On 13 October 1923, Michael Kilroy, O/C of the IRA prisoners in Mountjoy, announced a mass strike by 300 prisoners, and it soon spread to other jails. Within days over 7000 republicans were on hunger strike.
The figures given by Sinn Féin at the time were :
Mountjoy Jail: 462;
Cork Jail: 70;
Kilkenny Jail: 350;
Dundalk Jail: 200;
Gormanston Camp: 711;
Newbridge Camp: 1,700;
Curragh Camp: 3,390; Harepark Camp: 100;
North Dublin Union: 50 women.
On that same day, the prisoners in Kilmainham Gaol went on strike, and O’Malley wrote eloquently of it in his book on the Civil War, The Singing Flame. He noted that “practically all volunteered; some were exempted, including myself, but I refused this concession”.
Previously, the Free State Government had passed a motion outlawing the release of prisoners on hunger strike. Dan Downey had died in the Curragh on 10 June, and…
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