Bobby Sands Corner

Bobby Sands grew up and went to school in Rathcoole but in 1972, when he was eighteen, the family home was attacked. They moved to Twinbrook, where Sands joined the IRA (Bobby Sands Trust | WP). A nearby installation on the footpath claims that Twinbrook is the “Home Of Bobby Sands“. This mosaic is near […]

Bobby Sands Corner

#OTD in 1977 – A group of Republicans tunneled into the concrete under the cover of darkness and retrieved Frank Stagg’s body to be re-buried with respect to his final wish, beside his fellow hunger striker and friend, Michael Gaughan.

There is a grave in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina, Co Mayo which has a concrete surface, placed there by the Gardaí in 1976, to prevent Frank Stagg’s body from being stolen. Forty-two years ago, the body was removed from the grave, during the night, without disturbing the concrete, and buried elsewhere in the cemetery. When Stagg…

#OTD in 1977 – A group of Republicans tunneled into the concrete under the cover of darkness and retrieved Frank Stagg’s body to be re-buried with respect to his final wish, beside his fellow hunger striker and friend, Michael Gaughan.

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Liam Sutcliffe -A Revolutionary Life.

Father of Maze hunger striker Bobby Sands dies at the age of 91

John Sands pictured front left, Carring his son’s coffin in May 1981The father of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands has died in hospital aged 91.

John Sands was not a public figure and was rarely mentioned in the media.

He died surrounded by his family on Saturday morning.

Mr Sands – along with wife Rosaleen and children Bobby, Marcella and John jnr – was living in the predominantly Protestant Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey when the Troubles erupted, leading to the polarisation of the two communities.

He moved his family to the sprawling, mainly Catholic Twinbrook estate on the outskirts of west Belfast.

In a magazine article shortly after the IRA hunger strike of the early 1980s, John snr, the product of a mixed Catholic/Protestant marriage, was quoted as saying the whole family felt betrayed.

“I was a war veteran of the British Navy at Anzio and the South Pacific. The freedom I fought for didn’t help us,” he said.

His son Bobby would come to prominence as the first of 10 republican prisoners to die in the Maze Prison on hunger strike.

Pictures of John snr carrying his son’s coffin, along with one-time Sinn Fein MP Owen Carron, were carried in the media following the funeral in May 1981.

Among the newspaper death notices for Mr Sands this week were those from his daughters Marcella and Bernadette (Sands-McKevitt) and her husband Michael, and son John.

Ms Sands-McKevitt has been an outspoken opponent of the Good Friday Agreement and is a founder member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.

Following the signing of the agreement in 1998, she said: “Bobby did not die for cross-border bodies with executive powers.

“He did not die for nationalists to be equal British citizens within the North of Ireland state.”

John Sands’ funeral is due to take place this morning at St Agnes’ church on the Andersonstown Road, followed by burial in the City Cemetery.

With many thanks to the: Belfast News Letter for the original story

Funeral Times

The death has occurred of

John Sands

John Sands

June 14th 2014 R.I.P. Peacefully at hospital surrounded by his loving family. Beloved husband of Rosaleen and dearly loved father of Marcella, Bernadette, John and the late Bobby. Late of Stockmans Lane. (Formerly of Twinbrook).

Loving and kind in all his ways,
Gentle and good till the end of his days,
sincere and true in heart and mind,
Beautiful memories are left behind.

John’s remains will leave his daughter Marcella’s home (26 Stockmans Crescent) Tuesday at 9.30am to arrive at St Agnes Church for 10am requiem mass. Burial immediately afterwards in City Cemetery.

Always loved and missed by the entire family.

Family flowers only please. Donations in lieu to Sightsavers c/o O’Neill’s Funeral Directors, 98 Stewartstown Road, Belfast BT11 9JP (Tel: 028 9062 0099)

Have you considered?

Funeral Arrangements


17 June 2014, 10.00AM


St. Agnes’ Church, 143 Andersonstown Road, Belfast, Belfast, BT11 9BW


Family flowers only please. Donations in lieu to Sightsavers c/o O’Neill’s Funeral Directors, 98 Stewartstown Road, Belfast BT11 9JP (Tel: 028 9062 0099)


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Continue reading “Father of Maze hunger striker Bobby Sands dies at the age of 91”

Photos of Bobby Sands Discovered! | Bobby Sands Trust

With many thanks to the: Bobby Sands Trust and Gérard Harley ref: Photographs for the original story 

IRA ‘set up INLA man for arrest’

Seventeen people, including 11 British soldiers, were killed in 1982 Droppin’ Well bomb attack carried out by the INLA

“[Martin McGuinness] detested the INLA for their arrogance and disregard for their ‘republican principles”’ – Willie Carlin 

Willie Carlin was an MI5 and FRU British agent

THE Provisional IRA set up a senior INLA man for arrest, former British intelligence agent Willie Carlin has claimed. In a new book about his secret life as a spy within Sinn Féin, the former MI5 and FRU agent claims that ex-INLA boss Patrick Shotter was arrested after a tip-off from the IRA in Derry. Shorter, who was known as Derek, was convicted for his part in the Droppin’ Well bomb attack in Ballykelly on December 6th 1982 in which 17 people, including 11 British soldiers and six civilians, were killed. The security forces launched a huge manhunt after the attack. Which also left Mr Carlin’s cousin, Priscilla White, among those critically injured. Mr Carlin claims that in the days and weeks after the explosion Shorter went on the run to Donegal. He said he passed on Shotter’s name to his handler, who he said was already aware of his alleged role.

Ex-INLA boss Patrick Shotter who was known as Derek. Was convicted for his part in the Droppin’ Well bomb attack on December 6th 1982

He also claims that the IRA were trying to find the INLA man. In the book Mr Carlin claims that senior Sinn Féin figure Martin McGuinness “detested the INLA for their arrogance and disregard for their ‘republican principles”’. He reveals how he overheard a telephone conversation between Shotter and his estranged wife Dolly, arranging to meet during a visit by him to her house. In 1974 she had lost a leg and her father-in-law was killed by an IRA booby-trap bomb left in a bin at their home which was intended for British soldiers.

INLA volunteers giving a show of strength on the streets of Belfast

The following day Mr Carlin waited for the INLA man to emerge from Mrs Shotter’s house and followed him to a city centre club before tipping off the IRA. He said he later returned to the bar to see Martin McGuinness and another man going inside, followed shortly after by four others. He then left the area and rang his handler to brief him. It later emerged that the wanted man had not been arrested at the club and Mr Carlin claims that his handler later said: “It wasn’t easy, to lift Shotter there and then would have ment having to lift McGuinness as well.” He said a handler later told him that two IRA men had followed Shotter from the club to a safe house where he was staying in the Shantallow area before moving to another one the following day.

INLA volunteers preparing for show of strength the Officer in Command (OC) is the one in the red mask

“Those IRA volunteers passed that information on to the Provisional OC in the Bogside, and within an hour another volunteer was given ‘permission’ to tip off the RUC/PSNI as to Shotter’s whereabouts,” he wrote. “It was this call that led to his arrest.” Mr Carlin claims such an order would have had to come from a senior republican. “For the IRA in Derry to give permission for a volunteer to tip off the RUC/PSNI as to the whereabouts of senior republican was a first,” he wrote.

INLA volunteers in full marching forum marching in sequence TAL32

“You could describe it as treachery from within the ‘republican family’, and so radical and dangerous was it for the IRA in Derry to sanction such an action it could only have come from McGuinness himself.” He suggests a certain logic would have applied to any such decision. “His reasoning, however, was understandable,” he wrote. “Because Shotter and his team in Derry was causing havoc, attempting the most impossible attack, this was endangering civilian life and giving the security forces the excuse to step up raids on all republicans.” He claims that when the INLA carried out attacks in Derry “the IRA was in the dark and the subsequent raids often caught them and the entire movement on the hop”. “The INLA in Derry had always been a thorn in McGuinness’s side for that very reason,” he wrote.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story 

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Crucifix given by Pope John Paul II to Patsy O’Hara in Derry museum

A golden Crucifix given to Óglach  Patsy O’Hara by Pope John Paul II before he died on hunger strike in 1981, is now on display in a Derry museum.

The cross, framed alongside portraits of the late INLA hunger striker and the Pope, is held in the Irish Republican Socialist Movement museum in Chamberlain Street.

It was, explained the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), among several crucifixes given to the ten INLA and IRA hunger strikers who died protesting their criminalisation by the British authorities in the H-Blocks over four momentous months in 1981.

“In the midst of the 1981 hunger strike, Margaret Thatcher [the then British Prime Minister] lobbied the Catholic Church to declare the prisoners’ actions to be a form of suicide and so a ‘mortal sin’.

“Pope John Paul [II] ordered his emissary to Ireland to present the Hunger Strikers with golden crucifixes on his behalf, to comfort them during their ordeal.

“A clear if subtle rebuff to Thatcher’s cynical attempts to destroy the morale of these brave martyrs,” the IRSP has maintained.

Files declassified by the British Government eight years ago shed some light on the Vatican’s efforts to intervene in the strike in the spring of 1981.

They detail a conversation between the papal envoy Fr. John Magee and the British Secretary of State, Humphrey Atkins, in April 1981, shortly before Mr. O’Hara died.

According to the note Monsignor McGee asked the late IRA Volunteer, Bobby Sands, to halt the strike.

Mr. Sands declined the request and was later buried with a crucifix that was given to him by Fr. Magee from the Pope when he became the first man to die.

The IRSP said Mr. O’Hara, rather than be buried with the crucifix he received from Pope John Paul II, instead passed it on to his mother Peggy.

“IRSM Volunteer Patsy O’Hara, in a beautiful gesture bequeathed his cross to his mother, in recognition of the suffering that she had gone through on his behalf and on behalf of Ireland,” the party stated.

After Mrs. O’Hara passed away in 2015 her family handed over the cross to James Connolly House in Chamberlain Street, where it is still available for viewing today.

“Upon her passing the O’Hara family bequeathed it to the Irish Republican Socialist Movement museum.

“A rounded symbol (if any where needed) of the revolutionary sincerity and commitment that exists amongst the Irish Republican Socialist family as a whole. Venceremos!” said the party.

The IRSM museum is situated at number 8 Chamberlain Street, Derry and is open between Monday and Friday.

Patsy O’Hara died after 61 days on hunger strike on May 21, 1981, the fourth of the ten hunger strikers to die.

He was the first of three INLA members, all from the Derry area, to die on the protest.

The others were Kevin Lynch from Park, who died on August 1, after 77 days without food, and Mickey Devine, from Derry, who was the last prisoner to die when he passed away after 60 days on hunger strike on August 20, 1981.

With many thanks to the: Derry 

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