On Sunday, Mayor Sarno and Congressman Neal joined with Sheehan to mark the 40th anniversary of the Hunger Strikes at the Rose Garden in Forest Park. The 1981 Hunger Strike was the culmination of a five-year protest by Irish Republic prisoners in Norther Ireland against the British and prompted Irish representation into the ballot box for election to the House of Parliament in Norther Ireland. One of the historic events to result from this situation was the Good Friday Agreement, which was brokered by the Clinton Administration and Congressman Neal that helped to end most of the protest and violence in Norther Ireland.
Mayor Sarno states, “It was great to hear Patrick Sheehan’s spell-binding words on Sunday and it was my pleasure to welcome here to the City of Springfield. Truly a moving and heart-felt experience during a challenging and turbulent time in Ireland’s history. Mr. Sheehan and the men and women fighting for Irish unification helped to put this cause on the global map and brought about the Good Friday Agreement thanks to Springfield’s own Congressman Richard Neal and the Clinton Administration. I want to thank Mr. Sheehan for visiting our great City of Springfield and we are looking forward to welcoming him again in the future. He truly exemplifies courage, strength and the meaning of true sacrifice for the betterment of all of Ireland’s young and old towards a just respect of human rights and a future of promise, as did Bobby Sands and the others who made the ultimate sacrifice for this great cause.”