IRSP Hunger Strike Investigation Findings Disclosed

Today The Pnesive Quill features Alex McGuigan Chairperson, Belfast Executive, Irish Republican Socialist Party, outlining the findings of an IRSP investigation into the management of the 1981 hunger strike.

On Wednesday 11th April 2012, Teach na Failte in Belfast hosted a public meeting on the 1981 Hunger Strike, the first in a 3 day exhibition and series of public meetings on the H-Block campaign era held in Cliftonvile Community Centre in the north of the city. The public meeting on the 11th April, chaired by Teach na Failte representative, Paul Little, included invited speakers, Richard O'Rawe, former PRO of the Provisional IRA H-Block prisoners during the Hunger Strike and author of 'Blanketmen' and 'Afterlives'.

Also on the panel were former O/C of INLA prisoners in the H-Blocks during the 1981 Hunger Strike, Rab Collins and former INLA blanketman and IRSP spokesperson, Willie Gallagher. Former Sinn Fein publicity director, Danny Morrison and former H-Block O/C of the Provisional IRA prisoners during the 1981 Hunger Strike, Bik McFarlane, were both invited to take part in the public meeting but neither attended.

IRSP spokesperson, Willie Gallagher, took the opportunity to reveal the definitive findings of a 7 year long IRSP investigation into the reported existence of a 'deal' offered by British government representatives during the secret 'Mountain Climber' negotiations at the time of the 1981 H-Block Hunger Strike which would have met the majority of the H-Block protesting prisoners' '5 demands' and saved the lives of at least 5 of the Hunger Strikers.

Speaking at the public meeting, Willie Gallagher stated:

the 7 year IRSP investigation into the revelations, first disclosed in February 2005 in the book 'Blanketmen', has conclusively found that Ricky O'Rawe has been consistently telling the truth! There is now no doubt on the factual existence of a substantial deal offered by British government negotiators that could have saved the lives of many of the Hunger Strikers and met most of the prisoners' 5 demands. It is now a matter of fact that a substantial 'deal' from the British representatives did indeed go into the H-Blocks on the 5th July, 1981.

Mr Gallagher continued:

the Provisional IRA leadership in Long Kesh, during the 1981 Hunger Strike, accepted the offer as it met most of the H-Block prisoners' 5 demands but the Adams-led committee known as 'the Kitchen Cabinet' rejected and overuled the gaol leadership's acceptance of the deal. The INLA and IRSP leadership outside the gaol were keptcompletely in the dark about the 'Mountain Climber' initiative, as were the INLA prisoners in the H-Blocks and the Hunger Strikers themselves."

At the conclusion of the Hunger Strike public meeting, Teach na Failte representative, Paul Little, restated the IRSP position that only a transparent and independent enquiry into the events surrounding the 1981 Hunger Strike and the secret 'Mountain Climber' negotiations, will now satisfy the broad Republican community. The Hunger Strikes exhibition and public meetings will continue until Friday 13th April, 2012

For further details, contact Teach na Failte:

Gerry Foster: (028) 90323416 / 07871205565


Paul Little: 07590384792


  1. Danny Morrison, the man who loves publicity almost as much as he loves himself, didn't go? Surely this would have been the perfect time and place for him and the other clique members of the Kitchen Cabinet to come clean about the Five Demands, and explain their version of events? Perhaps he has something to hide…?

  2. Sam,

    would you turn up to sound like Bertie Ahern did at the Mahon Tribunal?

  3. He was probably busy reassuring the "grassroots" that there was a pira victory and Ireland would be united by 2016

  4. Danny got himself a new hat...

    A bowler hat and a Sash to go with it.

    The only problem is, he hasn't realised yet that Peter might like Marty but his liking is more of a tolerating him in a tolerating the dog barking to keep out undesirables sort of thing.

  5. Even if this conclusion was expected by people who followed this saga, it is to the credit of the IRSP to have taking there time and propely investigated the evidences.

    Anthony, can I take a little space of this post to ask a question to your readers?
    I have been asked to write a paper comapring Northern Ireland and Quebec in the 60s. I have gone through academic textes, but there is one issue that I have not find an answer. Did republicans talked about the situation of Quebec in the 60s and 70s. More specifically, this they read "White neggers of America" by Pierre Vallières". I can be reach at :

  6. André,

    I think the IRSP are to be commended for having addressed the matter in a firm manner. And they did so only after long deliberation. They did not rush to judgement.

    My recollection of the Quebec events is that there was not a lot of discussion about it. I recall the Pierre La Porte killing and the James Cross kidnapping and the activity of the FLQ as they happened but little else. Pierre Trudeau was a much reported figure in the British press and media which we were exposed to. I don’t recall in later years it being considered a template nor the basis for a study group in the jail.

  7. Thank you Anthony for your answer.

    That's what I taught, since after the death of Pierre Laporte, labour minister (october 1970), the nationalist mouvement took the constitutional road. When Ricahr Cross was released after nearly three month of captivity, he said said about the war measure act that was passed in october 1970 (it's the same as internment) that in the UK this kind of law
    would never be voted. He was released in december 1970. I don't know what was his tought in august 1971.

  8. Why dont the INLA arrest Adams and his kitchen cabinet,they murdered their comrades..

  9. Richard O Rawe has proven his point beyond doubt,The IRSP have spent seven years investigating this horrible affair,and they have concluded that Richard,s account was indeed accurate and truthful, now they call for an independent inquiry, Why? surely now the truth is out there it time for the leadership of the INLA to let the world know how they intend to deal with those who let their heroic comrades die such a horrible and needless death, we dont expect the RA to do anything after all they would probably say "we were only obeying orders"

  10. I could also say that if we indeed did have a proper independent public inquiry, and it concluded that indeed Adams and his "kitchen cabinet" did allow those hero,s to die for nothing more than political gain,what then? a strongly worded letter to Connolly House!

  11. Marty,

    I think by now it is clear that the Committee were responsible for killing the boys. As you say Richard has proven his case beyond doubt. Yet I can’t see what the INLA can or should do about it. Their war is over and the thought of renewing it to settle up with those who killed the hunger strikers is not an option in my view. What they should do is ensure it is recorded as a historical fact and that those responsible are put firmly in the frame.