02 May 2006

Bobby Sands vigil to mark 25th anniversary


Republicans across West Belfast are being urged to attend a black flag vigil being held this Friday, May 5, to commemorate the death of hunger striker Bobby Sands.

West Belfast MP Gerry Adams is leading the calls for locals to gather to remember the sacrifice of Bobby and the nine other hunger strikers who died in the H Blocks in 1981.

“The fifth of May is a very significant date in West Belfast," said the Sinn Féin President.

“Twenty five years ago, Bobby Sands took on the British Government and their attempts to criminalise him.

“Bobby died on hunger strike on this day and for many, this still will be a very emotional time."

The vigil is just one of the many events that will kick start an action-packed weekend to commemorate the anniversary of Bobby Sands.

Other events include the 24th annual Bobby Sands Lecture at The Devenish Complex on Friday night which will be delivered by South African ANC activist, police chief and foreign affairs Robert McBride.

“We've come a long way since the first Bobby Sands Lecture in 1982," Sam Baker, an organiser with the Colin ‘81 Committee, told the Andersonstown News.

“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."

Among many other localised events, on Saturday at 6pm, Lenadoon will commemorate the anniversary with a march from the Lenadoon shops to the Roddy McCorley Social Club where Gerry Adams will be the main speaker.

Meanwhile Twinbrook republicans will be attending the unveiling of a sculpted rock dedicated to the hunger strikers before the estate's newest hurling team, Cumann na Fuiseoige, named in honour of Bobby Sands, take on Dungiven's Kevin Lynch Club in their inaugural game.

The black flag vigils will be held from 5pm to 6pm on Friday on the Falls Road, Springfield Road, Andersonstown Road and Stewartstown Road.

The gathering points for the vigils at 5pm are as follows:
-Falls Road Sinn Féin Centre, Sevastopol Street
-Beechmount Avenue/Falls Road junction
-Whiterock Road/Falls Road junction
-Top of the Monagh Road
-Connolly House, Andersonstown Road
-Mairead Farrell Sinn Féin Office at the Dairy Farm Centre

Journalist:: Staff Journalist

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