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Solidarity with the IRA

The inventory of the archiive of the Ierland Komitee Nederland  (Dutch Ireland Committee)  has been completed. The archives of the Dutch Ireland Committee, which came to the IISH in 2010, include minutes of meetings and correspondence with many different groups committed to the Irish cause, documents relating to the Ierland Bulletin, and other publications and documents relating to numerous campaigns.

Entirely in the spirit of the seventies, the Dutch Ireland Committee was founded in 1975. In the early years employees of Rode Hulp (Red Aid), allied to the Rode Jeugd (Red Youth), were closely involved with the Dutch Ireland Committee and their periodical, the Ierland Bulletin. At the end of 1976, Red Aid became more important, and the members of the Ireland Solidarity Group took over the Ireland Committee. In the period 1977-1982, the Ireland Committee was at its peak. Media attention to the treatment of political prisoners in British prisons and the phenomenon of hunger strikes was enormous. From 1980 imprisoned Irish Republican Army (IRA) members often chose the hunger strike as a weapon in the struggle. The best-known IRA prisoner was Bobby Sands, who died in May 1981 from the effects of a hunger strike in Long Kesh Prison, also known as The Maze

During the eighties and nineties, the activities of the Dutch Ireland Committee declined. Publication of the Ierland Bulletin had become its main activity. In 2002, the last issue, which looked back extensively on 25 years of the Dutch Ireland Committee, was published. The editorial notes under the title “It's been nice” show that emphasis had shifted “from the almost exclusive attention to the brutality of the British Army” to “film and book reviews” and the “success of the Celtic Tiger.” Antoon Seelen’s editorial outlines the changing zeitgeist vividly in his swan song entitled “Hitchhiking to the revolution.” This last issue of the Ierland Bulletin is digitally available.

In addition to the Dutch Ireland Committee, the H-Block Armagh Committee also existed in The Netherlands. This Committee, founded in 1980 by, among others, the West German photographer Hannes Wallrafen, supported the hunger strikers in the H-Block of Long Kesh and the Armagh women's prison. A collection of documentation on this Committee is also at the IISH.

The inventory of the archives of the Ierland Komitee Nederland was developed by Nina Kokosky Deforchaux, an intern from the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam

Bouwe Hijma

Posted: 
18 August 2014