Today in Irish History – 11 January:

1836 – George Sigerson, physician, professor and writer, is born near Strabane, Co Tyrone.

1915 – Irish rugby international and founding member of the SAS (Special Air Service) Paddy Mayne is born in Newtownards. He gained his first cap for Ireland in 1937 against Wales and went on to take part in the British and Irish Lions rugby tour of South Africa in 1938.

1921 – The British government announces that any unauthorised person found in possession of arms, ammunition or explosives is liable to be executed.

1923 – 40 Republicans burn the railway station in Sligo town, destroying it and badly damaging seven engines and forty carriages. The Great Southern and Western Railway Company releases a report detailing the damage Anti-Treaty forces have caused to their property over the previous six months; 375 lines damaged, 42 engines derailed, 51 over-bridges and 207 under-bridges destroyed, 83 signal cabins and 13 other buildings destroyed. In the same month, Republicans destroy the railway stations at Ballybunion and Listowel.

1925 – Birth of David Wylie Bleakley, writer and Northern Ireland Labour Party politician.

1939 – Irish National Teachers Organisation calls for lifting of ban preventing married women from teaching.

1970 – At Sinn Féin Ard Fheis (party conference) held in Dublin, the IRA splits into Officials and Provisionals (Provos).

1972 – Padraic Colum, Longford poet and playwright, dies.

1979 – One of the greatest hurlers of all-time Henry Shefflin was born in Ballyhale, Co Kilkenny. He would go on to win a record 10 All-Ireland Senior medals with Kilkenny.

1994 – Irish Government announces the end of a 15-year broadcasting ban on the IRA and its political arm Sinn Féin.

1998 – The Government plays down reports of a rift between Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

1999 – The Democratic Unionist Party warns that it would mount a legal challenge if Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam moves to announce a power-sharing Executive without the Assembly approving the new government structures.

2000 – Furious farmers block the entrances to all the main meat processing plants in protest against the imposition of increased veterinary inspection charges.

2002 – The country’s population is set for another dramatic increase after Ireland records the highest birth rate and lowest death rate of all 15 EU member states in 2001.

Photo: Benbulben, Co Sligo, Photography by Kelvin Gillmor

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