Aug 31, 2010
Never-before-seen 1981 hunger strike documents disclosed
Published Date: 31 August 2010
A FASCINATING insight into one of the most contentious periods of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ has been revealed by documents obtained by the Sentinel under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI).
The hunger strike of 1981 in the Maze prison saw ten republican protestors die and caused mayhem on the streets of the country claiming the lives of civilians, Army, police and prison personnel.
Now after a 15 month tussle with the Northern Ireland Office the Sentinel has obtained 32 never before seen documents in relation to the era.
The FOI request was made by the Sentinel amid claims that the lives of several hunger strikers were sacrificed to boost the republican movement’s electoral strategy and that an acceptable offer was made to the hunger strikers but they were not informed by the IRA. INLA prisoners were also among those who died.
The papers now in the possession of the Sentinel cast new light on events and on moves to bring the hunger strike to an end.
Taken in conjunction with a small number of previously released documents, the papers, kept secret for almost 30 years, show the Government was working on a number of levels with many and varied organisations and reflects the differences in its public and private moves.
Tomorrow’s edition of the Londonderry Sentinel will reveal our analysis of some of the documents.
The documents will also be made available on the Sentinel’s website later in the week as will previously released documents that were also supplied by the NIO.