Adams hails hunger strikers' 'legacy'

The IRA hunger strikers who died in jail left a lasting legacy in the peace process, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said today.

Just days before his party enters a new power-sharing administration with unionists in Belfast, Mr Adams addressed a commemoration in Dublin marking the 26th anniversary of Bobby Sands’ death.

Sands was one of 10 republicans who starved themselves to death inside the Maze Prison in 1981 during a struggle for political prisoner status which plunged Northern Ireland deeper into violence.

At a Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, Mr Adams emphasised the role played by those men.

He said: “The enduring legacy of the hunger strikers is to be found all around us. Like the Easter Rising 66 years earlier, it marked a watershed in modern Irish history.

“The political growth of Sinn Féin and of Irish republicanism is in no small measure a result of their courage.”

Mr Adams added: “But more importantly, their legacy is to be found in the peace process and the positive transformation it has brought about in Irish society in recent years. That process of change continues.

“Despite the brutal conditions, Bobby never lost his faith in people or his determination to look to the future. Twenty-six years after his death Irish republicans face that future with confidence.”

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