#OTD in Irish History – 12 April:

1654 – The Ordinance of Union comes into effect, uniting Ireland and Scotland with England.

1816 – Sir Charles Gavan Duffy was born in Co Monaghan. He was self-educated as a journalist and founded the Nation, a nationalist weekly journal with Thomas Davis and John Dillon in 1842; ultimately, he emigrated to Australia and while determined to avoid politics, he was induced to enter the Victorian Parliament where he filled in succession the position of minister of public works and minister of public lands; for a brief period he was prime minister.

1824 – An Act established free trade in manufactured articles between Britain and Ireland.

1837 – Birth in Galway of Patrick Ford, journalist in the USA and fund-raiser for Irish causes.

1847 – The American relief ship, USS Jamestown, landed supplies in Cork for An Gorta Mor victims.

1861 – The American Civil War began; 150,000 Irishmen would serve with the Union forces, and 40,000 with the Confederacy. The War lasted for four years, before the leaders of the Confederacy were forced to surrender, but not before more than half a million men had been killed in battle.

1888 – Birth of Dan Ahearn in Athea, Co Limerick. He was an Irish and later American track and field athlete and a member of the Irish American Athletic Club. He competed for the U.S. Olympic team in the 1920 Summer Olympics where he finished sixth in the Olympic triple jump competition. He was later a policeman in Chicago and died there aged 54.

1889 – Patrick McGilligan, pro-Treaty nationalist and politician, is born in Coleraine, Co. Derry.

1914 – George Bernard Shaw’s play ‘Pygmalion’ opened in London with Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle and Sir Herbert Tree as Professor Higgins.

1923 – The Shadow Of A Gunman by Sean O’Casey premiered at the Abbey Theatre.

1923 – National Army officer in Clonmel barracks shot dead a prisoner named Jerome Lyons. He allegedly tried to grab the officers revolver while under interrogation.

1951 – Ireland’s Minister for Health, Dr. Noel Browne resigned following confrontation with the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland over what became knows as the ‘Mother and Child’ controversy.

1960 – The Broadcasting Authority Act granted Radio Éireann authority to provide and maintain national radio and television service.

1980 – Birth of singer-songwriter and TV presenter, Brian McFadden, in Dublin. He rose to fame in 1998 as a member of Westlife.

1994 – Birth of actress, Saoirse Ronan in the Bronx, New York, her family moved to Co Carlow, when she was three years old, before moving to Howth, Co Dublin when she was a teen. She is a two-time Academy Award nominee; receiving a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Atonement (2007), and a Best Actress nomination for Brooklyn (2015). She also received three BAFTA Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, two Screen Actors Guild nominations and two Satellite Awards.

1998 – At a series of Sinn Féin rallies in Ireland to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising, speeches were delivered that appeared to give the Good Friday Agreement a cautious welcome. The IRA issued a statement which said that it would judge the Agreement ‘against its potential to deliver a just and durable peace in our country’. Republican Sinn Féin called for a ‘no’ vote in the planned referendums on the Agreement.

1999 – The country’s biggest building project, the giant Citibank site in Dublin’s financial services centre, was hit when 600 workers walk off the job in solidarity with striking scaffolders.

1999 – Demands for IRA disarmament were stepped up following fresh evidence that they were harbouring advanced anti-aircraft missiles.

1999 – Param Cumaraswamy, then United Nations Special Rapporteur, published a report that criticised Ronnie Flanagan, Chief Constable of the RUC, over the alleged harassment of defence solicitors. Cumaraswamy also called for an independent inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane because there was evidence of collusion between members of the security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries.

2000 – Queen Elizabeth II presented the RUC with the George Cross, the highest civilian award for bravery.

2000 – The Irish Red Cross launched an appeal for approximately £3 million in an effort to avert the impending famine in Ethiopia.

2000 – A safety probe got underway following an explosion at the SIFA Limited chemical plant in Co Clare. Seven people suffering from shock and hearing difficulties were transferred to Limerick Regional Hospital and were later released.

2000 – The first of two side-by-side castles on Dublin’s Dalkey seafront came up for auction. Inniscorrig, built in 1847, had a starting price of £3.5m. The Herbert Park house had a pre-auction guideline of £3m.

2001 – Ted Sweeney, the weather forecaster instrumental in saving the D Day landings from disaster, died in his native Blacksod near Belmullet, Co Mayo. In 1944, Ted Sweeney claimed a special place in world history by filing a famous weather report which delayed the D Day landings in Normandy for 24 hours.

2001 – Preliminary test results on a suspected foot and mouth case in Co Tyrone were negative.

2001 – The Real IRA threatened a fresh campaign of violence and vowed to attack British targets in their quest for a united Ireland.

2002 – A blockade by salmon fishermen at the Port of Cork passed off without incident.

2003 – Hopes were raised of a breakthrough in the stalled Northern Ireland peace process, when the IRA outlined its future intentions to the Irish and British Governments. In a statement, the IRA set out its position on the peace process, its ceasefire, and its approach to a third act of decommissioning.

2005 – Murder of Joseph Rafferty. Following the assault of Rafferty’s sister Carmel at a party, Rafferty confronted the alleged attacker, who reportedly told him that his family had connections to the ‘IRA’ and could get him killed. Rafferty continued to receive threats that the IRA would get him for several months before his killing. The Rafferty family met with Daithí Doolan, the local Sinn Féin representative, and asked him to have the threats stopped. On 12 April 2005, Rafferty was shot twice with a sawed-off shotgun, once in the leg and once in the chest, as he left his flat in Ongar, Dublin to go to work.

2008 – The sixth president of Ireland, Dr. Patrick Hillery passed away after a short illness at age 84. Born on 2 May 1923 in Milltown Malvay, Co Clare, he attended Rockwell College and University College, Dublin, studying sciences and medicine. His practice of medicine yielded to politics in 1951, when as a member of the Fianna Fáil party he won election to Parliament.

Photo: Loop Head Drive, Kilkee, Co Clare, photo credit: clareireland.net

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