July 1981


Uncovering the Truth About the 1981 Hunger Strike

Irish News letters page: Tread lightly on the dreams of heroes

Tread lightly on the dreams of heroes
Irish News letters page
Manus McDaid, Derry

I refer to two letters – one from Richard O’Rawe, ‘Let’s have the whole truth about the Hunger Strike’ (April 9) and that from Gerard Hodgins, ex-blanket man, titled ‘The martyrs of Long Kesh deserve the truth of those dark days’ (June 8).

Without becoming embroiled in protestations about the extent of the ‘whole truth’ or the genuine sense of reservation about the ‘truth’ of the Hunger Strikes, it strikes me that both writers for their own reasons are seeking the impossible.

A prisoner from Armagh Jail summed it up well when she said – to paraphrase – that to intend and to do are entirely different things.

The first Hunger Strike ended by prisoners accepting the word of the London government that changes in the prison regime would happen.

The London government reneged. Thus began the second Hunger Strike – with, I believe, a determination that definite written and personal undertakings would be given to the prisoners with respect to regime change. That didn’t happen either.

Now there are those who want to separate the no-wash protests from the hunger strikes – to seek publicity.

They are at least doing a disservice to comrades living and dead and at worst cynically abusing their sacrifice.

Sourced from the Irish News

Category: 2009, Irish News, Letters, Media


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

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