July 1981

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Uncovering the Truth About the 1981 Hunger Strike

‘Dying wasn’t their decision’

‘Dying wasn’t their decision’

Controversy persisted last night (Tuesday) over allegations in a book that the IRA army council may have allowed some hunger strikers to die. Former IRA prisoner Richard O’Rawe has claimed the paramilitary leadership blocked an acceptable deal from the British government to end the 1981 protest before six of the 10 men had died.

The allegation has been dismissed by former IRA jail leader Brendan Bik McFarlane.

Mr McFarlane insisted “no deal was offered to the hunger strikers whereby they could say it was acceptable”.

However, a woman connected to one hunger striker, who did not want to be named but said she had attended family meetings surrounding the hunger strike, last night backed Mr O’Rawe’s claims.

“I want to support the views of Richard O’Rawe and Monsignor Denis Faul,” she said.

“I went to all the relatives’ meetings and the Sinn Féin meetings and I was there when the families told Gerry Adams to go in to the prison to order the men to come off the hunger strike.

“He went in and spoke to the men, but he told them it was up to them. He did not order them off the hunger strike.

“Those men put their names forward to go on that hunger strike but when it came to the point of dying it wasn’t their decision.”

The woman said she believed the men were “allowed to die for political gain”.

“I thank God that at last someone has had the courage to tell the truth at long last,” she said.

This article appeared first in the March 2, 2005 edition of the Irish News.

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Category: 2005, Irish News, Media, News articles

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A day-by-day account of the events of early July, 1981.


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