McCreesh family deny British claim

THE FAMILY of IRA hunger-striker

Raymond McCartney Mural, Bogside, Derry, North...

 have strongly rejected claims in a British government document that they prevented him from breaking his fast after he allegedly requested nourishment from the prison authorities.

The 24-year-old from Camlough, Co Armagh, was serving a 14-year term at the Maze Prison, Long Kesh, for the attempted murder of British soldierswhen he died on May 21st, 1981, after 61 days on hunger strike.

Prison Cell

British state papers released under the 30-year rule allege that, five days before he died, McCreesh indicated a willingness to accept nourishment, but that his family advised against such intervention.

A view along the corridor of one of the wings ...

A statement issued yesterday said the document was “untrue” and “inaccurate” in its account of statements attributed to family members.

A statement issued yesterday said the document was “untrue” and “inaccurate” in its account of statements attributed to family members.

“The family have always been convinced that the situation was deliberately engineered by authorities in government and the prison service to break the hunger strike.

“Agents of the state abused the extremely vulnerable condition of a dying man for political and propaganda purposes. When their efforts failed they attempted to vilify the family. This episode stands as a testament to the depravity of the state at the time, and as a measure of the shameless depths to which government was prepared to go to achieve their goals.”

Belfast murals Ardoyne - Ardoyne's claim that ...

In a separate development, former Sinn Féin director of publicity Danny Morrison said other British documents confirmed his version of events leading up to the death of the fifth hunger striker, Joe McDonnell, on July 8th, 1981.

Fence & Tower

Mr Morrison said official notes on a phone call from intermediary Brendan Duddy on July 5th, three days before McDonnell’s death, show that no document on resolving the impasse had been prepared by the British at that stage. He said this refuted a claim by former Maze prisoner Richard O’Rawe in his 2005 memoir, Blanketmen, that Mr Morrison had brought details of a British offer into the prison that day.

Mr Morrison said he was “either in the jail or waiting to get in when this phone call was made. It shows that the British had at this time not even formulated their offer to us, so how could I be carrying in an offer/deal?”

O’Rawe says the British had made an offer which was acceptable to the leadership of the prisoners but the IRA army councilrejected the proposed deal.

The entrance to Compound 19, which during inte...

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