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2 August 2001 Edition

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Back issue: Unity vital against the British

More prisoners lives now threatened

THE continuing tragedy in the H-Blocks, conducted by British Premier Margaret Thatcherís government, is by no means the battle between the British and the IRA and their prisoners which that government strives to project.

In reality Margaret Thatcher has taken on more than the IRA and the prisoners and more than the tens of thousands who march for the prisoners, and even more who passively sympathise with the prisoners.

Thatcher has snubbed and humiliated also all three of the major stabilisers of British rule in Ireland and all those who look to them for leadership.

Appeals from the Free State government, the Catholic Church and the SDLP for Britain to take a less inflexible position on the Hunger Strike have all been ignored.

All three of these holders of the middle ground have been arrogantly used and consequently humiliated at the whim of British expediency when it has suited the Thatcher government to shroud its death plicy in the mist of empty manoeuvres.

In effect, therefore, Thatcher has taken on the whole of the nationalist people in Ireland, and she has one clear advantage on her side. She has managed to do all of this with a Britain which to all intents is united behind her.

The Labour Party leadership, Catholic and Protestant churches in Britain, and the media, have all been produced as and when required to back up the Thatcher line.

The Irish people have not yet achieved this unity which is so vital in opposing Britain. And never more vital than now, with more prisoners imminently facing death, as the prisoners repeat as firmly as ever their resolve to continue the Hunger Strike until their five demands are met.

And there must be an awareness also among supporters of the Hunger Strikers, that the middle ground is in danger of slipping further away if those who control it have their way.

In the face of snub and humiliation, the Dublin government, the Catholic hierarchy, and the SDLP have tended to try and win their back into the good books of the British rather than allow their rightful wrath to run into action in support of the prisoners.

That vital middle ground can be won over to the prisonersí side by pressure from the bottom upwards to forge a unity of Irish support for the prisoners which will finally break the arrogant stone wall of Thatcherís intransigence.

If we do not build that unity the Hunger Strikers will continue to die.

An Phoblacht, Saturday 25 July 1981

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1