The Movie Hunger - Bobby Sands Part Two

by Russell Shortt - Date: 2008-11-14 - Word Count: 292 Share This!

Republican prisoners had organised a series of protests seeking to regain their previous political prisoner status. This commenced with the blanket protest in 1976, in which prisoners refused to wear prison issue uniform and wore blankets instead. In the H-Blocks ill treatment was perpetuated by the prison authorities against prisoners in an attempt to break their resistance to criminalisation. In 1978 after a number of attacks on prisoners leaving their cells to slop out, the inmates began the dirty protest, where prisoners refused to wash and smeared the walls of their cells with excrement. In 1980 Sands was selected as Officer Commanding of the Provisional IRA at Long Kesh succeeding Brendan Hughes who was participating in the first hunger strike. The 1981 Irish hunger strike started with Sands refusing food on 1 March 1981, it had been decided that other prisoners would join at staggered intervals in order to maximise publicity, build pressure and most importantly perhaps save the lives of those who joined later. The hunger strike pursued five demands - the right not to wear prison uniform; the right not to do prison work; the right of free association with other prisoners and to organise educational and recreational pursuits; the right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week and full restoration of remission lost through the protest. Shortly after the commencement of the strike, Frank Maguire the Independent MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone died of a sudden heart attack and precipitated a by-election. Sands was nominated on the ticket Anti H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner, he narrowly won the seat becoming the youngest MP at the time. On May 5, 1981 having spent sixty-five days on hunger strike, Bobby Sands died in the H-Block prison hospital at Long Kesh.

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Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source:

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