My Tribute to My Comrade Patsy O’Hara and His Family

On the 21st of May 1981 Patsy O’Hara. I.N.L.A. volunteer and my comrade in the Irish Republican Struggle for a United Socialist Ireland lost his life  at 11:29 pm, he died after 61 days  days on Hunger Strike at the age of 23.

I had never met Patsy , he was only two years older than me and gave everything for our cause, but he and the other 9 brave men and their comrades inspired me as a member of the Irish Republican diaspora.   Video Tribute below courtesy of RNUA Tribute to Patsy O’Hara

I was 21 yrs old growing up on the other side of the world, a member of the Irish Republican diaspora. My fathers family had been dispersed around the planet due to their involvement in the struggle, my maternal grand father having suffered 23 days on a previous hunger-strike.

As the 10 brave men were dying I  remember well my mother saying ” What must their mothers be going through”…….. I used to have to cross the spot in Gibraltar where Mairead Farell, Sean Savage and Dan McCann were executed in a “Shoot to Kill” operation when they were on active service in Gibraltar. Every time I crossed that airfield I expected the same.

I hold the leadership of the IRA who are now the leadership of Sinn Fein responsible for the unnecessary deaths of these 13 and many more.  Whilst our brave volunteers were out on active service, these enemy within our ranks were negotiating surrender with the British Imperialists and their collaborators  with no promise  that the terms the struggle was fought on were being met.

I had the opportunity to name a road in NZ and I asked my father if he wanted the family name on the road. He answered ” No son, dedicate it to someone who deserves it more.  Hence Patsy O’Hara Pl in Auckland NZ came into being.  Image design courtesy of my brother Clark Gregory.


Rest in peace our brave volunteers and a curse on the traitors to our cause, for me they are worse than the enemy in the imperialist uniform that occupies the 6 counties.

The Human Tragedy of the 1981 Hunger Strike.  This song is called INLA Freedom Fighters.  We Will Remember Them.  Wolf Tones, Joe McDonnel, “And Patsy O’Hara and the next in line is me.”

I'm an anti-imperialist, environmental activist and blue ocean sailor, who is passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour. Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

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Posted in Outrage, Politics, Stories, Travels
13 comments on “My Tribute to My Comrade Patsy O’Hara and His Family
  1. bill says:

    It’s the loyalist protestants of NI that block unification. Otherwise I believe the Brits would have been more than happy to allow unification. England has given immense economic opportunities to Southern Irish people going to the UK to work. The 8th army of Montgomery were mostly Irish.

    But the Catholics of the North were discriminated against so much that it ignited the troubles that followed. Hopefully that has ended.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kevin Hester says:

    Rise up the Starry Plough in James Connolly’s name;


  3. Kevin Hester says:

    “This year, on the 25th anniversary of Miriam’s death I feel there is at least one thing I can do, and that is to restate an important message she never tired of repeating. It was: to beware of and shun so-called “conflict resolution”, the alleged academic discipline which is in fact an imperialist confidence trick.”
    We were conned out of the armed struggle by quisling infiltrators like McGuinness and Adams.
    R.I.P. Miriam Daly


  4. Kevin Hester says:

    “Let the Fight Go On”
    by James Daly and Ray Collins.

    Whenever people fight for truth
    for freedom and justice too
    we’ll remember a martyred Irish youth
    Patsy O’Hara we’ll remember you
    You answered your mother’s final plea
    that your hunger strike should not go on
    “I’m sorry mammy we did not win
    please mammy let the fight go on”.

    The unyielding stand that you took that day
    struck a hard resounding blow
    against Britain’s monstrous tyranny
    and will force her soon to go
    the oppressor’s lies and censorship
    cannot stifle your message so strong
    “I’m sorry mammy we did not win
    please mammy let the fight go on”

    Whenever human dignity by oppressors is denied
    where ruthless force and boundless greed
    is met by courage, faith, and pride
    at the height of the struggle fierce and grim
    we’ll hear your dying words again
    “I’m sorry mammy we did not win
    please mammy let the fight go on”.

    We love you Patsy O’Hara,
    Bobby Sands and Francis Hughes,
    Raymond McCreesh and Joe McDonnell,
    Martin Hurson and Kevin Lynch,
    your comrades Kieran Doherty
    Tom McElwee and Michael Devine
    For the cause you died and the reason why
    we’ll make sure that “the fight goes on”
    Together you died for the love of us
    and your caurage will help us to fight on
    For the cause you died and the reason why
    we’ll make sure that” the fight goes on”

    Copyright 1981: Colin Glen Music


  5. Kevin Hester says:

    I was 21, a member of the republican diaspora in Aotearoa NZ and we followed the hunger strike as closely as we could. I vividly remember my Ma weaping and saying “What must their mamy’s be going through.” She had an inkling, her dad did 23 days on hunger strike in 1920.
    “In death he became, for a time at least, an icon. An estimated 100,000 people attended his funeral in Belfast on 5 May, streets were named after him in Paris and Tehran”.
    I had a comrade who was on the dirty protest in the Armagh womens prison and she said it was the worst time of her life.
    Later I lived in France and was inspired that they had named a ‘rue’ after Bobby.
    Two decades later an opportunity arose for me to name a road in Swanson NZ and I chose Patsy O’Hara.
    In the story there is an error where the 10 brave men were all refered to as being in the I.R.A. Of course that is incorrect as some like Patsy were I.N.L.A.
    Their sacrifice shall never be forgotten, Bobby and Patsy’s names are set in stone and the history books will recall the sacrifice of the 10 brave men, their comrades, friends and family.


  6. Kevin Hester says:

    My maternal grandfather was a quartermaster in the Irish Citizen Army and went to jail when he was caught with weapons, he then went on to serve 23 days on hunger strike.
    Hence my links to the Irish Republican Socialist Party and why I named a road in Aotearoa NZ after Patsy O’Hara


  7. Kevin Hester says:

    Ray and Patsy’s funeral.


  8. Peadar Ó Riada says:

    How can you blame the leadership of the IRA for 13 deaths, when 3 men who died on hunger strike were members of the INLA.


  9. Kevin Hester says:

    From Antoin O Hara on Facebook:
    3 mins ·
    Patsy was on hunger strike for 61 days, from 21 March 1981 until the 21 May 1981when he died.
    I only seen Patsy for a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes in thatperiod, even though we were both in the same prison. It still angers me even to this day.
    (However, I was one of the lucky ones as Tom McElwee’s brother Benedict never got to see because Tom died very quickly on hunger strike.When a hunger striker’s health conditions deteriorated, they tended to bring therelatives up to see them. Tom died very fast because Fr Tom Toner, one of thepriests who said Sunday mass at the prison, told us that he had just left Tom and returned to his Parish in Belfast when Tom had passed away. Fr Toner told us thatwhen he had left Tom, he was sitting up talking to him and he was healthy lookingand very lucid looking, but then when he got to Belfast, he was told that TomMcElwee had died. However, at Sunday mass in the prison that week, Fr Toner told us that when he had visited Tom that day, Tom had said to him, “I think Jesus is calling me.”).
    The 2 hours and 15 minutes comprising my visits with my bother Patsy consisted of three quarter-hour visits and a few half-hour visits.
    On the first visit I had with Pasty, he was lying in the bed, but could talk and there was a screw sitting there listening to our conversation, so we had no privacy. The minute I walked into his prison hospital Cell, there was a strong smell of cabbage, which they had brought into his room. I was absolutely raging..
    Then on the second or third visit I had with Patsy, he said to me, “Tá Griangrafer agam,” which means “I have a camera” in Irish.
    There had been a small camera and tape recorder smuggled in to him, so he used it to take a few photographs of himself to be sent outside. After he was finished taking his photographs, he sent the camera on to Raymond McCreesh along with a small roll of film and the tape recorder.
    Pasty also managed to record a message to be sent out, but because Raymond was already falling into a coma, he didn’t manage to record a message as well. Patsy did manage to get the small roll of film sent outside, and the photographs were
    published in the Irish Press newspaper. The photographs were of Patsy sitting on a wheelchair holding his own head up as the muscles in his neck were probably too weak for him to hold his own normally. The actual photographs were taken by a friendly orderly in the canteen of the prison.
    Once the photographs were published, the screws raided the cell and I don’t know what terrible things they did to Patsy, but his health went downhill very rapidly afterthat.
    The screws then found the camera and tape recorder under Raymond
    McCreesh’s pillow, so the abuse that they both had to endure after that must havebeen very severe.
    Patsy was the only prisoner to get a real image of a hunger strike to the outside world. The only other images were the posters portraying what the hunger strikers taken from Family photos looked like. The posters were put up all over Ireland; so, when people saw a real live image of a hunger striker, it caused a whole big sensation not to mention the
    embarrassment to the British government for what they were allowing to happen.
    My mother, father, Brother and Sister, all went to see Pasty every day during the last couple of weeks of his life. My last visit with my brother Patsy was when he was dying, he could barely speak, and his throat was very croaky. They moved Patsy to the cell Bobby had died in a few weeks before and there was door at the end of the corridor, which was
    Patsy’s room door, and I remember the screws were pushing my sister Liz out the door as i was being brought in another direction to visit Patsy, she spotted me and burst into tears. The screws had no empathy at all,
    and they very cold with no respect for Patsy or my family. They would not even let the family stay together by our dying brother’s bedside.
    The doctor had put Patsy on spring water as he couldn’t keep the tap water down.But now, his body was starting to shut down. They had given him sips of spring to moisten his caked lips , and I remember going out and the tears welling up in my eyes, and about to start falling down my face like a waterfall. But I knew that I had to control myemotions somehow because I didn’t want to be seen crying in front of those bastards, the screws. I looked directly at the wall and willed my tears to disappeared as my will power took over.
    excert taken from Time has come book, to order email or find us on facebook


  10. Kevin Hester says:

    Fallen Comrades of the IRSM – Patsy O’Hara
    Died on Hunger Strike on 21 May 1981


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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

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