Gerry Adams pays tribute to mother of Bobby Sands

On the first day of Hunger Strike by Bobby Sands in Maze Prison people marched to the Busy Bee on the Falls Road at Andersonstown where they heard his mother Rosaleen Sands speak. Photo:  Pacemaker Press.
On the first day of Hunger Strike by Bobby Sands in Maze Prison people marched to the Busy Bee on the Falls Road at Andersonstown where they heard his mother Rosaleen Sands speak. Photo: Pacemaker Press.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has paid tribute to Rosaleen Sands, the mother of Hungerstriker Bobby Sands MP, following her death today.

“I was extremely saddened to learn of Rosaleen’s death and, on behalf of Sinn Fein, I extend condolences to the entire Sands clan,” Mr Adams said.

Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Bobby Sands, who died in the Maze prison, Belfast, after 65 days of a hunger strike. Photo: PA

Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Bobby Sands, who died in the Maze prison, Belfast, after 65 days of a hunger strike. Photo: PA

“Rosaleen was a strong, inspirational woman who, like all families of the hunger strikers, bore immense pain but stood by her son Bobby during the darkest of times.

“The dignity and strength she displayed was a testament to her character and her belief in standing up for what was right and just, even if that meant great suffering for herself, Bobby’s father John and their family.

“In many ways she epitomised what all the mothers of the hunger strikers endured and her sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Bobby Sands was born in Rathcoole in Belfast 1954 but his family was reportedly forced to move to Twinbrook by loyalists in 1972.

Rosaleen Sands at her son Bobby's funeral on 6 May 1981. Photo: Pacemaker Press.

Rosaleen Sands at her son Bobby's funeral on 6 May 1981. Photo: Pacemaker Press.

In 1973 he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on an arms charge and was released in 1976.

Soon afterwards he and three others were found in a car with weapons. In 1977 he was sentenced to 14 years in jail.

In 1981 he began his hunger strike in support of special political status for republican prisoners.

In March of that year some 30,000 voters in Fermanagh and South Tyrone elected him as their MP.

Bobby Sands' mother and sister, Marcella and Rosaleen Sands at the election celebration in Enniskillen after it had been announced that Bobby Sands had been elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in 1981.

Bobby Sands' mother and sister, Marcella and Rosaleen Sands at the election celebration in Enniskillen after it had been announced that Bobby Sands had been elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in 1981.

He died on 5 May 1981 after 66 days on hunger strike.

READ MORE: Slain RUC officer’s family hurt by Bobby Sands film

Bobby Sands' son clasps his grandmother's hand in the midst of family, mourners and masked IRA men during his father's funeral in May 1981. 'Photo: Martin Wright, Pacemaker

Bobby Sands' son clasps his grandmother's hand in the midst of family, mourners and masked IRA men during his father's funeral in May 1981. 'Photo: Martin Wright, Pacemaker