#OTD in Irish History – 10 December:

1479 – Garret More Fitzgerald of Kildare, the ‘Great Earl’, holds a parliament in Dublin from 10 December; it will run, with adjournments, into 1481.

1690 – Sir John Dillon, MP for Co Meath, fights a duel with the Earl of Anglesey.

1826 – Birth of businessman, William Ford in Clonakilty, Co Cork. He moved to America as a young man and married Mary Litogot and they had eight children, his eldest son was Henry who grew up to found the Ford automobile company that has grown into one of the biggest companies in the world.

1827 – Birth of businessman and philanthropist, Eugene O’Keefe in Bandon, Co Cork. He emigrated with his family to Canada when he was five, eventually settling in Toronto. He married Helen Charlotte Bailey in 1862; they had a son and two daughters. He founded the O’Keefe Brewery Company of Toronto Limited in 1891.

1861 – Death of Irish language scholar, John O’Donovan, born in Kilcolumb, Co Kilkenny.

1904 – Death of journalist, barrister, author of fairy tales, and nationalist politician, Edmund Leamy. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, where as member of the Irish Parliamentary Party and leading supporter of Charles Stewart Parnell he represented various Irish seats for much of the period from 1880 until his death in 1904.

1920 – Martial law is imposed in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.

1901 – The first Nobel Prizes are awarded.

1920 – Vol William Owens shot dead by British military (Major Shore) during a raid on the Sinn Féin hall in Shankill, Co Dublin. Several unsuccessful attempts were made by the Shankill IRA to get Shore later.

1921 – At a meeting of the Supreme Council of the IRB, eleven supported the Treaty and four opposed it.

1921 – In Belfast, nationalist areas came under sustained attack from loyalist gunmen.

1922 – Anti-Treaty IRA members burn down the house of TD Seán McGarry, his seven-year-old son dies in the blaze.

1922 – Two prisoners attempt to escape from Drumboe Castle, Co Donegal. They are shot by Free State troops under Major Glennon, and one Gallagher is killed.

1922 – A civilian, James Malone, is shot dead at his home in Garald Griffin Street, Cork city by unidentified gunmen.

1923 – William Butler Yeats receives Nobel Prize in Literature.

1938 – Birth of singer, Brendan Bowyer, in Co Waterford. Best known for fronting ‘The Royal Showband’ and the ‘Big 8’ band. Also renowned for having The Beatles open for him at a concert in 1962 at the ‘The Liverpool Empire’ and being regarded as one of the first headlining Elvis impersonators. Elvis Presley himself was a big fan of Brendan’s performances and would often attend Brendan’s concerts in the Stardust Resort and Casino, Las Vegas during the 1970s.

1941 – Birth of actress, Fionnuala Flanagan. Born in Dublin, she has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. She grew up speaking both Irish and English fluently. Although her parents were not native Irish speakers, they wanted Flanagan and her four siblings to learn their indigenous language. Flanagan was educated in Switzerland and England, and she trained at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and travelled throughout Europe before settling in Los Angeles in 1968.

1944 – The Dublin actor Wilfrid Brambell takes over from Jimmy O’Dea in the annual Christmas pantomime at the Gaiety Theatre.

1960 – Birth of actor and director, Kenneth Branagh, in Belfast.

1971 – Kenneth Smyth (28), a Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) member, and Daniel McCormick (29), a former UDR member, were killed by the IRA near Strabane, Co Tyrone.

1973 – Loyalists announced the establishment of the Ulster Army Council (UAC) to resist the proposed Council of Ireland. The UAC was an umbrella group for the main Loyalist paramilitary groups and included the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

1974 – The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and its political wing the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) was founded at the Spa Hotel in the village of Lucan near Dublin.

1974 – Seán McBride former Minister for External Affairs presented with Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

1974 – Leaders of the IRA held secret talks with a group of eight Protestant clergymen from Northern Ireland at Smyth’s Village Hotel in Feakle, Co Clare. The IRA was represented by Ruairi O’Bradaigh, Daithi O’Conaill, and Maire Drumm. Among the group of clergymen were: Dr Arthur Butler, Dr Jack Weir, Rev. Ralph Baxter and Rev. William Arlow. The clergymen presented the IRA with a policy document that had been cleared with the British government (Coogan, 1995; p.217). The meeting ended abruptly when the IRA representatives were tipped-off that the Irish Special Branch were on their way to arrest them. The talks at Feakle forged a process that was to lead to a meeting between the clergymen and the Secretary of State on 18 December 1974 and to an IRA ceasefire that began on 22 December 1974.

1977 – Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The Belfast women were named as joint recipients of the prestigious award for their work towards ending the violence in Northern Ireland.

1986 – Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, was reported, at the launch of his book Politics of Irish Freedom, as saying that he had never been a member of the IRA.

1987 – On this date ‘Fairytale Of New York’ by Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl was No.1 on the Irish Charts.

1996 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, announced that the extra security costs associated with the disturbances surrounding Drumcree and the ending of the IRA ceasefire would have to be met from the existing budget. Hence there were to be cuts of £120 million from the provision for public services with training for the unemployed and housing facing the greatest cutbacks.

1997 – Liam Averill, an IRA life-sentence prisoner, escaped from Long Kesh Prison. Averill managed to escape from the highest security prison in Northern Ireland and the UK by dressing up as a woman during a Christmas party for prisoners’ families and getting onto the coach taking the families out of the prison.

1997 – The Independent published a leaked internal RUC document which claimed to show that one in three of the Catholic officers of the RUC had suffered discrimination or harassment from Protestant officers. At this time Catholics made up 8 per cent of the total number of officers in the RUC.

1998 – The Irish and British governments launch a fresh search for a breakthrough in the Northern Ireland peace process in the wake of the joint award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Ulster’s political leaders David Trimble and John Hume.

1999 – Five men representing the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), held a meeting with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). The five men were: Johnny Adair, William Dodds, John Gregg, Jackie McDonald, and John White.

1999 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says that a lasting end to the Northern Ireland conflict is now well in sight.

1999 –  The announcement that the Castlereagh Holding Centre in east Belfast would be closed by the end of December 1999 was welcomed by Sinn Féin. The recommendation had been contained in the Patten Report.

1999 – Six human rights organisations called for an independent Inquiry into the killing of Rosemanry Nelson, a Lurgan solicitor killed on 15 March 1999

1999 – Tánaiste Mary Harney is in Ballyfermot to officially open the new manufacturing facility of Michael H, one of Ireland’s most successful clothing companies.

2000 – Following four days of marathon talks in Nice, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern defeats European Union efforts to directly influence Ireland’s taxation policy.

2002 – Loretta Brennan Glucksman, director of philanthropic organisation, the Ireland Funds, presents a €300,000 cheque to Gate Theatre director Michael Colgan towards the Dublin venue’s redevelopment.

2002 – The Government postpones the announcement of an expected 43% increase in the cost of an RTÉ licence fee.

2003 – Death of actor, Sean McClory. Born in Dublin, his career spanned six decades and included well over 100 films and television series.

2005 – Elizabeth Yensen, the oldest women in Ireland passes away at 110 years old. Born in Glasgow on 25 July 1895, Elizabeth spent more than 70 years in Northern Ireland.

Photo: Portmagee, Co Kerry, Brian McCready Photography

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