I'm deeply sceptical of martyrdom and the cult of martyrs among liberation movements such as physical-force Irish republicanism, when they themselves are committed to violence to achieve their ends.

Nonetheless, I was eager to appear as an interviewee/commentator in Brendan Byrne's film, 66 Days, a documentary on the hunger strike and death of Bobby Sands. I admire Byrne as a film-maker, both as a director (Lines of Fire, 2000, is a powerful documentary on the poetry and the "Troubles" - which I prefer to call The Years of Disgrace) and as a producer (The Uncle Jack, 1996, is a quirky autobiographical documentary directed by John T. Davis).

My own two-bits' worth consists of putting Sands' death in the Irish cultural context inside of which Sands - a charismatic figure - was to an extent acting out a script already written. Another interviewee/commentator is Fintan O'Toole, always insightful and provocative.

66 Days was directed by Byrne and produced by Trevor Birney of Fine Point Films. It opened in Dublin and Belfast in August 2016and will be shown at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto Canada. Thereafter I believe it will open in New York City.