Tributes paid as mother of republican hunger striker dies

Irish News
Wednesday 20/02/08

Tributes have been paid to Margaret Hughes, mother of Co Derry hunger striker Francis Hughes, who died yesterday after a two-year illness.

Margaret Hughes nee McElwee (94) died at home comforted by her family.

She is survived by her husband Joe, who is aged 99.

“On behalf of the Sinn Fein leadership I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Maggie’s husband Joe and large family circle at this difficult time,” Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, the deputy first minister, said.

Another son, Oliver, an independent republican councillor in Magherafelt, said that while Mrs Hughes had been very sad that Francis had died on hunger strike, she was intensely proud of him. In the last years of her life she took great comfort from praying for him and from the belief that he was watching over her, Mr Hughes said.

Francis Hughes was involved in the 1980 mass hunger strike before becoming the second prisoner, after Bobby Sands, to go on hunger strike the following year.

Mr Hughes died after 59 days without food. His cousin Tom McElwee also took part in the protest and was the ninth hunger striker to die.

Boston renamed the street in which the British consulate in the city is located as Francis Hughes Street.

Mrs Hughes’s funeral will leave the family home at 6 Scribe Road, Bellaghy, tomorrow at 10.15 for Requiem Mass and burial at St Mary’s, Bellaghy.

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