Patrick (Patsy) O'Hara Irish name: Peatsaí Ó
11 July 1957 - 21 May 1981
Patsy O'hara was an Irish Republican
hunger striker and member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).
He was born in Bishop Street, Derry. O'Hara joined Na
Fianna Éireann in 1970, and in 1971 his
brother Sean was interned in Long Kesh.
In late 1971 he was shot and wounded by a British soldier
while manning a barricade.
Due to his injuries he was unable to attend the civil rights
march on Bloody Sunday but watched it go by him in the
Brandywell, and the events of the day
had a lasting effect on him.
In October 1974 O'Hara was interned in
Long Kesh, and on his release in April 1975 he joined the Irish
Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) and INLA. He was arrested in Derry in
June 1975 and held on remand for six months.
In September 1976 he was arrested again and once more held on
remand for four months.
Patsy was attacked in 1977 by at least
12 members of the Provisional IRA simply for being a member of the IRSP
and INLA. This did very little to deter Patsy and he continued his
revolutionary activities despite the open aggression of the provisionals.
O'Hara went to live in Dublin for a
number of months and was an active member of the IRSP's Ard Comhairle.
On 10 May 1978 he was arrested on O'Connell Street under section 30 of
the Offences Against the State Act, and being released 18 hours later.
He returned to Derry in January 1979 and was active in the
INLA. On 14 May 1979 he was arrested and was convicted of possessing a
hand grenade and sentenced to eight years in prison in January 1980.
He went on the blanket protest in the Maze Prison, where his
brother, Tony was already on protest.
He became Officer Commanding of the
INLA prisoners at the beginning of the first hunger strike in 1980, and
he joined the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike on 22 March.
On Thursday, 21 May, at 11.29 p.m., he
died after 61 days on hunger strike at the age of 23. His last words to
his mother Peggy were "Please mammy, let the fight go on!"
His mother was Peggy O'Hara, who was a
candidate in the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2007 in the Foyle
constituency. She was not elected, but she was one of the more
successful republican candidates, opposed to the present course of the
Sinn Féin leadership of working with the Police Service of Northern
Ireland (PSNI), and won 1789 votes. On the eve of the election over 330
former republican prisoners wrote a letter to the Derry Journal
endorsing her campaign.