Both sides made moves to end the deadlock between the British government and eight Irish nationalist guerrillas on a hunger strike in Maze prison. hunger strike supporters issued what a government spokesman called a "rather conciliatory" statement as one of the strikers, Joe McDonnell, was said to be growing weaker. At the same time, the government permitted members of the Justice and Peace Commission of Ireland's Roman Catholic church's to visit the hunger strikers, but made it clear there could be no negotiation by the government.
Its firm line is that the prisoners are common criminals and cannot be given political status. The prisoners have said they will not deviate from demands for changes in prison rules. But they now say there could e a settlement without loss of principle on either side. They indicated there could be flexibility in the interpretation of demands to wear their own clothes, to associate freely, and to do work acco rding to their own definition.