SINN Féin will hold a vigil tomorrow at the National Monument to commemorate Bobby Sands, the 30th anniversary of whose death on hunger strike takes place this week.
Jonathan O’Brien TD, who will speak at the event, said, “Bobby Sands died on 5th May 1981 after 66 days on hunger strike, having been elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone with 30,493 votes. Over 100,000 people lined the route at his funeral.
“The election of Bobby Sands decisively refuted the claim by the Thatcher government that republicans were criminals whose actions had no community support. His sacrifice, and that of his comrades, defeated Britain’s criminalisation strategy and brought the republican struggle to a new stage.
“That struggle has advanced hugely since 1981. The way is now open to the achievement of a united Ireland by political means. But the progress towards civil rights and equality made through the peace process, and the massive electoral gains of Sinn Féin in both parts of this country, would not have happened without the hunger-strikes. I am proud to speak at tomorrow’s vigil in honour of Bobby Sands and the nine other volunteers who died subsequently during the hunger-strike.”
The vigil will commence at 1pm on Saturday; 66 candles will be lit to commemorate the 66 days spent on hunger strike by Bobby Sands, and there will be a reading of selected passages from the diary he kept while in prison.