Hunger Strikers and Relatives
"We wish to state publicly that we have made genuine
attempts to resolve the prison protest but have been exasperated and frustrated
by the British administration. We have endured four and a half years of
the blanket protest and were forced to escalate it when all else failed.
We will not crawl now."
"We, the republican political prisoners...having waited patiently for
seven weeks for evidence that the British government was prepared to resolve
the prison crisis, and having given them every available opportunity to
do so, declare our intention of hunger striking once more..."
"It needs to be asked openly of the Irish Bishops, of Cardinal O'Fiaich and of politicans like John Hume, what did your recommending ending of the last hunger-strike gain for us?
Where is the peace in the prisons which like a promise was held before dying men's eyes? And who but the Brits are responsible for our state which is far worse today than it ever was?
We the blanketmen, and we the women political prisoners in Armagh, have had enough of British deceit and of broken promises. Hunger-strikes to the death if necessary will begin commencing March 1st, 1981, the fifth anniversary of the withdrawal of political status in the H-Blocks and in Armagh jail. We are demanding to be treated as political prisioners which everyone recognizes we are.
We call upon all those who supported us during the last hunger-strike
to again rally to our cause and we call upon those who sat on the fence
to now see the intransigence of the British and the justness of our cause."
"If I die, God will understand."
"This election has given us hope: Bobby Sands' election
will save not only his life and the lives of his comrades, it will also
give them their just demands."
"My son is dying. I want to appeal to the people
to remain calm and have no fighting or deaths. My son has offered his
life to improve prison conditions and not for death and destruction."
"If I had to say what age he was, I would say 90.
His eyes are sunk in his head, the bones are sticking out of his face,
and his teeth are sticking out. There is no movement in his body. His
face is a blackish color. When I first saw him, I thought he was dead
"To accept the status of criminal would be to degrade myself and to admit
that the cause I believe in and cherish is wrong."
"There is no use me sitting back in the wings and
letting someone else's son go...Someone's sons have to go on it and I
just happen to be the mother of that son."
"We, the parents, brothers and sisters of Francis Hughes, murdered by
the British government, wish to protest in the strongest possible way
at the manner in which Francis' body was hijacked by the RUC, who were
obviously acting on the orders of their political masters. We totally
reject the RUC statement and explanation for the disgraceful way they
treated us and our dead brother. We wished only to bury him in peace and
in a manner befitting his death. Are we to be deprived even of this simple
and reasonable request?"
"From Monday, June 8th, 1981, we the Republican political prisoners in the H-Blocks, Long Kesh, will be escalating the hunger strike. The escalation will take the form of more Republican prisoners going on hunger strike and they will be phased onto the hunger strike over a matter of weeks.
We feel that this escalation is necessary because the existing 4-man
relay strategy allows the British a recuperation period during which they
can enjoy a lessening of pressure and can callously prepare for the deaths
of the next hunger strikers. The escalation will ensure that no respite
"Comrades of ours have died and eight of our other comrades presently
face death on hunger strike. Our people on the outside have died, and
more may die. That is why we seek immediate talks...it is a reasonable
"Our position has not and will not alter up to such a time as the British
government decides to honorably settle the issue. [We urge Catholic Church
leaders and the Irish government] to spend their time pressuring the British
- not us."
"We, the family of hunger striker Paddy Quinn, wish to clarify our position on recent events…
Paddy was unconscious due to several epileptic attacks which were caused by a shortage of oxygen to the brain. He was obviously in immense pain and was screaming and kicking. His mother was unable to bear the sight of him enduring such suffering and asked the doctors to save him.
We would like to utterly condemn the media suggestion that other hunger strikers' families should have acted and should still act in the way that ours did. One must remember that had Paddy been conscious, we could not have taken the decision to give him medical treatment. He was determined to go on to the end.
The brave men remaining on hunger strike are conscious and while they remain so only they can make the decision to end the hunger strike.
We wish to stress that we are 100% behind the prisoners' five just demands and call on everyone of influence to put pressure on the British government to end their cruelty and settle the prison dispute.
We feel that the British government should give the already conforming
prisoners what they intend to give the protesting prisoners if the protest
"There is nothing that any human being values more than life. Every man clings to it with every once of strength of his being. To willingly surrender it is acknowledged as the greatest sacrifice any man can make.
Not only to die, but to choose a death which is slow and agonizing, further serves to illustrate the depths of courage and sincerity amongst the men in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. What it takes to willingly undergo this ordeal, willingly undergo suffering, none of us can possibly imagine.
As each day passes, the death shadow of the shroud descends ominously on each of these brave Irishmen and it has done oft times before…
H-Block is a festering sore on the face of Ireland.
It, and those responsible for it, must be smashed. We here are helpless.
All we have to give is our lives. We simply ask you to do your share and
"This is a cry to you, the American nation, from
the H-Blocks of Long Kesh prison camp, Northern Ireland, to act immediately
to save the lives of those prisoners who at the moment are very near death
on hunger strike."
"We have been robbed of the hunger strike as an effective protest weapon
principally because of the successful campaign waged against our distressed
relatives by the Catholic hierarchy."
"The IRA hunger strike ended Saturday after 216 days and 10 prisoner
deaths. The strike collapsed when families announced that they would intervene
to save the lives of the six prisoners still on the hunger strike once
the inmates lapsed into comas."