Seven men murdered in Mid Ulster during Bobby Sands’ 66 days on hunger strike in film

John Proctor, murdered in 1981 at Mid Ulster Hospital
John Proctor, murdered in 1981 at Mid Ulster Hospital

Seven Mid Ulster men murdered “outside the prison walls” during the 1981 hunger strikes feature in a movie being shown in response to Bobby Sands: 66 Days.

Put together by South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), spokesman Kenny Donaldson said they made the movie to draw attention to the 57 people who had no choice in their deaths on those very same days. Among that number were four children and 53 men and women from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds.

“A lot of Catholic civilians lost their lives at that time,” Mr Donaldson explained. “It wasn’t just felt by the unionist community.”

Although the deaths breached the divide across the remainder of the region, he said it was interesting that all seven murdered in Mid Ulster were either “RUC, UDR or Protestant”.

But he was also keen to point out that belittling the plight of the hunger strikers was not helpful as “it (too) was a human tragedy”.

Playing at the Cohannon Inn, Tamnamore on Thursday (Aug 25) at 7.30pm, Mr Donaldson said everyone is welcome to come and see Remembering Those Who Had No Choice.

He said it was put together following requests from victims and survivors of terrorism in south Tyrone and the wider Mid Ulster community, as well as those further afield.

The seven men killed in Mid Ulster District included RUC Reserve Constable John Proctor, who was gunned down at Mid Ulster Hospital on September 14, 1981.

Fellow RUC Reserve, Christopher Kyle, 25 - Carrickmore - was shot dead on June 15, while 56-year-old UDR man Jack Donnelly was killed in Moy. Civilian John Hazlett, 43, was murdered in a case of mistaken identity in Maghera, while RUC officers Stuart Montgomery,19, and Mark Evans, 20, died in a Cappagh car bomb. Alan Clarke, 20, from Maghera was also killed.

Hunger strikers Francis Hughes, Thomas McElwee and Martin Hurson were also from Mid Ulster.