The 1946 hunger and thirst strike
This is a brief account of a hunger and thirst strike that two prisoners stagedin 1946.One involved David Fleming, a southerner imprisoned by thenorthern government, the other Sean McCaughey, a northerner imprisoned by De Valera’s Military Tribunal. While Fleming’s hunger strike began first, the agony of McCaughey’s death after a thirst strike was almost beyond description. Fleming ended hishunger strike but a further protest later the same year was to some extent successful, althoughthe price of gaining his early release was catastrophic damage to his body and he never returned togood health, dying in 1960at the age of 41.
Fleming, imprisoned in 1943 for IRA activities, had been at the receiving end of brutal beatings in Crumlin Road prison and had petitioned for his release in February 1946. That hepetition for release rather than political statuswas confirmed in Stormont on 21st May that year (all internees had been released in…
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