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Sister of Bobby Sands denounces former comrades at mother's funeral

Bobby Sands's son Gerard (front right) carries the coffin of his grandmother Rosaleen Sands at St Oliver Plunkett's Church, Blackrock, Co Louth. Picture by Mal McCann

A SISTER of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands has denounced his former comrades from the pulpit at their mother's funeral.

Bernadette Sands-McKevitt claimed that republicans ignored her brother's burial wishes following his death in the Maze in May 1981.

Sands, who was elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in a by-election during his hunger strike, became the public face of the republican prison protests.

His funeral was followed by thousands of people from the family home in Twinbrook in west Belfast to the republican plot in Milltown Cemetery.

Speaking yesterday at the funeral of their mother Rosaleen, who died last week aged 95, she recalled the family's plight at the time.

Saying she faced a choice "that no mother could contemplate" Mrs Sands-McKevitt said she left "his life in God's hands and placed her trust in others to bury her son."

But she told mourners in Blackrock, Co Louth: "It was a trust that was breached. We found out years later that Bobby's final burial wishes, which were not known to us at the time, were not followed."

Mrs Sands-McKevitt, a founding member of the dissident republican 32 County Sovereignty Movement, was accompanied by her husband, former Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt, and other members of the extended Sands family for the funeral of her mother at St Oliver Plunkett Church.

Rosaleen Sands follows her son Bobby's coffin. Picture by Pacemaker

Bobby Sands' sisters Marcella and Bernadette beside the coffin of their mother Rosaleen (95) at the funeral in St Oliver Plunkett's Church, Blackrock, Co Louth. Picture by Mal McCann
 

Former SInn Fein councillor and Mayor Pat McGinn (right) at the funeral of Rosaleen Sands, the mother of Bobby Sands. Picture Mal McCann

A girl carries the writings of Bobby Sands at the funeral of his mother Rosaleen Sands. Picture Mal McCann

A wreath from the republican prisoners in Portlaoise Prison at the funeral of Rosaleen Sands, the mother of Bobby Sands. Picture Mal McCann

A young boy carriess a picture of Bobby Sands at the funeral of Rosaleen Sands. Picture Mal McCann

Michael McKevitt at the funeral of his mother-in-law Rosaleen Sands. Picture Mal McCann

 

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