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Lecture on Tuam Hunger Strike

Wednesday, 6th March, 2013 10:28am

THE Tuam hunger strike of April 1978, involving two members of Tuam Town Commissioners and a member of the Chamber of Commerce, will be recalled at a public lecture in Tuam Library this Saturday, March 9.

Historian Gabriel O’Connor who has been carrying out extensive research into the event over many months will give the Old Tuam Society lecture.

The three people who went on hunger strike in Tuam Town Hall were the late Cllrs Joe Burke and Harold Campbell, both members of the town board at that time, and the late Brian McNamara, who was a member of Tuam Chamber of Commerce.[private]

The three men were campaigning to keep Tuam Railway Station and the Erin Foods factory at Airglooney open. They occupied the office of the town clerk in Tuam Town Hall after a monthly meeting of the town board on the night of April 5, 1978.

As the hunger strike dragged on until April 13, it gained huge support and captured the attention of people not only in Ireland but also around the world. Gabriel O’Connor will quote from reports in The Tuam Herald of that time as well as from other stories from as far away as the St Louis Post in the USA which, he says, commissioned its report from the New York Times news service.

The three men only agreed to give up their hunger strike after negotiations took place and promises were made to save the two facilities. They had to be treated for a number of days in Tuam’s Bon Secours Hospital after their hunger strike.

The lecture, which is part of the Tuam 400 celebrations, takes place at 1 pm and admission is free.[/private]

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