The Troubles and the H-Block Hunger Strike​
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Overview
1.1 Background Information - Ayana M.
1.2 How did it start?- Kelsey L.
1.3 What effect did it have? - Sharae R.
1.4 How did it end? - Monique L.

2. Bernadette McAliskey - Sharae R.
2.1 Background Information
2.2 Contributions
2.3 Song
3. Mairead Farrell - Ayana M.
3.1 Background Information
3.2 Contributions
3.3 Song
4. Bobby Sands - Monique L.
4.1 Background Information
4.2 Contributions
4.3 Song
5. Michael Gaughan -Kelsey L.
5.1 Background Information
5.2 Contributions
5.3 Song
6. Related links
7. Work Cited

1. Overview
1.1 Background Information
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and Continental Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast Agreement of 1998 (answers.com). The principal issues at stake in the Troubles were the Constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the relationship between the mainly-Protestant Unionist and mainly-Catholic Nationalist communities in Northern Ireland (answers.com). The Catholics and Protestants of Ireland had long before this period of trouble been in uttter confrontation with each other. The Catholics were believed [by the unionists and the British] to be dirty, low class people who came secondary to the Protestants. In 1969 the Royal Ulster Constabulary attacked a Catholic civil rights protest. Counter-demonstrations by Protestant loyalists lead to escalating violence (guardian.co.uk). The violence brought on by the demonstration proved to be a sign for much of the IRA. "Frustrated by what they saw as the passivity of the IRA's leadership, some members formed a new group, which they call the Provisional IRA" (guardian.co.uk). Which is now the most well known version/sect of the IRA.

The Hunger Strike of 1981 was one of, if not the most influential periods in the IRA's long campaign to remove Britains' role from irish politics (irishhungerstrike.com). It was a seminal event in modern Irish history. It radicalised nationalist politics, and was the midwife to Sinn Féin as a serious political force, which ultimately led to it overtaking the SDLP as the main nationalist party in Northern Ireland (experiencefestival.com). It not only thwarted Britain's plans to criminalise the IRA prisoners in the H-Blocks (irishhungerstrike.com). This "criminalisation" policy was objectionable to IRA inmates, who saw themselves as "prisoners of war", not common criminals (news.bbc.co.uk). But this concentrated world wide media attention on the war in Ireland (irishhungerstrike.com). This world wide media attention assisted Ireland in getting the help she needed to survive the British."Ten men, ten Irish Republican volunteers paid the ultimate sacrifice during those summer months of 1981 to the cause of the Irish finally being able to be truly free: Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O'Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Tom McElwee, Kieran Doherty and Mickey Devine" (irishhungerstrike.com).


1.2 How did it start ?
The strike started in 1981. The British Government created the Criminalization policy. This was the government trying to see the prisoners as criminals and reduce their freedom of being able to associate with the inside comrades (guardian.co.uk). The Republicans thought that this was the British Government's plan to break the liberation struggle in Ireland and to make the prisoners more as criminals. The prisoners would be de-politicized and the British Government wouldn't think they were a threat (irishhungerstrike.com)

1.3 What were the effects?
There were many effects of the 1980 and and 1981 Hunger Strikes. A new coined phrase, Criminalisation, was first formed here (irelandsown.net). This policy meant that from the first of March in 1976, any sentenced [IRA prisoner] would no longer be allowed the usual rights of a [political] prisoner in Ireland (larkscript.com). The men and women in prison were denied a lot of basic rights. For example, the prisoners' right not to recreational pursuits, the right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week, and full restoration of remission lost through the protest; were all taken away (larkscript.com). These were called "The five Demands" (wikipedia.com). Thankfully, these rights weren't excluded forever and were won back after the hunger strike in Belfast.

1.4 How did it end?
Of coarse the hunger strike did not last forever. The end of the hunger strike came on October 3, 1981 (The Hunger Strike of 1981). Many prisoners died throughout the strike, not making it alive to the last few days. At this point, there were six Republican prisoners still on strike and refusing to eat their food (The Hunger Strike of 1981). The reason the hunger strike ended was because the prisoners realized that when they would laps into unconsciousness, their families would ask for medical intervention (The Hunger Strike of 1981). Three days after the hunger strike ended an announcement was made. On October 6, 1981, James Prior, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced a series of measures which met the aspects of the prisoners' five demands (The Hunger Strike of 1981). The Blanketmen stated this statement at the end of the hunger strike, "We, the protesting republican prisoners in the H-Blocks, being faced with the reality of sustained family intervention, are forced by this circumstance, over which we have little control as the moment, to end the hunger-strike" (End of Hungerstrike Statement).

2. Bernadette McAliskey

2.1 Background Information
Bernadette McAliskey, perviously Bernadette Devlin, was born in Cookstown, County Tyrone on April 23rd 1947, and educated at St Patrick's Girls' Academy, Dungannon, and Queen's University Belfast (larkscript.com). While attending Queen's, McAliskey became closely involved with the civil rights movement and was a prominent member of the People's Democracy (PD) (a radical left-wing group established at the university in late 1968) (bbc.com). This was the begginning of her many involvements in political movements. In 1971, while still unmarried, she gave birth to a daughter Róisin. She married Michael McAliskey on 23 April 1973, which was her 26th birthday (wikipedia.com).

2.2 Contributions
As one of the prominent leaders of the PD she was included in the main marches organized by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NIRC
external image b_devlin.jpg
external image b_devlin.jpg
A) in the 1960's (irishhungerstrike.com). In 1969 she went against another woman, won and was elected to the Westminster Parliament (wikipedia.com). This was, and still is her biggest acomplishment. At the age of 21, she was the youngest MP at the time. In August 1969 she was arrested for her assosiation in the civil unrest which had broken out in Derry and in 1970 was sentenced to six months imprisonment.(irishhungerstrike.com) Dissapointingly, this was not her only arrest. In January 1972 she became even better known when she physically attacked the British Home Secretary during a debate at Westminster in protest at the events of Bloody Sunday (irishhungerstrike.com). Even though she lost her seat in February 1974, McAliskey continued to educate her left-wing ideas and went onto help create the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) (irishhungerstrike.com). This was the start of one of the most well known Socialist Parties and acheivements. She then went on to win the seat in the House of Commons in general election of February 1974 (irelandsown.com). In this contest her role was to publize the cause of republican prisoners in jails in Northern Ireland who had begun a series of protests in order to secure changes to the prison regime (irishhungerstrike.com). McAliskey's leading positions didnt stop there. She became head spokesperson for the Smash H-Block Campaign and supported the Irish Hunger Strike in 1980 and 1981 (wikipedia.com).

2.3 Song

3. Mairead Farrell
3.1 Background Information
Mairead Farrell was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on August 3, 1957 (relativesforjustice.com). She was the second youngest of six children and the only girl (Relativesforjustice.com).She was twelve when the British Army took over the streets of Belfast in 1969 (relativesforjustice.com). Many of the Irish had unpleasant feelings toward the British and this takeover brightened Farrell's eyes to the injustices her people were facing. She was educated as Rathmore Grammar School, in Belfast which she left at the age of 18 to work in an insurance broker's office (irelandsown.net). She met an IRA volunteer named Bobby Storey, who persuaded her to join the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Besides her grandfather, no one else in her family was involved in the IRA. "He had done battle with the Black and Tans and was imprisoned in 1920" (Irelandsown.net). Farrell listened to her grandfathers stories but it was her Belfast experiences that politicized her the most (relativesforjustice.com). In 1976, she too was arrested and convicted of her role in the infamous Conway Hotel bombings. She was first inprisoned in Armagh and then the Maghaberry Prison (Irelandsown.net).

3.2 Contributions
Mairead Farrell was best known for being a volunteer for the Irish Provisional Army (IRA). In 1976, Mairead was arrested after taking part in the IRA's campaign. She was convicted of possession of explosives and membership of the IRA and was sentenced to fourteen and a half years imprisonment (relativesforjustice.com). Imprisoned in Armagh prison, "she became the commanding officer for all women POWs" (irelandsown.net). When the male POWs began their hunger strike in the H-block, she began the strike in the womens ward (irelandsown.net). Many of the female prisoners looked up to her as a source of inspiration and guidance. On December 18, the hunger strike was called off when the British Government seemed to comply with their demands. The women called off their strike one day later (irelandsown.net). They then realized not one of their demands were met so they facilitated another strike. In March 1981, Bobby Sands began his humger strike and they women showed their full support. Between May 6 and August 20, 1981, 10 POWs including Bobby Sands died because of their commitment to the strike (irelandsown.net). As a result, the guards gave into one demand: that they could wear their own clothing. After the death of her comrades, Farrell devoted the rest of her prison time to Science and Economics. "Released in 1986, she campaigned actively against strip-searching and returned to IRA duty "(rcgfrfi.easynet.com).
3.3 Song
Mairead Farrell song lyrics by Chris Bryne

4. Bobby Sands

4.1 Background Information
Robert George Sands, also known as Bobby Sands, was born March 9, 1854 in Rathcoole, North Be
Bobby Sands
Bobby Sands
lfast into a catholic family (Ireland's OWN). Growing up, he was very knowledgeable of the conflict between the Catholics and the loyalists (The Life and Death of Bobby Sands, M.P.). One way or another, the loyalosts always seemed to interfere with their way of life. In 1960, Bobbys' family was forced to move to Rathcoole, Newtownabbey (Ireland's OWN). Shortyly after, Bobby went to work as a coachbuilder (Ireland's OWN). Again, he and his family were being harrassed by the loyaslists. He was soon forced out of his job after repeatitive harrassment and being held at gunpoint by the loyalists (Ireland's OWN). Bobby had many friends growing up. His friends were Catholics and Protestants, in the end he found out those same friends were the ones that helped put him and his family out of their own home (Bobby Sands). Not only was his family hurt by the loyalists, but Bobby also was being intimidated with personal attacks from the loyalits (Bobby Sands). Events throughout his lifetime lead him in the path of taking a stand for Ireland.

4.2 Contributions
Bobby was apart of multiple Irish affiliations throughout his lifetime. When he turned 18, he joined the Provisional Irish Republican Army. He also lead the 1981 hunger strike as well as a member of the United Kingdom Parliament as an Anti H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner candidate. He rejoined the Republican Movement when he was eighteen (Bobby Sands). His sister Bernadette said, "he was just at the age when he was beggining to become aware of things happening around him. He more or less just said right, this is where I'm going to take up. A couple of his cousins had been arrested and interned. Bobby felt that he should get involved and start doing something" (Bobby Sands). On March 1, 1981, Bobby Sands refused to eat his food in the H-Block (Beyond the Troubles?). This hunger strike went on for sixty-six days, and on the ninth day he truned twenty-seven (Bobby Sands). Bobby Sands was one of the many brave persons who dies for soemthing they strongly for. He never got out of the H-Block, he dies there a proud and remembered Irish hero.
4.3 Song
"Bobby Sands MP" Lyrics

5. Michael Gaughan
5.1 Background Information
Michael Gaughan was a Provisional Irish Republican who was a hunger striker. He was born on October 5, 1949 and died on June 4,1974. Mich
Michael-Gaughan002-p17.jpg
Michael-Gaughan002-p17.jpg
ael attended the college of St Muredacks. After school he left Ireland and went to England in search for a job (anphoblacht). While he was in England he became a member of the IRA and volunteered in a London-based Active Service Unit. He was caught for arms possession and the involvement of plottingto rob bank London (Time.com). He received 7 years of jail for these two crime (anphoblacht.com).


Citation:http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/images/2009/06/04/Michael-Gaughan002-p17.jpg

5.2 Contributions
Gaughan, Paul Holme, and Hugh Feeney went on hunger strike on March 31, 1974.Michael was force fed for the first time twenty-three days within his strike (anphoblacht). The Prisoners demanded the right to political status, right to wear anything, not have to return to solidary confinement, right to educational places, and to set a date to transfer to an Irish prison(irishhungerstrike.com). The people were physically hurt from force feeding. Gaughan's brother went to visit him in jail. He described him as being skinny and mellow with a cut throat and loosened teeth. He lost 76 pounds during this force feeding. At age 24, he died and the British Government say it was from pneumonia. They said this was due to the force-feeding tube piercing his lung and food pushed in them. This was Gaughan's last message to the Republican comrades "I die proudly for my country and in the hope that my death will be sufficient to obtain the demands of my comrades. Let there be no bitterness on my behalf but a determination to achieve the new Ireland for which I gladly die. My loyalty and confidence is to the IRA and let those of you who are left carry on the work and finish the fight.'' (anphoblacht).


5.3 Song"Take Me Home To Mayo" Lyrics





6. Related Links

7. Works Cited
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