IRPSG Obituary for Rosaleen Sands

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28/01/2018 by socialistfight

RosaleenSandsRosaleen Sands with her daughter Marcella in  Enniskillen in 1981, after it had been announced that Bobby Sands had been elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Rosaleen Sands, mother of Bobby, died on January 12 aged 95. The IRPSG sends our condolences to daughters Marcella and Bernadette, son John, and their families; to her grandson Gerard Sands and family; and all her family and friends.

Hers was a life of struggle and heartache; the pride in the heroic sacrifice of her son Bobby and devastation at his death on hunger strike at the age of 27 after 66 days.

She endured and fought the oppression of the British state and the Loyalist bigots whose purpose in life was the preservation of their marginal privileges via the supremacist ideology which grovelled perpetually before the masters of life, the British Empire.

Tribute by Daughter Bernadette

Her daughter, Bernadette Sands-McKevitt, spoke movingly at the funeral.  She was supported by her husband Michael McKevitt, who was released from prison in 2016 after his frame-up for directing terrorism. Both were founding members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement. She denounced her brother’s former comrades at the end of her speech, some of whom made scurrilous attacks on her in her hour of sorrow.

 “Many claimed to know Rosaleen Sands and she figured in many books, films and documentaries that were written and produced by people who never met her. She was a working-class girl from a working-class area and my mother never forgot her roots. She was a principled person who had times of trouble.

When Bobby was jailed, my parents never missed a visit and when the hunger strikes began set about doing all in their power to highlight the protest. They suddenly found themselves thrown onto the world stage as they desperately tried to save their son. Heartbroken she pleaded with Bobby.

He made one simple request to her – to stand with him and not against him. It was a choice that no mother could contemplate, but it was one that she had to make. She left his life in God’s hands and placed her trust in others to bury her son.

It was a trust that was breached. We found out years later (through documents) that Bobby’s final burial wishes, which were not known to us at the time, were not followed.

In the years that followed she continued to support prisoners and their families and was always there when each of her children suffered. She was an inspiration to us all and set a fine example to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Poem written for Rosaleen Sands by her son, Bobby

Dear Mum, I know you’re always there

To help and guide me with all your care,

You nursed and fed me and made me strong

To face the world and all its wrong.

What can I write to you this day

For a line or two would never pay

For care and time you gave to me

Through long hard years unceasingly.

How you found strength I do not know

How you managed I’ll never know,

Struggling and striving without a break

Always there and never late.

You prayed for me and loved me more

How could I ask for anymore

And reared me up to be like you

But I haven’t a heart as kind as you.

A guide to me in times of plight

A princess like a star so bright

For life would never have been the same

If I hadn’t of learned what small things came.

So forgive me Mum just a little more

For not loving you so much before,

For life and love you gave to me

I give my thanks for eternity. ▲



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