Today in Irish History: 19 December _______________.

1751 – The Irish Parliament authorizes application of a revenue surplus to the reduction of the national debt which causes a dispute between the House of Commons and the Government.

1813 – Thomas Andrews, scientist and research chemist, is born in Belfast.

1751 – The Irish Parliament authorises application of a revenue surplus to the reduction of the national debt which causes a dispute between the House of Commons and the Government.

1877 – Land League organizer, Michael Davitt, is released from Dartmoor Prison. Davitt was involved in a failed raid on Chester Castle to obtain arms on 11 February 1867 in ad-vance of a Fenian rising in Ireland, but evaded the law. In the Haslingden area he helped to organise the defence of Catholic churches against Protestant attack in 1868. Having come to the attention of the police he was arrested in Paddington Station in London on 14 May 1870 while awaiting a delivery of arms. He was convicted of treason felony and sentenced to 15 years of penal servitude in Dartmoor Prison; Davitt felt that he had not had a fair trial or the best of defence. The trial is documented online. He was kept in solitary confinement and received very harsh treatment during the un-remitted portion of his term. In prison he concluded that ownership of the land by the people was the only solution to Ireland’s prob-lems. He managed to get a covert contact to an Irish MP member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, John O’Connor Power, who began to campaign against cruelty inflicted on political prisoners. He often read Davitt’s letters in the House of Commons, with his Party pressing for an amnesty for Irish nationalist prisoners. Partially due to public furore over his treat-ment, Davitt was released (along with other political prisoners) on 19 December 1877, when he had served seven and half years, on a “ticket of leave”. He and the other prisoners were given a hero’s welcome on landing in Ireland.

1921 – Acrimonious Treaty debate starts in Dail Eireann.

1922 – Seven Republican fighters, all from County Kildare, are executed in the Curragh. They had been captured on 13 December (See our post on 13 December).

1922 – Birth in Dublin of Eamon Andrews, Ireland’s first media superstar.

1956 – Irish-born physician John Bodkin Adams is arrested in connection with the suspicious deaths of more than 160 patients. Eventually he is convicted only of minor charges.

1972 – Thin Lizzy reach no. 1 in the Irish charts with Whiskey In The Jar.

1973 – The Supreme Court in Dublin decides by a majority of four to one that a ban on contraceptives is unconstitutional.

1974 – Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh is inaugurated as the fifth president of the Irish Republic following the death of Erskine Childers.

1975 – The Red Hand Commandos exploded a no-warning car bomb in Dundalk, killing two civilians and wounding twenty. Shortly after, the same group launched a gun and bomb attack across the border in Silverbridge. Two Catholic civilians and an English civilian were killed in that attack, while six others were wounded. There is evidence that RUC officers and UDR soldiers were involved in the attacks, which have been linked to the “Glenanne gang”

1999 – Sinn Féin says it has no knowledge that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are to be given Westminster offices without having to swear an oath of allegiance.

2001 – Experts at the National Museum of Ireland confirm that two pieces of gold jewellery discovered on a beach in Co. Mayo are priceless ribbon torcs which may be up to 3,200 years old.

2002 – Unionist leader David Trimble walks out of talks aimed at restoring the North’s government and parliament after documents leaked in Dublin say the IRA is still active.

2002 – In Limerick, hundreds take part part in a candlelit peace march to express their sympathy and support for families who have lost loved ones through violence.

2002 – Armed raiders get away with an estimated quarter of a million Euro after a raid on the Ulster Bank in Palmerstown in west Dublin.

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