By Connla Young
A prominent republican who took part in the 1980 hunger strike says he has no regrets despite coming close to death 40 years ago this week.
Co Tyrone man Tommy McKearney had been given just hours to live when the fast was finally called off.
The hunger strike was halted as another of those taking part, Sean McKenna, teetered on the brink of death.
The protest, which included six members of the IRA and one INLA prisoner, lasted 53 days after being launched on October 27 1980.
It came four years after republicans had first refused to wear prison uniforms when special category status - de-facto political status - was withdrawn.
The British government's decision was seen as part of a policy to criminalise republicans, one which they fiercely resisted.
The bitter protest was launched after Belfast man Kieran Nugent refused to wear a uniform after being transferred to the H-Blocks from Crumlin Road Prison and instead wrapped himself in a prison-issue blanket to cover his naked body.
The 'Blanketmen', as protesting republicans became known, later started a no-wash protest ...