July 1981


Uncovering the Truth About the 1981 Hunger Strike

Devine Children Have Questions for McKeown

A Chara,

Our father was the last of the Hunger Strikers to die and all we ask from republicans is the truth. Due to all the contradictions, new evidence and the ever-changing shifting Sinn Fein narrative we feel that only an independent republican Inquiry can heal this festering sore that has erupted over what occurred during the Hunger Strike.

We would therefore like to seek clarification from one of the contributors to the Hunger Strike feature in the Irish News last week.

Laurence McKeown in an interview on 10-03-2005, stated:

”Strangely, there was nothing new to me regarding what was on offer from the Brits back in 1981. Whether it was the ‘Mountain Climber’ or the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace, we wanted definite confirmation, not vague promises of ‘regime change’.”

Since then Danny Morrison and Bik McFarlane stated that all the hunger strikers, including my father, were given the full details of
the Mountain Climber offer and it was they who rejected it.

Both Louise and I attended the Gasyard debate and listened to Brendan Duddy, the Mountain Climber, claim that the offer he wrote down and communicated to Martin McGuinness on the 5th July of 81 contained four of the demands. He also stated that he believed this was a genuine offer from the British.

We would like to ask Laurence how can he reconcile his public position of “vague promises of regime change” regarding that offer with that of Duddy’s claim of four of the demands being met in the offer he communicated to McGuinness. If both Laurence and Brendan are being truthful then it is only logical that Danny and Bik did not give the full details of the offer at all to my father therefore he couldn’t have rejected the offer.

Another contradictory claim, according to Jake Jackson,(Bik McFarlane’s confidant during that period), in an interview for “Biting at the Grave” (page 96), stated that gthe only people he could say knew for sure about the Mountain Climber initiative at that point were himself, McFarlane, Block OCs Pat McGeown, and Sid Walsh and the PRO Richard O’Rawe, and the hunger striker Joe McDonnell. As for the rest, he says, it would have been on “a need-to-know basis: the closer a hunger striker was to dying the more likely he was to know. Micky Devine and Kevin Lynch, the INLA members, wouldn’t have been informed, one way or the other, nor would the hunger strikers who were still on the blocks.”

We were hoping that Laurence would have shed more light on this important crucial aspect of the controversy in his Irish News contribution as the 1981 IRSP leadership are very clear that they were not aware of either the offer or its contents. Therefore we would make this appeal to Laurence to tell us publicly exactly what did happen in the prison hospital and what exactly was my Father told, if anything, that he felt he couldn’t share with his family or his movement.

We would also like to ask Laurence did he see a copy of the offer which Duddy gave to McGuinness who in turn gave it to Gerry Adams.

Micky & Louise Devine

Category: 2009, Families, Statements


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

There's an inner thing in every man,
Do you know this thing my friend? It has withstood the blows of a million years, and will do so to the end.