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Peter Hadden

Fight Repression!

(22 May 1981)

From Militant [UK], No. 554, 22 May 1981.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton and marked up by Ciaran Crossey.

Four prisoners have died on hunger strike in Northern Ireland. The Tories have callously sat through the deaths of Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara just as they sat unmoved while Bobby Sands and Francis Hughes starved to death.

The army has responded to the mounting street violence in Catholic areas with the most vicious methods. Indiscriminate use of the obviously lethal plastic bullet which has left two more people dead in the last week alone.

Yet at any time the Tories could have resolved the hunger strike with the simplest of concessions. Had they been prepared to allow all prisoners in Northern Ireland the right to wear their own clothes and to negotiate a choice of work, education and training as the British Labour Party NEC has demanded, the hunger strike could have been settled.

The Labour Party and unions must apply pressure now on the Tories to grant these concessions while making quite clear its opposition to sectarianism and the methods of the Provisional IRA and INLA.

Only the labour movement can end repression in the streets or in the prisons. The campaigns of H-Block support groups in Northern Ireland with their sectarian nature and their association with the Provisionals have failed.

The labour movement must fight to resolve the H-Block deadlock before there are more deaths and an escalation of sectarianism in Northern Ireland.

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Last updated: 27 August 2016