27 April 2006

Bobby Sands remembered


by Francesca Ryan

Next Friday republicans across the world will pause to remember the sacrifice of Bobby Sands who died on hunger strike on May 5, 1981.

The legacy that Bobby left behind will never be forgotten and as the date approaches, the Colin ‘81 Committee are putting the final touches to a series of commemorative events to be held next weekend to mark the 25th anniversary of his death.

The 24th annual Bobby Sands Lecture is being held in the function room at the Devenish Complex next Friday (May 5) evening where Robert McBride, South African foreign affairs official and ANC activist, will deliver the lecture.
“We've come a long way since the first Bobby Sands Lecture in 1982," said Sam Baker, an organiser with the Colin ‘81 Committee.

“The first lecture was held in the Kilwee in Twinbrook which held a few hundred local people. Next Friday's event will be a national gathering attracting over one thousand people. We are honoured to have Robert McBride delivering the lecture, he is the first international speaker to do so.”

In previous years, the Bobby Sands Lecture has focused on various themes including collusion and the role of women in the struggle, however this year the lecture will focus on Bobby and how his and the other hunger strikers’ sacrifice affected other struggles around the world.

Michelle Gildernew, MP for the seat which Bobby held when he died, Fermanagh/South Tyrone, will chair the proceedings which commence at 8.30pm sharp.

On Saturday May 6, the Balmoral Hotel will host Talkback, a question and answer session focusing on the legacy of the hunger strikes and a vision of Ireland for the future.

Panelists will include John Finucane, Chris McGimpsey, Toireasa Ní Fhearaiosa and Alan McBride who lost relatives in the Shankill bomb of 1993.
“This is significant in that these people can share a panel together and talk about what the future holds,” said Sam.

“It's a sign that people are prepared to move things forward and look ahead to the future.”

The session is open to everyone, particularly young people aged between 18 and 25, and begins at 1pm.

On Sunday, May 7, Robert McBride will unveil a sculpted rock in Twinbrook dedicated to the hunger strikers.

“There will be a march from the Dairy Farm at 1pm to the site in Twinbrook.
“Following the unveiling of the rock, which can be seen from Bobby's house, Robert McBride and Raymond McCartney MLA will give speeches.”

The Colin area's first hurling team, the Bobby Sands Club, will play Dungiven's Kevin Lynch Club at Twinbrook pitches in the afternoon and the commemorations will wrap up with a function in the PD on Sunday night.

“The Colin ‘81 Committee has worked very hard to organise these events and activities and we'd like to thank everyone who put in the effort to help us mark the 25th anniversary of Bobby's death in the best way we could.”

Journalist:: Francesca Ryan

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