Padraic Mac Coitir recalls the moment he learned of the death of his comrade, Volunteer Martin Hurson.

On the morning of July 13th 1981 I was staying in a house at the bottom of Leana an DĂșin when the owners wakened me up. They said the news reported Martin Hurson dying.


Although knackered I jumped up and got dressed. I could hear some bin lids and whistles in the background - this was the response by locals when hunger strikers had died. 

I was trying to understand what happened because Joe McDonnell had died just a week earlier and we didn't think any of the other lads were in critical condition. The people in the house offered me a cup of tea but I couldn't stay. As I ran up the street I saw many people I knew either banging bin lids or just standing in groups. Most were stunned and angry because Martin had died after 46 days. He was only 24 but like the rest of the hunger strikers he was a determined and committed Volunteer. I didn't know him personally but would have seen him at mass when we were on the blanket protest in H-5.

Later that morning the IRA attacked a British army checkpoint in Suffolk and wounded four of them. This was a unionist part of town and many were getting ready to head out on their bigotfest and like other parts of this putrid little statelet there was a lot of tension.

Three days later I was scooped by the peelers, taken to Woodbourne RUC barracks then on to Castlereagh. Whilst there I was questioned about the shooting in Suffolk. I wasn't talking to the peelers. Then after a couple of days I, along with 2 others, were put on a sham of an ID parade. We were picked out by two peelers who claimed we were in the car they pursued after the shooting. 

My solicitor was Pat Finucane but he didn't get in to see me until after we were picked out and he was raging because he knew it was a sham. The three of us were charged with 'attempted murder' and remanded to Crumlin Road Gaol. The other two lads got the charges dropped days before Xmas but I was held until October 82 when I went to trial. It was clear to everyone who'd read my depositions there was nothing against me. 

During the trial the peelers were caught out telling lies and after three days the unionist judge reluctantly acquitted me. On the way out of the courthouse the peelers were raging and I was reveling in it ... 

So besides remembering this day 1981 for the sad news of hunger striker Martin Hurson dying I'll also remember it for other reasons.

Padraic Mac Coitir is a former republican
prisoner and current political activist.

The Day Martin Hurson Died

Padraic Mac Coitir recalls the moment he learned of the death of his comrade, Volunteer Martin Hurson.

On the morning of July 13th 1981 I was staying in a house at the bottom of Leana an DĂșin when the owners wakened me up. They said the news reported Martin Hurson dying.


Although knackered I jumped up and got dressed. I could hear some bin lids and whistles in the background - this was the response by locals when hunger strikers had died. 

I was trying to understand what happened because Joe McDonnell had died just a week earlier and we didn't think any of the other lads were in critical condition. The people in the house offered me a cup of tea but I couldn't stay. As I ran up the street I saw many people I knew either banging bin lids or just standing in groups. Most were stunned and angry because Martin had died after 46 days. He was only 24 but like the rest of the hunger strikers he was a determined and committed Volunteer. I didn't know him personally but would have seen him at mass when we were on the blanket protest in H-5.

Later that morning the IRA attacked a British army checkpoint in Suffolk and wounded four of them. This was a unionist part of town and many were getting ready to head out on their bigotfest and like other parts of this putrid little statelet there was a lot of tension.

Three days later I was scooped by the peelers, taken to Woodbourne RUC barracks then on to Castlereagh. Whilst there I was questioned about the shooting in Suffolk. I wasn't talking to the peelers. Then after a couple of days I, along with 2 others, were put on a sham of an ID parade. We were picked out by two peelers who claimed we were in the car they pursued after the shooting. 

My solicitor was Pat Finucane but he didn't get in to see me until after we were picked out and he was raging because he knew it was a sham. The three of us were charged with 'attempted murder' and remanded to Crumlin Road Gaol. The other two lads got the charges dropped days before Xmas but I was held until October 82 when I went to trial. It was clear to everyone who'd read my depositions there was nothing against me. 

During the trial the peelers were caught out telling lies and after three days the unionist judge reluctantly acquitted me. On the way out of the courthouse the peelers were raging and I was reveling in it ... 

So besides remembering this day 1981 for the sad news of hunger striker Martin Hurson dying I'll also remember it for other reasons.

Padraic Mac Coitir is a former republican
prisoner and current political activist.

2 comments:

  1. TLDR; Provo gets fitted up, British judges sees miscarriage of justice and releases him. lol

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great piece Chooper - gives a focus with a much wider lens. I knew Martin from the Cages. A very quiet man. Ou of all the deaths his was the least expected. There was no preparation or time to brace for it.

    ReplyDelete