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  • Writer's pictureFriends of Sinn Féin USA

H-Block Martyrs

“I am dying not just to attempt to end the barbarity of the H-Blocks, or to gain the rightful recognition of a political prisoner, but primarily because what is lost in here is lost for the Republic and those wretched oppressed whom I am deeply proud to know as ‘The Risen People’.” - Bobby Sands, hunger striker and MP

Today, October 3rd marks the anniversary of the end of the 1981 Hunger strike in which 10 Irish patriots led down their lives. At the end of the hunger strike the prisoners were unbroken and unbowed. The prisoners issued a statement in which they reaffirmed their opposition to criminalization and said that the sacrifices of their ten dead comrades in the face of British intransigence had “given us international political recognition and has made the cause of Irish freedom an international issue. It has increased support at home and abroad for Irish resistance and has shown that the oppressed nationalist people and the political prisoners are one.”

Speaking at end of the Hunger Strike Gerry Adams said : “The heroism of the ten H-Block martyrs, the courage of the men and women protesting prisoners, the stupidity of the British Government and the principled response of the nationalist people to the prisoners’ plight has had a deep and permanent effect on nationalist politics in Ireland. 1981 – the year of the hunger strike – is no mere temporary setback for British policies in Ireland. Nationally and internationally, its effects will be felt as the struggle for Irish independence progresses in the months and years ahead.”

The sacrifice of the 1981 Hunger strikers did indeed shape the struggle for Irish Unity and Independence. In continues to inspire a new generation of “the Risen People” We remember their memories today and for all days to come.

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