This film is part of Free

H Block Hunger Strike

An unflinching look at the experience of the 1980 H Block hunger strikers and the potentially stark consequences of their actions.

Documentary 1980 33 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Northern Ireland Screen


Made to be used in the campaign for "political status for Irish prisoners of war" in the Maze (formerly Long Kesh) Prison, who began a hunger strike in October 1980. Watch interviews with former hunger strikers and see Bernadette Devlin addressing a Belfast rally in support held on October 26th, 1980. Joe Maguire hopes his story can travel where he cannot, due to the Prevention of Terrorism Act. In the same year Section 11 of this Act is used to seize a BBC Panorama film of the IRA.

Additional interviewees include a spokeswoman for Relatives Action Committee, Tom Hartley (Chairperson, Belfast Sinn Fein) and the fathers of some of the hunger strikers. They relate in graphic detail the physical and emotional changes that their sons have undergone and their determination “to go on to death”. This material comes from the BFI collection. Information on Ireland also produced a series of pamphlets on the situation in Ireland including 'The British Media and Ireland' and 'They Shoot Children: the use of rubber and plastic bullets in the north of Ireland'.