Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Great Escape comes to Gorey

On Friday February 10th in The Bunker Bar, The Rock, the story of The Great Escape from the H-Blocks will be told by Bik McFarlane, Bobby Storey and Gerry Kelly, three of the key people who organised and took part in the escape, on September 25, 1983, when 38 high security IRA prisoners broke out of what was considered at the time to be the safest goal in Europe.

The story begins with the aftermath of the hunger strike and de-facto granting of all the five demands or political status, which gave the prisoners, limited movement within the wings of each block, they used this to work out the prison system and plan the take-over of the entire H-Block.

The smuggling in of weapons and making replica guns from wood and making uniforms, the precise timing and daring of the take over, is all detailed by McFarlane who was the OC of the block, Kelly who is now an MLA for North Belfast and Bobby Storey who was in charge of supplies for the escape, which was the largest prison brake out since the World War II.

On that cold September evening 38 men left on a lorry, but only 19 were still out a week later, and today only three remain having never been recaptured, three others later died while on active service with the IRA.

It is part of history now that the H-Blocks of Long Kesh are empty; they are to be all knocked bar one Block and the prison hospital both of which will be kept as part of a museum, the rest of the complex is to be developed into a leisure centre.

The story of The Great Escape which has packed venues throughout Ireland will begin at 8.30pm on Friday, May 10th in The Bunker Bar, The Rock.

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