News & Media

Labour Youth marks 10 years since Utøya killings

22 July 2021

Statement by Labour Youth

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the killing of 69 young activists in Labour Youth’s sister party, the Workers’ Youth League (AUF) in Utøya on 22nd July 2011.

Speaking to mark the anniversary, the Chair of Labour Youth, Sarah Noville, said:

“10 years ago we were anxiously learning about these young people being murdered in Norway. 10 years ago, 8 people were killed in Oslo and 69 more died on Utøya. This was not a random act, but a genuine attack against what these people believed in and stood for.

“These killings were political. Yet, politics - either through classical means or grassroot activism - is what keeps our democracies alive. Such frontal attacks might seem alien to us but the extremism that nurtured them isn't. Over the last few years, and even more over the last few months, many movements have developed - even here, in Ireland - that promote nothing but intolerance and aggression. In order to maintain useful and constructive debate, we cannot fear these kinds of attacks.

“On 22 July 2011, during the Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp, dozens of young activists lost their life to a right- wing extremist while debating and exchanging about topics dear to their heart. With our own Tom Johnson Summer School upon us this weekend, we can but reflect on what happened that day and how precarious everything we believe in remains. Democracy and freedom of speech are long hard wins, for which it is worth fighting still.

“Today, we want everyone to remember, today we want everyone to take a stand so that this never happens again, so that extremism and the intolerance that goes with it are seen for what they are: a danger to democracy, constructive criticism and the essence of politics itself, all the basis to the society we live in.”