ON THIS DAY | 10 | 1981: Hunger striker elected MP

ON THIS DAY | 10 | 1981: Hunger striker elected MP

1981: Hunger Striker elected MP

Imprisoned IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands has been elected to Westminster as the MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
Sands stood as a candidate of the "Anti-H Block" campaign - the section of the Maze prison in Belfast reserved for republicans and loyalists convicted of terrorist offences.

He won just over 52% of the vote in the Northern Ireland by-election compared to 49% for the candidate of the Official Unionist party, Harry West.

Sands' winning margin was 1,400 but over 3,000 ballot papers were spoiled.

Recriminations have already begun over his victory.

Unionist parties have come under fire for not mounting an effective challenge.

There has also been sharp criticism of the failure of the moderate Catholic Social Democratic and Labour Party to contest the seat.

Many believe the absence of an alternative Catholic candidate ensured victory for Sands in a seat with a Catholic majority.

Bobby Sands' election agent, Owen Carron, said the British Government had been sent a message.

"The nationalist people have voted against Unionism and against the H blocks.

"It is time Britain got out of Ireland and put an end to the torture of this country," he said.

Sands, 27, has served four years of a 14-year sentence for possessing firearms.

He began his hunger strike 41 days ago to press the republican prisoners' claim to be treated as prisoners of war.

The government must now decide how to respond to Bobby Sands' victory.

It could try to have him expelled on the grounds that he is an "unacceptable member".

However, unless he starts to eat again, Sands is not expected to live for more than another few weeks.

He has already lost two stone and is too weak to leave his bed in the prison's hospital wing.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?