Today in Irish History – 6 August:

1312 – John de Wogan ceases to be justiciar; Edmund le Botiller will act as justiciar for the present.

1761 – Richard Nugent, Lord Delvin, MP for Fore, and still a teenager, dies of wounds he received after fighting a duel with a Mr Reilly on 30 July.

1775 – Daniel O’Connell is born in Cahirciveen, County Kerry; known as The Liberator, or The Emancipator, was an Irish political leader in the first half of the nineteenth century. He campaigned for Catholic Emancipation – the right for Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament, denied for over 100 years – and Repeal of the Union between Ireland and Great Britain.

1853 – Sir William Ridgeway, classical scholar, is born in Ballydermot, Co. Offaly.

1920 – The Dáil orders the boycotting of Belfast unionist firms.

1922 – Anti-Treaty IRA fighters ambush a Free State provisions column at Knockeen crossroads in Kerry. One National Army officer is killed and several privates are wounded.

1927 – Poet Richard Murphy is born.

1998 – Irish swimmer Michelle de Bruin is banned for four years after being found guilty of tampering with a drug test. De Bruin had been the golden girl of Irish swimming, winning three Olympic medals at the 1996 games in Atlanta. Her performances in Atlanta gave rise to much muted comment about a dramatic improvement in her times. US swimmer Janet Evans was more vocal stating at one press conference that the Irish swimmer’s performance was “questionable and suspicious.” Supporters decried the comments as jealousy. At the same time, the Irish media did not cover itself in glory with the national broadcaster RTÉ apparently decreeing that comment about possible drug taking should be not be referenced by commentators. The ban arose from a drug test in January 1998 at her home as part of the out-of-competition doping control programme run by FINA – the world governing body of swimming. FINA said her urine sample showed “unequivocal signs of adulteration” and had an alcohol content (to mask drug taking) that was “compatible with physical manipulation”. De Bruin’s Dutch husband, discuss thrower Erik had previously been banned for drug taking. De Bruin won gold in the 400m individual medley, 400m freestyle and the 200m individual medley and bronze in the 200m butterfly event. She was not stripped of her medals and today remains Ireland’s most successful Olympian. She has always denied taking performance enhancing drugs.

1999 – Labour analysts at the Economic and Social Research Institute announce that the country is heading for full employment for the first time in history.

2000 – In Waterford, a team of six men, five of them former international boxers, skip their way into the Guinness Book of Records by smashing the 24 hour relay skipping record.

2000 – The first annual Witness Festival comes to a close at Fairyhouse in Co. Meath.

2001 – The chairman of the International Commission on Decommissioning, General John de Chastelain, reveals that his members and an IRA representative have agreed on a method for decommissioning.

Photo: Falls Ennistymon, Co Clare, George Karbus Photography

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