Today in Irish History – 16 April:

1660 – Sir Hans Sloane, physician and naturalist, is born in Killyleagh, Co Down.

1701 – Some MPs and gentlemen of Co Carlow petition against the return and residence of Mark Baggot, ‘a violent Papist’, in that county, of which he was ‘titular High Sheriff’ in 1689.

1752 – The first regular stage-coach service between Dublin and Belfast commences.

1782 – Irish Parliament declares its independence from the English Parliament.

1850 – Samuel Butcher, scholar, is born in Dublin.

1871 – John Millington Synge, poet, playwright, and student of Irish language and culture, is born in Dublin.

1912 – The World learns about the sinking of the Titanic. Survivors picked up by the Carpathia head for the United States.

1918 – Birth of Spike Milligan in India. He was a comedian, writer and actor. The son of an Irish father and an English mother, his early life was spent in India. The majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. Milligan’s 1960 application for British citizenship and 1961 application for a British passport were blocked by his refusal to pledge an oath of allegiance to the UK, his adopted home for most of his adult life. When the Commonwealth Immigrants Act removed his automatic right to British citizenship in 1962, he promptly became an Irish citizen, exercising a right conferred through the automatic retroactive Irish citizenship of his Irish-born father.

1939 – Pop singer Dusty Springfield, whose real name is Mary O’Brien, is born to Irish parents in London.

1941 – Belfast suffers major damage on the night of 15/16 April as Nazi bombers rain death on the city.

1947 – Singer Gerry Rafferty is born in Paisley, Scotland to an Irish father and a Scots mother.

1970 – Protestant right-winger the Reverend Ian Paisley wins a seat in Northern Ireland’s parliament.

1999 – Supreme Court Justice Hugh O’Flaherty and High Court Judge Cyril Kelly are given 72 hours to quit by the Government — or else face unprecedented impeachment proceedings.

1999 – Union officials at the centre of the scaffolders strike predict chaos within the building industry as over 800 workers place unofficial pickets on countrywide sites following the breakdown of crisis talks.

1999 – David Trimble admits for the first time that he accepts it is unlikely the Provisional IRA will return to violence in the short-term.

2001 – The Government prepares to re-institute draconian restrictions in a last desperate attempt to prevent the foot and mouth plague sweeping the country. Fresh cases of the disease in Northern Ireland have stunned Department of Agriculture officials and Minister Joe Walsh admits that it now appeared that foot and mouth is rampant north of the border.

2002 – Beginning with a ‘park-up’ outside John A Woods and ReadyMix sites in Cork, Kerry and Limerick, as many as 300 truck drivers transporting sand and gravel take their trucks off the road in protest at strict weight restrictions, high insurance costs and low pay.

2003 – A spokesman for the British Government says that it is sticking with its plans for Assembly elections in Northern Ireland next month, even if efforts to restore devolution fail.

Photo: Sunday’s Well Road, Co Cork, Photography by Silyld

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