British Officials and Politicians
"The government view is that if they (striking prisoners) wish to die,
then they had better get on with it. It's a standoff. If somebody dies,
there will be a limited degree of disorder, but we think we are prepared
for it. By and large, it (the hunger strike) is a test of nerve, and I
think we (the British government) have enough nerve."
"[Sands' hunger strike will] cause no change of policy on political status.
The government has made it clear on a number of occasions the principles
by which it is guided."
It is not my habit or custom to meet members of parliament from a foreign
country to talk about a citizen of the United Kingdom resident in the
"It's not Bobby Sands really. He just puts the focus on the real problem.
Whatever we've been doing the past 12 years, we've arrived at a point
at which Catholics and Protestants are further apart than ever."
"Mr Robert Sands, a prisoner in the Maze Prison, died today at 01.17.
He took his own life by refusing food and medical intervention for 66
"I regret this needless and pointless death. Too many have died by violence
in Northern Ireland. In this case it was self-inflicted. We should not
forget others who have died, two of them in the last few days by violence
inflicted by others. It is my profound hope and prayer that the people
of Northern Ireland will recognize the futility of violence and turn their
faces away from it."
"We shall continue in our efforts to stamp out terrorism. Mr. Sands was
a convicted criminal. He chose to take his own life. It was a choice his
organization did not give to many of their victims."
"The hunger strike 'has become a major embarrassment around the world.'"
"'The government sees no justification for giving prisoners in Northern
Ireland a substantially different regimen' from those imprisoned elsewhere
"Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in a letter yesterday to four U.S. critics of Britain's Northern Ireland policy, said blame for the hunger-strike deaths rests with those who order 'these young men to commit suicide.'
Thatcher said: 'We have facilitated the efforts of the Pope's personal representative, the European Commission of Human Rights, the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace, and now the International Committee of the Red Cross.'
She said all efforts to end the hunger strike 'have foundered on the intransigent adherence of the prisoners to the five demands which they formulated five years ago and which have not changed in substance to this day.'
The hunger strike by jailed Irish nationalists in the Maze Prison may
be called off because it is 'placing little or no' pressure on the British
government, a spokesman for the prisoners said yesterday."
"[Margaret Thatcher] is delighted that the hunger strike has ended. She
has been deeply distressed at the loss of young lives inside and outside
"I and my predecessors have already made clear that
further development of the prison regime will be possible once duress
"The 10 men who starved themselves to death in a Belfast prison did not go on hunger strike because they wanted to, but because the Irish Republican Army gave them 'no alternative,' a Conservative member of the British Parliament said here Tuesday.
'If you didn't go on hunger strike when you were told to, you wouldn't
last very long, and neither would your family,' she said..."