Italy: Bobby Sands mural to be unveiled in Rome

Rome: A mural of Bobby Sands, the leader of the IRA hunger strike in 1981, will be unveiled in Rome this week, 40 years after his death.

Sands was the first of 10 Irish republican hunger strikers to die – on 5 May 1981 – after refusing food for 66 days in the Maze prison outside Belfast.

A month before his death Sands was elected an MP in Westminster, marking a watershed in the Troubles in Northern Ireland and paving the way for the IRA’s political wing, Sinn Féin.

The Rome mural of Sands is by Jorit, a Neapolitan street artist known for his portraits with trademark red tears, who recently made headlines for his giant depictions of George Floyd, Diego Maradona and Antonio Gramsci.

The mural, organised by the Patria Socialista, will be unveiled outside the Palestra Popolare Valerio Verbano in the city’s Tufello suburb on 8 May. The event will see the participation of former IRA militant and current Sinn Fein deputy Pat Sheehan who participated in the hunger strike at the Maze Prison in 1981.