04 May 2006

Republicans prepare to mark anniversary of Bobby Sands' death


04/05/2006 - 17:08:17

Republicans were tonight preparing to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands with a number of events throughout Ireland.

Seven IRA and three Irish National Liberation Army prisoners died in 1981 during the protest which they hoped would force then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government to recognise them as political prisoners.

Bobby Sands, who was the Officer Commanding of the IRA when he embarked on a hunger strike in 1981, was the first of the 10 to die, at the age of 27.

But he also died an MP, having sent shockwaves through British politics when he won a 1981 Westminster by-election for the Fermanagh and South Tyrone seat.

Mr Frazer said FAIR had already received requests for copies of the document in the United States, Colombia, Israel and parts of the UK.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and other senior members of the party will take part tomorrow in events to remember the hunger strikers in Belfast, Dublin, Derry, Navan, Kilcoo in Co Down and Ballincollig, Co Cork.

A group of former prison comrades will hold a short ceremony in Sands’ memory at the now empty Maze Prison, outside Belfast.

Sinn Féin MPs Martin McGuinness and Michelle Gildernew will join them at the prison building in the former jail.

Black flag vigils are also being planned on the Falls, Andersonstown and Stewartstown Roads in west Belfast and senior African National Congress member Robert McBride is to deliver a lecture in Bobby Sands’ memory in the city.

Mr McGuinness will also take part in a parade and rally in Derry tomorrow, which will stop outside the former homes of two of the hunger strikers - Patsy O’Hara and Mickey Devine.

The Mid Ulster MP and his Assembly colleague Raymond McCartney, who took part in a 1980 hunger strike at the Maze, will address the crowd.

Outside Dublin’s GPO, the scene of the 1916 republican Easter Rising, Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald will take part in a commemorative event and there will be a number of vigils throughout the city.

Gerry Adams will also visit a hunger strike memorial at Hackballscross, Co Louth, along the Irish border before addressing a commemorative event in Navan, Co Meath.

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