Today in Irish History – 9 March:

1771 – Birth in Dublin of Thomas Reynolds, United Irishman whose information enables authorities to arrest Leinster Committee in 1798.

1825 – The Catholic Association is dissolved in accordance with the Unlawful Societies Act. The Catholic Association was an Irish Roman Catholic political organisation set up by Daniel O’Connell in the early nineteenth century to campaign for Catholic Emancipation within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was one of the first mass membership political movements in Europe. Not to be confused with the Catholic Association Pilgrimage of the United Kingdom.

1914 – Prime Minister Asquith offers a compromise on Home Rule – electors in the North could vote to be excluded from an independent Ireland for six years.

1922 – In Belfast, three people were shot dead.

1923 – An anti-Treaty prisoner, Gleeson is shot dead after being taken prisoner by Free State troops near Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary.

1932 – Éamon de Valera is elected President of the Executive Council of Ireland.

1954 – Birth of Bobby Sands in Abbots Cross, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim. He was an Irish Republican Army volunteer and MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone who died on hunger strike whilst in Long Kesh Prison.

1971 – Three off-duty Scottish soldiers were shot dead by the IRA after being lured from a pub in Belfast. Two days later, 4,000 loyalist shipyard workers took to the streets to demand the mass internment of Irish republicans.

1973 – The people in the north of Ireland vote overwhelmingly to remain within the United Kingdom. In a referendum on the future of the province, 591,280 people or 57% of the electorate vote to retain links with the UK. A boycott by the Roman Catholic population means only 6,463 vote in favour of a united Ireland.

1981 – Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him. In order to secure his status as Irish political prisoner he was willing to fast til death, an event that would earn him a place in the annals of Irish history and in the hearts and minds of Irish republicans world wide. See Bobby Sands Trust for today’s entry:

1982 – Charles Haughey becomes Taoiseach for the second time.

1995 – Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh make a historic visit to Northern Ireland. For the first time, the Queen meets with the Roman Catholic Primate of all Ireland, Cardinal Cahal Daly, as well as his Anglican counterpart, Archbishop Robin Eames.

1995 – U.S. President Bill Clinton approves a visa for Irish nationalist leader Gerry Adams to enter the United States.

1998 – Justice Brian Walsh, judge on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, dies suddenly of a stroke. On his appointment in December of 1961, Justice Walsh becomes one of the youngest Irish Supreme Court judges. He serves for 29 years – the longest by a member of the country’s highest court.

1999 – The European Parliament calls for the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. The opinion, passes in Strasbourg by 321 votes to 122; it carries no legislative weight but provokes a storm of political controversy.

1999 – A record price for land in the South East is set in Waterford when leading city developer Noel Frisby pays £725,000 an acre for land being sold off for Telecom Eireann.

2009 – A police officer was shot dead in Craigavon, Co Armagh. The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility. This was the first police fatality in the north of Ireland since 1998. Police were petrol bombed when arrests were made. In the following week there was sporadic attacks on police by youths.

2010 – Seven people were arrested in Ireland over an alleged plot to assassinate Swedish artist, Lars Vilks, that depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog (a form of street installation in Sweden). The arrested were originally from Morocco and Yemen and had refugee status. Of the seven, three men and two women were arrested in Waterford and Tramore and another man and woman at Ballincollig, near Cork.

2015 – Death of Hurling manager, Jim Nelson. While he will be best remembered for leading Antrim to a historic win over Offaly in the 1989 All-Ireland semi-final, there was a whole lot more to his career than that special day. ‘Sambo’ McNaughton, another of Antrim’s hurling greats, said that Jim’s philosophy was to try and turn every hurler he encountered into a better one and if he couldn’t do that he would try to make him into a better person.

2015 – Death of John ‘Jack’ Harte. He was an Irish Labour Party Senator. A former trade union official, Harte was first elected to the 13th Seanad in the 1973 Seanad elections, on the Labour Panel. He was re-elected six times until his retirement at the 1992 elections. He served with the British Army in Malta and the Middle East during World War II. He published his memoirs of the Second World War, ‘To the Limits of Endurance: One Irishman’s War’. He died at the age of 94.

Photo: Connemara, Co Galway, Pamela Rodao Photography

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