Francis Hughes joined the hunger strike at the H-Block on 15 March 1981. The second prisoner to join the hunger strike after Bobby Sands died after 59 days without food on 12 May 1981.
Following the death of Francis Hughes violence broke out in Belfast, Derry and Dublin. In light of the death of two prisoners, RTÉ News asks if there is a way forward for a resolution to this crisis.
Kevin Healy speaks to Seamus Mallon, Deputy Leader of the SDLP addressing the question as to the likelihood of the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, adopting a more flexible attitude to the hunger strikers five demands.
Mallon feels that there is room for manoeuvre on two of the demands: prison clothing, and association. Commenting on the strike and the loss of life he says,
It is tragic that men should be dying and put in a position where they're dying as a result of the failure to give what in terms of prison reform... can only contribute to a stable situation within the prison.
On the prospect of a resolution to the crisis ahead of John Hume's meeting with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Seamus Mallon says,
Hope is in very short supply in Northern Ireland at the present moment in time but if we lose it, we have lost everything.
An RTÉ News report by Kevin Healy and introduced by Colm Connolly broadcast on 13 May 1981.