July 25, 1981
This week in the HBlock prison hospital at Long Kesh, the condition of Kieran Doherty TD
and Kevin Lynch
, the two leading hungerstrikers, reached a crisis stage, with both passing the sixty-one day mark.
Sixty-one days had become a psychological barrier - now broken - dreaded by the prisoners' supporters, with the previous deaths of Raymond McCreesh
, Patsy O'Hara
and Joe McDonnell
after that period of fasting.
Wednesday was Kieran Doherty's sixty second day on hungerstrike and Kevin Lynch's sixty-first. But on that day both men still remained conscious and were still holding down spring water. Nevertheless, both were expected only to survive a couple of days, and possibly only hours, if the intransigent British persisted with their HBlock death policy.
The families of both have been constantly at their bedside thru the week, having been provided with rooms in the H-Block prison hospital. By Wednesday, Kieran Doherty was so weak that at times he was unable to talk to his visitors, although, despite pains in his ears, he could still hear and understand fully anyone talking to him. But he was unable to move from his bed and was in constant pain, especially in his legs.
By the beginning of this week, Kevin Lynch's weight had fallen to 6stone 10pounds, he was feeling severe pains in his eyes, was suffering with mouth ulcers and his legs were giving him serious trouble.
The physical condition of Kevin, one day behind Kieran on the hungerstrike, was by Wednesday, very similar. Although Kevin has been slightly stronger than Kieran throughout the hungerstrike, this week he weakened drastically and was not expected to live much longer than Kieran, maybe even not outlasting him.
Meanwhile, the physical condition of the other six hungerstrikers is also steadily weakening, but none of them are as yet at a critical stage.
, next in line on the hungerstrike, will, by Saturday, be on his 48th day of fasting. He has lost 2stone 5pounds and is suffering weak spells. Paddy Quinn, 41 days on hungerstrike this Saturday, is already having trouble with his eye muscles, is having dizzy periods and at times finds it impossible to sleep, which is increasing his feeling of weakness. He had by last Monday suffered a weight loss of 2stone.
, who by Saturday will have give 34 days without food, has been continuing to vomit water, a dangerous sign. His weight had fallen from 9stone 9lbs at the start of the hungerstrike to 8stone 1 pound by Wednesday, and he is now in the prison hospital with the other advanced hungerstrikers.
, who reports feeling cold and weak, will be 27 days on hungerstrike this Saturday. His weight has fallen to 9 stone, a loss of 1stone 7pounds. He is still in his HBlock cell but is expected to be moved to the prison hospital within the next few days.
, 16 days on hungerstrike this Saturday has been subjected to petty harassment by the warders, when on Tuesday, they disrupted a family visit on the pretext that something was been smuggled in. Pat's wife was taken from the visiting box and not allowed to return to see him. By Tuesday, after only twelve days on hungerstrike, Pat had already lost 11pounds.
Matt Devlin, who joined the hungerstrike to replace Martin Hurson
on Wednesday week, had after only a week lost 9 pounds in weight. By Saturday he will be eleven days on strike.