16 January 2006

Mála Poist: 'Sands author' replies


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Thank you for your recent article about my biography of Bobby Sands, ‘Nothing but an Unfinished Song’. I would, however, like to clarify a misleading aspect of the article.

Part of the article could give the mistaken idea that the Sands family participated in the research for the book. This is not so. I met Marcella Sands when I was beginning my research and she told me that the family did not feel that they could participate because they were writing their own memoirs and it would create a conflict of interest if they also helped me. I respected their decision and on numerous occasions when people asked me, I made it clear that Bobby’s immediate family was not participating.

I did, however, ask Marcella for one small favour that would help me in my research and she consented. I thus mentioned her in a long list of about thirty people who helped me, in many cases in very small ways, in the research of the book. I did this as any author would do, as a simple matter of courtesy and proper acknowledgement. I also tried to extend a hand of friendship and respect to the Sands family, to recognise the enormity of what they endured. If I offended them in any way, I apologise.

I leave it to the readers of the biography to judge the quality of the book. The vast majority of the book takes place in prison, where Bobby Sands spent almost all of his adult life. I was blessed by the participation of nearly all of his closest friends and comrades.

Is mise,

DENIS O’HEARN

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