From a Portloaise Prison cell, republican political prisoner Dessie Ellis issued the following statement on Wednesday morning. It was read out by his sister Marttha later that day.
``As from the morning of 10 October 1990, I will be embarking on a hunger strike in protest against my extradition. I am going on a hunger strike to the death, if necessary, to prevent my extradition to Britain. The government has it in its power to stop my extradition and only the Irish people can force the government to act. I now appeal with my life to the Irish people.''
Extradition is now a matter of life or death. If the Dublin Government does not use its powers to prevent Dessie Ellis's extradition it will have condemned him to death. He as said that he is determined not to be sent to England to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Fianna Fáil's 1987 Extradition Act, which they opposed when the Fine Gael/Labour coalition introduced it, takes away that right altogether. They want Dessie Ellis to be the first political prisoner to be handed over under that law. Ellis is to be extradited on conspiracy charges - charges which are impossible to disprove. He is certain to be scapegoated by the judicial system which has kept the Birmingham Six in prison unjustly for 16 years.
The Fianna Fáil ministers who are prepared to sacrifice him in order to please Margaret Thatcher must be brought to book. Dessie Ellis must not die.
Phoblacht, Thursday 11 October 1990