Meanwhile activism within Donegal is mostly centred on issues unique to rural life, although we tend to cover national issues if there is an overlapping interest such as Brexit or Water Charges. Being a political activist in rural Ireland can be difficult, partly due geographical location but this is heavily compounded by years of economic oppression and poor investment in the regions.
Attempting to organise in a county where the population is as spread out as in Donegal can be challenging, one of these challenges is the lack of public transport. From Inishown to Letterkenny four return buses run Monday to Friday with the last return bus being at 5.40pm. On Saturday only one return bus runs with 4.40pm being the return time. On Sundays no buses run. This bus schedule, so typical to rural areas in Ireland, makes it almost impossible to organise in the evening unless nearly everyone has a car. In these conditions carpooling is essential and if everyone chips in a few euro for petrol it can be a lot more manageable.
Another idea to help events run more smoothly and regularly is to decentralise your organisation. So instead of one large convention or AGM you create branches at several locations. Thus travelling to a meeting point is made closer and easier accessible for more people. Having a regular, possibly monthly, meeting of all branches is one element to maintaining your organisation’s structure.
Another important element is constant communication between fellow activists in the form of call, text, email or a social media group chat. I would recommend a social media group chat as the best form of communication as everyone involved can see messages and reply all at once rather than someone relaying information to numerous people.
Finally a hidden but significant barrier to activism in Rural Ireland is public opposition to your beliefs. Rural Ireland has a reputation of being socially conservative and voting intentions can often be solely based on how a person’s family have traditionally voted. These regressive voting lines are due to the lack of class consciousness among the national population and to in particular the rural population. At times this opposition can seem unbreakable and can way heavy on your mind. The most effective way to combat this is to be certain and inspired by your political ideology. For me inspiration can be found in the life story of Ché Guevera, Malcom X’s ‘I am not an American’ speech or the writings and resistance of Bobby Sands.
Post by @matthewwidaw from redrepublicansite.wordpress.com
Art by @thisisfriz from thisisfriz.com