8.6.05

Thomas McElwee


INA/Irish Hunger Strikes Chapter 42

Today, 8 June, in 1981, Thomas McElwee began his hunger strike.

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"Thomas McElwee was born into a large family of eight girls and three boys. He lead the typical life of a nationalist lad in the South Derry countryside, full of promise but very little chance to rise in the world. Young Tom wanted to study to become a mechanic, but the only opportunity to do so was in Ballymena, Paisley-land, where he was harassed and had his tools stolen. So, he settled into work around his home near the town of Bellaghy on the Tamlaghtduff Road. Frank Hughes was his cousin and their large family and his were close. The McElwee boys, like the Hughes boys and the other nationalist families were constantly harassed by the RUC, UDR and British army.

Thomas and Benedict were arrested and taken away for questioning regularly. Still, it came as a surprise when the phone rang with the news of the premature bomb explosion and the condition of the two boys. Fighting the Brits force for force was not necessarily surprising in South Derry."

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Thomas McElwee

"Sincere, easy-going and full of fun.

THE TENTH republican to join the hunger strike was twenty-three-year-old IRA Volunteer Thomas McElwee, from Bellaghy in South Derry. He had been imprisoned since December 1976, following a premature explosion in which he lost an eye.

He was a first cousin of Francis Hughes..."


>>>Read Thomas McElwee's biography at Irish Hunger Strike 1981 Memorial Website


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