The article quoted a spokesman for the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister having said: “This office is aware that a number of artifacts purported to be from the former Maze/Long Kesh site have been offered for sale on the internet auction site eBay. Purchasers should be aware that in many cases it is impossible to authenticate these artifacts and no individual has been given permission to remove anything from the site.”The eBay sales pitch referred to the five 5-kg pieces of rubble as: An absolute gem of memorabilia for anyone with an interest in the Northern Ireland Troubles and especially the Republican hunger strikers and offered for sale at a starting price of ﾣ1 Euro and $5 U.S. Prisoners convicted of terrorist offences after March 1, 1976 were housed in the eight new H-Blocks that had been constructed at the site, also known as Long Kesh. The hunger strike which would eventually see 10 Republican prisoners die began on March 1, 1981 when Bobby Sands, a 27-year-old who had served four years of a 14-year sentence for possessing firearms, began refusing food. He was joined on March 15 by fellow IRA Maze inmate Francis Hughes, while a week later, IRA man Raymond McCreesh and INLA prisoners leader Patsy O’Hara also joined.They demanded a return to “special status” which included the right to wear their own clothes, the right not to carry out prison work and the right to associate freely with other Republican inmates.