Michael Devine (hunger striker)

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Michael Devine
Mickey Devine SMC.jpg
Born (1954-05-26)26 May 1954
Derry, Northern Ireland
Died 21 August 1981(1981-08-21) (aged 27)
Cause of death
Hunger strike
Organization INLA
Known for Hunger strike of 60 days, from 22 June 1981

Michael James "Mickey" Devine (26 May, 1954–20 August, 1981) was a founding member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). He died in prison during the 1981 Irish hunger strike.

Background[edit]

Devine, also known as "Red Mickey" because of his red hair,[1] was born into a family from the Springtown Camp, Derry, Northern Ireland.[citation needed]

In 1960, when Devine was six years of age, the Devine family including his grandmother, sister Margaret and parents Patrick and Elizabeth, moved to the then newly built Creggan estate to the north of Derry city centre.

Devine was educated to a primary level at Holy Child Primary School, Creggan, and at secondary level in St. Joseph's Secondary School, also in the Creggan.[citation needed]

Political activities[edit]

After British soldiers shot dead two unarmed civilians, Dessie Beattie and Raymond Cusack, Devine joined the James Connolly Republican Club in Derry in July 1971.[2][3] Bloody Sunday had a deep impact on Devine.[4] In the early 1970s, Devine joined the Labour Party and Young Socialists.[citation needed]

Paramilitary activities[edit]

He helped found the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in 1975.[3] In 1976, after an arms raid in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, Devine was arrested in Northern Ireland. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He joined the blanket protest before joining the hunger strike.[3]

Hunger strike[edit]

Devine participated in a brief hunger strike in 1980, that was called off without fatalities.[4] On 22 June 1981, Devine joined the 1981 Irish hunger strike. He died on 20 August,[5] the tenth and last of the hunger strikers to die.[4]

According to the Sunday Times, papers released under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA, refused offers of the Thatcher government to end the hunger strike until after the election that saw Owen Carron succeed to Bobby Sands Parliamentary seat.[6] Around July 5, 1981, the government secretly tendered concessions that, if accepted, could have saved six of the ten hunger strikers.[7] The claim that the IRA was offered a deal that substantially conformed to their demands was confirmed by Denis Bradley, the former deputy chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.[8]

Mural depicting Mickey Devine.

References[edit]

External links[edit]