REMEMBERING MICKEY DEVINE
Twenty-seven-year-old Micky Devine, from the Creggan in Derry city, was the third Irish
National Liberation Army (INLA) Volunteer to join the H-Block hunger strike to the death.
Known as ‘Red Micky’, his nickname stemmed from his ginger hair rather than his political complexion, although he was most definitely a republican socialist.
Michael James Devine was born on May 26th, 1954 in the Springtown camp, on the outskirts of Derry city, a former American army base from the Second World War, which Micky himself described as “the slum to end all slums”.
In early 1948 the family moved to Springtown where Micky was born in May 1954.
Although Springtown was meant to provide only temporary accommodation, official lethargy and sectarianism dictated that such inadequate housing was good enough for Catholics and it was not until the early ‘sixties that the camp was closed.
His father died when Micky was a young lad; he found his mother died when he was only a teenager.
The Police attacks on civil rights protesters were a seminal moment for young Mickey Devine.
“Overnight I developed an intense hatred of the RUC. As a child, I had always known not to talk to them, or to have anything to do with them, but this was different
“Within a month everyone was a political activist. I had never had a political thought in my life, but now we talked of nothing else. I was by no means politically aware but the speed of events gave me a quick education.”
Mickey would eventually become a founding member of the Irish National Liberation Army.
Arrested and imprisoned in 1977, and immediately embarked on the blanket protest.
Like others incarcerated within the H-Blocks, suffering daily abuse and inhuman and degrading treatment, Micky realized – soon after he joined the blanket protest – that eventually it would come to a hunger strike.
He was determined that when that ultimate step was reached he would be among those on hunger strike.
Micky died at 7.50 am August 20th, 1981