The 1981 Irish Hunger Strike was the culmination of a five-year protest during The Troubles
by Irish republican prisoners in Northern Ireland.
The Troubles (Irish: Na Trioblóidí) was a period of ethno religious-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England and the Republic of Ireland. The Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast "Good Friday" Agreement of 1998.
The protest began as the blanket protest in 1976, when the British government withdrew
Special Category Status for convicted paramilitary prisoners.
In 1978, after a number of attacks on prisoners leaving their cells to "slop out", the dispute
escalated into the dirty protest, where prisoners refused to wash and covered the walls of their
cells with excrement.
In 1980 seven prisoners participated in the first hunger strike, which ended after 53 days.
The second hunger strike took place in 1981 and was a showdown between the prisoners
and the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
One hunger striker, Bobby Sands (below), was elected as a Member of Parliament during the
strike, prompting media interest from around the world.
The strike was called off after ten prisoners had starved themselves to death—including Sands,
whose funeral was attended by 100,000 people.
The strike radicalized nationalist politics, and was the driving force that enabled Sinn Féin to
become a mainstream political party.
Ironically, this documentary was made by the BBC in 2005 and includes interviews
with prior IRA members who were imprisoned by the British in the 1980’s.
The movie "Hunger" was release in 2008. It was directed by Steve McQueen and covers the
last six weeks of the life of the Irish republican hunger striker Bobby Sands. It is not for the faint
A separate extensive series of documentaries, called
"The Provos, the Loyalists, and the Brits"
provides extensive information on Northern Ireland during this violent era. It provides greater
detail on the 1981 Hunger Strikes. It is seeded on the Onebigtorrent site.
Jun 12, 2011, 06:44:15
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55m 56s ago