Brendan Hughes

Born Oct 16, 1948

Brendan Hughes, also known as "The Dark", was an Irish republican and former Officer Commanding (OC) of the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). He is best known as the leader of the 1980 Irish hunger strike.

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Brendan Hughes.

  • Gerry Adams Ordered Jean Mc Conville Killing, Says Ex Ira Commander On Tape
    Guardian (UK) - Nov 03, 2013
  • Columba Mc Veigh Relatives Appeal For Help To Find Ira Victim's Body
    Guardian (UK) - Sep 30, 2013
  • Holy Family's Dodji Freitas Repeats As Cacc Men's Soccer Player Of The Week
    Bensalem Patch - Oct 02, 2012
  • Tapes Request 'politically Motivated' Bbc News
    Google News - Aug 25, 2011


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Brendan Hughes.


1948 Birth Born in 1948.


1969 21 Years Old Hughes joined the Irish Republican Army in 1969, sided with the Provisional faction in the split of 1969–70, and was "on the run" in Belfast by 1970.
1970 22 Years Old From 1970 to 1972 Hughes was involved in a number of attacks on British soldiers and bank robberies to raise funds for the republican movement. … Read More
1971 23 Years Old Hughes was born into a republican Catholic family from the Lower Falls Road area of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was a cousin of Charles Hughes, who was the O/C of D Company in the Provisional IRA Belfast Brigade during the Falls Curfew, and was shot and killed in March 1971 by the Official Irish Republican Army during a feud between the Provisional and Official IRAs.
1972 24 Years Old In a recording released in 2013 after his death, Hughes named Gerry Adams as ordering the killing and secret burial of Jean McConville (who Hughes said was a British agent), in 1972. … Read More
1973 25 Years Old On 19 July 1973 Hughes was arrested on the Falls Road along with Gerry Adams (today President of Sinn Féin) and Tom Cahill. … Read More
1974 26 Years Old On 10 May 1974, Hughes was arrested following a tip-off, and the house was found to contain a submachine gun, four rifles, two pistols and several thousand rounds of ammunition. … Read More
1976 28 Years Old As he was convicted after 1 March 1976, Hughes was transferred from the compounds to the H-Blocks and lost his Special Category Status. … Read More


1978 30 Years Old Shortly after arriving in the H-Blocks, Hughes became the O/C of the IRA prisoners, and in March 1978 ordered the prisoners to begin the dirty protest. … Read More
1980 32 Years Old 1 More Event
Hughes was the Officer Commanding during the 1980 hunger strike.
1981 33 Years Old Bobby Sands had taken over as leader of the republican prisoners in the prison after Hughes began his strike. On 1 March 1981, Sands began the second hunger strike, which Hughes opposed.
1986 38 Years Old Hughes was released from prison in 1986, and returned to live in Belfast, staying initially at the home of Gerry Adams. … Read More


1990 42 Years Old In 1990, Hughes appeared at a press conference in Bilbao organised by Batasuna, the political wing of the Basque nationalist paramilitary group ETA, to support an amnesty for ETA prisoners.
1994 46 Years Old He resigned from the Army Council in 1994. … Read More


2000 52 Years Old In 2000, he criticised the Sinn Féin leadership for allowing building firms in west Belfast to pay low wages to former prisoners and stated his belief that the republican leadership had sold out on their ideals to achieve peace in Northern Ireland.
2006 58 Years Old In October 2006, Hughes was pictured on the front page of the Irish News wearing an eye patch, after he underwent an operation to save his sight which had been badly damaged due to his hunger strike.


2008 60 Years Old Hughes died in hospital aged 59 on 16 February 2008. … Read More
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