Fallen Comrades of the IRSM

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Fallen Comrades of the IRSM - Michael Devine
Died on Hunger Strike on 20 August 1981

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Michael James Devine was born on 26th May 1954 in Springtown, just outside of Derry city. He grew up in the Creggan area of Derry, where he was raised by his sister Margaret and her husband after both parents died unexpectedly when he was age 11.

Mickey was witness to the civil rights marches of the late 1960s in Derry in which civilians were often brutally attacked and the trauma of Bloody Sunday. In fact, Mickey himself was hospitalised twice because of police brutality. In the early 70s, Mickey joined the Labour Party and the Young Socialists. Then in 1975, Mickey helped form the INLA.

In 1976 he was arrested, and sentenced in 1977 to 12 years after an arms raid in County Donegal; he immediately joined the blanket protest. While on hunger strike an appeal to Irish workers he drafted was smuggled out of Long Kesh and it was this letter to Irish workers that was read at factory gates throughout Ireland.

Mickey was 60 days on hunger strike; he was the third INLA Volunteer to join the hunger strike and died at 7:50am on 20th August 1981.

He died as he lived: a Republican Socialist. Remember him with honour and pride.


It's hard to know what way to behave when a friend and a comrade is
slowly dying on Hunger Strike just a few cells away, everyone of
course tries to put on a brave face and act normal but both he and we
know that it is only make believe. We've organized story telling and
singsongs to keep up his morale, ours too, but it's hard, very hard.
It won't be long now until he's taken away to join the other Hunger
Strikers in the prison hospital and then?

Well it seems that only slow terrible death awaits them all. We try
to shout words of encouragement but what can you say to a dying man.
The screws for their part keep him as isolated from us as possible
and go out of there way to taunt and belittle him, yet in their midst
he, like his comrades is a giant. If they even had one ounce of their
courage if even they had a spark of decency, decency from these who
have tormented us all these years? Compassion from these who have
made all this suffering necessary?

No, not even a friendly word, not even a word of sympathy during the
long days and nights of agony but then neither he nor we expect it.
We know only too well that these people have been put here to torment
and persecute us and they have done their job well but not well
enough. They have served their British masters, the poor pathetic
fools, they think that inhumanity and cruelty can break us, haven't
they learnt anything? It strengthens us, it drives us on for then
more than ever we know that our cause is just.

Bobby Sands, Frank Hughes, Patsy O'Hara and Raymond McCreesh hunger
for justice, they have suffered all the indignities that a tyrant can
inflict yet still they fight back with their dying breath. Only a few
yards from here, four human skeletons lay wasting away and still the
fools the poor pathetic fools cannot break them. Even death will not
extinguish the flames of resistance and this flame will without doubt
engulf these who in their callousness and in greed have made all this
necessary. Britain you will pay!

Michael Devine
Long Kesh, 1981

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