Letter: No mourning Thatcher after treatment of Ireland's hunger strikers

April 24, 2013 

While the political pundits of the world fall over each other paying homage to Margaret Thatcher, an equal number of Irish Republicans are remembering her a different way. If not actively celebrating, the majority of Irish nationalists will spare her the same amount of tears Britain's "Iron Lady" shed for Ireland's hunger strikers in 1981.

Ms. Thatcher built her reputation with her tough stance toward everybody who didn't see things her way. This included those who wished to see Ireland finally free from the enforced union with Britain. When those who had fought for Ireland's freedom (many incarcerated without trial) demanded a deserved prisoner of war status, the lady prime minister refused to acknowledge them as anything but criminal.

Finally, the Irish were forced into something drastic to get the world's attention. Ten brave men died on hunger strike in 1981 while demanding their rights as prisoners of a lopsided war. Ms. thatcher didn't bat an eye at the sacrifice these men and their families and compatriots were making.

If anyone believes the Irish attitude towards Ms. Thatcher is a bit callous, they should first look at the infamous place she has in the darker times of recent Irish history.


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