#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.

1841 – The Maplin Sands lighthouse was first lit, constructed and built by blind Irish engineer, Alexander Mitchell, from Dublin, which began in 1838 at the mouth of the Thames. A screw-pile lighthouse is a lighthouse which stands on piles that are screwed into sandy or muddy sea or river bottoms.

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.

1909 – Birth of Richard McDonald, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Richard and his brother, Maurice’s parents, emigrated from Ireland. They were the founders of the original McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, California and inventors of the ‘Speedee Service System’.

1921 – Four unarmed IRA men, who had been digging a trench at Kilbrittain, 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.

1977 – Birth of original designer and lead developer of Freenet, Ian Clarke, in Navan Co Meath. In January 2012 Clarke co-founded OneSpot, with the goal of creating ‘ads that don’t suck’. Over the next three years, Clarke architected a realtime bidding engine capable of consistently outperforming Google Adwords. In March 2012, Clarke open sourced LastCalc, an online calculator designed to provide a more flexible and open alternative to tools like Google Calculator.

1980 – An off-duty colonel in the British Army was shot dead outside his home in Bielfeld, West Germany.

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 – President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, 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.

1988 – William Quinn was extradited from the United States to Britain under extradition legislation that came into force in July 1986.

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.

1993 – President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, gave an interview to the Irish News in which he called for ‘inclusive dialogue’ and a new Irish-British agreement that would bring an end to partition.

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. Sinn Féin said that it would fight the move to have the party expelled from the talks. In a written parliamentary reply Adam Ingram, a Northern Ireland Minister, gave details of security incidents in the region for the six month period 20 July 1997 to 25 January 1998. The figures showed that Loyalist paramilitaries had been responsible for 13 deaths during the period while Republicans had been responsible for two killings. In total there had been 93 shooting incidents of which 51 were attributed to Loyalists and 21 to Republicans (the other 21 attacks could not be attributed). Republicans were believed to have carried out 20 bombing incidents while Loyalists were responsible for six bomb attacks.

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.

1999 – It was reported by security sources that detonators, which were part of an arms cache uncovered in west Belfast, had been acquired by the IRA following the second ceasefire in 1997. Sinn Féin spokespersons claimed that the RUC was pursuing a political agenda.

1999 – President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, held a meeting with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in London.

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.

Image | Kinsale Harbour, Kinsale, Co Cork

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