Bobby Sands Elected MP. IRA Army Council 1922

April 9: TODAY in Irish History (by IrishmanSpeaks) Twitter Icon

1922: The anti-Treaty IRA members reconvene to put into effect their motion from March 26 when it stated the IRA would be the legitimate army of the Irish Republic, which was in defiance of the Dail Eireann vote. Civil war was now a virtual certainty as the delegates adopted a new constitution and elected a new 16-member Executive including Joe McKelvey, Liam Mellows, Rory O’Connor who would die in the upcoming conflict.  A 7 man IRA army council under chief of staff Ernie O’Malley was established. For the next 80 years, the IRA in one form or another would be involved in violent conflict in Ireland.

IRA Leader Liam Mellows

IRA Leader Liam Mellows

1981: IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands is elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in a by-election necessitated by the death of sitting MP Frank Maguire. In a hugely emotional campaign, Sands defeated Unionist candidate Harry West. Sands who was serving a fourteen year sentence for IRA activities and other prisoners in Long Kesh opted for hunger strike in an effort to  gain political status. He would be the first of ten IRA members who would die on hunger strike. Over 100,000 attended his funeral.

bobby sands mural

Bobby Sands mural, Falls Road Belfast

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