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

The Night we named Bobby Sands street.

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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 

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 

Watch “Old Scores – Bobby Sands Documentary 1983” on YouTube

Mother of hunger striker Kieran Doherty one of the ten brave men dies 38 years after her son

Margaret Doherty, mother of hunger striker Kieran Doherty, has died

THE mother of hunger striker Kieran Doherty was a woman of “immense dignity”, Sinn Féin has said following her death. Margaret Doherty, from Andersonstown in west Belfast, passed away yesterday evening- just two days after the 38th anniversary of her son’s death. The mother-of-six Protestant was from a Protestant background but later converted to Catholicism. Shame Féin depututy leader Michelle O’Neill said she was saddened to learn of Mrs Doherty’s passing.

“She was a woman of human dignity, strength and courage,” she said. “My condolences to the Doherty family. They’re in my thoughts and prayers.”

Kieran Doherty’s hunger strike lasted 73 days. The IRA hero died on August 2nd 1981. Shortly before his death, he was elected TD for Cavan-monagahan.

Mrs Doherty called on the British government officials to speak to the strikers. “I’m not a politician, I’m only a mother but I know if they would go that would be it,” she told RTÉ. She said the British government did not want the strike to end. “They just want the men to die one after the other,” she said.

With many thanks to the: The Irish News and Claire Simpson for the original story


With many thanks to: The Irish News and Claire Simpson for the original story 

A letter written by Óglach Kevin Lynch, one of the brave 10 hunger strikers, to his mother, 1 day into the hunger strike


Dear Mum,

I hope this bit of a note finds you and Daddy and all the family in good spirits as it leaves me much the same way. As you know mammy I went on Hunger Strike yesterday morning. Well so far I am ok. I was a bit sick last night but that was only because I took too much salt.

I have cut down on it and I am ok today. I am still in the same cell with a fellow from Tyrone and to tell you the truth he couldn’t do enough for me. I seen the doctor this evening for the first time he just took my weight and pulse, things like that. It’s just something they do every day. I was at mass this morning and I was speaking to the priest for a few minutes he said he would ring you and let you know I am ok so I hope he done it. I got 5 birthday cards from home yesterday so you can thank all for me. I thought that the verse on your card was saying just what come from your heart. I was just reading in the paper this morning how the election went, and I see that L Hegarty and Dennis Farran got in the SDLP.

I think they were lucky not to lose more seats than they did but I suppose they won a few when they talked about the Hunger Strikes. I don’t believe John Hume is one bit bothered if there is a settlement here or not as long as his party are doing all right. I hope Jeannie is doing all right and has no problems on the birth of her child. Write and tell me how she is because I am thinking of her a lot. I hope you got my last note I wrote it on the same day as I had the visit with you. By the way Liam and myself got the parcels the next day. I am going to write a bit of a note to Eunan as well so I will soon have to finish off. Don’t worry Mammy I am ok and I am praying for youse all that God will give us all strength. I believe I am right in what I am doing so don’t worry what anybody may say. Justice is what we are looking for and I believe that we will get it in the end. Well Mammy tell all that I was asking and keep the spirits up.

All my love. Kevin xxxx

A True Irish ‘Freedom Fighter’ remembered and a true Irish Republican Socialist who give the ultimate sacrifice for Irish freedom ‘HIS LIFE’

These Pics were taken by the Orderly in the Canteen of the Prison Hospital around May 14th 1981. They were published a few days later in the Irish Press. The Screws raided his cell and roughed him up so bad that within an hour he drifted into a coma. A small tape recorder was found under Raymond’s Pillow, Patsy had recorded a message and gave it to Ray to record his – But Raymond was too far gone at that stage.
After Patsy dies his body was brutalised, nose broke and face burnt with cigarettes.

Fuair sé bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann – Ádh mór oraiibh

With many thanks to: Antoin O’Hara (Patsy’s brother), and Josephine Canning for the original posting.

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