#OTD in Irish History – 3 April:

1793 – Birth of scientific writer and lecturer, Dionysius Lardner, 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 balladeer and storyteller, Michael Moran, aka Zozimus, in Dublin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

1970 – As part of a new ‘get tough’ policy, Ian Freeland, General Officer Commanding (GOC) the British Army, warned that those throwing petrol bombs could be shot dead if, after a warning, they did not stop using them. If arrested those using petrol bombs could face a sentence of 10 years in prison.

1970 – Garda Richard Fallon of Mountjoy was among a group of three who confronted armed raiders who had robbed a bank on Arran Quay in Dublin. Fallon was fatally wounded by one raider while trying to arrest another.

1980 – Kincora Scandal: ‘Boys suicide bids brought Kincora scandal to light’. Three staff members of the Kincora Boys Home, Belfast, were charged with acts of gross indecency. These charges, and subsequent revelations, led to years of accusations that elements of the security service, civil servants and a number of Loyalists had been involved in the sexual abuse of young boys at Kincora.

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.

1985 – The IRA exploded a car bomb outside the Courthouse in Newry, Co Down. The blast killed an RUC officer and a civilian worker employed at the Courthouse.

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

1998 – The Parades Commission ruled against allowing the Apprentice Boys of Derry to march down the mainly Catholic area of the lower Ormeau Road in Belfast on Easter Monday.

1998 – The second inquiry into the events surrounding ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Derry on 30 January 1972 was opened in the Guildhall in the city. The new inquiry was headed by an English Law Lord, Lord Saville, and the other two members of the panel were Edward Somers, a retired New Zealand judge, and William Hoyt, a judge from Canada. Witnesses would not be offered blanket immunity from prosecution, according to Lord Saville.

1998 – Rosemary Nelson, a solicitor working in Lurgan, travelled to New York to inform United Nations officials and United States politicians about death threats to, and intimidation of, lawyers working in Northern Ireland. Nelson highlighted the allegations that RUC officers had made threats against lawyers, including herself, through their clients. Nelson was assassinated on 15 March 1999 in Lurgan. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a Loyalist paramilitary group, claimed responsibility for the killing, but there were claims that the security forces had colluded with the killers.

2000 – Thousands of gallons of diesel oil were 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 denied having any involvement in the murder of journalist, Veronica Guerin.

2001 – The Government agreed to a £2 million package to bail out the financially troubled Jeanie Johnston ‘Great Hunger’ ship project.

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

2001 – It was announced that towns and villages within the current foot-and-mouth exclusion zone in Co Louth had been barred the 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: Drumena Cashel, Newry, Co Down, Mac Creative Photography

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