Patsy O'Hara: Fallen Comrade of the IRSM
- Fallen Comrade of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement
Volunteer - Irish National Liberation Army
Died on Hunger Strike on 21 May 1981
Patsy O'Hara was born on 11 July 1957 in Derry City in Ireland's
occupied six counties. The catalysts for his political activism were
witnessing the violence against civil rights marchers in the late
1960s and his presence at the Battle of the Bogside in August 1969.
He joined the Official Irish Republican Army's youth wing in 1970 and
Official Sinn Fein a year later. He was active with the Officials
until 1973, when, in his own words, "it became apparent that they were
firmly on the path to reformism and had abandoned the national
The year after resigning from the Officials, he was interned in Long
Kesh prison camp for six months. After his release in 1975, he joined
the INLA and the Irish Republican Socialist Party.
He resided in Dublin from 1977 to 1979, where he was active with the
IRSP and served on its Ard-Chomhairle (National Executive).
After returning to Derry in early 1979, he was arrested and charged
with possession of a grenade. Sentenced to eight years in the H-Blocks
of Long Kesh Prison, he participated in the blanket protests and
became Officer Commanding of the INLA prisoners of war.
He was the first INLA prisoner to go on hunger strike in 1981. 61 days
later, at 11:29 pm, he became the first INLA prisoner to die on hunger
strike. He was joined in death by a fellow hunger striker, the
Provisional IRA's Raymond McCreesh. The two men joined the strike on
the same day and died on the same day two months later.
His funeral was the largest for any individual in the history of
Derry, attended by thousands from all over Ireland.
He died as he lived: a Republican Socialist. Remember him with honour
"Let the fight go on!" - Patsy O'Hara
"Organise now, tomorrow may be too late." - Patsy O'Hara