March and Rally

Large turnout expected for National Hunger Strike Commemoration in Ballina

First time the event has been held in Connacht

Observer Staff

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Large turnout expected for National Hunger Strike Commemoration in Ballina

The 1981 Hunger Strikers.

A large crowd from across the country is expected to attend the 2017 National Hunger Strike Commemoration in Ballina, Co. Mayo on Sunday which will be addressed by Gerry Kelly MLA, himself a former Hunger Striker.

It is the first time the event has been in Connacht.

The Commemoration is an annual event held to remember the 1981 Hunger Strike in which ten young men - Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O'Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee and Mickey Devine died in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

This year's event will also recall the sacrifice of Mayo republicans - Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg who died on hunger strike in English jails in the 1970s.

Mayo was also the home of Hunger Striker Seán 'Jack' McNeela who died on hunger strike in 1940 along with his friend and comrade Tony D’arcy from neighbouring Co. Galway. The memory of these men too will feature prominently on the commemoration.

The Commemoration march and rally takes place in Ballina at 3pm Sunday, 13 August.