Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 29 May 2016

Bobby Sands' family says comic book exploits his memory for cash

By Staff Reporter

Published 26/02/2016

Some of the pages in the graphic novel commemorating the life of IRA man Bobby Sands, who died on hunger strike in 1981
Some of the pages in the graphic novel commemorating the life of IRA man Bobby Sands, who died on hunger strike in 1981
Bobby Sands
Some of the pages in the graphic novel commemorating the life of IRA man Bobby Sands, who died on hunger strike in 1981
Some of the pages in the graphic novel commemorating the life of IRA man Bobby Sands, who died on hunger strike in 1981
Some of the pages in the graphic novel commemorating the life of IRA man Bobby Sands, who died on hunger strike in 1981
Some of the pages in the graphic novel commemorating the life of IRA man Bobby Sands, who died on hunger strike in 1981
Some of the pages in the graphic novel commemorating the life of IRA man Bobby Sands, who died on hunger strike in 1981

Bobby Sands' family have hit out after a graphic novel telling the story of the IRA hunger striker was published without their knowledge.

The comic, Bobby Sands: Freedom Fighter, was funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council, authored by 80-year-old Gerry Hunt and published by O'Brien Press in Dublin.

Unionists have described it as republican propaganda that glorifies terrorism.

But the family of the former Maze prisoner and Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP were also incensed. In a statement, they said: "It is reprehensible that the family, including our elderly mother, was first made aware of this book when confronted by extracts displayed in the media.

"We are given to understand that the book contains intimate family scenes that no one, other than our family members, would be privy to. It is unfortunate that well-meaning people, such as Mr Hunt, are misled by those who profess to be authorities on Bobby's life story.

"Our family once again reiterates that the Bobby Sands Trust does not act on behalf of Bobby, nor does it represent our family, in any shape or form. We again call upon the trust to disband and desist from using Bobby's memory as a commercial enterprise."

Sands died in the Maze in 1981 while serving a 14-year sentence for having a gun. His sister, Bernadette Sands-McKevitt, who is married to prominent dissident, Michael McKevitt, has called for the Bobby Sands Trust to disband several times in the past.

The Sands family object to the hunger striker's legacy being controlled by a trust run by senior Sinn Fein members, such as Gerry Adams and Danny Morrison.

Writer Morrison, who appears in the graphic novel, has been criticised for years by anti-Agreement republicans for promoting a narrative of the hunger strike that absolves Sinn Fein's leadership of any responsibility in letting the victims die for political gain.

Bobby Sands' son Robert Gerald holds his mother's hand at the funeral of his father Bobby in west Belfast flanked by Masked IRA men. Picture by Martin Wright
Bobby Sands' son Robert Gerald holds his mother's hand at the funeral of his father Bobby in west Belfast flanked by Masked IRA men. Picture by Martin Wright
Tomboy Loudon, Gerry Roche, Denis Donaldson and Bobby Sands pictured in the Long Kesh prison, Northern Ireland.
Hunger striker Bobby Sands' coffin, flanked by an IRA colour party, leaving his mother's home in Twinbrook.
Hunger strike protesters outside the Dail in Dublin 1981
Hunger strike marchers blocked by gardai as they approach the British Embassy in Dublin
PACEMAKER BELFAST Rioting in west Belfast on the day hunger striker Bobby Sands died in 1981
A man walks past the Bobby Sands mural, in the Falls road area of Belfast
Masked gunmen fire a volley of shots beside hunger striker Bobby Sands coffin, at Milltown Cemetery.
Bobby Sands (seated fourth from left). The Star of the Sea football team.
Hunger striker Bobby Sands funeral procession making its way down Stewartstown Road on Route to Milltown cemetery
Several unionist politicians have called for Maze cells which housed hunger strikers to be flattened
Bobby Sands funeral
1st March 2011. Launch of the Hunger Strike 30th Anniversary Exhibition in the Linen Hall Library, Belfast. Ten republican prisoners died during the 1981 protest inside the Maze Prison. A letter written by Bobby Sands on cigarette paper which was smuggled out of the prison pictured at the exhibition.
Michael Fassbender stars in Hunger, the film about the last six weeks in the life of Bobby Sands
Kieran Doherty died in the Maze prison in 1981 after being on a hunger strike
Former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald pleaded with Ronald Reagan to pile pressure on Margaret Thatcher over the hunger strikes

From the web

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph