Today With Sean O Rourke Thursday 28 November 2013
Hunger Strike,Margaret Thatcher's Battle with the IRA, 1980 - 1981
When Margaret Thatcher died in April of this year, Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Féin, offered a withering assessment of her, arguing that she would be ‘especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and 81’ and suggested that ‘her Irish policy failed miserably’. The hunger strikes of 1980, and more significantly of 1981, created ten martyrs for the Irish Republican pantheon. While Thatcher has been demonised for her role in these deaths since 1981, more recently questions have surfaced about the role of the republican leadership. Now, with the release of recently declassified documents, Professor Thomas Hennessey forensically examines the origins and evolution of the prisons dispute, leading up to the first hunger strike of 1980, and setting the scene for the final confrontation with the British government in 1981, and addresses the controversial issue of whether there was a deal on the table in July 1981 that could have saved the lives of six men, in his new book, Hunger Strike: Margaret Thatcher’s Battle with the IRA. Sean spoke to Thomas Hennessey.
Hunger Strike: Margaret Thatcher’s Battle with the IRA, 1980 – 1981 by Thomas Hennessey. Published by Irish Academic Press.
Price: €20. 50 in paperback.