Novara Media

Foreign Agent Episode 5: Our Day Will Come

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Episode notes

As the Troubles dragged on, IRA volunteers at the Maze Prison decided to go on hunger strike in 1980 and 1981. Their decision would change everything for the IRA — and for Noraid. The protest garnered sympathy from around the world and sparked outrage in the Irish American community. Noraid rallied outside the British embassy, burned Margaret Thatcher in effigy, and made new in-roads with the American media.

After a decade of losing momentum, they were back on the streets and squaring off against the American, British and Irish governments. But a split was emerging between the armed campaign and the political wing of the movement. Should the future be decided by Armalite or the ballot box?

Further reading:
Irish America and the Ulster Conflict by Andrew Wilson
Noraid and the Northern Ireland Troubles, 1970-1994 by Robert Collins
“A Battalion of Spies” by Ed Moloney on
“‘It was networking, all networking’: the Irish republican movement’s survival in Cold War America” by Danielle Zach

The interview with Michael Flannery is courtesy of the Tamiment Library at New York University.