Matt Devlin

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Matt Devlin's grave in Ardboe Old Cross graveyard

Matt Devlin (30 April 1950 — 28 December 2005) was a Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteer who took part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike and was later a leading member of Sinn Féin in County Westmeath, Republic of Ireland.


Matt Devlin was born in Ardboe, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, on 30 April 1950. He was arrested in 1977, and was taken to Cookstown and Omagh Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) barracks and interrogated for four days.[1] He was charged with the attempted murder of members of the security forces.

Devlin became the 15th republican prisoner to join the hunger strike in HMP Maze, when he replaced Martin Hurson who died after 46 days on hunger strike on 13 July 1981. He had been involved in the prison protests from the blanket protest right through until the hunger strikes ended, when families began to take their sons off the protest.[2][3][4]

Electoral politics

For several years, Devlin lived near Tang, a village in the west of County Westmeath. In 2004, despite serious illness, he stood in local elections in the Republic of Ireland and although failing to get elected is credited for building up the Sinn Féin party in County Westmeath.[5]

He died on 28 December 2005 at the age of 55, in hospital in Belfast.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Martin McGuinness said: "It was a testament to Matt’s determination and courage that even when seriously ill he still put himself forward to stand for Sinn Féin in the last Southern elections. Matt continued to play a key role organising and building the party in Westmeath right up until his untimely death a few days ago."[6]

He was buried on 31 December 2005 in his hometown of Ardboe.[7] A monument and tombstone to commemorate him were unveiled on 1 April 2007.[citation needed] The ceremony was attended by thousands.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Remembering 1981 Devlin replaces Hurson. Riot at British embassy". An Phoblacht. 20 July 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-22.
  2. ^ Unknown (30 December 2005). "Maskey discharged after heart attack". UTV. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
  3. ^ Unknown (5 January 2006). "Fógraí bháis: Matt Devlin". An Phoblacht. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
  4. ^ Irish Hunger Strikes Chapter 45
  5. ^ Matt Devlin - Electoral History
  6. ^ Unknown (December 31, 2005). "Martin McGuinness Pays Tribute To Former IRA Hunger Striker Matt Devlin". Sinn Féin. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
  7. ^ Unknown (December 29, 2005). "Mitchel McLaughlin expresses regret at death of former hunger striker Matt Devlin". Sinn Féin. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-04.

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