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Gerry Adams launches Hunger Strike Commemoration Events

13 February, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP was today joined by families of the 1981 Hunger Strikers and former political prisoners at the launch of a year long series of events to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Hunger Strike.

The event in the Europa Hotel in Belfast was also addressed by Oliver Hughes (The Brother of IRA Hunger Striker Francis Hughes) and former prisoners Martina Anderson and Seando Moore.

In the course of his address Mr Adams said:

"The prison protests of the late 1970s and early 1980s and in particular the Hunger Strike of 1981 were watershed moments in Irish history. It does not seem like 25 years ago when 10 republican prisoners lost their lives when faced with an intransigent British government in London and an Irish government in Dublin more interested in self interest than seeking a resolution to the situation in the H-Blocks and Armagh prison.

"The forthcoming year will provide an opportunity to reflect upon the ten men who died, the contribution they made and the sacrifices made by their families during the summer of 1981. These events must also be about more than looking back. They must also be about looking to the future, exploring how best we move our struggle forward in the coming years and how best we complete the job of delivering Irish unity and independence.

"The commemorative calendar will also allow a new generation of Irish people who weren't even born in 1981 to learn about the time and participate in mapping out the future. My generation of Irish republicans will never forget those terrible months from March to October when ten men died in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh and over 50 others died on our streets, but in marking the 25th Anniversary of the Hunger Strike we have an opportunity to celebrate their lives, remember their sacrifice and rededicate ourselves to advancing the struggle in the time." ENDS

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