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