Almost 7,000 people gathered in Ballina last weekend to take part in the National Hunger Strike Commemoration which took place in Mayo for the first time. Thousands travelled from all over the country to mark the 36th anniversary of the H-Block hunger strikes as well as honour the Mayo men who died on hunger strike including Ballycroy native Jack McNeela, Hollymount’s Frank Stagg, and Ballina man Michael Gaughan.
Sinn Fein president and TD Gerry Adams was in attendance alongside speakers Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway-Walsh from Erris and Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly.
Speaking at the event Senator Conway-Walsh told the gathered crowd she was "honoured to welcome the families and friends of those who had died to Ballina and Mayo.”
She added: “It is because of your sacrifices and your endurance that I and hundreds of thousands like me continue our struggle for Irish freedom and the re-unification of our country.”
There were a large number of events which took place over the weekend alongside the large gathering on Sunday afternoon including a hunger strike discussion and talks with UL senior lecturer in history Dr Rúan O’Donnell, and an evening discussion on the H Blocks and Palestine which was organised by the Sinn Fein Republican Youth.