‘The People’s Own MP’ How the 1981 Hunger Strike Changed the Republican Movement in Ireland

Ryan Fink, Providence College


The 20th century was a period of turmoil for the people of Ireland. After fighting for independence in the first quarter of the century, Ireland was partitioned into two separate entities, the Irish-controlled Republic of Ireland in the South and the British-controlled Northern Ireland in the Northeast. The middle half of the century saw bloody violence and sectarian fighting between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the various Unionist paramilitary forces in Northern Ireland. This paper looks at the period from 1970 to 2000, and evaluates how and why the bloody sectarian conflict shifted into a partially more peaceful political battle by the turn of the 21st century.