###FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE###
IRSP Investigation findings into 1981 Hunger Strike deal disclosed!
On Wednesday 11th April 2012, Teach na Failte in Belfast hosted a public meeting on the 1981 Hunger Strike, the first in a 3 day exhibition and series of public meetings on the H-Block campaign era held in Cliftonvile Community Centre in the north of the city. The public meeting on the 11th April, chaired by Teach na Failte representative, Paul Little, included invited speakers, Richard O’Rawe, former PRO of the Provisional IRA H-Block prisoners during the Hunger Strike and author of ‘Blanketmen’ and ‘Afterlives’. Also on the panel were former O/C of INLA prisoners in the H-Blocks during the 1981 Hunger Strike, Rab Collins and former INLA blanketman and IRSP spokesperson, Willie Gallagher.
Former Sinn Fein publicity director, Danny Morrison and former H-Block O/C of the Provisional IRA prisoners during the 1981 Hunger Strike, Bik McFarlane, were both invited to take part in the public meeting but neither attended.
IRSP spokesperson, Willie Gallagher, took the opportunity to reveal the definitive findings of a 7 year long IRSP investigation into the reported existence of a ‘deal’ offered by British government representatives during the secret ‘Mountain Climber’ negotiations at the time of the 1981 H-Block Hunger Strike which would have met the majority of the H-Block protesting prisoners’ ‘5 demands’ and saved the lives of at least 5 of the Hunger Strikers.
Speaking at the public meeting, Willie Gallagher stated, “the 7 year IRSP investigation into the revelations, first disclosed in February 2005 in the book ‘Blanketmen’, has conclusively found that Ricky O’Rawe has been consistently telling the truth! There is now no doubt on the factual existence of a substantial deal offered by British government negotiators that could have saved the lives of many of the Hunger Strikers and met most of the prisoners’ 5 demands. It is now a matter of fact that a substantial ‘deal’ from the British representatives did indeed go into the H-Blocks on the 5th July, 1981.”
Mr Gallagher continued,”the Provisional IRA leadership in Long Kesh, during the 1981 Hunger Strike, accepted the offer as it met most of the H-Block prisoners’ 5 demands but the Adams-led committee known as ‘the Kitchen Cabinet’ rejected and overuled the gaol leadership’s acceptance of the deal. The INLA and IRSP leadership outside the gaol were kept completely in the dark about the ‘Mountain Climber’ initiative, as were the INLA prisoners in the H-Blocks and the Hunger Strikers themselves.“
At the conclusion of the Hunger Strike public meeting, Teach na Failte representative, Paul Little, restated the IRSP position that only a transparent and independent enquiry into the events surrounding the 1981 Hunger Strike and the secret ‘Mountain Climber’ negotiations, will now satisfy the broad Republican community. The Hunger Strikes exhibition and public meetings will continue until Friday 13th April, 2012
For further details, contact Teach na Failte:
Gerry Foster: (028) 90323416 / 07871205565
Paul Little: 07590384792
Irish Republican Socialist Party,
392b Falls Road,