Hunger striker dies

Daily Ireland

Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness last night led tributes to former 1981 hunger striker Matt Devlin.

Mr Devlin will be laid to rest in Ardboe, Co Tyrone, this morning.
He was one of the H-block hunger strikers alongside Bobby Sands in 1981. He fasted from July 15 until September 4 that year. He died on Thursday aged 55 after a long struggle with illness.
Mid-Ulster MP Martin Mc Guinness last night expressed his sadness on hearing of the death of the former blanket man, hunger striker and Sinn Féin activist.
“It was with sorrow and sadness that I learned of the death of Tyrone republican Matt Devlin. Matt was a dedicated and committed republican who will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
“Matt was one of many Irish republicans who sacrificed much so that our children and our children’s children will enjoy equality, justice, freedom and peace in a united Ireland.
“He endured much hardship because of his ideals and political beliefs, having participated in the blanket protest in Long Kesh before embarking of a hunger strike lasting 53 days, from which it is believed he never fully recovered,” said Mr McGuinness.
The Sinn Féin MP extended his condolences to Mr Devlin’s partner Geraldine, son Matthew and stepson Declan and to his extended family and former comrades.
Mr Devlin had been living in Tang, Co Westmeath, in recent years. He contested the last local elections for Sinn Féin.
Paul Hogan, the first Sinn Féin councillor to be elected in Athlone, paid tribute to Mr Devlin.
“He was chairperson of the Seán Costello/Martin Hurson cumann in Athlone, and he will be dearly missed,” said Mr Hogan.
“He gave great guidance and leadership to Sinn Féin in Athlone and to me personally.”
Coiste na nIarchimí chairman Raymond McCartney, another former hunger striker, also paid tribute to Mr Devlin.
“He was an esteemed colleague and someone who made a huge contribution to the struggle in the H-blocks. I extend my condolences to the family,” he said.

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