Robert Gerard "Bobby" Sands (Irish: Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh; 9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981) was an Irish volunteer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and member of the United Kingdom Parliament who died on hunger strike while imprisoned in HM Prison Maze.
He was the leader of the 1981 hunger strike in which Irish republican prisoners protested against the removal of Special Category Status. During his strike he was elected as a member of the United Kingdom Parliament as an Anti H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner candidate. His death resulted in a new surge of IRA recruitment and activity. International media coverage brought attention to the hunger strikers, and the republican movement in general, attracting both praise and criticism.
Sands was born into a Catholic family in Abbots Cross, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and lived there until 1960 whereupon the family were forced to move to Rathcoole, Newtownabbey. His first sister, Marcella, was born in April 1955 and second sister, Bernadette, in November 1958. His parents, John and Rosaleen, had another son, John, in 1962. On leaving school, he became an apprentice coach-builder until he was forced out at gunpoint by loyalists.