Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has paid tribute to Rosaleen Sands, the mother of hunger striker 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.
“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 north Belfast 1954 but his family was reportedly forced to move to Twinbrook by loyalists in 1972.
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.
Some 30,000 voters in Fermanagh and South Tyrone elected him as their MP.
He died on 5 May 1981 after 66 days on his hunger strike.