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Self-educating Political Prisoners: An Oral History of Irish Republican Prisoners, 1971-2000

Entrance to Northern Irish high-security prison HMP Maze, courtesy of, Still Burning (CC BY-NC 2.0).
Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

In this presentation, I will introduce an oral history with former Irish republican prisoners in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland between 1971, the year of the introduction of internment in Northern Ireland, and 2000, the year of the closure of the high-security prison HMP Maze. Based on the memories of the former IRA prisoners, I narrate the lives of Irish republican prisoners inside Irish and British internment camps and prisons during the height of the Northern Irish Troubles.

Of the many groups supporting the Northern Irish peace process in the 1990s, one of the most remarkable is that of the former inmates of internment camps and prisons. I will analyze the role Irish republican activists in the internment camps and prisons played, as well as their interaction with the outside Irish republican movement beyond the high-profile hunger strikes of 1980/81. In this way, I will throw throwing light on one of the key factors that facilitated the Irish peace process in the 1990s and demonstrate how political prisoners can perform an active role in international peace processes.