Northern Ireland news

West Belfast march commemorates hunger strikers

People dressed in period uniform took part in the hunger strike commemoration
Connla Young

SINN Féin have marked the 35th anniversary of the hunger strikes with a march involving thousands of activists in west Belfast.

Ten republicans died in the H-Blocks after they refused food as part of a campaign to force the British government to give them political status.

The Belfast National Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee march was attended by Sinn Féin supporters from across Ireland who made their way from Divis Street to the Falls Park.

People dressed in period uniforms carried replica weapons while others taking part were dressed as 'Blanketmen'- protesting republican prisoners who refused to wear prison uniforms.

Among those who spoke at the event was Stormont junior minister and assembly member for Newry and Armagh Meagan Fearon.

“Young people have always been catalysts for change around the world and to the forefront of our struggle at home,” she said.

“This is true even today, as we stand here together on this stage, honouring their memory, and proudly carrying on their legacy.”

Derry and Strabane councillor Elisha McCallion, who was born a year after the hunger strike ended, also spoke.

“Thirty five years ago the hunger strikes caught the attention of the world and catapulted our struggle forward,” she said.

“Today we can take on their mantle and continue their task to build a new Ireland.

“Let this generation be the generation that delivers Irish unity.”

The parade was also addressed by senators Niall Ó Donnghaile and Fintan Warfield.

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