ROMAN Catholic priest Denis Faul – who came to prominence during the 1981 hunger strike – was described by the NIO as an “unguided moral missile”, while a letter from another priest believed to be sympathetic to the IRA was described as “sectarian”.
Monsignor Faul, who was the Catholic chaplain at the Maze during the hunger strike, was described in an NIO analysis as a “considerable thorn in our flesh”.
An NIO official said the priest was sympathetic to the aims of republicans but had come to believe the hunger strikes were hopeless and tried to persuade their relatives to help end the protests:
“He was largely responsible for the revolt of the relatives in July that led to pressure being put on Gerry Adams to order the prisoners off their fast.”
Republican prisoners’ representative Fr Raymond Murray wrote to the NIO with criticism of the alleged lack of work or education opportunities in Armagh women’s prison.
An NIO official described the December 1981 letter – which accused the government of being “barbarous in its cruelty” to the hunger strikers – as disappointingly and predictably negative and added: “It is narrow, sectarian and gratuitously offensive to the prison administration”.
Fr Murray had said that the Government’s “continued intransigence helps the IRA” but that “more humanity and compassion would help us to remove relatives from the influence of paramilitaries.”