On 5th May 1981, I turned on my little radio when I woke up to hear the news of the death of Bobby Sands after 66 days on hunger strike. He was just 27 years old. I was both sad and mad. Sad that he had died after much suffering in a cause he had the courage to believe in, and mad as hell that he had been allowed to die. He was the first of 10 to die on this strike - all the strikers were in their twenties, and would surely all be still alive today if they had not participated in the strike.
It was a turbulent time with many demonstrations in Ireland and black flags everywhere. I was 21 years old during all this and was a student at Trinity College. There was a lot of sympathy for the strikers, but perhaps not as much support for their aims. While I was supportive, to my shame I did not participate in any of the campaigns. However, I did sign the Book of Condolence for Derry man Thomas McElwee (died 8th August 1981, age 23) outside the GPO in Dublin. I recall I signed my name as "E O'Loughlin, Wicklow" - not having the courage to give my full name or address. Shame.
Photo to right taken in 2016 at the Bobby Sands Mural, Falls Road, Belfast.
Thinking and ranting out loud - my own thoughts and comments written whenever the mood takes me. Nothing is safe, Chop Chop!
Blog title from a song by Pink Floyd.
Wednesday, May 05, 2021
40 Years Ago Today #BobbySands
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