Robert Gerard Sands was a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) who died in HM Prison Maze in Northern Ireland while on hunger strike. Sands was involved in the planning of the bombing of the Balmoral Furniture Company in Dunmurry in 1976, which was followed by a gunfight with the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Sands was apprehended while attempting to flee and sentenced to 14 years in prison for gun possession.

He was the driving force behind the 1981 hunger strike by Irish republican inmates protesting the abolition of Special Category Status. Sands was elected to the British Parliament as an Anti-H-Block candidate during the strike. His death, as well as the deaths of nine other hunger strikers, sparked a new round of IRA recruiting and activity. The hunger strikers, as well as the republican movement in general, received widespread international notice, drawing both praise and criticism.

Bobby Sands last words

Bobby Sands last words were “The day will dawn when all the people will have the desire for freedom … And it’s then that we’ll see the rising of the moon.”

Divisive figure Bobby Sands’ final diary entry was written in Irish. Like many of the famous Irish revolutionaries of history he is remembered as much for his poetic talents as his physical actions.

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