Long Kesh memories

'Out Of Time: Irish Republican Prisoners. Long Kesh 1972-2000.'   by Laurence McKeown.
Beyond the Pale Publications 2001, ISBN 1-900960-10-9, £10.99

Lorny McKeown was sentenced to life in the Kesh in 1977 for Republican political offenses. He was on the blanket for several years, on hunger strike for 70 days, and spent 16 years in the Kesh. While there he gained a BA Honours and upon his release got a Ph.D. from QUB. This book represents that thesis. (McKeown had wanted to call it 'Unrepentant Fenian Bastard' but was forbidden to do so by the 'politically correct' academics from QUB.) Back in 1994 McKeown had edited the excellent 'Nor Meekly Serve My Time' along with Brian Campbell and Felim Hagan and this latest work expands and updates some of that as well, as adding much new material.

Some 25 Republican former Republican prisoners are interviewed, ranging from Anthony McIntyre to Brendan Hughes to Gerry Kelly to Billy McKee to Raymond McCartney and Padraic Wilson.

The blanket protest, the hunger strikes, the escapes, the beatings, the educational and revolutionary classes, the solidarity of the prisoners, the brutality of the screws, the slow movement towards the take over of Sinn Fein. It's all here, written uniquely from the Fourth Batt's (the prisoners) point of view. Essential reading in the archives of jail memoirs. An inspirational setting the story straight document and a de-demonization of the heroes and heroines of the H blocks.

Lorny and Brian Campbell have just had the first screening of their new movie 'H3' which debuted at the West Belfast Feile. To be shown in Derry next month and, hopefully coming to a screen near you in the not too distant future. Don't miss it.


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