Forty years ago today, IRA Volunteer Joe McDonnell became the fifth hunger striker to die in that epic seven-months’ long hunger strike. Joe also stood as an abstentionist candidate in that June’s general election in the South where two H-Block prisoners, Kieran Doherty (who would die in August) and Paddy Agnew were elected as TDs, undermining attempts by Fianna Fáil to form a government and thereafter ushering in the era of successive coalion governments. Joe received over 5,600 votes.

Find here a biography of Joe written in 1981 and see below a poem, Hunger, by the actor Cyril Cusack (1910–1993).

Sligo Sinn Féin also organised an online commemoration in which veteran republican Sean McManus interviews the Secretary of the Bobby Sands Trust, Danny Morrison.

There is a wonderful tribute to Joe in the book 6000 Days by former H-Block prisoner Jim (Jaz) McCann who also paid tribute at Joe’s grave in Milltown Cemetery on this fortieth anniversary.

Jaz McCann was also interviewed by Jay Hodges of Friends of Sinn Féin USA.