Monday 16 January 2017

James Downey: New light on how IRA hunger strikes led to rise of Sinn Fein

Published 30/12/2011 | 05:00

Gunmen fire
a volley of shots
over the coffin of
Bobby Sands in
1981
Gunmen fire a volley of shots over the coffin of Bobby Sands in 1981

ALL through the spring and summer of 1981, Irish ministers and officials monitored events surrounding the H-Blocks hunger strike -- often hour by hour -- with frustration, dismay and fears for damage to relations with Britain.

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Their reactions and analysis are recorded in state papers made public for the first time in the National Archives under the 30-year rule.

The hunger strike began on March 1, 1981. Bobby Sands became the first prisoner in the Maze (Long Kesh) H-Blocks to refuse food.

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