#OTD in Irish History – 1 December (Nollaig):

World AIDS Day

1494 – Poynings Law enacted. This forbid the Irish parliament to convene without the King’s prior permission, and all intended legislation had to be approved by him. Coming in the aftermath of the divisive Wars of the Roses, Poynings’ intention was to make Ireland once again obedient to the English monarchy.

1848 – The paddle steamer ‘The Londonderry’, with immigrants fleeing The Great Hunger, took shelter in Derry harbour. When the covers were removed from the hold, it was discovered that 72 men, women and children had suffocated.

1889 – Michael Hayes is born in Dublin. He was a senior Irish politician. He was elected as a Pro-Treaty Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin South at the 1921 general election and at each election until 1933. He served as Minister for Education during 1922. He was also Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann between 1922 and 1932 and served in Seanad Éireann between 1938 and 1965.

1890 – Six days of Irish Parliamentary Party debates begin, only to end in a split, with the majority opposing Parnell.

1901 – Death of Thomas Clarke Luby. Born in Dublin, he was a revolutionary, author, Journalist and one of the founding members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

1921 – British negotiators present proposals to Irish team that would ultimately form basis for the Anglo-Irish treaty that would see Ireland partitioned and a dreadful civil war ensue.

1922 – After a skirmish on the border of Co Kildare and Co Meath, the Meath Anti-Treaty IRA column, consisting of 22 men under Patrick Mullaney is captured. The Republicans attack a Free State supply truck near Leixlip. One Republican and one Free State soldier are killed in the action and three Republicans are wounded. Five of the Anti-Treaty men, who had previously deserted from the National Army, are executed in Dublin on 8 January 1923 for ‘treachery’.

1922 – Several hundred National Army troops mount a major operation in Dublin, setting up checkpoints at all major roads in an effort to halt the daily small-scale ambushes in the city. They stop and search all in-coming traffic and male civilians for arms. Three men are found carrying weapons and detained. The military barracks at Tallaght, Co Dublin is attacked that night. Four Free State soldiers are wounded by gunfire.

1922 – Dublin Guard troops end a week of sweeps in Kerry, having raided Rathmore, Killcummin and Barraduff, capturing 39 Anti-Treaty IRA men as well as arms and equipment. A separate sweep in the Currow/Scartaglen area takes another 15 prisoners and 4 more are captured elsewhere in the county.

1944 – Charlie Kerins was hanged in Mountjoy Gaol by the English hangman Albert Pierrepoint.

1946 – Birth of singer, Gilbert O’Sullivan, in Co Waterford.

1955 – Birth of Pat Spillane in Templenoe, Co Kerry. He is a retired Gaelic football player and current sports broadcaster. His league and championship career with the Kerry senior team spanned seventeen years from 1974 to 1991. Spillane is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. The three Spillane brothers – Pat, Tom and Mick – hold the record number of All-Ireland senior winners’ medals in either hurling or football with nineteen. Including medals won as non-playing substitutes Pat won eight, Tom won seven and Mick won four.

1955 – Birth of hurler, Joachim Kelly, in Lusmagh, Co Offaly.

1956 – Ronnie Delany was just 21 when he breasted the tape to beat home favourite John Landy and win the Olympic 1500m gold medal in Melbourne. He set a new Olympic record, and his Olympic victory remains one of the greatest of Irish sporting achievements. But Delany’s brilliant career also included an unbroken string of 40 indoor victories and several indoor world records. He is Ireland’s most recognisable Olympian as well as one of greatest sportsmen and international ambassadors in Ireland’s history.

1969 – A split formed in the Irish Republican Army, creating what was to become the Official IRA (OIRA) and Provisional IRA (PIRA).

1969 – Patrick Corry (61) died four months after being struck with batons during an altercation with the RUC on 2 August 1969.

1972 – Two people were killed and 127 injured when two car bombs exploded in the centre of Dublin. At 7.58pm a car bomb detonated in Eden Quay close to Liberty Hall. At 8.16pm a second car bomb exploded in Sackville Place, near O’Connell Street. Two men, George Bradshaw (30) and Thomas Duff (23) both CIE bus conductors, were killed in the second explosion. An inadequate warning had been telephoned to the ‘Newsletter’ (a Belfast based newspaper) by a man with an English accent a few minutes before the first explosion. No organisation claimed responsibility for the bombings, but blame initially fell on the IRA. Much later suspicion fell on the UVF. At the time of the explosions the Dáil had been debating the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill. The amendment would have given the State much greater powers against the IRA.

1975 – Two members of the IRA were killed in King Street, Belfast, when the bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely.

1980 – Three women Republican prisoners in Armagh Prison joined the hunger strike.

1986 – Guinness shares plunge by £300m after the British government orders an inquiry into the affairs of the company.

1986 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Tom King, announced that there would be a number of changes to legislation covering demonstrations and incitement to hatred. He also announced that the Flags and Emblems Act would be repealed.

1990 – A former Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldier was shot dead by the IRA near Kilrea, Co Derry.

1991 – Death of Pat O’Callaghan who was born near Kanturk, Co Cork. Dr. Pat O’Callaghan would become a national hero winning the first ever Olympic gold medal for the Independent Ireland in the Hammer Throw competition at the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928. O’Callaghan had to pay his own fare from Ireland to compete. He repeated the gold medal in Los Angeles in 1932.

1993 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, stated that there had been 22 errors in the documents he released on secret talks between the British government and the Republican Movement. The documents had been released by Mayhew on 29 November 1993.

1994 – President Bill Clinton, announced that he was appointing George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader, as a special economic adviser on Ireland starting in January 1995. Regardless of title, Mitchell was in effect the ‘peace envoy’ Clinton had promised on 5 April 1992.

1995 – Bill Clinton paid an official visit to Dublin and addressed crowd of 80,000 in College Green.

1996 – The Mail on Sunday and the Sunday World both published a story which alleged an affair between Gerry Kelly, a talks negotiator for Sinn Féin, and Martha Pope, an aide to George Mitchell, the chair of the Stormont talks. Both Kelly and Pope denied the allegation and an apology and a financial settlement were agreed within the week. Many commentators speculated as to the possible involvement of MI5 (British Intelligence) in concocting and spreading the story.

1997 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam, announced that future recruits to the RUC would not have to swear service to Queen Elizabeth.

1997 – Unionists demanded an inquiry into the events surrounding the 1970 arms trial in Dublin. The trial began on 28 May 1970 into a plot to smuggle guns from Ireland to the IRA in Northern Ireland. This demand for an inquiry was seen as an attempt to obtain a quid pro quo for any new inquiry into events on ‘Bloody Sunday’ on 30 January 1972.

1998 – President Bill Clinton contacts First Minister, David Trimble, and his deputy, Seamus Mallon, in a bid to save the stalled Northern Ireland peace process.

1999 – The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair hails the transfer of powers to Stormont as ‘one giant step forward’.

1999 – The Irish government announced that the remaining 22 IRA prisoners being held in Portlaoise Prison would be transferred to a low security unit in Castlerea Prison, Co Roscommon.

1999 – Hugh Orde, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was appointed to replace John Stevens as head of the investigation into the killing of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989.

1999 – Pupils attending Kilkeel High School, Co Down, left their classes as a protest against the appointment of Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) as Minister of Education. This was the first of a series of such protests by pupils at state (Protestant) schools. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was later accused of orchestrating the school protests.

1999 – Plans to develop Pol an Ionain cave, which according to the Guinness Book of Records contains the largest free hanging stalactite in the world, were given the go ahead by Clare County Council.

2001 – Morans on the Weir, Kilcolgan, Co Galway, won the prestigious Gilbeys Gold Medal Award.

2002 – Film producer Noel Pearson and brother Billy Harris led tributes to Richard Harris as hundreds packed the Church of the Sacred Heart for a memorial mass.

2002 – Gusts reaching up to 80 miles per hour and driving rain-swept across the country; in the west Clare village of Quilty, six fishing boats sunk as gale force winds reached between seven and nine along the Clare coast.

Image | An Ghaeltacht Sign, Co Kerry

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