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Wexford hunger strikers

  • 21-11-2011 8:09pm
    Registered Users Posts: 77 ✭✭ pflanagan132

    Hi folks, I am looking for further info on 3 Wexford men who died on hunger strike in Newbridge internment camp in late 1923. They were Joseph Whitty, Richard Hume and Joe Lacey. I know Whitty is buried in Ballymore cemetary, Killinick, but nothing more. I think Lacey was from William St. in Wexford. There is no trace of a Richard Hume in 1911. I believe Lacey had brothers John and Patrick
    Any further details on these three men would be most welcome.
    Patrick Flanagan.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,577 ✭✭✭ jonniebgood1

    Hello Patrick. The 1923 hunger strikes were undertaken on a massive scale over a wide number of prisons and internment camps. The main reason behind them was the conditions and the protracted period of internment without trial as the civil war was over and the internees believed they should be released. The Free state government took a hardline approach to the hunger strikes with tough treatment of them continuing to their burial. These hunger strikers are not very well known in comparison to others possibly due to the fact that their actions were against their own government as opposed to a British authority.

    According to this page
    Joseph Witty: Aged 19, died on strike on 2 September 1923 in Curragh Camp.

    The page also references Joe Lacey and the reason for his death was the lack of medical attention rather than the hunger strike
    Lack of adequate medical attention given to strikers, health complications from the strikes, and the deplorable conditions in which the prisoners were held led to the untimely deaths shortly after the strikes of many, including May Zambra and Joe Lacey.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,577 ✭✭✭ jonniebgood1

    The forum mentions Whitty as follows:
    At a public meeting held in New Ross on Sunday July 22 1923, Miss Dorothy MacArdle, read a letter from Newbridge prison camp. She did not think it had passed through the hands of the censor.

    The letter referred to the condition of 19 year old, Óglach Joseph Whitty, William Street, Wexford. She asserted that he was not in the organisation at all and that he was being punished as revenge for the activities of his brothers. He signed the undertaking reluctantly on the advice of a friend but despite the boasting of the government that signing meant release, he was still in gaol and dying.

    The first time his mother went to visit him the authorities refused to allow to do so. The second time when they allowed her to see her son he was unable to recognise her.

    The meeting should demand that he be released before he died, said Miss MacArdle.

    Professor Caffery proposed a resolution demanding the immediate release of Joseph Whitty and the other prisoners in Ireland and Britain and suggested that a telegram should be sent to the pope.

    Miss Nellie O'Ryan seconded the resolution which was put to the meeting. All present signified assent by raising their right hands.

    Unfortunately, the free state government failed to release Joseph Whitty. On Thursday September 2, 1923 he died in the Newbridge military hospital. He had been arrested about a year earlier. Interment took place in Ballymore the following Sunday before a large crowd. When the remains were laid to rest his comrades fired three volleys over them and recited a decade of the rosary in Irish.