Sinn Fein say Bobby Sands ‘fully expected to die on the hunger strike’ and ‘changed his mind’ about where he wanted buried
Former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre has said the “last wishes of Bobby Sands were not made known to his family”.
Speaking today after revelations about Bobby Sands last wishes ‘were not to be buried in Miltown cemetery or in a shroud’, Mr McIntyre said: “The new relevations certainly adds a twist to the day.
“Like all big anniversaries they are not as traumatising 40 years on for republicans. And May 5 is also the anniversary of other people including Jock Davidson in Belfast, and those people get overlooked.
“There are a lot of people who should be remembered.”
The Dundalk academic who writes ‘The Pensive Quill’ published ‘a typed copy of a comm he wrote to “Liam Og” on February 25th, 1981’.
“His family were not made aware of his written preferences. Nor were they shown the comm in which he expressed them,’ says the article.
“He is buried in Milltown Cemetery in a shroud”.
Mr McIntyre added: “There may well be, and we cannot be certain of this, further communication showing that he later changed his opinion.
“From what is there it seems very sure that he did not want buried in Miltown cemetery or in a shroud and the family were not told this so his wishes were not put into effect.”
But A Sinn Fein spokesperson this afternoon said; “In the weeks before he began hunger strike Bobby Sands discussed with comrades where he might be buried. He fully expected to die on the hunger strike.
“He was a 27 year-old young man contemplating his death in the most difficult of circumstances.
“He wrote in comms about the possibility of being buried in Carnmoney, of somewhere in the South and specifically of Ballina. However he changed his mind on each in turn and in the last comm dated 9 March where Ballina is referenced he explicitly states that he has changed his mind.
“Following his death he was buried in Milltown Cemetery.”
Mr McIntyre also said that he believed “the hunger strike should have been stopped after Bobby won the Westminster seat”.
Bobby Sands, an IRA member, died on hunger strike while imprisoned at HM Prison Maze (also known as Long Kesh).
He is said to have been the leader of the 1981 hunger strike in which Irish republican prisoners protested against the removal of Special Category Status. During his hunger strike he was elected to Westminster as an Anti H-Block candidate.
“He could still be alive today,” added Mr McIntyre.
When asked what his feelings are about the anniversary today Mr McIntyre said: “It is always a very sad day in terms of republicanism and looking back.
“And you ask would you do it again?
“I think to quote Albert Camus ‘it is as unavoidable as it is unjustifiable’ and where does that leave us.
“The 63-year-old Anthony McIntyre thinks there would have been another way of doing it because of the terrible trauma that war briings to people.
“I know that if the same happened again and we were the same age we would do it because the youthful generation were never prepared to go thorugh what our parents had gone through the generation before.
“But I still refuse to condemn the IRA for having taken up arms.
“The violence of the IRA was a response to British state terror. We cannot rule out the response of British state terrorism so the IRA cannot apologise alone.”