Today in Irish History – 3 April:

1793 – Dionysius Lardner, scientific writer and lecturer, is born in Dublin.

1798 – Writer John Banim, who was praised by Yeats as a writer who tried to “make one see life plainly,” is born in Kilkenny.

1807 – Maurice FitzGerald, MP for Co Kerry, resigns as Commissioner of the Treasury (UK) over the issue of Catholic relief.

1825 – Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Young Irelander, journalist and promoter of Canadian Federation, is born.

1843 – Birth of James McCudden, WWI ace.

1846 – Death of Michael Moran, aka Zozimus, balladeer and storyteller.

1895 – The trial in the libel case brought by Oscar Wilde begins, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.

1900 – Queen Victoria arrives at Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) for a three-day visit to Ireland.

1920 – IRA burned over 300 abandoned RIC barracks in rural areas and almost 100 income tax offices. Abbott says that approximately 150 barracks were destroyed on the night of 5/6 April.

1921 – A Black and Tan is wounded in an ambush at Bonniconlon, Co Mayo.

1921 – The South Leitrim Brigade of the IRA hold up the Cavan and Leitrim Railway and intercept the Mail Car. A letter implicates a local farmer, John Harrison (Co Leitrim) as an informer and he is later executed.

1922 – IRA shot dead two RIC constables in Co Tipperary.

1923 – Anti-Treaty IRA members Christy Breslin and Joseph Kiernan, are arrested by Free State forces at Georges Street, Dublin and killed at Cabra. Another, James Tierney, is killed later.

1923 – The bodies of two National Army Intelligence officers who were abducted while in plainclothes and unarmed near Barne, Tipperary on January 23 and killed by Anti-Treaty forces are discovered. Their bodies had been dumped in nearby cemetery.

1923 – Anti-Treaty Volunteer Jerome Lyons is shot dead whilst under interrogation in Kickham Barracks, Clonmel.

1946 – Birth of Ruari Quinn, former Labour leader.

1951 – Birth of Michael Morris, jockey, winner of the 1977 Irish Grand National, trainer, and son of Lord Killanin.

1984 – Birth of Bernard Brogan in Dublin. He is a Gaelic footballer from the St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh club who plays inter-county with Dublin. Brogan is from a famous family; the son of former all-Ireland winning and All Star player Bernard senior and is the brother of current Dublin players Alan and Paul. His uncle Jim was also an inter-county footballer for Dublin.

1998 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair announce that with ”realistic negotiation”, agreement in the Northern Ireland peace process could be reached by Thursday’s deadline.

1998 – Witnesses for the new inquiry into Bloody Sunday launched on this date in Derry, will not be offered blanket immunity from prosecution, according to the presiding chairman of the tribunal.

2000 – Thousands of gallons of diesel oil are pumped off a storm-stricken Dutch barge which ran aground on a sandbank in Bray Harbour, Co Wicklow.

2000 – At the Special Criminal Court, John Gilligan denies having any involvement in the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin.

2001 – The Government agrees to a £2 million package to bail out the financially troubled Jeanie Johnston famine ship project.

2001 – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson changes her mind about stepping down from the post on foot of a pledge that funding and staffing problems in her office will be addressed.

2001 – It is announced that towns and villages within the current foot-and-mouth exclusion zone in Co. Louth have been barred from this year’s national tidy towns’ competition.

2001 – Farm leaders from North and South meet in Dublin to pursue an agreed objective — the highest animal health status for all of Ireland.

2001 – Death of Butch Moore, born James Augustine Moore in Dublin and was a showband icon during the 1960s. He achieved celebrity status as Ireland’s first contestant in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965 and attracted huge crowds with the Capitol Showband in the State’s many ballrooms.

2005 – Murder of champion kick boxer, James Curran. In a Dublin pub just after Christmas 2004, Curran witnessed Bernard Dempsey and “his associates taking an envelope of cash from members of a well-known heroin dealing gang”. In response to this, Curran, “who had personal experience of the damage heroin had done to his local community… began shouting down the bar at Dempsey, ‘Here, I’ll buy you a pint. This is not drug money. This is clean money’. On 3 April 2005, Dempsey walked up behind Curran, who was sitting at the bar of the Green Lizard pub, and shot him three times through the back of the head in full view of customers. He then gestured to the crowd of shocked onlookers with his gun, and walked out of the pub as calmly as he had walked up to his victim moments before. Bernard Dempsey was arrested soon after, but conviction seemed unlikely as several of the witnesses were told they would be murdered if they gave evidence. Two witnesses, including Dempsey’s sister, still came forward and gave evidence at Dempsey’s trial. A unanimous guilty verdict was given, which resulted in his conviction for life. “In his victim impact statement, Bernard Curran, brother of the victim, speaking directly to Dempsey he said: “You’ve put a hole in my mother’s heart. You’ve put a hole in all our hearts. and they have been filled with grief which is everlasting. I hope you can live with that.’

Photo: Mourne Mountains, Co Down, Image by Ryan McDonald

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