October 27, 1980

The first hunger strikes of Irish republicans imprisoned at HM Prison Maze in Northern Ireland began on this day in 1980. Only seven were selected to take part in the hunger strike, to match the seven signatories of the 1916 Easter Rising Proclamation. The strikers were IRA members Brendan Hughes, Thomas McKearney, Raymond McCartney, Tom McFeeley, Sean McKenna, Leo Green and John Nixon. The strike launched talks between the IRA and British government, drawing up a proposed settlement, before McKenna fell into a coma. The first strike officially ended on December 18 after 53 days. However, in January of 1981, it became clear that none of the demands would be met, causing another strike to take place. The second strike included the election of striker Bobby Sands to parliament.

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