The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Door To Door:
An Irish American House Call

"King:...He has chosen death:
Refusing to eat or drink, that he may bring
Disgrace upon me; for there is a custom,
An old and foolish custom; that if a man
Be wronged, or think that he is wronged,
And starve upon another's threshold till he die,
The Common People, for all time to come,
Will raise a heavy cry against that threshold,
Even though it be the King's."

- The King's Threshold by W.B. Yeats

"It is not those who inflict the most but those who endure the most who will conquer in the end." - Terence McSwiney


Matthew Kavanah

At present, I am in the process of coordinating a twenty-four hour hunger strike for myself that will take place from 2:00PM Saturday August 7th until 2:00PM August 8th outside of the building in Cambridge, MA (just outside of Boston, MA) that houses the British Consulate-General. I am currently working with the appropriate state and city departments in order to secure the necessary temporary permits and I do not foresee any serious complications in this vein. Almost on a parallel track, I am attempting to publicize my effort and raise funds. From the funds raised a token donation will be made to support the good work of Cabhair and the remainder will be donated directly to the families of Irish Republican POWs. It’s as simple as that.

I fully understand and appreciate the differences, oftentimes subtle but sometimes more pointed, between various Irish and Irish-American Republican groupings but what I am attempting to do here cuts across all lines and necessitates the active, not passive, support of all those who would call themselves an Irish Republican activist, supporter or sympathizer. My hunger strike will highlight the prison situation for the Republican POWs within the Free State penal facility that is Portlaoise Gaol. My efforts here are not exclusively dedicated to the volunteers on one particular landing but rather all of them. The recent conditions placed on Michael McKevitt’s petition for compassionate parole to attend his late mother’s wake and funeral were outrageous and a backdoor attempt to criminalize Republicanism. As we all know, some only too well, Republican POWs will never acquiesce to such actions and I can only pray that some just and equitable resolution will be negotiated sooner rather than later for the sake of all those involved. My hunger strike will bring attention to the abysmal, deplorable and reprehensible treatment that is meted out on a daily basis to the Republican POWs at Maghaberry Gaol in the occupied six counties. The strike will be an opportunity to pull back the curtain and reveal the true intentions and machinations of the Prison Officers Association and the Prison Service of Northern Ireland as concerns the Republican men and women caged there in inhuman conditions. Are the screws most likely still bitter about the protracted Republican Dirty Protest of 2003 and the subsequent Steele Report that recommended a program of separation? Yes. Does that juvenile and indignant attitude justify, excuse or warrant the retaliation and abuse directed at Republicans? No, of course not. Should all people of good will work to rectify this situation? Absolutely, and I would hope that people will be able to put their personal political beliefs temporarily aside, such as whether the Good Friday Agreement is a stepping stone toward freedom for Ireland or merely a British pacification tool to cement the status quo, and rally to the support of the Irishmen and Irishwomen who still linger behind a prison wall. If for no other reason, someone must champion their basic human rights and if not you and I, then who?

I implore the readership of The Blanket to please do what you can to support the POWs, support their families and loved ones, and support my hunger strike for those in need. I operate on two principles in matters such as these; accountability and transparency. I encourage people to contact me if you have any questions whatsoever and I will address each one. I may be reached by email at Please circulate this information to your family, friends, colleagues and compatriots. I hope to change the status quo and I am asking for your help. Tiocfaidh ar La.

"It is not good enough to believe in a free Ireland if we are not prepared to go out and get it. Those who call themselves republican yet do not carry out republican activity are not true Republicans. does not matter one bit how loudly you proclaim your Republican credentials, what matters is what activity you engage in to forward the Republican cause." - Fergal Moore 2003





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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

29 May 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Door to Door: An Irish American House Call
Matthew Kavanah


Republicans who do not follow the Sinn Fein line are also entitled to their opinions
Dolours Price


What Made Us Distinct
Tommy Gorman


US Schools Must Disclose Information About Crime on and Around Campus - (Clery Act USA): Is Similar Legislation Required in Northern Ireland?
Sean Mc Aughey


Old Friends, New Friends
John Kennedy


Memorial Day on WBAI


No More Tears
Omar Barghouti


The Nothing Here to Celebrate Israel Parade, NYC
Mary La Rosa


Génocidaires In Gaza
Anthony McIntyre


A Writer's Writer
Henry McDonald


24 May 2004


Tipping Over Cash Cows
Seaghán Ó Murchú


Dying Easily
Anthony McIntyre


Danger to Society
Chrissie McGlinchey


The Moral Failure of the "Free World" in Gaza
Ghali Hassan


Colin Powell, DOA
Paul de Rooij


The Letters page has been updated.




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