Unpublished Interview with British Official released by Bobby Sands Trust

An interesting historical document has just been released by the Bobby Sands Trust which reveals the mindset of the British government, particularly at the time of the intervention of the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace before the death of hunger striker Joe McDonnell in July 1981. It is an unpublished interview from 1986 with senior British official Sir John Blelloch who is quite dismissive of the ICJP and says, “I think they’d become in a sense drawn into a position in which they believed they were negotiating in a situation which is not really negotiable.” Blelloch, contrary to some claims made in recent years, also states that, “There was absolutely no change in the government’s position on why it stood where it was, what was available to the prisoners and, insofar as one could say this in advance, what would happen as the protest ended. That position remained in all material respects, unchanged.”
Blelloch’s interview, from 1986, was conducted before the publication of the H-Block comms in David Beresford’s book, ‘Ten Men Dead’, but confirms the position of the British government as described by Bik McFarlane and others at the time.