A history of Bobby Sand's and the Irish Hunger Strikes in the late 1900s.

Essay by bkl0irnnkCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2008

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Bobby Sands and the Hunger StrikeIreland, in the 1970’s, was a nation of turmoil. The start of the 1970’s marked the beginning of a period known as The Troubles, a 30 year period of intense acts of violence between Northern Ireland’s nationalist, predominantly Protestant community and the Republic’s unionist, predominantly Roman Catholic community. The conflict was not caused by one single event, but from “an interwoven, complex sequence of events, none of which is singly responsible for what followed.” The catalyst, however, was the dispute over Northern Ireland’s status within the United Kingdom and the discrimination against the minority nationalist community. The mostly Protestant loyalists favored the continuation of British rule of Northern Ireland, and the mostly Catholic nationalists were seeking to establish Northern Ireland as part of the free republic.

The Provisional Irish Republic Associate (IRA) was a group established to attempt to overthrow British rule in Northern Ireland, in the form of armed campaigns, to unify Ireland.

One of the many consequences of this type of struggle is the majority victims are civilians. On “Bloody Sunday,” 30 January 1972, thirteen Catholics were shot dead in Derry by soldiers from the British Army's 1st Parachute Regiment. The events from that day “have frequently been portrayed as a turning-point in the troubles, producing greater support for violence, a hardening of views and a decreased possibility of compromise or calm.” One of the most influential people of this time period was Bobby Sands, a revolutionary who helped shape the future of Ireland as we know it today.

Bobby Sands was born in 1954 at Abbots Cross, Newtownabbey and lived there until 1960. Abbots Cross was a deeply sectarian neighborhood and Bobby’s mother, Rosaleen Sands, was forced to hide her Catholicism in order to prevent persecution. Eventually, Protestant neighbors discovered Rosaleen’s...