Brendan Hughes is laid to rest

Thousands line the street to bid ‘The Dark’ a fond farewell

By Ciarán Barnes
Irelandclick
22 February 2008

More than 2,000 mourners lined the streets of West Belfast on Tuesday for the funeral of IRA hunger striker Brendan Hughes.

The 59-year-old’s coffin, which was draped in a tricolour and had black gloves and a beret on top, was carried by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.
The former IRA leader was cremated at Roselawn Cemetery after funeral Mass at St Peter’s Cathedral.
Fr Brendan Smyth, who conducted the service, said Brendan’s hunger strike in 1980 had taken a huge physical and mental toll.

Hunger striker

“His life after that time could not outrun or forget all that had happened to him and the many like him,” he said.
The first hunger strike was called off after 53 days, with IRA volunteer Sean McKenna on the verge of death.
Fr Smyth told mourners Brendan made a “brave decision” in ending the protest.
He added: “We know that when someone has the courage to do the right thing, then nothing but good can come from it, and we know of at least one person whose life was immediately saved for him having taken that courageous decision.”
Brendan joined the IRA in 1969.
He was arrested in the early 1970s along with Gerry Adams and Tom Cahill and sent to Long Kesh.

Critic

He escaped shortly afterwards in a rolled-up mattress but was eventually re-arrested.
In January 1978 he was transferred to the H-Blocks where he became the IRA’s Officer Commanding and led first the hunger strike against prison conditions.
Bobby Sands, a close friend of ‘The Dark’, took over from him as OC in Long Kesh.
Bobby Sands ordered the second hunger strike in 1981 in which he and nine other inmates died.
Brendan never fully recovered from his hunger strike ordeal and two years ago underwent an operation to save his sight.
Although a staunch critic of Sinn Féin in his later years, he remained hugely respected by supporters of the party.

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One Response to “Brendan Hughes is laid to rest”

  1. Mantramine Says:

    Hi, I am looking for some information on a Jim Campbell that was in the Long Kesh prison camp in the 80’s. Wonder if you might have any ideas how I could research this?

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