Click on thumbnail to view CRAZYFENIAN’s photo of the Joe McDonnell mural.



**Please visit this excellent site to read Joe’s biography, originally published in IRIS November 1981. This site is a personal tribute by the webmaster, well done with lots of information and photos and very moving.

Joe McDonnell

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Began Hunger Strike 9 May 1981 – Died July 8th, 1981

‘A deep-thinking republican with a great sense of humour

THE FOURTH IRA Volunteer to join the hunger-strike for political status was Joe McDonnell, a thirty-year-old married man with two children, from the Lenadoon housing estate in West Belfast.

A well-known and very popular man in the Greater Andersonstown area he grew up, married and fought for the republican cause in, Joe had a reputation as a quiet and deep-thinking individual, with a gentle, happy go-lucky personality, who had, nevertheless, a great sense of humour, was always laughing and playing practical jokes, and who, although withdrawn at times, had the ability to make friends easily.

As an active republican before his capture in October 1976, Joe was regarded by his comrades as a cool and efficient Volunteer who did what he had to do and never talked about it afterwards.’




Joe McDonnell

by Brian Warfield

Oh my name is Joe McDonnell

From Belfast town I came

That city I will never see again

For in the town of Belfast

I spent many happy days

And I loved that town in oh so many ways

For it’s there I spent my childhood

And found for me a wife

I then set out to make for her a life

Oh but all my young ambition

Met with bitterness and hate

I soon found myself inside a prison gate

And you dare to call me a terrorist

While you look down your gun

When I think of all the deeds that you have done –

You have plundered many nations

Divided many lands

You have terrorized their people

You ruled with an iron hand

And you brought this reign of terror to my land

Through the many months internment

In the Maidstone and the Maze

I thought about my land throughout those days

Why my country was divided

Why I was now in jail

Imprisoned without crime or without trial

And though I love my country

I am not a bitter man

I’ve seen cruelty and injustice at first hand

And so one faithful morning

I shook bold freedom’s hand

For right or wrong I tried to free my land

Then one cold October’s morning

I was trapped in the lion’s den

And I found myself in prison once again

I was committed to the H-Blocks

For fourteen years or more

On the “blanket” the conditions they were poor

Then a hunger strike we did commence

For the dignity of man

But it seemed to me that no one gave a damn

Oh but now I am a saddened man

I’ve watched my comrades die

If only people cared or wondered why

Oh may God shine on you, Bobby Sands

For the courage you have shown

May your glory and your fame be widely known

And Francis Hughes and Ray McCreesh

Who died unselfishly

And Patsy O’Hara, and the next in line is me

And those who lie behind me

May your courage be the same

And I pray to god my life was not in vain

And though sad and bitter was the year of 1981

All was not lost, but it’s still there to be won

© Brian Warfield


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