July 1981


Uncovering the Truth About the 1981 Hunger Strike

AOH on Hunger Strike Families Meeting with Sinn Fein

AOH on Hunger Strike Families Meeting with Sinn Fein

TO: PEC Committee Members
RE: Hunger Strike Families Meet with Sinn Fein
FR: National PEC Co Chairmen Joe Roche and Ned McGinley
DA: June 22, 2009

Historical Note:

The Ancient Order of Hibernians in America in 1982 passed a Resolution in memory of the Ten Hunger Strikers both IRA and INLA Volunteers in who were martyred in 1981 on Hunger Strike, paying the ultimate price for their ideals.

Ten of those resolutions, now framed, were then carried to Belfast by a Committee lead by National President Joseph Roche to be presented to the Ten grieving Hunger Strike families.

Every family, bar none, sent a member to receive those framed resolutions from the hand of the National President of the A.O.H. in America including Mickey Devine and Patsy O’Hara’s families.

There have been rumors and urban legends regarding the British Government and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher giving in to the “Five Demands” of the Hunger Strikers, which the Hunger Strike Committee received, not telling anyone, and that those ten brave heroes died in vain.

For anyone who remembers or lived in those times believes that Margaret Thatcher, who demanded that the Republican Volunteers be criminalized, would have wilted and given in to the demands I have a bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn on the East River to sell them.

Patsy O’Hara, Kevin Lynch, and Mickey Devine (the last to die) were all INLA volunteers, very brave men, who put themselves forward for Martydom.

The Five Demands:

The right not to wear a prison uniform;
The right not to do prison work;
The right of free association with other prisoners, and to organize educational and recreational pursuits;
The right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
Full restoration of remission lost through the protest.

Participants who died on hunger strike

Over the summer, ten hunger strikers had died. Their names, paramilitary affiliation, dates of death, and length of hunger strike are as follows:

Name; Paramilitary affiliation; Home Town;
Strike started; Date of death; Length of strike

  • Bobby Sands, IRA, Newtownabbey,
    1 March, 5 May, 66 days.
  • Francis Hughes, IRA, Bellaghy, County Londonderry,
    15 March, 12 May, 59 days.
  • Raymond McCreesh, IRA, Carnlough, County Armagh,
    22 March, 21 May, 61 days.
  • Patsy O’Hara, INLA, Derry City,
    22 March, 21 May, 61 days.
  • Joe McDonnell, IRA, Belfast,
    8 May, 8 July, 61 days.
  • Martin Hurson, IRA, Cappagh, County Tyrone,
    28 May, 13 July, 46 days.
  • Kevin Lynch, INLA, Dungiven, County Londonderry,
    23 May, 1 August, 71 days.
  • Kieran Doherty, IRA, Belfast,
    22 May, 2 August, 73 days.
  • Thomas McElwee, IRA, Bellaghy, County Londonderry,
    8 June, 8 August, 62 days.
  • Michael Devine, INLA, Derry City,
    22 June, 20 August, 60 days.

We cannot allow the IRSP’s Richard O’Rawe to sully the great bravery of these men.

Their families know better and there can be little doubt that the election of Bobby Sands, while on Hunger Strike, and the deaths of these 10 brave men led to the political strength of the nationalist/republican cause today and will lead to a United Ireland by peaceful means in the future.

They did not die in vain we will have a United Ireland and the A.O.H. will be there as they were in Belfast in 1982.



Note: AOH = Ancient Order of Hibernians; PEC = The AOH’s Political Education Committee.
Sourced from Irish Aires All

Category: 2009, Irish America, Statements

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

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