#OTD in 1981 – Bobby Sands begins his hunger strike at Long Kesh prison. 

The choice of the start date was significant because it marked the fifth anniversary of the ending of special category status (1 March 1976). The main aim of the new strike was to achieve the reintroduction of political status for Republican prisoners. Edward Daly, Catholic Bishop of Derry, criticised the decision to begin another hunger […]

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#OTD in 2008 – Death of Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes, aged 59.

As leader of the Belfast brigade of the IRA, Hughes led one of the most effective campaigns seen during the Troubles. But he also endured the worst of the British prison regime at Long Kesh, spending 13 years in jail. Hughes spent 53 days on hunger strike in the famous H-Blocks in 1980, was Officer […]

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#OTD in 1989 – Belfast solicitor, Patrick Finucane is murdered by Unionist assassins.

Pat Finucane, who acted as solicitor for republican hunger striker, Bobby Sands, was shot dead at his north Belfast home in front of his wife and children. The De Silva report into the brutal murder of Pat Finucane, coupled with the prime minister’s searing confession to parliament, revealed probably the worst atrocity by the British […]

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#OTD in 2018 – Death of Rosaleen Sands, the mother of hungerstriker Bobby Sands MP.

One of Bobby’s most moving poems was Dear Mum which he wrote while on the blanket and no-wash protest two years before his death. Dear Mum Dear Mum, I know you’re always there To help and guide me with all your care, You nursed and fed me and made me strong To face the world […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Bobby Sands dies at Long Kesh prison on the 66th day of his hunger strike.

Fuair siad bás ar son Saoirse na hÉireann. Bobby Sands dies in prison following a 66 day hunger strike. Sands would be the first of ten men to die in an effort to gain political status in a very public battle with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In the House of Commons Thatcher commented on […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 5 May:

1586 – Death of Lord Deputy of Ireland, Henry Sidney. Sidney was brought up at court as the companion of Prince Edward, afterwards King Edward VI, and he continued to enjoy the favour of the Crown, serving under Mary I of England and then particularly throughout the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He was instrumental in […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Bobby Sands was elected to Westminster in the Fermanagh/South Tyrone by-election, while on hunger strike in Long Kesh Prison, as MP for the constituency.

Shortly after the beginning of the strike, Frank Maguire, the Independent Republican MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, died suddenly of a heart attack, precipitating the April 1981 by-election. The sudden vacancy in a seat with a nationalist majority of about five thousand was a valuable opportunity for Bobby Sands’ supporters to unite the nationalist […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Day 17: Final Entry | Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him.

Lá Pádraig inniú ‘s mar is gnách níor thárla aon rud suntasach, bhí mé ar aifreann agus mo chuid gruaige gearrtha agam níos gaire, agus é i bhfad níos fearr freisin. Sagart nach raibh ar mo aithne abhí ag rá ran aifreann. Bhí na giollaí ag tabhairt an bhia amach do chách abhí ag teacht […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Day 16 | Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him.

I had a wonderful visit today with my mother, father and Marcella. Wonderful, considering the circumstances and the strain which indeed they are surely under. As I expected, I received a lot of verbal flak from Screws going and coming from the actual visit. Their warped sense of humour was evident in their childish taunts, […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Day 15 | Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him.

Frank has now joined me on the hunger-strike. I saw the boys at Mass today which I enjoyed. Fr Toner said Mass. Again it was a pretty boring day. I had a bit of trouble to get slopped out tonight and to get water. I have a visit tomorrow and it will be good to […]

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