This man's name is Christy Walsh, but you will not hear about him on the radio nor read about him in the national newspapers. You certainly won't hear anyone from Sinn Féin railing against the injustice he has suffered. That is because Christy Walsh is an inconvenient reminder of the serious deficiencies in the supposedly reformed justice system in Northern Ireland. It is a system that continues to operate non-jury, Diplock-style courts like the one in which Walsh himself was wrongly convicted. It is a system in which the police threaten journalists and sabotage academic projects. It is a system that still prosecutes republicans for Troubles-related offences but refuses to properly investigate the Parachute Regiment's massacre of 11 civilians in Ballymurphy in 1971.
From this perspective then, it is no surprise that Martin McGuinness is trying to ignore Christy Walsh, for the manner in which Walsh has been treated exposes the malign elements in the justice system that McGuinness now endorses and upholds. Indeed, it shows just how daft it is for McGuinness and other Sinn Féin leaders to rebrand the Provos' futile campaign as a war for equality.
Though I think his hunger strike is unwise, I support Christy Walsh's campaign for justice. I would encourage everyone to write to Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness in support of Christy and in protest at the despicable way he has been treated.
For more information, visit Christy Walsh's website or the Pensive Quill.