#OTD in Irish History – 9 March:

1771 – Birth in Dublin of Thomas Reynolds, United Irishman whose information enabled authorities to arrest Leinster Committee in 1798.

1825 – The Catholic Association is dissolved in accordance with the Unlawful Societies Act. The Catholic Association was an Irish Roman Catholic political organisation set up by Daniel O’Connell in the early nineteenth century to campaign for Catholic Emancipation within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was one of the first mass membership political movements in Europe. Not to be confused with the Catholic Association Pilgrimage of the United Kingdom.

1892 – Death of Mother Vincent Whitty. She was an Irish Religious Sister known for her work in the Australian state of Queensland. She was a leading figure in the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy and in its expansion into the then-British colony of Australia. Born Ellen Whitty at Pouldarrig, near Oylegate, a village seven miles from the town of Wexford. She was the fourth of the six children of William and Johanna Whitty.

1914 – Prime Minister Asquith offers a compromise on Home Rule – electors in the North could vote to be excluded from an independent Ireland for six years.

1922 – Three people were shot dead in Belfast.

1923 – An anti-Treaty prisoner, Gleeson is shot dead after being taken prisoner by Free State troops near Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary.

1931 – Birth of politician, Jackie Healy-Rae. Born in Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, he served as an independent Teachta Dála (TD) for the Kerry South constituency from 1997 to 2011.

1932 – Éamon de Valera is elected President of the Executive Council of Ireland.

1954 – Birth of Bobby Sands in Abbots Cross, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim. He was an Irish Republican Army volunteer and MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone who died on hunger strike whilst in Long Kesh Prison.

1966 – Birth of Irish-American activist, Michael Patrick MacDonald. He is an activist against crime and violence and author of his memoir, All Souls: A Family Story From Southie. He helped to start Boston’s gun-buyback program, founded the South Boston Vigil group, which works with survivor families and young people in Boston’s anti-violence movement.

1971 – Three off-duty Scottish soldiers were shot dead by the IRA after being lured from a pub in Belfast. Two days later, 4,000 loyalist shipyard workers took to the streets to demand the mass internment of Irish republicans.

1972 – Four members of the IRA died in a premature explosion at a house in Clonard Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

1973 – The people in the north of Ireland vote overwhelmingly to remain within the United Kingdom. In a referendum on the future of the province, 591,280 people or 57% of the electorate vote to retain links with the UK. A boycott by the Roman Catholic population means only 6,463 vote in favour of a united Ireland.

1976 – Two Catholic civilians (Anthony and Myles O’Reilly) were shot dead during a gun and bomb attack on their restaurant, The Golden Pheasant Inn, Ballynahinch Road, Baillies Mills, near Lisburn, Co Down. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

1976 – Secretary of State, Merlyn Rees, announced the dissolution of the Constitutional Convention.

1981 – Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him. In order to secure his status as Irish political prisoner he was willing to fast til death, an event that would earn him a place in the annals of Irish history and in the hearts and minds of Irish republicans world wide. See Bobby Sands Trust for today’s entry: http://www.bobbysandstrust.com/writings/prison-diary

1982 – Charles Haughey becomes Taoiseach for the second time. Haughey was leader of Fianna Fáil for more than 12 years. In his early career he was a popular figure in Ireland and a charismatic leader.

1986 – Chief Constable of the RUC, John Hermon, defended the action of the RUC during the ‘Day of Action’ on 3 March 1986. The RUC had been criticised for not dealing with the high level of intimidation and for not keeping main roads open.

1987 – In a sex-discrimination case against the Chief Constable of the RUC, thirty-one female RUC officers were awarded £240,000 compensation.

1992 – Representatives of the four main political parties in Northern Ireland held a ‘plenary session’ of talks (later known as the Brooke/Mayhew talks) in Stormont. The parties agreed to meet again following the forthcoming general election.

1992 – The Fair Employment Commission (FEC) published a report on the religious composition of the workforce based on returns from over 1,700 employers in Northern Ireland. The report showed that Catholics made up 35 per cent of those employed but 38 per cent of those available for work.

1994 – The IRA carried out a mortar attack on the perimeter of Heathrow Airport. Although the five mortars fell inside the airport grounds none of them exploded. The mortars were fired from a car parked near to the perimeter fence. Police and security services searched the area looking for other vehicles containing mortars but found none. However, this turned out to be the first in a series of three carefully planned attacks on the airport; the others happened on 11 March 1994 and 13 March 1994.

1994 – The House of Commons voted to set up a select committee on Northern Ireland affairs. The Commons also voted to renew the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

1995 – Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh make a historic visit to Northern Ireland. For the first time, the Queen meets with the Roman Catholic Primate of all Ireland, Cardinal Cahal Daly, as well as his Anglican counterpart, Archbishop Robin Eames.

1995 – The White House announced that Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, would be allowed to raise funds in the United States on behalf of SF and President Bill Clinton approved a visa so that Adams would be invited to attend the President’s St Patrick’s Day reception. The British government reacted furiously to the announcement and for several days John Major, British Prime Minister, refused to accept a call from Bill Clinton. The two men met on 4 April 1995 and began to repair the damage to relations between the two administrations.

1998 – Justice Brian Walsh, judge on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, died suddenly of a stroke. On his appointment in December of 1961, Justice Walsh became one of the youngest Irish Supreme Court judges. He served for 29 years – the longest by a member of the country’s highest court.

1998 – The British government took the decision not to extradite Roísín McAliskey to Germany. The charge related to an IRA mortar attack on the British Army Osnabruck barracks in Germany on 28 June 1996. McAliskey was five months pregnant at the time of her arrest. The British decision was based on medical grounds and followed the detention of McAliskey for a period of 16 months during which time she gave birth to a baby girl. McAliskey was subsequently released in April 1998 and returned to Northern Ireland. There had been a strong campaign to secure her release in Britain, Ireland, Europe and the USA. A number of commentators felt that the timing of the announcement was designed to increase the pressure on Sinn Féin to rejoin the multi-party talks at Stormont.

1999 – The European Parliament called for the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. The opinion, passed in Strasbourg by 321 votes to 122; it carried no legislative weight but provoked a storm of political controversy.

1999 – A record price for land in the South East is set in Waterford when leading city developer Noel Frisby pays £725,000 an acre for land being sold off for Telecom Eireann.

2009 – A police officer was shot dead in Craigavon, Co Armagh. The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility. This was the first police fatality in the north of Ireland since 1998. Police were petrol bombed when arrests were made. In the following week there was sporadic attacks on police by youths.

2010 – Seven people were arrested in Ireland over an alleged plot to assassinate Swedish artist, Lars Vilks, that depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog (a form of street installation in Sweden). The arrested were originally from Morocco and Yemen and had refugee status. Of the seven, three men and two women were arrested in Waterford and Tramore and another man and woman at Ballincollig, near Cork.

2015 – Death of Hurling manager, Jim Nelson. While he will be best remembered for leading Antrim to a historic win over Offaly in the 1989 All-Ireland semi-final, there was a whole lot more to his career than that special day. ‘Sambo’ McNaughton, another of Antrim’s hurling greats, said that Jim’s philosophy was to try and turn every hurler he encountered into a better one and if he couldn’t do that he would try to make him into a better person.

2015 – Death of John ‘Jack’ Harte. He was an Irish Labour Party Senator. A former trade union official, Harte was first elected to the 13th Seanad in the 1973 Seanad elections, on the Labour Panel. He was re-elected six times until his retirement at the 1992 elections. He served with the British Army in Malta and the Middle East during World War II. He published his memoirs of the Second World War, ‘To the Limits of Endurance: One Irishman’s War’. He died at the age of 94.

Image | Scattery Island, Co Clare | Credit: clare.ie

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