On 27 October 1980, republican prisoners in HM Prison Maze(Occupied Ireland) began a hunger strike. Many prisoners volunteered to be part of the strike, but a total of seven were selected to match the number of men who signed the Easter 1916 Proclamation of the Republic. The group consisted of IRA members Brendan Hughes, Tommy McKearney, Raymond McCartney, Tom McFeeley, Sean McKenna, Leo Green, and INLA member John Nixon.
On 1 December three prisoners in Armagh Women’s Prison joined the strike, including Mairéad Farrell, followed by a short-lived hunger strike by several dozen more prisoners in HM Prison Maze. In a war of nerves between the IRA leadership and the British government, with McKenna lapsing in and out of a coma and on the brink of death, the government appeared to concede the essence of the prisoners demands with a thirty-page document detailing a proposed settlement.
With the document in transit to Belfast, the IRA took the decision to save McKenna’s life and end the strike after 53 days on 18 December
Before the hunger strike Mckearny told his parents
I’ll put all my cards on the table. I’m going on hunger strike. If and when I die, I want to be brought back to Roscommon and be buried alongside my “Granda” . . . Don’t let people try to influence you, your only friends will be the Republican Movement. If I die, never let the family be ashamed. If I die, I’ll die in the knowledge that my life was for the cause and for the other boys here. If at my funeral the press say, “See how the IRA let your son die”, just say, “My son died as an Irish soldier, not a British criminal
Today, 30 years later, as Palestinian Prisoner Khader Adnan enter his 54 day of the hunger strike he started solely in December 17, 2011. Tommy McKearney made this video to express solidarity with a fellow fighter for freedom and Justice.
“My dignity is more Important than Food” Khader Adnan