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1981 hunger-striker Francis Hughes is flanked by blanketmen Hugh Rooney and Freddie Toal and surrounded by a host of other Republican faces in this 2011 mural commemorating the 30th anniversary of the strikes. Painted by Sean McVeigh. The 1981 Irish hunger strike was the culmination of a five-year protest during "the Troubles" by Irish republican prisoners in Northern Ireland. The second hunger strike took place in 1981 and was a showdown between the prisoners and the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. One hunger striker, Bobby Sands, was elected as a Member of Parliament during the strike, prompting media interest from around the world. The strike was called off after ten prisoners had starved themselves to death—including Sands, whose funeral was attended by 100,000 people. The strike radicalised Irish nationalist politics, and was the driving force that enabled Sinn Féin to become a mainstream political party.