Remembering Kevin Lynch - 1981 Hunger Strike
Kevin Lynch was born on May 25th, 1956, the youngest of a family of eight, in the tiny village of Park, eight miles outside Dungiven.
Kevin went to St. Canice's primary school and then on to St. Patrick's intermediate, both in Dungiven. At the age of fifteen, Kevin left school and began to work alongside his father.
Kevin's great passion was Gaelic games playing Gaelic football from very early on and then taking up hurling when he was at St. Patrick's.
In 1972, Kevin was appointed captain of both St. Patrick's hurling team and the County Derry under-16 team which went on in that season to beat Armagh in the All Ireland under-16 final at Croke Park in Dublin.
In 1973, at the age of sixteen, Kevin went to England to join his three brothers, Michael, Patsy and Gerard, who were already working in Bedford, Kevin returned to Dungiven in 1976.
Kevin joined the INLA, but following an ambush outside Dungiven, in November '76, in which an RUC man was slightly injured, the RUC moved against those it suspected to be INLA activists in the town.
On December 2nd, 1976 Kevin Lynch was arrested by the RUC and taken straight to Castlereagh, and, after three days questioning, on Saturday, December 4th, he was charged and taken to Limavady to be remanded in custody by a non-jury special court.
Following a year on remand in Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, he was tried and sentenced to ten years in December 1977, immediately joining the blanket men in Long Kesh.
These were very tough times for Kevin and his comrades who decided that hunger strike was the only way they could win political status, Kevin was the eight Republican to join the hunger strike in 1981.
In the 26 counties general election, in June 1981, Kevin stood as a candidate in the Waterford constituency, collecting 3,337 first preferences before being eliminated.
At 1 am on August 1st 1981 Kevin Lynch died on hunger strike after refusing food for seventy-one days.