We look at the stories that were making the headlines in the Andersonstown News this week in 1980
Martin Meehan ends hunger strike
MARTIN Meehan’s stamina and resistance amazed all the medical experts sent in to examine him during his 65-day long hunger strike.
Even after three days of thirst strike, his mind was still clear and he was quite conscious of what he was doing. His physical condition had deteriorated to such an extent that event the slightest movement, required superhuman effort, he had great difficulty in focusing his eyes and when he spoke his voice was almost inaudible.
Nevertheless, his will was so strong that it was with great difficulty that he was eventually persuaded to end his protest.
The Meehan family issued the following statement at 3.30 on Wednesday at a press conference in the Lake Glen Hotel:
“Martin has ended at this moment in time his hunger and thirst strike which he had undertaken some 66 days ago to protest his own innocence and to bring to bear upon the administration of justice in the jurisdiction, the focus of world opinion.
“He has been convinced by his family and friends that to thirst and hunger to death would achieve nothing further in the general or particular. He has according to the latest bulletin from the NIO, gone to death’s door. His condition is extremely grave and it will take some time for his health to be restored if possible at all, after this long time without food or water.
“It must be said that the intercession of Cardinal Ó Fiaich through the prison chaplain went a long way in helping him arrive at this decision. For this we are grateful. The intervention of Amnesty International, however, must be considered a most important development in that this body of integrity and international repute must have seen the justification of Martin’s reaction to the injustice perpetrated against him. He looks forward to Amnesty’s work in this area in the future.
“We all know that Martin has achieved much more than anyone could have expected or anticipated. The interest generated by his sacrifice, we are sure, will not be lost in the future.”
Fr Faul banned from the Blocks
THE situation in the H-Blocks is desperate; and Britain is desperate about that situation. This is the reason why the British authorities have seized upon the flimsiest excuse (a complaint by a prison warder about an alleged breach of prison rules) to exclude Dr Faul from the blocks.
He has been saying Mass and making frequent visits there since the protest began; and along with Fr Murray and Fr Brady has let the world know what goes on there, very often in the face of fierce opposition from the authorities, including high-ranking Catholic clergy.
Because of his downright honesty and integrity Britain has been afraid to exclude him before this; and she has done so now must be an indication of her desperation – and of how desperate is the situation in the Blocks. Fr Faul is probably the most important observer on whom we can depend for a true picture of life in the biggest concentration camp in Europe.
He must be allowed back in as short a time as possible; and in the meantime prisoners’ relatives must demand that the Church authorities appoint some concerned priests to take his place. The situation in H-Blocks is desperate; but how much worst would it be if it hadn’t been for Fr Faul?
Pedestrian crossing demand
THE demand for a pedestrian crossing outside the main entrance to the RVH has been raised again following an accident there when Miss Ann Huddleston, of Cavendish Street, was knocked down and injured. She had just got out of a taxi and was making her way across the road when she was struck by another vehicle and thrown to the ground.
Luckily, she wasn’t seriously injured although she was severally bruised and shocked. Her mother, Mrs Annie Huddleston, is very anxious that the woman who stopped and comforted her daughter after the accident should contact her so that she can thank her in person for the great kindness she showed her daughter.
“It is about time a pedestrian crossing with lights was placed close to the main entrance to the RVH. Hundreds of people at visiting time have to run the gauntlet of oncoming cars to get across the road,” said Mrs Huddleston.
“The crossing at Mulholland Terrace is too far away to be of any use and the number of accidents that have happened already at this point must qualify it for the title of the most notorious accident black spot on the road. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed if something is not done about it.”
Local people are organising a petition to the DOE to have a crossing placed closer to the hospital.