STRABANE will host the National Hunger Strike Commemoration for the first time this summer, it has been announced.
Thousands of people from across Ireland are expected to attend the march, which will be taking place on Sunday, August 4.
Sinn Féin MLA, Raymond McCartney, who himself spent 53 days on hunger strike in 1980, was in Strabane to make the announcement.
Mr McCartney said, “By October 3 of that year, ten Irish republicans died on hunger strike to defeat Maggie Thatcher’s policy of criminalisation.
“Each year there is a national commemoration held in Ireland and this year it will be held in Strabane. So today we are here to launch the march and we are hoping that as many people from around west Tyrone in particular and throughout the island of Ireland will come to ensure that we celebrate and commemorate the memory of ten courageous Irish republicans.”
Speaking at the announcement, West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP, Órfhlaith Begley, said it was a privilege for republicans in Strabane and the rest of the constituency to be hosting this year’s event.
She said, “The 1981 hunger strike was a watershed in Irish history and had a profound impact in terms of radicalising communities throughout Ireland. This impact was particularly felt in areas like here in Strabane where pride in the hunger strikers, their courage and sacrifice remains undiminished almost 40 years on.
“West Tyrone republicans are determined to provide a fitting tribute to their memory and look forward to welcoming families of the hunger strikers to the area.”
As well as the main parade in Strabane on August 4, a programme is also being developed of other commemorative events at venues across West Tyrone.
Full details of all the events will be made available in due course, a Sinn Féin spokesperson added.