widespread support within Fianna Fáil for the establishment of an activist base in Northern Ireland. From 2007, Ógra Fianna Fáil has been actively recruiting members throughout the region, as well as at Third Level in Queen's University Belfast and in the University Of Ulster. It was subsequently decided at the party's 2009 Ardfheis to establish a forum in each of the six counties, to better facilitate party members residing there who wish to meet and engage with Fianna Fáil public representatives and members. The 2015 National Youth Conference was held in Newry, the party's first conference in Northern Ireland.
2011–12 organisational reforms
Changes introduced at the 2011 National Youth Conference in Cork provided a radical overhaul of Ógra's internal organisation. The National Youth Committee, renamed the Ógra Central Officer Board, was halved in size from over twenty down to ten with only one Regional Organiser for each region instead of three. The Officer Board is much more function-based with directly-elected Policy and Campaigns Director, Events Director and Membership and Development Director. As well as this, the new position of Uachtarán Ógra Fhianna Fáil (President) was created where the former positions of Cathaoirleach (chair; a member of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party) appointed by the party leader, and Leas-Cathaoirleach (vice-chair; the highest elected official within Ógra itself) were merged into one role.
The first Ógra National Council meeting was held on 28 January 2012. The National Council was established to give accountability and oversight to the Central Officer Board. It has the power to remove Officers, overturn its decisions, direct actions, and fill casual vacancies. It consists of three delegates from each registered Ógra CDC and Third Level branches.
Ógra Fianna Fáil is organised across all the 32 counties of Ireland, maintaining a presence in most local communities and Third Level institutes. Within Ógra Fianna Fáil there four different types of units that can be formed: Ógra Comhairle Dáil Ceantair (CDC), Ógra Comhairle Ceantair (CC), Ógra Third Level Cumann and Ógra Coiste Áitiúil. The three governing bodies of Ógra Fianna Fáil are the National Youth Conference, Ógra Central Officer Board and Ógra National Council.
- Ógra Comhairle Dáil Ceantair (Ógra CDC) – The Ógra CDC covers the area of the Dáil constituency as set out by the Constituencies Commission, or in some cases where a constituency crosses a County border; it covers the area of that County.
- Ógra Comhairle Ceantair (Ógra CC) – This type of unit is smaller than an Ógra CDC, it only includes the Ógra members who are in a particular part of the constituency, most likely a Local electoral area (LEA). Ógra CC members may also be members of a Third Level Cumann and an Ógra CDC.
- Ógra Third Level Cumann – Most higher education institutions have an Ógra Fianna Fáil Cumann. These branches generally have similar status to an Ógra CDC.
- Ógra Coiste Áitiúil – Ógra members in a particular local area are encouraged to form local units to allow the local members to come together to discuss issues and to organise events to promote Fianna Fáil. This form of Ógra unit was instigated to support the organisation in places where may not be practical or possible for Ógra members to travel long distances to Ógra CC or CDC meetings, or not possible to establish an Ógra CC.
- Ógra National Youth Conference (NYC) – The National Youth Conference is the supreme decision making body of Ógra. The Conference gives the young members of Fianna Fáil a forum to express their views and opinions and develop national policies.
- Ógra Central Officer Board (COB) – The Central Officer Board is responsible for the management of Ógra. It consists of a President, Policy and Campaigns Director, Events Director, Membership and Recruitment Director, Regional Organisers, Third Level Organiser and the National Youth Officer.
- Ógra National Council (NC) – The National Council provides oversight to the work of the Central Officer Board. In addition to the members of the Central Officer Board, it consists of three delegates from every registered Ógra CDC and Third Level Cumann.
Ógra Fianna Fáil operates a weekly online news bulletin called Cursaí Óige (Irish: Youth Affairs) informing its members of current and upcoming events within the organisation and the general party itself.
It has also published several policy documents, most recently on Youth Entrepreneurship, ending Direct Provision, equality for gay marriage in Ireland; youth unemployment; submissions on the annual budgets and on educational reform in the North.
Third level branches
Dublin City University – Pádraig Pearse Cumann
Trinity College Dublin – Wolfe Tone Cumann
One of the more prominent third level branches in the country, it has a long history of activism within Ógra on a national basis. Past members include: senators Averil Power, Thomas Byrne and Deputy Dara Calleary.
Kevin Barry Cumann – UCD
The Kevin Barry Cumann is the branch in University College Dublin (UCD). The cumann predates the founding of Ógra Fianna Fáil which was established in 1974 and has records of being active dating to as early as 1948 when Seán Lemass addressed it. It formally dates to 1957 when led by Gerry Collins, then a student organiser in UCD and later Minister for Foreign Affairs. It is named after UCD student and Irish revolutionary Kevin Barry.
Former members include former European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, previous ministers Dick Roche and Mary Coughlan, Clare TD Timmy Dooley, Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue and RTÉ presenter Ryan Tubridy. The author and former political lobbyist Frank Dunlop was also a member.
Cumann De Barra – NUIG
Cumann De Barra is the branch in the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). Meetings were held off campus for many years before it was officially recognised by university authorities and allowed to host itself as an official society of the University in 1954. Like its sister Cumann in University College Dublin (UCD), it is also named after Kevin Barry, a medical student at UCD who fought and was executed during the Irish War of Independence. To avoid confusion however, it officially changed its name to the Irish language version to reflect NUIG's reputation as the Irish language university.
Some notable former members include current TD Lisa Chambers, former Fianna Fáil TD Michael P. Kitt, the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (before he joined the Labour Party), Senator Terry Leyden, former MEP Seán Ó Neachtain.
Other Third level branches
- National University of Ireland, Maynooth – Seán Lemass Cumann
- Queen's University Belfast – William Drennan Cumann
- University College Cork – Donogh O'Malley Cumann
- University of Limerick – Con Colbert Cumann
- University of Ulster – Watty Graham Cumann
- Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
- Institute of Technology, Carlow - James Fintan Lalor Cumann
- Dublin Institute of Technology
- Waterford Institute of Technology – Thomas Francis Meagher Cumann
- In the Irish language, the initial letter of a proper noun in the genitive, as in [Youth of] Fianna Fáil, is lenited, and therefore the grammatically correct spelling is Ógra Fhianna Fáil.
- "Ógra Organisation".
- "Ógra Northern Organisation".
- "Ógra Central Officer Board".
- "Ógra Comhairle Dáil Ceantair (Ógra CDC)".
- "Ógra Comhairle Ceantair (Ógra CC)".
- "Ógra Third Level Cumann".
- "Ógra Coiste Áitiúil".
- "Ógra National Youth Conference (NYC)".
- "Central Officer Board Members".
- "Ógra National Council (NC)".
- "Ógra Fianna Fáil's Proposal on 'Marriage Equality'".
- "Ógra Fianna Fáil's Proposal on 'Combating Youth Unemployment'".
- "Ógra Fianna Fáil Pre-Budget submissions".
- Tom Garvin, Preventing The Future: Why was Ireland so poor for so long? (Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 2004) paperback. pp.225 ISBN 0-7171-3970-0