Today in Irish History – 26 February:

1797 – The Bank of Ireland suspends gold payments.

1854 – William Smith O’Brien, leader of the 1848 rebellion, is pardoned.

1923 – Meeting of Anti-Treaty IRA officers assembles at Ballinageary in Co Tipperary. Officers from the First Southern Division report that, “in a short time we would not have a man left owing to the great number of arrests and casualties”. Tom Crofts reports that the Cork Brigades have suffered 29 killed and an unknown number captured in recent actions, “if five men are arrested in each area, we are finished”. Nevertheless, Liam Lynch takes the opportunity to issue a statement rejecting the possibility of a truce.

1923 – A National Army soldier is executed in Portlaoise for treachery, having defected to and handed over weapons to the Anti-Treaty IRA.

1960 – An Alitalia plane bound for NY crashes moments after take off from Shannon airport killing 34 of its 52 passengers. Strong headwinds forced the Douglas DC-7 plane to land at Shannon to top up fuel on its flight from Naples. No cause for the accident was ever established.

1962 – Due to “lack of support”, the Irish Republican Army ends what it calls “The Campaign of Resistance to British Occupation”; which is also known as the ‘Border Campaign’.

1978 – Film critic Ciaran Carty hails the Irish language film Poitín for its deromanticization of the west.

1983 – Irishman Pat Jennings becomes the first footballer to play in 1,000 Football League matches.

1998 – During talks at Downing Street, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern launches a bid to persuade British Prime Minister Tony Blair to sign up to an Anglo-Irish paper which would lay out the details of a final Northern Ireland peace settlement.

1998 – An army recruitment programme to bolster the defence forces with 500 new members is officially launched with a commitment made to keep staffing levels at 11,500 by the end of 1998.

1999 – During talks in Bonn, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agree to push for implementation of the Good Friday peace deal by the March 10 deadline.

2001 – The Government imposes a temporary ban on the country’s 120 livestock marts as the devastating foot and mouth disease spreads in Britain. Strict procedures are also implemented in airports around Ireland to keep the disease out of the country.

2001 – Blizzards, gale force winds and driving hail sweep the country, leaving many householders without electricity or heat.

Photo: The Irish colours of green, white and orange seen in Bushy Park, Dublin. Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/sbh/7870377444/in/photostream

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