An Stailc Ocrais

For the 25th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike [stailc ocrais], a prisoner reaches for a lark (the spirit of freedom) bathed in sunbeams like a beatific vision. “Go dtreoraí cuimhne bhur níobairtí agus íobairtí denár dtírghráthóirí náisiún beo bocht chun bua.” [“May the memory of your sacrifices and the sacrifices of our patriots guide a desperate nation to victory.”] The sentence is attributed to Bobby Sands but the source is unknown – please get in touch if you can place it. Andersonstown Road, Belfast.

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Copyright © 2007 Peter Moloney

Crowley – Carty – Loughran

“I ndíl chuimhne. In proud and loving memory of Óglach Dermot Crowley, Óglach Patrick Carty, Óglach Sean Loughran, Tyrone Brigade Óglaidh Na hÉireann who died on active service outside Omagh 25th June 1973. Fuair siad bás ar son shaoirse na hÉireann. ‘If you strike at, or imprison, or killus, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst’ – James Connolly.” The three died from a premature bomb explosion. For brief biographies, see An Phoblacht.

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Copyright © 2007 Peter Moloney

The Hunger Strike Era

A lark (or perhaps a dove) bursts through the ceiling of a H-Block cell lined with the names of the ten deceased 1981 hunger strikers. “This mural is dedicated to all those who tragically died on the streets of Derry during the hunger strike era. Suimhneas Dé dá nanamacha. 3rd October 2006.”

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Copyright © 2006 Peter Moloney

The Five Demands, 2006

A very different ‘Five Demands’ from Sinn Féin on the 25th anniversary of the hunger strike: “1. The Irish Government should produce a Green Paper on Irish Unity. 2. The work of the All Ireland Ministerial Council should be expanded and additional All Ireland Implementation Bodies created. Westminster MP’s elected in the 6 Counties should be accorded speaking rights in the Dail [sic]. 3. Voting rights for Presidential elections should be extended to citizens in the six counties. 5 The Irish Government should actively engage with the British Government and Unionism to promote and seek support for re-unification.”

The original ‘Five Demands’ are given as “1. The right to wear our own clothes. 2 The right to refrain from prison work. 3. The right to free association with fellow prisoners. 4. The right to organise recreation and leisure activity – with one letter, parcel and visit allowed per week. 5. To have remission lost, as a result of the blanket protest, restored.” For versions of the five demands from the period, see one | two | three.

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Copyright © 2006 Peter Moloney

Óglach Réamann Mac Raois

“Déanann Poblachtánaigh An Iúir cuimhne ar an óglach Réamann Mac Raois.” [Newry republicans remember volunteer Raymond McCreesh]

IRA volunteer Raymond McCreesh – born in Camlough – was arrested in the aftermath of an attack on a British Army observation post in 1976. He joined the blanket protest and then the hunger strike; he died after 61 days on May 21st, 1981.

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Copyright © 2006 Peter Moloney