#OTD in Irish History – 16 February:

1768 – The Octennial Act limits Irish parliaments’ life to eight years.

1822 – Birth of engineer, James Thomson, in Belfast.

1875 – John Mitchell returns from America one day after being elected MP for Tipperary. His election was deemed invalid as he was a convicted felon for his activities with the Young Ireland movement.

1886 – The Irish Catholic Hierarchy formally endorses Home Rule.

1890 – Death of Dublin born scientist, Sir Robert John Kane, age eighty. In a distinguished career, he founded the Dublin Journal of Medical Science, was Vice-Chancellor of Royal University of Ireland and was director of Museum of Irish Industry. Kane’s family history is quite unique; his father participated in the 1898 rebellion and was forced to flee to France for a period after the rebellion. Amazingly, his grandson (Robert Kane’s son) went on to become an Admiral in the British Navy! Kane was knighted in 1846.

1898 – Death of poet, journalist and politician, Thomas Bracken. Born in Clones, Co Monaghan, he wrote ‘God Defend New Zealand’, one of the two national anthems of New Zealand, and was the first person to publish the phrase ‘God’s Own Country’ as applied to New Zealand. He also won the Otago Caledonian Society’s prize for poetry.

1902 – Birth of singer, Delia Murphy, in Ardroe, Claremorris, Co Mayo. She was a popular singer and produced records throughout her life, and is often referred to as the ‘Queen of Connemara‘, the name of her 1962 LP.

1921 – Four unarmed IRA men, who had been digging a trench at Kilbritain, Co Cork, were arrested by troops of the Essex Regiment and then shot dead.

1921 – British soldiers were attacked at Lower Mount Street Dublin by the 3rd Battalion Dublin Brigade.

1923 – An unidentified man is found shot dead near Thurles, with the warning pinned on him, ‘One out of fifty’.

1932 – Fianna Fáil wins the general election; Éamon de Valera succeeds Cosgrave as President of the Executive Council; Seán Lemass is Minister for Industry and Commerce.

1980 – At the Fianna Fáil conference in Dublin, Taoiseach Charles Haughey, called for a joint initiative, on behalf of the British and Irish governments, to try to find a political solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

1985 – Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, was refused a visa to enter the United States. Adams was supposed to address a meeting of members of Congress but the US State Department turned down the visa application.

1992 – Clonoe Ambush: A PIRA unit attacked Coalisland RUC base in Co Tyrone using a heavy machine gun mounted on the back of a stolen lorry. Following the attack, the British Army ambushed the unit in a graveyard. Four PIRA volunteers were killed and two were wounded but escaped.

1996 – There was a large peace rally at City Hall, Belfast, and a number of smaller rallies at venues across Northern Ireland.

1998 – Both the British and Irish governments are united on move to expel Sinn Féin from peace talks.

1998 – Tesco in Ireland stated that an advertisement placed by its British parent company pledging not to buy Irish beet for its British stores was a ‘mistake’. The advertisement had caused outrage amongst Irish farmers.

1998 – Michael Flatley announces that he is to make his last live appearance in Ireland in the summer.

2000 – Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams accuses the British Government of tearing up the Good Friday Agreement.

2001 – RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan warns that the Real IRA represents a potent and a growing threat.

2002 – Three republicans accused of training left-wing guerrillas in Colombia could face trial within a month. A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office in the Colombian capital Bogota confirmed prosecutors have sent their case against Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin McCauley to a federal judge.

2003 – Protesters make formal complaints to the gardaí alleging offences under the National Monuments Act after archeological contractors move on to the Carrickmines Castle site to start taking apart the stone structure.

2008 – Death of Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes, aged 59. He was a leading Irish republican and former Officer Commanding (O/C) of the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army. He was the leader of the 1980 Irish hunger strike. In a recording released in 2013 after his death, Hughes named Gerry Adams as ordering the killing and secret burial of Jean McConville (who Hughes said was a British agent), in 1972. Adams denied any role in the death of McConville and said Hughes had been lying.

2011 – For the first time, the morning after pill was sold by Irish pharmacies without need for a doctor’s prescription.

Photo: Allihies Village, Co Cork, Phil Teare Photography

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