Alongside the Sinn Fein office situated on the Falls Road near Belfast is a mural of hunger striker Bobby Sands. – Robert Gerard “Bobby” Sands (born 9/3/54- died 5/5/81); was an Irish volunteer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and a member of the British parliament who died on 5th May, 1981 aged 27, during a 66 day hunger strike; while imprisoned in H.M. Prison Maze .
Bobby Sands was the leader of the 1981 hunger strike in which Irish republican prisoners protested against the removal of Special Category Status. The hunger strike centred around five demands:
- the right not to wear a prison uniform;
- the right not to do prison work;
- the right of free association with other prisoners, and to organize educational and recreational pursuits;
- the right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
- full restoration of remission lost through the protest.
The significance of the hunger strike was the prisoners’ aim of being declared political prisoners (or prisoners of war) as opposed to criminals.