Buses to travel from Derry to Co. Down for hunger strike commemoration

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A number of buses will be laid on to transport Derry republicans to County Down for the annual National Hunger Strike commemoration on Sunday, August 5, 2018.

The main speaker at the event, which will take place in Castlewellan at 2 p.m. that day, will be the Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald.

Sinn Féin MLA and former IRA hunger striker, Raymond McCartney, encouraged people to travel.

He said: “The prison struggle of the late 1970s and early 1980s were without any doubt a key moment in the Irish struggle for freedom and justice.

“And within that period the hunger strike of 1981 is of course the defining moment.”

“The National commemoration in Castlewellan is one of the biggest events on the republican calendar and I appeal to the wider republican community in Derry, to the people of Ireland and international sympathisers to mobilise and show support for the ideals for which the hunger strikers gave their all.”

Between May 5 and August 20, 1981, ten republican prisoners - Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O’Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee and Michael Devine - died protesting their right to wear their own clothes as political prisoners in the Maze.

Four of the hunger strikers died during the month of August.

Mr. McCartney, who was among seven participatns in an earlier hunger strike in 1980, asked people who wanted to attend to book their places in advance.

“There will be a number of buses travelling down from Derry.

“For seats call 02871377551,” he said.