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Mickey Devine INLA Hunger Striker Martyr

The author is a QUB Pol Sci Honours graduate and has written extensively on imperialism, national liberation struggles and class issues.

'Red Mickey' Devine


Irish National Liberation Army Volunteer Mickey Devine was the tenth and final Irish Republican POW to give his life in the tragic Hunger Strike of 1981. Mickey Devine gave his life for The Five Demands and he was also the third and last of the INLA's POWs to lay down their lives on Hunger Strike.

Mickey Devine, known in Derry as 'Red Mick' due both to his Revolutionary socialist politics and his shock of red hair. Mickey was a founding member of the revolutionary Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) in his home city of Derry. The

Ironically, it has been said that the INLA unit in Derry to which Mickey Devine and Patsy O'Hara were members of, was in severe need of small arms, not just to fight the armed struggle against the British Army, it's death-squads and it's plethora of counter-gangs, SAS assassins and paramilitary RUC units, but also to protect members of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement from attacks from elements within the leadership of the PIRA in the city who were centred around the late Deputy Prime Minister of the politically dysfunctional Stormont assembly, Martin McGuinness, who made no secret of his hatred of the Irish National Liberation Army and it's political wing, the Marxist-Leninist, Irish Republican Socialist Party

Murals dedicated to Hunger Striker Mickey Devine

Armed salute at new mural to INLA Hunger Strike martyr Vol Mickey Devine in Derry

Armed salute at new mural to INLA Hunger Strike martyr Vol Mickey Devine in Derry


The Five Demands

The Five Demands, as they were come to be known, were not some sinister, 'masterplan' as the prison's turnkeys, unburdened by original thought, seemed to believe was a cunning plan to immediately wrest total control of the H-Blocks from the POA (Prison Officers Association, the warders' reactionary trade union) to the command structures of the INLA and PIRA. In reality, the Five Demands were a model of fairness that although reflecting the very different 'crimes' and prisoners inhabiting the H-Blocks, compared to, for instance, a UK local or High-Security Prison, the Five Demands would apply across the board in northern Irish prisons, accommodating Loyalist inmates and ODCs ('ordinary decent criminals' - a POA term).

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The H-Block Hunger Strikers' Five demands were:

  1. The right not to wear a prison uniform;
  2. The right not to do prison work;
  3. The right of free association with other prisoners, and to organize educational and recreational pursuits;
  4. The right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
  5. Full restoration of remission lost through the protest

'The Bravest of the Brave'

Mickey Devine's Hunger Strike began after the Summer Solstice of the sad and bitter year of 1981, his fellow County Derry INLA comrade, Kevin Lynch from nearby Park village died some 6 weeks later on the first day of August 1981.INLA Volunteer, Mickey Devine, fought against the prison regime and later with every last breath of his body during the final days of his brave Stailc Ocrais. 'Ten Men Dead' by David Beresford, at one time viewed as the definitive account of the H-Block Hunger Strikes but in recent times its star has long since fallen, was none too kind or particularly respectful to Volunteer Mickey Devine's memory. Many of his old comrades have stated that the author gave a poor impression of the last Hunger Striker's life's value. The Irish National Liberation Army revolutionary, Mickey Devine, just like his previous Hunger Striker comrades before him and those that were to embark on Hunger Strikes after his death were some of the very bravest of the brave. Mickey Devine's last fight against the British occupation of Ireland, monopoly capitalism, and the very inhuman prison regime that vainly hoped to break those who were proven to be unbreakable, ended sixty days after he began his fast for justice. His son Michael later traveled to Turkey in 2001 to observe the heartbreaking scenes of injustice


© 2019 Liam A Ryan


Liam A Ryan (author) from Ireland on August 11, 2019:

Thanks Brett.


Brett22 on August 09, 2019:

Mickey Devine was a true Irish patriot martyr and freedom fighter. May he rest in peace

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