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Monday, 10 April 2017

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10‭ ‬April‭ ‬1981:‭ ‬The IRA Hunger Striker Bobby Sands was deemed elected to the British House of Commons on this day.‭ ‬When the votes were counted it emerged that he had gained‭ ‬over‭ ‬30,000‭ ‬votes with over‭ ‬52%‭ ‬of the vote in the by-election compared to‭ ‬49%‭ ‬for the candidate of the Official Unionist party,‭ ‬Harry West.‭ ‬It was a straight fight between the two men with most political experts not rating Sands chances very high of being elected.‭ ‬Most analysis completely underestimated the strength of feeling within the Nationalist Community over what was happening in the H Blocks.‭ ‬Sands election though was met with consternation,‭ ‬anger and almost disbelief by the Unionists and within both the British and Irish Establishments.‭

His election was a huge boost to himself and his comrades within Long Kesh as he led the Hunger Strike to secure Political Status from the British.‭ ‬News teams from around the World covered this story and the unfolding drama within the H Blocks moved from being National to International News.‭

Bobby Sands‭' ‬election agent,‭ ‬Owen Carron,‭ ‬said when interviewed that day that 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.‭

It was hoped that such an emphatic Election Victory would force Mrs Thatcher to arrange a compromise that would allow for an honourable settlement and avoid the embarrassment of an MP dying on Hunger Strike while the World looked on.‭ ‬But this challenge to her authority only strengthened her resolve not to be seen to back down to people she viewed as dangerous enemies.‭ ‬Bobby Sands died on‭ ‬5‭ ‬May on the‭ ‬66th day of his Hunger Strike.