Who was a founding member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). And the last young man to be murdered by the British Crown in the 1981 Irish hunger strike. He died after 60 days without food.
Devine, also known as “Red Mickey” because of his red hair, was born into a family from the Springtown Camp, Derry. In 1960, when Mickey was six years of age, the Devine family including his grandmother, sister Margaret and parents Patrick and Elizabeth, moved to the then newly built Creggan estate to the north of Derry city centre.He was educated to a primary level at Holy Child Primary School, Creggan, and at secondary level in St. Joseph’s Secondary School, also in the Creggan.
After British soldiers shot dead two unarmed civilians, Dessie Beattie and Raymond Cusack, Devine joined the James Connolly Republican Club in Derry in July 1971. Bloody Sunday had a deep impact on Mickey, as it had on all Nationalists all over Ireland. In the early 1970s, Mickey joined the Labour Party and Young Socialists.
He helped found the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in 1975. In 1976, after an arms raid in Co. Donegal, Mickey was arrested in the North of Ireland. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He joined the blanket protest before joining the hunger strike.
Mickey participated in a brief hunger strike in 1980, that was called off without fatalities. On 22nd June 1981, he joined the 1981 Irish hunger strike. He died on 20th August, the tenth and last of the hunger strikers to die.
According to the Sunday Times, papers released under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA, refused offers of the Thatcher government to end the hunger strike until after the election that saw Owen Carron succeed to Bobby Sands Parliamentary seat. Around July 5th, 1981, the government secretly tendered concessions that, if accepted, could have saved six of the ten hunger strikers. The claim that the IRA was offered a deal that substantially conformed to their demands was confirmed by Denis Bradley, the former deputy chairman of the ‘Northern Ireland’ Policing Board. Sinn Féin deny any of this.
Although another 13 men had joined, and continued to join the Hunger Strike after Mickey died. There were no more deaths. The strike was ended on the 3rd October 1981.
With many thanks to: