INLA Volunteer Patsy O'Hara
Patsy O'Hara was born on July 11, 1957 in Derry city. He was to follow in his brothers' footsteps by joining the Republican movement. His brother, Tony, was also a prisoner in the H-blocks during his Patsy's hungerstrike. Also, the eldest son in the family, Sean Seamus was imprisoned in Long Kesh for a period of four and a half years for Republican activities.
Mrs. O'Hara believes that it was the riots of early 1969 in Derry that first sparked Patsy's fierce nationalism and the Battle of the Bogside
in August of that year helped to firmly seal his feelings. He joined na Fianna Eireann
At the beginning of internment, the eldest O'Hara brother Sean Seamus was arrested. Shortly after this, Patsy was on his way past a barricade when, without warning, the Brit soldiers at the checkpoint opened fire. Hit in the leg, he spent a month and a half in the hospital recovering. These events greatly affected the O'Hara family and helped even more to fuel Patsy's fervor.
January 30, 1972 would be a day that would stew in Patsy's mind until the day he died. His father took him to watch the civil rights march in the city center. They watched the massive march from a distance for a while, as it wound down into the Brandywell portion of Derry. Once it was in the distance, Patsy went back to his house and listened to the hell unfold on the radio broadcast. The horror of the murder of civilians struck him as it did many young men around his age.
His parents knew that date was the culmination of Patsy's bitterness regarding the occupying forces. They knew and supported his obvious decision. Mrs. O'Hara said of her sons: "I thought that that was the right thing to do. I am proud of him, proud of them all."
He became active in the "Republican clubs" in Derry city and was interned in late 1973.
In 1975, at the age of 17, Patsy joined the newly formed Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP)
and also the ranks of the INLA. At the young age of 21, he was elected to the ard chomhairle of the IRSP and began to campaign against the star-chamber, juryless courts that Republican prisoners faced.
Patsy was arrested for the fifth and final time in May of 1979 for possession of a grenade. He was tried and sentenced to 8 years by the British judge.
As the leader of the INLA prisoners in the H-blocks, he was the first INLA member to put himself forth for the hungerstrike. He joined his PIRA comrade Raymond McCreesh
on the 22 March 1981. 61 days later, both men succumbed to death by starvation; asking only for five simple things:
1. not to have to wear a prison uniform;
2. not to have to do prison work;
3. to freely associate with other prisoners
4. to organize their own educational and recreational facilities;
5. one visit, one letter and one parcel per week. *
During the Blanket protests Patsy was quoted as saying: "We stand for the freedom of the Irish nation so that future generations will enjoy the prosperity they rightly deserve, free from foreign interference, oppression and exploitation."
May this dream be realised on the ideals of these brave men. In the words of Patsy O'Hara; "Let the fight go on!" Do not let the Provisional Sinn Fein
leadership walk across the graves of some of Ireland's bravest men and straight into Stormont
. This treaty of surrender is not what the Volunteers died for.
IRSCNA Piece on Patsy
IRSM Commemoration Statement 2000
*These demands are still being sought by the Republican POWs. Support them in their struggle.