40th anniversary of death of Derry Hunger Striker Patsy O’Hara today

The family of Patsy O’Hara will hold a private act of remembrance today to mark the 40th anniversary of his death while on Hunger Strike.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 9:44 am
The late Patsy O'Hara.

Patsy O’Hara was the first of three INLA volunteers to die on the Hunger Strike after 61 days on May 21, 1981, with the deaths of Kevin Lynch and Michael Devine following in August of that year.

In total, ten men died in the 1981 Hunger Strike, organised by IRA and INLA volunteers in protest over the British government’s criminalisation of political prisoners and denial of rights.

The deaths of the men changed the course of Irish history and drew international attention to the Conflict in the north of Ireland.

Thousands follow the hearse as Patsy O'Hara's funeral passes along the Lecky Road.

Patsy O’Hara died on the same day as fellow Hunger Striker Raymond McCreesh.

Patsy O’Hara’s brother Tony said today will be an emotional day.

“It is always raw,” Mr O’Hara said. “When it comes to the anniversary the emotions all come back.”

Tony O’Hara was in the same prison when his brother went on the Hunger Strike back in 1981.

His recollections from that period are contained in his recently published autobiography, ‘The Time Has Come’, extracts from which is published in today’s Journal alongside a review (Pagea 36-38).

In the book, he recalls the brief meetings he was permitted with his brother while Patsy was on the Hunger Strike, and the impact his death had on his family.

He also details the impacts the deaths of the ten men who died had on those inside the prison at the time.