McCartney speaks at National Hunger Strike event in Ballina

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney who spent 53 days on Hunger Strike in 1980 joined an international panel discussion at a weekend of events in Ballina Co Mayo to coincide with the National Hunger Strike commemoration taking place there.

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Thousands of people from all parts of Ireland and beyond gathered in Ballina to mark the 36th Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike in which ten young men died in H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

The Commemoration also marked the sacrifice of Mayo Hunger Strikers Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg, who died in English prisons in the 1970s, as well as that of another Mayo man Seán ‘Jack’ McNeela and Tony D’arcy from Co. Galway, both of whom died on Hunger Strike in 1940.

Raymond McCartney reflected the prison protests in Long Kesh and Armagh Gaol in the 1980s. George Stagg brother of Hunger striker Frank Stagg spoke emotionally of his memories of the funeral of his brother being hijacked and thanked people for their continued support in remembering all the Hunger strikers. There were also speakers from Palestine.