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Hunger Strikes remembered in the European Parliament

29 June, 2011 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún today welcomed a delegation of former prisoners to Brussels.They visited the European Parliament and attended an event hosted by Ms de Brún to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Hunger Strikes.


The event "Ireland: 30 years After the Hunger Strike, peace building and the EU" was attended by people from different countries and from different political backgrounds, people from both inside and outside the Parliament.


Ms de Brún said: "I am pleased to host this event which marks the hunger strikes in Ireland 30 years ago and to present to our European friends the progress towards peace which has been made over the past 30 years.The event will hear from people who were in prison at the time of the hunger strikes and bring stories of peace building together on the anniversary of this historic moment. I also want to thank the EU for the support they have given to this peace building and reconciliation."


Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell, himself a former prisoner analysed the historical importance of the hunger strike, saying "Following the hunger strikes, and the world-wide campaign of support, Irish republicans could no longer be portrayed as isolated criminal elements. This opened the way for Irish republicans to pursue their objectives by political means."


Former Sinn Féin Councillor and former prisoner Briege Brownlee stressed the role that former prisoners play in the ongoing peace process saying:"Many of the activists who were directly engaged in the conflict, including former prisoners, have been at the heart of efforts to bring about dialogue and reconciliation between communities in the north of Ireland. They are among the first to calm down tensions between and within the communities and to encourage people, particularly young people, to understand and use the potential of the peace process."

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