Kevin Lynch's mother sent a poignant letter and Mass card to late taoiseach Charles Haughey warning that her son and others would die on hunger strike, it has emerged.
Bridie Lynch implored Mr Haughey to intervene weeks before the second protest began, urging him to "get it off before it starts".
"I write you these few lines from the bottom of my heart to ask you to speak again about the situation in the H Blocks of Long Kesh," she said.
The letter, dated January 9 1981, warned that a second hunger strike would start on Monday January 19 or 26, although Mrs Lynch said she could not be sure.
Mrs Lynch ominously warned: "If another hunger strike starts nobody will be able to stop it this time.
"We all love Charlie, nobody knows only God what Prayers we offer up for you and we want you to be our Taoiseach for years, nobody will ever take your place. Our son Kevin is on the Blanket since the 15th December 1977, took from his bed at quarter to six on the morning of Dec 2nd 1966 only 20 years of age, the youngest of eight of a family. Thank God he didn't hurt or kill anyone.
"I am sorry to have to trouble you, but please in God's name do your best and get the hunger strike off before it starts."
Lynch, born in Park, Co Londonderry and brought up in nearby Dungiven, was jailed for Irish National Liberation Army terrorist activities in 1977 and immediately joined the blanket protest, refusing to wear prison clothes. He was the seventh republican prisoner to die, on August 1 1981.
Mr Haughey replied saying he fully understood and sympathised with all the families who have suffered as a result of the H-blocks.
He said: "You can be assured that the Government are keeping in close touch with the situation and are in continual contact with the British authorities about it. I am reasonably hopeful that the situation will continue to improve."