Today in Irish History – 24 January:

1851 – Charles Plummer, Irish language scholar and editor of Lives of the Irish Saints, is born.

1897 – Death of novelist, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, née Hamilton. Born in Rosscarbery, Co Cork, her light romantic fiction was popular throughout the English-speaking world in the late 19th century and is best known by her book, Molly Bawn. She died at Bandon of typhoid fever.

1901 – Proclamation of Edward VII as King in Dublin Castle.

1916 – Robert Monteith’s letter to Sir Roger Casement indicates that they still think that they will go to the front. Presumably Turkey via Vienna.

1920 – Death of Percy French, writer of many popular Irish songs, including the Mountains of Mourne.

1921 – Birth of artist, Patrick Scott, in Kilbrittain, Co Cork.

1921 – While the War of Independence was supported (actively or passively) by the majority of Irish, the Catholic church railed against the violence. A letter from the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. Thomas P Gilmartin is read at masses, following an ambush on English forces near Kilroe, Co Galway. “The misguided criminals who fired a few shots from behind a wall… have broken the truce of God, they have incurred the guilt of murder… and then having fired their few cowardly shots, they beat a hasty retreat, leaving the unprotected and innocent people at the mercy of uniformed forces.”

1933 – Fianna Fáil wins a general election, when they were re-elected in the Irish general election winning 50% of the votes.

1969 – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Brian Faulkner, resigned from the Northern Ireland cabinet in protest at the policies of Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Terence O’Neill, and the lack of ‘strong government’.

1972 – Chief Superintendent of the RUC , Frank Lagan, notified Andrew MacLellan, Commander 8 Infantry Brigade, of his contact with the Civil Rights Association, and informed him of their intention to hold a non-violent demonstration protesting against Internment on 30 January 1972. He also asked that the march be allowed to take place without military intervention. MacLellan agreed to recommend this approach to General Ford, Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland. However Ford had placed Derek Wilford, Commander of 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment, in charge of the proposed arrest operation. The broad decision to carry out arrests was probably discussed by the Northern Ireland Committee of the British Cabinet. Edward Heath, British Prime Minister, confirmed on 19 April 1972 that the plan was known to British government Ministers.

1973 – Death of piper and folklorist, Willie Clancy.

1974 – The official Unionist Party is founded.

1978 – Eddie Gallagher and Rose Dugdale, both jailed for their part in the kidnapping of Tiede Herrema, are married in Limerick prison.

1984 – “Londonderry” District Council was given permission by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) to change the name of the council to Derry District Council. The official name of the city remained “Londonderry” but many Unionists were upset by the name change. Derry District Council also voted to stop flying the Union Jack flag on council property.

1989 – Death of architect, Michael Scott. Born in Drogheda, some of his buildings included the Busáras building in Dublin, the Abbey Theatre, and Tullamore Hospital.

1991 – Death of legal academic and Fine Gael politician, John Maurice Kelly. Born in Co Kildare, he served in Garret FitzGerald’s first Cabinet from 1981 until 1982. Kelly declined appointment to FitzGerald’s second administration (1982–87). Kelly felt that Irish politics should be aligned more on European ideological lines, and he promoted closer alignment with Fianna Fáil and the end of coalition with the Labour Party. He did not seek re-election to the Dáil at the 1989 general election.

1998 – A car bomb exploded outside an entertainment club, the ‘River Club’ on Factory Road in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Warnings about the bomb were received at 7.30pm and the bomb exploded at around 9.30pm. The building was extensively damaged but there were no injuries. A Republican paramilitary group, the ‘Continuity’ Irish Republican Army (CIRA) was thought to be responsible.

1998 – In west Belfast, Loyalists kill taxi driver, John McColgan by shooting him in the back of the head. It is the sixth sectarian murder in a week.

1999 – After months of negotiations and two special delegate conferences, Democratic Left merges with the Labour Party.

2000 – Tánaiste Mary Harney warns the IRA to begin decommissioning or run the risk of derailing the Northern peace process.

2001 – Government sources say the resignation of Northern Secretary Peter Mandelson is not a major setback to the peace process.

2002 – Irish doctors are among the worst-paid in Europe and charge less than they need to run a viable business, according to the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO).

2005 – Former Fianna Fáil Minister Ray Burke is jailed for six months for tax evasion. Prosecuting authorities found that Burke had failed to fully declare his income over a nine-year period.

Photo: Mizen pedestrian bridge, Co Cork

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