Fallen Comrade of the IRSM
Michael Devine Volunteer - Irish National Liberation Army Died on Hunger Strike on 20 August 1981
Michael "Micky" Devine was born on 26 May 1954 in Springtown, just
outside of Derry City. He grew up in the Creggan area of Derry City,
where he was raised in part by his sister Margaret and her husband
after their father died in 1965 and their mother in 1972.
He participated in the civil rights marches of the late 1960s, where
civilians were often brutally attacked, and he was hospitalised twice
due to police brutality. In the early 1970s, he joined the Labour
Party and the Young Socialists before joining Official Sinn Fein and
the Official Irish Republican Army. The increasingly reformist path
of the Officials lead to his leaving to join the Irish Republican
Socialist Party and the INLA in December 1974.
In 1976 he was arrested after an arms raid in Co. Donegal and
sentenced to 12 years in prison. He immediately joined the blanket
protest, which he participated in for four years before joining the
second hunger strike in 1981. While on hunger strike he drafted an
appeal to Irish workers which was smuggled out of Long Kesh Prison and
read at factory gates throughout Ireland (see below).
He was on hunger strike for 60 days. He was the third INLA Volunteer
to join the hunger strike and the third to die, at 7:50am on 20
August 1981. He was also the last of ten men to die during the hunger
He died as he lived: a Republican Socialist. Remember him with honour
It's hard to know what way to behave when a friend and a comrade is
slowly dying on Hunger Strike just a few cells away, everyone of
course tries to put on a brave face and act normal but both he and we
know that it is only make believe. We've organized story telling and
sing songs to keep up his morale, ours too, but it's hard, very hard.
It won't be long now until he's taken away to join the other Hunger
Strikers in the prison hospital and then?
Well it seems that only slow terrible death awaits them all. We try
to shout words of encouragement but what can you say to a dying man.
The screws for their part keep him as isolated from us as possible
and go out of there way to taunt and belittle him, yet in their midst
he, like his comrades is a giant. If they even had one ounce of their
courage if even they had a spark of decency, decency from these who
have tormented us all these years? Compassion from these who have
made all this suffering necessary?
No, not even a friendly word, not even a word of sympathy during the
long days and nights of agony but then neither he nor we expect it.
We know only too well that these people have been put here to torment
and persecute us and they have done their job well but not well
enough. They have served their British masters, the poor pathetic
fools, they think that inhumanity and cruelty can break us, haven't
they learnt anything? It strengthens us, it drives us on for then
more than ever we know that our cause is just.
Bobby Sands, Frank Hughes, Patsy O'Hara and Raymond McCreesh hunger
for justice, they have suffered all the indignities that a tyrant can
inflict yet still they fight back with their dying breath. Only a few
yards from here, four human skeletons lay wasting away and still the
fools the poor pathetic fools cannot break them. Even death will not
extinguish the flames of resistance and this flame will without doubt
engulf these who in their callousness and in greed have made all this
necessary. Britain you will pay!
Long Kesh, 1981