HUGER STRIKER, DENIED A BED, BEDDING AND EVEN HIS BOOTS, DIES FROM FORCED FEEDING.
Irish republican Thomas Ashe. who had taken part in Ireland’s 2016 Easter rebellion against British rule, died on Tuesday 25 September 1917, just five days into a hunger strike at Mountjoy prison, due to a complication from forced feeding. At the subsequent coroner’s inquest, it was revealed, that despite the cold conditions in his cell, the prison authorities had confiscated his boots, bed and bedding, as they considered a hunger strike a serious breach of regulations. Ashe had been demanding prisoner of war status.
As he was dragged from his cell to be forcibly fed, another Republican prisoner called out “Stick it, Lynch,” and Ashe called back “I’ll stick it, Fin.” Shortly afterwards he was carried unconscious to the Mater Misericordiae Hospital close to the prison where he died five hours later.
On the previous Saturday the Lord Mayor of Dublin had insisted on visiting all the Sinn Fein prisoners and, when Ashe’s cell door was opened, he had seen him lying on bare boards, without furniture of any kind or even any boots on his feet. Ashe had told him that his only demand was that “they were not criminals, and that they were not very particular as to how they were treated as long as they were not treated as criminals.”(1)
On a second visit on Monday, Ashe had complained about the forced feeding, telling the Mayor that “they have been putting me through the revolting operation of forced feeding and an outside doctor has told me that my throat is so weak and delicate, that if they persist in feeding me as they did this morning the end will be fatal.” The Lord Mayor tried to persuade him to take food but Ashe was adamant. “They have branded me as a criminal, and even if I do die I will die in a good cause.”(2)
When, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Thomas Myles, an expert medical witness was asked at the inquest, “Do you think the fact of the bed and bedclothes being taken away from him, and leaving him in the cell for two days without his boots, practically without sleep, and two days suffering from cold, do you think that had anything to do with the cardiac failure ?” – his reply came in one word “Undoubtedly”.(3)
LABOUR PARTY THREATENS CORBYN WITH EXPULSION FOR MEETING GERRY ADAMS.
[ 25 September 1996 ]
On this day in 1996, the Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn was threatened with expulsion after he agreed to meet Gerry Adams, the leader of Northern Ireland’s largest republican political party Sinn Fein, as part of political effort to reach a peace settlement for Northern Ireland. The mainstream media was harshly critical and ITN even set up camp outside Jeremy Corbyn’s home. None or the reports mentioned that Gerry Adams had also recently met with President Clinton and Nelson Mandela.
- “The Death of Thomas Ashe,” The Kerry Evening Post, 29 September 1917 p3
- Ibid p3
- “Ashe Inquest Resumed,” The Dublin Daily Express, 29 September 1917, p7
- Tony Benn (2003), “Tony Benn: Free at Last ! Diaries 1991-2001,” Arrow Books, London p383-384.
3. “Ashe Inquest Resumed,” The Dublin Daily Express, 29 September 1917, p7