Anti-Treaty IRA Hunger Strikes begin 1923

#OnThisDay 1923 Michael Kilroy, O/C IRA Western Command, called for a hunger strike in Mountjoy Jail by 400 IRA POWs protesting their incarceration, as the war had ended in May. It spread to all camps until there was 1000s on hunger strike.

The figures given by Sinn Féin at the time were :
Mountjoy Jail: 462;
Cork Jail: 70;
Kilkenny Jail: 350;
Dundalk Jail: 200;
Gormanston Camp: 711;
Newbridge Camp: 1,700;
Tintown: 123;
Curragh Camp: 3,390; Harepark Camp: 100;
North Dublin Union: 50 women.

The government entered negotiations but were really just a threat, ““we are not going to force feed you, but if you die we won’t waste coffins on you; you will be put in orange boxes and you will be buried in unconsecrated ground”. 

Two strikers died, Denis Barry on November 20th and Andrew Sullivan on November 22nd.  Bishop Daniel Cohalan, who supported Terence MacSwiney’s hunger strike, he compared him to Pearse and Emmet and saw that he got Church support. However when Barry passed, Bishop Cohalan wrote,
“Republicanism in Ireland for the last twelve months has been a wicked and insidious attack on the Church and on the souls of the faithful committed to the Church by the law of the Catholic Church”.
Twenty two year old Denis Barry was not allowed a religious burial.

Eventually the strike was called off as it was not achieving its aims. Some prisoners were released slowly but others stayed in for nearly another ten years.

#Ireland #History


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