End of hunger strike marked by online documentary

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A documentary marking the 40th anniversary of the end of the 1981 hunger strike is to premiere online this weekend.

‘1981 in Story and in Song’ will feature the experiences of political prisoners, from Armagh Women’s jail and the H-Blocks of Long Kesh, who played key roles during the period.

The programme, which will cover the events of the period of the hunger strike, which claimed the lives of ten prisoners, including Bobby Sands, who was the elected MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone at the time.

Director Tony Devlin, said it was the “culmination of many months of work, both here in Ireland and in the United States and I want to thank everyone who supported and contributed to the programme.”

He said it was the “untold story” of the prisoners.

“This feature length production is the culmination of many months of work, both here in Ireland and in the United States and I want to thank everyone who supported and contributed to the programme.

“Bobby Sands once said, ‘The men of art have lost their heart’, and this programme is an expression of the men and women of art, and others, who now want to share their heart in gratitude for the sacrifices made in that fateful year.”

There are contributions in the film from many former political prisoners and from many international figures.

New York lawyer Marty Glennon, who co-produced the programme, said: “1981 was a watershed year in modern Irish history.

“Bobby Sands led a hunger-strike for political status in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh and was elected as MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone before his death on 5th May 1981 after 66 days on hunger-strike.

“The hunger-strike would span the entire summer of that year and result in the deaths of ten young Irishmen. It garnered the attention of the world and focused international attention on the British Government’s policies in Ireland.

“The story of the 1981 hunger-strike must be told in its entirety both here in Ireland and internationally and I was honoured to be involved as a co-producer.”

The programme, ‘1981 in Story and in Song’, is being hosted online by Féile an Phobail, the West Belfast Festival. You can watch it this Sunday, 3rd October at 8pm live Irish time, at this site.

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