The following is a press release from Eirigi. Please note that press relases from other organisations do not always reflect the position of the Connolly Association.
On Saturday the 1st October éirígí have organised a series of meetings in Liberty Hall, Dublin to commemorate the 1981 hunger strike, which ended on the 3rd October thirty years ago. It is vital that republicans and socialists today not only commemorate the sacrifices of these brave republicans, but also discuss the current situation in Ireland – both the struggles of current republican prisoners and the national and class war which are currently simmering.
The day begins with a timely presentation on the current situation in Maghaberry Prison. Scores of Irish republican prisoners are regularly being brutalised, assaulted and abused by prison staff. These routine attacks are obviously sanctioned by the British government and its puppet administration, since neither do anything to stop the reign of terror. Ex-POW and rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith along with Mandy Duffy will speak on this issue at 2pm.
At 4pm Máire Drumm will take the stage to discuss the situation faced by women republican prisoners during this period in Armagh prison. Máire will be followed on the programme by Tommy McKearney, who participated in the 1980 Hunger Strike, who along with other panellists will discuss the facts and impacts of the 1981 Hunger Strike.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1981 H-Block hunger strike during which ten IRA and INLA prisoners died rather than be branded ‘criminals’ by the British government.
Hunger Strike – 30 Years On
I ndiaidh aistarraingt an stádais pholaitiúil in 1976, d’fhulaing cimí poblachtacha roinnt blianta de dhrochíde bhrúidiúil agus tháireach ar agóidí na pluide agus gan ní. After several years of protest the prisoners believed they had no other option but to embark on a hunger strike.
The first hunger strike began in October 1980 and involved seven men in the H-Blocks and three women in Armagh prison. Believing they had a deal from the British government, the strike was called off in December without loss of life. It soon became clear that the British were totally reneging on the deal which ended the first strike, and in March March 1981 a second hunger strike began led by Bobby Sands.
Ar fud na hÉireann mháirseáil na deiche míle ar son chúig éileamh na stailceoirí ocrais. Ar fud na cruinne bhí ambasáidí na Breataine mar choílár na léirsithe a d’éiligh stádas polaitiúil do chimí poblachtacha na hÉireann.
In April of that momentous year Bobby Sands was elected MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone while the general election in the Twenty Six counties saw the election of two prisoner candidates. Kieran Doherty who died after 73 days on hunger strike was elected TD for Cavan Monaghan while Paddy Agnew was returned in Louth.
Fuair deichniúr trodaí poblachach misniúil óg bás mar thoradh ar stailc ocraic 1981: Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O’Hara, Martin Hurson, Joe McDonnell, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Tom McElwee and Michael Devine. Thirty years on the selflessness of the Hunger Strikers continues to inspire freedom loving people around the globe. Ná déanfar dearmad ar a n-íobairt. Dé Sathairn 1ú Deireadh Fómhair cuirfidh éirígí cruinniú poiblí i láthair in ómós dóibh.
The meeting will discuss contemporary issues in relation to continued attempts by the British government to criminalise republican prisoners in Maghaberry as well as the epic struggle in both the H-Blocks and Armagh in 1980-81.
I measc na gcainteoirí beidh iar-stailceoirí ocrais agus iarchimí polaitiúla. Tá fáilte roimh chách. Bí linn ag cuimhneamh ar dheichniúr mairtíreach na mBloc H.