Bobby Sands: The hunger strike that changed the course of N Ireland’s conflict

Updated: June 9, 2021

Forty years ago, on 5 May 1981, 27-year-old Bobby Sands, the IRA’s leader in the Maze prison outside Belfast, starved himself to death. Peter Taylor, who covered the story at the time, says it marked a watershed in Northern Ireland’s Troubles, helping to pave the way for the IRA’s political wing, Sinn Fein, to become today the largest on the island of Ireland.

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