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Political Imprisonment and the Irish, 1912-1921$
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William Murphy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199569076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199569076.001.0001

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‘You Will Find They Will Climb Down’

‘You Will Find They Will Climb Down’

August 1919–June 1920

Chapter:
(p.156) 7 ‘You Will Find They Will Climb Down’
Source:
Political Imprisonment and the Irish, 1912-1921
Author(s):

William Murphy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199569076.003.0008

During 1919 the Irish revolution moved into a more aggressive, violent phase known as the Irish War of Independence. This was accompanied by an intensification of conflict inside the prisons. This chapter charts the beginnings of a second surge of hunger strikes, examining a series of conflicts at Irish and English prisons (notably Mountjoy and Wormwood Scrubs) between 1919 and the early summer of 1920. The authorities failed this test as prisoners struck often and successfully for their release. The British administration’s failure to cope with this assault is indicative of, and contributed to, the general ineffectiveness of their policies in Ireland during these months. By forcing the release of hundreds of prisoners in spring 1920, the separatists humiliated cabinet members, precipitated a reorganization of British administration in Ireland, damaged the authority of the Irish and English prison systems, and undermined the morale of the army and police in Ireland.

Keywords:   Mountjoy, Wormwood Scrubs, hunger strike, Irish War of Independence, morale

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