Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Brendan Hughes badly bruised by hunger strikes

I CAN understand Terry Hughes coming to the defence of his brother Brendan over allegations that he was not a well man before his death.

But the fact is that anyone who was in jail with Brendan, or spoke to him later after his release, could see that he never really recovered from the repercussions of the 1980 hunger strike.

He himself admitted this in an interview with Niall Stanage in the Sunday Tribune (December 17, 2000): "I blamed myself for years.

"I used to believe that if I had let Sean [McKenna] die, that would have ended it, which would have stopped 10 men dying [in the second hunger strike]. During one period, I was almost at the point of jumping off a bridge."

As we know, Sean McKenna was later to tragically take his own life.

Brendan himself could not find solace. He was disillusioned and demoralised, which is why I think that the man interviewed by Anthony McIntyre in 2002/2003, when his condition had worsened from December 2000, was not the Brendan Hughes, the 'Dark' of old.

AN OLD FRIEND

Belfast

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