Speaking at an event commemorating the 36th anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands in the city, the Ireland South MEP sent a message of solidarity to the 1600 Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israeli jails.
“The hunger strikers were victorious but it was a victory shrouded in deep sorrow, it was a victory paid for with 10 young lives,” she said.
“But it was more than a victory for the prisoners, or for republicans or for the Irish struggle for freedom. Bobby Sands’ death sent shock waves around the world. His was a victory of the human spirit.
“He and his comrades showed the world that even trapped in cage, without the strength to stand and facing one of the greatest military powers in the world, the human spirit can over come.
“And the world responded.
“Following the announcement of Bobby’s death there were protests across Europe.
“In America British ships were boycotted and the New Jersey General Assembly passed a resolution honouring his ‘courage and commitment.’
“Messages of support came from Cuba and Iran where the name of the street the British Embassy was on was changed from Winston Churchill Boulevard to Bobby Sands Street.
“Freedom fighters around the world sent messages of support while Palestinian prisoners, trapped in a hell of their own in the Nafha desert prison managed to smuggle a letter of support out that reached Belfast two months later.
“’To the families of Bobby Sands and his martyred comrades.
“’We extend our salutes and solidarity with you in the confrontation against the oppressive terrorist rule enforced upon the Irish people by the British ruling elite.
“’We salute the heroic struggle of Bobby Sands and his comrades, for they have sacrificed the most valuable possession of any human being. They gave their lives for freedom.
“’From here in Nafha prison, where savage snakes and desert sands penetrate our cells, we stand alongside you.
“’Our people in Palestine and in the Zionist prisons are struggling as your people are struggling against the British monopolies and we will both continue until victory.
“’On behalf of the prisoners of Nafha, we support your struggle and cause of freedom against English domination, against Zionism and against fascism in the world.’
“That last message of support from Palestinian freedom fighters has a particular poignancy today. As we stand here tonight to commemorate Bobby Sands and the 21 other Irish prisoners who have died on hunger strike, 1600 Palestinian prisoners are on their 19th day refusing food in protest against the horrendous conditions they are held in.
“Tonight, just as they sent messages of solidarity to us, we send a message of solidarity to them. Sinn Féin, the republican movement, the people of Limerick and the people of Ireland stand with you.
“Bobby famously said that ‘Everyone, republican or otherwise has their own particular part to play, no part is too big or too small, nobody is too young or too old to do something.’
“So I would urge everyone here to play whatever part they can. Make yourselves aware of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign. Take just a few extra seconds to ensure that the goods you buy are not coming from Israel or its illegal colonial settlements in Palestine.
“And join us in calling on the Government to sign up to the BDS Campaign and to give effect to Sinn Féin’s Dáil motion calling for official recognition of the State of Palestine, which was unanimously passed by the Dáil more than two years ago.”