Danny Morrison has issued a statement on behalf of the Bobby Sands Trust condemning an Italian group for misappropriating the name and image of Bobby Sands in an attempt to garner credibility and support.

He said: “A few weeks ago we received a number of emails in relation to an Italian organisation, CasaPound Italia, reporting that it planned to or had already merchandised in the name of Bobby Sands.

“Initially, we decided to make no public statement in order not to give the group any further publicity. However, we now feel that we need to make it clear to the Italian people that this organisation never contacted the Trust for permission to use Bobby Sands’ name or image and that had they contacted us they would not have been granted permission.

“This group has no right to exploit the imagery of Irish republican hunger strikers who opposed oppression and fought for the freedom of people and we call upon CasaPound Italia to stop such misuse of Irish patriots.

“As we approach the 30th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike we encourage all groups and organisations internationally who faithfully reflect the principles and integrity of the hunger strikers and their cause.

“Signed – Danny Morrison, Secretary Bobby Sands Trust.”