Hunger Strike 30th Anniversary DVD launched in Camloch
A commemorative DVD marking the 30th anniversary of the Hunger Strikes has been launched this weekend. In August last year the 30th commemoration of the 1981 Hunger Strike took place in the south Armagh village of Camloch. It was attended by over 20,000 people and this weekend a commemorative DVD of that day was publicly launched. The DVD, priced at £10, also includes archive footage from 1981 and features interviews with former republican prisoners such as Eileen Morgan, Paddy Quinn and Laurence McKeown, which give a unique and moving insight into some of the events in the prisons in 1981.
Speaking at the launch of the DVD Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy reminded those present that the Hunger Strikers set an example for every republican to replicate and that their spirit and strength would always be remembered with pride. He said the prison struggle, which ultimately claimed the lives of the ten hunger strikers, was akin to the struggle outside the prisons. It was about the right of the Irish people to self-determination, independence and freedom.
Mr Murphy said, “It was clear that the British government’s `criminalisation’ policy was central to their whole strategy overall; by criminalising the prisoners the whole struggle became criminalised and so the stakes for both the British government and Irish republicans were immense. Ultimately the British government was defeated, but this took the lives of ten men in the course of the struggle.”
Murphy also spoke of the importance of the families, the quiet dignity and strength, in the face of immense pressure and commenting on recent attacks on the families and many of those involved in the Hunger Strikes said, “The McCreesh family certainly know the details of the last days of their son and brother Raymond. They have rejected wholesale these disgusting claims and I support them in this. These claims are a deliberate attempt to vilify the Republican community but they too will fail.”
He continued, “In August over 20,000 people converged on Camlouch to attend a rally commemorating 30 years since the H Block struggle. These people and hundreds of thousands of others across the world know what happened during 1981. They don’t need British ‘Notes for the Record’ aided and abetted by sections of the media and commentators to rewrite history for them.”
Young people from across South Armagh, many of whom had taken part in the commemoration, also participated in the DVD launch. Speaking at the event 17 year old Sean Fearon from Dromintee said, “I was really honoured to be asked to participate in the national Hunger Strike commemoration last August. It was nerve wracking to speak in front of so many people but I just focussed on the reason we were there and the men and women who took part in the prison struggle in the early 80’s.”
Sarah Hughes, also 17, spoke of her participation in the August commemoration saying, “It was amazing to see all the people in Camlough that day. I felt like I was part of something much bigger, it was a one in a lifetime event and I am glad that I took part in it.”
The H30 DVD is available in Sinn Féin offices in Newry, 028 3026 1693; Crossmaglen, 028 3086 1948 or Armagh, 028 37511797 or by request from any Sinn Féin member.
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