In the Spring and Summer of 1981, 10 Republican prisoners in the H Block section of the Maze Prison outside Belfast undertook a hunger strike to the death, with the aim of achieving ‘special category status’ for those convicted under Northern Ireland’s extensive anti terrorist and emergency laws. They were led by Bobby Sands, the Officer Commanding the Provisional IRA prisoners. The British Government insisted they were criminals, they saw themselves as prisoners of war.
This program features a number of rare interviews with Republicans recorded in Ireland in 1981 by Brendan Frost. It includes the voices of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, prison chaplains Father Dennis Faul and Father Raymond Murray,as well as ex prisoners from the Maze and Armagh Women’s Prison.
As part of this retrospective porgram, Jim Short, from Crossmaglen in South Armagh, looks back at the events of 30 years ago and reflects on the present situation in Northern Ireland.