1798 – In the early morning hours on the day he is due to be executed, it is discovered that Wolf Tone inflicted a deep wound in his neck; a French emigrant surgeon was called in, closed the wound and reported that, “as the prisoner had missed the carotid artery, he might yet survive, but was in the extremest danger.” Wolf Tone on hearing this prognosis is quoted as saying: “I am sorry I have been so bad an anatomist.”
1847 – Letter published in the Cork Examiner on The Great Hunger.
1872 – Birth of William Fay. He was an actor and theatre producer who was one of the co-founders of the Abbey Theatre. Fay was born in Dublin and attended Belvedere College, Dublin. He worked for a time in the 1890s with a touring theatre company in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. When he returned to Dublin, he worked with his brother Frank, staging productions in halls around the city. Finally, they formed W.G. Fay’s Irish National Dramatic Company, focused on the develop-ment of Irish acting talent.
1920 – Two IRA volunteers were killed in a gunfight in Ballymacelligott, near Tralee, Co Kerry.
1929 – Birth of Grace Kelly. She was an American Academy Award-winning actress and Princess consort of Monaco. In April 1956 Kelly married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and became styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, and was commonly referred to as Princess Grace.
1934 – Birth of author and educator, John McGahern, known primarily for his novel, The Dark.
1954 – Ellis Island closes.
1958 – Death of four-time Boston Mayor James M Curley, Congressman and one term Governor of Massachusetts.
1970 – The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) was formed. The NIHE gradually took over control of the building and allocation of public sector housing in Northern Ireland. The responsibility for public sector housing had previously rested with local government and the Northern Ireland Housing Trust (NIHT). There had been many allegations of discrimination in the provision and allocation of housing by the various local government councils in Northern Ireland and this was the main reason for setting up the Housing Executive.
1971 – A Dutch seaman was shot dead by Republican paramilitaries in Belfast.
1971 – RTÉ bans several patriotic ballads including Dublin In The Green and The Patriot Game.
1974 – Two Protestant civilians who had been employed by the British Army were shot dead by the IRA and left on Sheriffs Road, near Derry. Three other people were killed in separate incidents in Belfast and Co Derry.
1975 – Michael Duggan (32), Chairman of the Falls Road Taxi Association, was shot dead in Hawthorne Street, Belfast, by members of the Official IRA. This killing was part of the continuing feud between the two wings of the IRA. One person was killed when the IRA threw a bomb into Scott’s Oyster Bar (Restaurant) in Mount Street, Mayfair, London.
1975 – Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, announced the closure of the remaining incident centres that had been set up under the arrangements for the IRA truce.
1986 – The Queen’s speech, at the opening of a new parliament at Westminster, reaffirmed the British government’s commitment to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).
1987 – James Molyneaux, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), led a protest march against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) in London.
1997 – The Irish Times carried a report claiming that 35 members of the “1st Battalion, South Armagh Brigade” of the IRA had left the paramilitary group in protest at Sinn Féin’s peace strategy. It also claimed that those who had left were prepared to join others who had left in October 1997.
1997 – Chief Constable of the RUC, Ronnie Flanagan, told the Northern Ireland Select Committee that eight per cent of the 8,500 members of the RUC were Catholic.
1998 – The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) announced it has made a commitment to an “act of decommissioning” within weeks. The announcement comes following the British Government decision to recognise the organisation’s ceasefire.
1998 – Prompted by the loss of more than £60m every year because of the negative impression created by the raucous vulgar nature of stag-hen parties in Temple Bar, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce announces plans to ban them.
2000 – Ógra Fianna Fáil votes to support blanket ban on abortion.
2001 – There was a change in the policing tactics used at the Loyalist protest of Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School. Instead of gathering together all the Catholic parents and children and escorting them as a group to the school, the PSNI specified a time period in which parents could walk to the school. Approximately 400 police officers (one in eight of the total in Belfast) were present to ensure that the children were able to get to school. The day’s operation cost an estimated £100,000. Some Catholic parents complained that the new police tactics left them more exposed to Loyalist protesters. Police arrested a nationalist who was taking a video of Loyalist protesters.
2001 – The British government published a draft Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill, 2001. If implemented the Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA) could take responsibility for policing and the criminal justice system after NIA elections on 1 May 2003. The provisions in the draft Bill included: the creation of an independent prosecution service; a judicial appointment commission to propose appointment or removal of judges; the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland to head the judiciary – rather than the Lord Chancellor in London; the appointment of an Attorney General for Northern Ireland; the appointment of a Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice; the appointment of a Law Commission; and new judges would take an oath to the office for which they were responsible rather than to the Queen. There was a session of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Of the 108 elected members approximately 30 attended the session.
2008 – Waterford Crystal unveiled the new 3.7 m (12ft) wide, 5,386kg (11,875lb) ball that would drop in New York’s Times Square on New Year’s eve in 2009. It was covered in 2,668 brilliant crystals made in Ireland.
Photo: Hill of the O’Neill, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Hibernia Landscapes by Stephen Wallace
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