Timeline of the 1980 hunger strike

October 27th, 1980: Hunger strike begins with seven republican volunteers in Maze/Long Kesh prison. Brendan Hughes, the Provisional IRA commanding officer in the prison led the other six strikers, who included Raymond McCartney, Tommy McKearney, Tommy McFeely, Leo Green, Sean McKenna and John Nixon of the INLA. They went on strike for five demands:

1. the right not to wear the prison uniform;

2. the right not to do prison work;

3. the right of free association with other prisoners, and to organise educational and recreational pursuits


4. the right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;

5. full restoration of remission lost during the protest.

December 1st: Three female prisoners in Armagh prison – Mary Doyle, Mairéad Farrell and Mairéad Nugent – join the strike.

December 12th: Six UDA prisoners go on hunger strike. They want all five republican demands and an additional one: to be separated from republican prisoners.

December 15th: 23 republican prisoners join the original seven on hunger strike.

December 16th: Seven more republican prisoners join the strike.

December 17th: Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich, the Catholic Primate of All Ireland, calls on the strikers to end their protest. UDA prisoners end their hunger strike.

December 18th: Hunger strike ends after 53 days. Controversy surrounds this event, as some republicans claimed to have a document from the British government setting out proposals to meet many of these demands.