Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hunger Strike vigils draw attention in New Ross

Two vigils held to mark the 32nd anniversary of the H-Blocks Hunger Strikes were held in New Ross town last week.  Good crowds gathered on the fantastic new quay front and by the 1798 memorial in Irishtown on the anniversary of Martin Hurson, the sixth republican prisoner to die during the 1981 hunger strike.

Speaking at the event, local Sinn Féin spokesperson Oisin O' Connell said the need to remember these men and their convictions was as relevant today as ever before.  "It seems in Irish politics today there are very few people who actually have genuine ideals or the courage of their convictions," he said.  "It has become more common for politicians to view their job as being a career instead of a vocation.  It's no wonder that the electorate has become disillusioned with politics."

"Martin Hurson was a man who had the courage of his convictions.  He valued his ideals enough to die for them.  That's a severe. undertaking for any person but when you consider that Martin Hurson was just twenty four years old when he died on hunger strike, you realise that it was incredible."

"We are lucky enough to live in a post Good Friday Agreement Ireland and I truly hope that the sacrifices that have been made in the past will never have to be undertaken by another generation.  Republicans still have their convictions.  We still have our ideals and we still have a duty to shun the gombeen system and give the electorate a real alternative."

Mr O' Connell also said that he could not let the event pass without mentioning another modern day hunger striker, household tax protestor Tony Rochford, who has ended his strike after twenty five days without food.  "Tony Rochford is another man who has the courage of his convictions.  His personal protest, despite being censored by the national media, has gave many people opposed to the property tax who felt that their voices didn't matter new hope.  It's a sad tribute to this government that they were prepared to let a man lay dying outside the gates of Leinster House rather than face the issues affecting self employed people who lose their tax compliance certs due to non payment of the property tax."

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