Explain Do Not Hide

The following statement has been issued by Richard O’Rawe in the wake of the latest revelation from British state papers about the 1981 hunger strike.

In 2009, the relatives of hunger strikers, Patsy O’Hara and Michael Devine publicly called for a republican inquiry into the 1981 hunger strike.

The families specifically appealed to Gerry Adams, Danny Morrison, Bik McFarlane and myself to co-operate with that inquiry and to make ourselves available for cross-examination. Adams, Morrison and McFarlane did not bother to reply to the families’ request. I did reply, saying that I would fully co-operate with any inquiry that was set up. Why wouldn’t I? I don’t hide behind hunger strikers’ families because I have nothing to hide. 

In the recently released British papers, NIO official, Stephen Leach informed permanent Secretary, Sir John Blelloch that a back channel between the British government and the IRA had been opened during the 1981 hunger strike. Leach went on to say that, during a meeting with the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace, Gerry Adams had ‘indicated that a ‘good offer’ had recently been made available via the channel’. For clarity’s sake, if nothing else, Gerry Adams should tell us:

1.    If Danny Morrison told Bik McFarlane about the offer when the former visited the prison hospital on 6 July 1981.  If not, why not?

2.    What McFarlane’s view had been of that offer?

3.    If Morrison or Adams ever made the hunger strikers aware of the contents of that offer.  If not, why not? 

4.    If Morrison or Adams ever showed the prison leadership or the hunger strikers the contents of the communications with the British?

5.    Why the IRSP/INLA leadership was not told about the British offer (considering that two of their volunteers later died on the fast)?

6.    If Adams considered that ‘good offer’ to be good enough to end the hunger strike? 

7.    If Adams did consider it good enough to end the hunger strike, then why did he tell both the prison leadership and the British government that, ‘More was needed’?  Was this not playing with the lives of hunger strikers? 

These and other many questions in regards to the way this IRA committee ran the hunger strike for now remain unanswered but they will not go away. The hunger strikers broke Margaret Thatcher yet their victory was concealed from them by a hunger strike management committee outside the prison for reasons that have never been fully outlined. Rather than hide behind the families of Ten Men Dead, the committee should be dragged out in front of those families to explain their behaviour.

1 comment:

  1. GA & the boys are the first to the microphones to call for inquiries about anything unrelated to themselves and very vocal about calling people to answer their questions. But when it comes close to home (or indeed into the kitchen) then suddenly they get all shy and quiet.

    The families & others need to keep the pressure up and let GA know 'they haven't gone away, you know"