Jailed Derry republican Gary Donnelly was ended his hunger strike protest after his demand to be housed with other republican prisoners at Maghaberry jail was granted.
The prominent member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM) began a hunger strike over a week previously after he was removed from the republican landing in the jail because of an claimed ‘death threat’ against him from the Real IRA, a claim which was strongly denied.
His father, Roy Donnelly, said; “I was speaking to Gary on Thursday and he said he is feeling light headed. He has not taken any food since 6pm last Friday and he has lost 14 lbs.
“He also said he has been strip searched on a number of occasions which is ludicrous considering that he has been held in isolation since he began refusing food,” he said.
Mr Donnelly admitted his family were “worried” about his son’s health before he ended his protest.
Earlier this week, the 32CSM staged a protest at Free Derry Corner in support of the prison protest.
Commenting on the hunger strike, the spokesperson said; “This development marks a deliberate intrusion of this dirty war strategy into the prison system. Like all previous attempts to do so it will fail in the face of determined republican resistance both within and without of that system.”
A further rally, planned for Sunday, was called off after news of the change in Mr Donnelly’s status.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has accused hardline republicans in Derry of breaking an “unwritten rule” by writing slogans in support of Mr Donnelly on a mural in the city.
Raymond McCartney, who was on hunger strike in 1980, made the comment after graffiti which had been painted in a number of areas of the city appeared on the mural.
“I was contacted by people living in the Bishop Street area on St Patrick’s Day who were very angry and annoyed that graffiti had been sprayed on the large mural dedicated to the memory of the Hunger Strikers,” he said.
He also called on all political groups to discourage graffiti in residential areas.
“This mural was unveiled at the National Hunger Strike commemoration which took place in the city a few years ago and has never been touched in all that time. There has been an unwritten rule going through all strands of republicanism that such murals are not attacked or defaced. Sadly in this occasion that doesn’t seemed to have happened,” he said.