Kevin Rooney is a retired teacher and author. He tells us about the ‘dirty protest’ in the Maze prison or H-Blocks, for prisoner of war status and the hunger strikes. Bobby Sands died on hunger strike in May 1981. The hunger strikers’ aims were to be treated as political prisoners not criminals. Their demands were as follows:
1. the right not to wear a prison uniform;
2. the right not to do prison work;
3. the right of free association with other prisoners, and to organise educational and recreational pursuits;
4. the right to one visit, one letter, and one parcel per week;
5. full restoration of remission lost through the protest
Testimony to the public support for Bobby Sands, while on hunger strike he was elected as MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone with 30,493 votes, he died in prison less than a month later. Obviously he never took his seat in the house of Commons and doubtless wouldn’t have, had he lived and been released, as he was a committed and passionate opponent of British imperialism and the British state.