Speech by Cllr Johnny Mythen at the County Wexford Hunger Strike 30th anniversary Rally in Enniscorthy.
The Lady’s not for turning, Out. Out. Out. There is no such thing as society. These are the words of Margaret Thatcher. This was the mind set, the political dogma. The rejectionist Position, held by the British and orange state. A state ten young Irishmen had to face. Face it they did. By remarkable courage by Strength of mind, an unequal battle with a violent aggressor, a battle for the political and legitimate right to be recognised as political prisoners. In truth, a battle for the very survival of Republicanism.
Isolated, brutally treated, they put forward five simple demands;
• The right not to wear prison uniforms
• The right not to do prison work.
• The right to organise educational and recreational pursuits,
to free association with other prisoners.
• The right to full restoration of remission lost through protest.
• The right to one letter, one visit one parcel a week
These demands were met with the all too familiar and unforgivable attitudes of both Governments.
Some say 1981 was a failure, and everything was lost. However History has proven otherwise. Bobby Sands and his nine young comrades set the loom in motion. Set the loom in motion that went on to weave the tapestry of the Good Friday Agreement which ended the orange state once and for all, and will weave the tapestry for a 32 County Republic. To Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Ray Mc Creech, Patsy O Hara, Joe Mc Donnell, Martin Hurson. Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty. Thomas Mcelwee , Michael Devine, to all the blanket men and women. We owe an immeasurable gratitude. We owe a most sacred obligation. For these men and women left us their legacy of a precious gift. The gift of the unconquered human spirit.