Óige Náisiúnach guests at ‘Irish Night’ in Ghent, Flanders

Recently, I had the honour of being invited as a speaker to a cultural event organised by our Flemish Nationalist friends in the Flemish student group Nationalistische Studentenvereniging (NSV).

On arriving into Flanders, I was warmly welcomed by the President of the Ghent chapter of NSV, Ruben Notteboom, as well as one of the event organisers, Gudrun Depoortere. Upon reaching the city of Ghent, our small party was brought by Notteboom on a walking tour of the historic city, where we were shown many of the important and impressive buildings that give such distinct character to the city, such as the belfort tower, the medieval castle, and the absolutely stunning cathedrals around the city.

The beautiful historical centre of Ghent that has survived into the modern era stands as a testament and reflection of Flemish culture, and intertwined in this architecture is the history of a nationally conscious people who understood the spiritually uplifting importance of structures that are timeless in their beauty. These buildings stand almost as a mockery to the soulless, culture-ridden modern commercial buildings of glass and steel that are often as culturally transient as they are architecturally soulless. In that sense, the walking tour acted as a refreshing visual palette cleanser.

We later travelled onto the event location. Upon reaching our destination, I was impressed by some of the crafts adorning the walls of the NSV conference room, which were designed by the talented co-organiser Dietske Hubert.

At 8pm the ‘Irish Night’ kicked off, beginning with a speech from Mr. Notteboom, in which he spoke of the common enemy we as the nationally conscious members of our respective European nations face, namely international finance and the parasites that uphold it. He went on to declare that cooperation among nationalists is an absolute must for the future of all European nations in overcoming our many shared problems, a statement we in Óige Náisiúnach fully support.

After Notteboom’s speech, I was then invited to deliver my chosen presentation on the topic of ‘Modern Irish Nationalism: 1798 – Present Day’. The historically rich nature of the Irish nationalist movement combined with the strict time-frame of the evening meant that my presentation unfortunately couldn’t be as thorough as I would have wanted, but nevertheless the Flemish nationalists in attendance were impressed and appreciative of the opportunity for a more comprehensive look into the Irish Nationalist tradition. Certainly, the rich history of our respective nations is something to take pride in, and I’m happy to have been able to share at least part of our nation’s great story.

After the presentation I took further questions from the enthusiastic collection of student patriots, which ranged from further questions about Irish history, the ongoing occupation of the 6 counties in the north-east to the status of Óige Náisiúnach and the main party itself.

After my speech I was happy to meet with a good friend and fellow nationalist Jan, leader of the Dutch nationalist group Geuzenbond. Also in attendance were delegates from the pan-Dutch speaking student organisation Groot-Nederlandse Studentenvereniging (GNSV), as well as the Katholiek Vlaams Hoogstudentenverbond (KVHV).

Also in attendance was Ortwin Depoortere, member of the Belgian Federal Parliament as an elected senator with Vlaams Belang, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and engaging in a spirited conversation with.

Following the brief intermission, the event attendees were called back to their seats. The event concluded in the European tradition with a Cantus in which various patriotic and rebel songs were sung, including live performances by talented musicians who played and sang some incredible, classic tunes.

Overall, the event hosted by NSV was a pleasure to attend, and thanks are owed to our ‘gallant allies in Europe’ for their continuing friendship and hospitality shown to our delegates. The various Flemish Nationalists in attendance were and are a credit to their respective organisations and are fitting representatives of the Flemish nation. As leader of Óige Náisíunach, I can say with confidence that we look forward to seeing these organisations go from strength to strength, and we look forward to working with them in the future.

This article was submitted by Yan Mac Oireachtaigh, Óige Náisiúnach Leader and Local Election candidate for the National Party in South County Dublin.