25 October 1920: IRA Volunteer Joseph Murphy [above] died in Cork Jail, on this day. He had been on a Hunger Strike for 76 days. For decades his fast was the longest on record anywhere in the World. He is buried in the Republican Plot in St. Finbarr's Cemetery in Cork City.
That same day Terence MacSwiney [below], T.D. , Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Cork City and Brigade Commandant 1st Cork Brigade Irish Republican Army also died on Hunger Strike after 73 days. He had been arrested that August in Cork and charged with possession of: Documents the publication of which would be likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty. He was summarily tried by court martial on 16 August and sentenced to two years' imprisonment in Brixton Prison London.
He refused to recognise the Court and immediately decided to embark on a Hunger Strike. Three days afterwards in an effort to isolate him from the other prisoners, he was deported from Cork Jail to Brixton Prison, London. MacSwiney's hunger strike gained world attention. The British government was threatened with a boycott of British goods in America, and four countries in South America appealed to the Pope to intervene. Protests were held in Germany and France as well. As the pressure mounted on the British government to release him, MacSwiney said: I am confident that my death will do more to smash the British Empire than my release.
On the 20th of October he fell into a coma, and died five days later at 5.40 am on this day. His last words to a priest who visited were: I want you to bear witness that I die as a Soldier of the Irish Republic.
Though his most famous words are: It is not those who can inflict the most, but those that can suffer the most who will conquer.
That same day the IRA raided the RIC barracks at Tempo, Co. Fermanagh with the help of insiders. It resulted in the death of one RIC member (Sgt Wilfred Lucas). It was only a partially successful raid though as some local loyalists came to the assistance of the garrison. Subsequently, a local Republican (Philip Breen) was shot down and killed on his doorway in retaliation.