Statement from families of 1981 Hunger Strikers
In response to media queries, Sinn Féin have today been asked by the majority of the Hunger Strikers’ families to issue, through our press office, a statement written by them in the wake of recent lies and false allegations made surrounding the events of 1981, and misrepresentation in the media and elsewhere of this week’s meeting between the families and the Sinn Fein leadership.
On Wednesday evening June 17th the Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams met with 8 of the 10 families of the hunger strikers who died in 1981. The meeting was held in Gulladuff, South Derry.
The family of Kevin Lynch were unable to attend but sent a message of support.
Following the meeting Willie Gallagher of the IRSP published an account of the meeting based, he claims, on a report to him by Tony O’Hara and Michael óg Devine.
In a statement members of the other families present, including the Hughes, McCreesh, McDonnell, Hurson, Doherty, McElwee and Devine families repudiated the Gallagher version of the meeting and rejected any suggestion that Michael óg Devine, who remained silent throughout, was ‘shouted down’ or ‘bullied’. Michael óg Devine did not in fact speak during the meeting.
The families said:
“Wednesday evening’s meeting was a very emotional and difficult occasion for all of us, particularly in light of the allegations coming from Richard O’Rawe and the IRSP.
All of the family members, who spoke, with the exception of Tony O’Hara, expressed deep anger and frustration at the ongoing allegations created by O’Rawe.
“Tony O’Hara’s suggestion that we should meet with Richard O’Rawe and Willie Gallagher got no support and we asked Tony to express to Richard O’Rawe and Willie Gallagher our wish for them to stop what they are doing and to give us peace of mind.
“The account of the meeting published by Willie Gallagher is inaccurate and offensive.
“Our loved ones made the supreme sacrifice on hunger strike for their comrades. They were not dupes. They were dedicated and committed republicans. We are clear that it was the British government which refused to negotiate and refused to concede their just demands.”