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Tyrone - Event Notice
Friday May 05 2006
01:00 AM

Tyrone Hunger Striker to take part in 1981 debate

category tyrone | miscellaneous | event notice author Monday May 01, 2006 19:07author by Ógra B - Ógra Shinn Féinauthor email osf6county at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

On Friday evening May 5,, Republicans from throughout the county will gather in Hughie Ruadh’s, Mountfield to take part in a discussion around the 1981 Hunger Strike.

This event is one of hundreds organised by the National Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee to mark the 25th anniversary of the Strike. During this period from March until August 1981 ten Republican Prisoners of War fasted to death in defiance of the Thatcher government’s attempt to categorise them as criminals.

Leading the debate will be former Tyrone Hunger Striker, Tommy Mc Kearney from Moy. Tommy, along with 6 comrades, participated in the first Hunger Strike which began on 27 October 1980, fasting for 53 days without food. Three female Republican Prisoners in Armagh Gaol joined the fast in December. This included Mairead Farrell who was executed by the SAS in Gibraltar in 1988.

Also, in attendance at the event will be representatives of the family of Martin Hurson who died in the 1981 Strike after 46 days of protest.

‘Blanketmen’ from various parts of the county will also come along to share their stories of camaraderie and endurance. Some of these men spent as long as 6 years on the blanket and no wash protest in conditions which the late Cardinal O Fiach could only compare to the “sewers of Calcutta”.

Speaking ahead of the event, Sinn Fein Councillor Declan Mc Aleer said that “The prison protest and hunger strikes of 1980 and 1981 were water shed moments in Irish History. In their bid to defeat the Irish people’s demands for freedom and justice, the British Government attempted to present the struggle as a criminal conspiracy. A key battleground that they chose was the prisons. However, using nothing but their naked bodies, sheer determination and conviction in their beliefs, the Republican Prisoners of War defeated the Brits in this key battle”.

Continuing, Cllr. Mc Aleer said that “this is a compelling story relived and recounted by the very people who took part in the protest. It will be nostalgic and emotional for those who recall that era and educational for those who were too young to remember”.

The discussion gets underway at 9.30pm and will be followed be an evening of entertainment featuring Spirit of Freedom.

Related Link: http://www.osf.pro.ie
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