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éirígí organises series of Hunger Strike meetings

category national | history and heritage | news report author Sunday November 09, 2008 18:05author by éirígí PRO - éirígí Report this post to the editors

With the recent release 'Hunger' interest in the 1981 Hunger Strike has increased.

The recent release of Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed movie ‘Hunger’ has led to a renewed interest in both the 1981 Hunger Strike and the broader prison struggle of the 1970’s and 1980’s. For many of those too young to remember that momentous period the movie has whetted an appetite to learn more about the events that led ten young men to die on Hunger Strike twenty-seven years ago.

But whatever the merits of McQueen’s offering, it is, like all movies, essentially non-participatory. For those who wish to learn more ‘Hunger’ offers no opportunity to ask questions, receive answers or make comment.

This is the context within which éirígí has organised a series of 1981 Hunger Strike- themed public meetings which will take place during the month of November. Each meeting will take a similar format with at least one keynote speaker giving a first-hand account of their experience of the prison struggle before opening the floor to questions.

Some of those who will speak at these meetings include:

Bernard Fox from Belfast who took part in both the ‘blanket’ and ‘no-wash’ protest before joining the 1981 Hunger Strike. Bernard remained on Hunger Strike for 32 days before premature medical complications caused his protest to be ended.

Tommy McKearney from Co Tyrone who took part in both the ‘blanket’ and ‘no-wash’ protest before joining the ‘first’ Hunger Strike in 1980. Tommy went for 53 days without food before that protest was ended on the basis of a deal which the British authorities quickly retracted.

Jake Jackson from Belfast who took part in both the ‘blanket’ and ‘no-wash’ protests. As a former cellmate and close friend of Bobby Sands Jake had a unique insight into not only the 1981 Hunger Strike but also the period before and following.

Speaking in advance of the meetings éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír said,

‘The prison struggle of the 1970’s and 1980’s, which culminated in the 1981 Hunger Strike, was arguably THE seminal Irish event of the latter half of the 20th century. The fact that twenty-seven years later people are still so interested in all that happened in the H-Blocks and Armagh prison is testament to the sacrifice made by all who took part in that struggle.

‘‘Hunger’ is introducing a whole new generation to the courage and resolve shown by those who fought the British government from inside the jails. By organising these meetings we are hoping to give that generation a chance to meet with those who took part in the protest and hear their story.

‘And for those who are old enough to remember the prison struggle and Hunger Strike we hope that these meetings will provide an opportunity for them to recount their memories of the period and to talk about the impact that it had on their lives.

The first of the Hunger Strike meetings will take place in Clondakin in Dublin on Monday November 10th with the additional meetings taking place in Dublin, North Armagh, Belfast, South Derry and Fermanagh. Check the éirígí website for further details.

Neilstown Community Centre,
Clondalkin, Dublin,
8pm, Monday, November 10th
Tommy McKearney
Jake Jackson
Chair: Brian Leeson

Conway Education Centre
Conway Mill, Belfast,
7pm, Friday November 14th
Bernard Fox
Jake Jackson

St John John Bosco Youth Centre,
Drimnagh, Dublin,
8pm, Monday, November 17th
Tommy McKearney
Chair: Daithí Mac An Mhaistír

Kilwilke Community Centre,
Lurgan, Armagh,
7.30pm, Friday, November 21st
Bernard Fox

Kilinarden Community Centre
Tallaght, Dublin,
8pm, Monday November 26th
Bernard Fox
Jake Jackson
Chair: Scott Masterson

Roches Bar,
Kinawley, Fermanagh,
8pm, Saturday, November 29th
Tommy McKearney
Jake Jackson

author by kpublication date Sun Nov 09, 2008 23:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jake Jackson, of PSF ?

Published: 4 May, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was today joined by former Blanketmen and Sinn Féin representatives for a short rededication ceremony at the Bobby Sands mural on the party's Sevastopol Street offices. The event came on the eve of the 24th Anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands on Hunger Strike.

Former Blanketman and comrade of Bobby Sands, Jake Jackson said:

" Bobby Sands and the other Hunger Strikers transformed Irish politics by the selfless stand which they took in confronting Thatcher and her criminalisation agenda. The idealism of the Republican PoWs and their supporters on the outside was in sharp contrast to the approach adopted by the British government and the establishment parties in Ireland.

" It is ironic and symbolic that the people of the six counties will go to the polls on the 24th Anniversary of Bobby's death. It was his election in Fermanagh & South Tyrone which made the suffering in the H-Blocks and Armagh Women's Prison an international issue. Republicans and nationalists 24 years on would have the opportunity to send out a similarly strong message to those within the British and Unionist establishments who are still blocking

progress and still following a failed agenda of exclusion and demonisation when they cast their ballot tomorrow."

Speaking to reporters at the event Gerry Adams reflected on the progress which had been made since the Hunger Strikes of 1981 but said that much work remained to be done in the time ahead.


author by Séamuspublication date Mon Nov 10, 2008 13:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Where in that three-year-old statement does it say that Jake Jackson is a member of PSF?

author by Gemmapublication date Mon Nov 10, 2008 18:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well Jake does say cast your ballots, and at a SF event, im sure he wasn't talking about the SDLP..

author by watcher - ex powspublication date Mon Nov 10, 2008 20:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

jake jackson was always a strong supporter of the sinn fein leadership but so were many eirigi activists the thing is though if these individuals have left the adams fold then is it possible that we are watching a coup de etat from within and have these individuals access to some of them hidden millions as eirigi seem to have no shortage of money!

author by kpublication date Mon Nov 10, 2008 21:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i asked that question regarding jake jackson out of myself being curious. it wasn't meant as a slam against him. i was wondering if he is taking part of this as a SF member. or as another poster wrote, if this can be seen as yet another SF'er leaving SF, for what ever reason. i thought the person who posted this article might have more information. it is a curious thing?

author by Ian Frasierpublication date Mon Nov 10, 2008 22:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I didnt think Jake Jackson was still in sf. Is he?

author by francis hughes - independentpublication date Mon Nov 10, 2008 23:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

just back from the talk in Clondalkin, thought the speakers did very well. I heard tommy before but it was my first time listenin to Jake. I dont care who he is with, the night was to reflect on the film Hunger and the period and to hear their stories and fair play to this eirigi crowd for organisin it out in my area. Im goin to go to the next one too. its good to have things like this that are accessible to the communities

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