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