|This subpage, like others on this site, is a work in progress. Of the many visitors who have come to this site, quite a few have asked about images from the funerals of the hunger strikers. |
This is an attempt to collect images -- many of which have been emailed to us -- and to put them and the funerals into a broader context. Many of the sources are unknown, many are on multiple sites across the internet, so what we're hoping is this becomes a central point.
What we have found, quite contrary to public perception of the funerals as decreasing in size as the strikes went on, continued to be a galvanising force not only for prisoner issues but also for broader republican activism.
While many point to the numbers who attended Bobby Sands' funeral and those who attended Kevin Lynch's funeral and use that as evidence of decreasing support for the strikes, one is reminded that Dungiven was a fairly small and out-of-the-way town, so 5000 mourners is an impressive achievement in that light. As well, reports say that the Devine funeral was poorly-attended (one story we've found say only a couple dozen attended!), yet photos from his funeral prove otherwise.
These bits of historical fact will be incorporated into captions for each photo, but for right now we've decided to put these photos up now, and let them bear silent testimony to the sacrifices of the hungers strikers, and their families. Irish history is full of symbolic imagery used by groups and individuals for specific and emotive purposes, and as such we make no apologies.
As our research continues, we'll try to expand on dates, numbers, and specific items about each funeral, including the numerous British and RUC interventions and blockades, the post-mortem abuses of Francis Hughes and Patsy O'Hara, and the police and military raids on firing parties at a couple of the funerals.
Even in death, the hunger strikers were a threat to British imperialism, and even in death, they remain an inspiration to republican activists and to others worldwide.