A’town remembers last hunger striker


By Evan Short
21 August 2006

A mock H-Block cell was constructed in Andersonstown Sunday to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of hunger striker Mickey Divine, the final volunteer to die resisting criminalisation.

Hailing from Derry, Mickey Devine died after spending 60 days on hunger strike.

He was the third INLA member to perish in the 1981 campaign that saw ten republican prisoners lose their lives.

He died on the day voters went to the polls in Fermanagh and South Tyrone to elect an MP to replace Bobby Sands, the first to die on the hunger strike.

A founder member of the INLA, Mickey Divine was serving a 12 year sentence in the H-Blocks for firearms offences and spent four years as a blanketman before joining the hunger strike which had already claimed the life of his friend, Patsy O’Hara.

Local Sinn Féin councillors, Paul Maskey and Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhin, took part in the Andersonstown 1980/1981 Hunger Strike Committee commemoration by participating in a 12-hour fast in the mock H-Block cell located on the Andersonstown Road on Sunday.

Speaking before a white line picket along the road, Councillor Maskey paid tribute to the local committee for their work over the last number of months.
“I would like to commend the hard work of this local committee. It is mostly made up of ex-prisoners, who have indeed inspired wide participation in the range of events since March.

“Their consistency and determination to pay tribute to each of the families of the hunger strikers equally must be commended.

“Today we commemorate the sacrifices made by a Derry man 25 years ago, in the heart of Andersonstown.

“This year’s events have meant so much to the families and the ex-prisoners from that period.”

Councillor Mhic Giolla Mhin added: “It was an honour to be associated with many who participated in the prison protests of 1980 and 1981.

“This small token of fasting for twelve hours in a mock cell on the Andersonstown Road was designed to send out support and solidarity to the families.

“Their sons and loved ones most certainly have not been forgotten and last week’s Casement Park concert and activities are a clear indication of that.”

Journalist:: Evan Short

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