#OTD in Irish History – 8 June:

1561 – Shane O’Neill rebels and is proclaimed a traitor.

1739 – Earl of Clonmel and Chief Justice John Scott, aka ‘Copper-Faced Jack’, is born in Co Tipperary.

1798 – United Irish Rebellion: The Arklow garrison is reinforced in Co Wicklow. In Co Wexford, The rebel southern division moves camp from Carrickbyrne to Slievecoilte. In Ulster, General Nugent offers amnesty to rank and file rebels. Rebel forces in Antrim begin to disintegrate.

1847 – The Irish Poor Law Extension Act.

1849 – Death of eminent surgeon, medical writer and philanthropist, Richard Carmichael. Born in Bishop Street, Dublin, son of Hugh Carmichael, a solicitor, and Sarah Rogers from Co Meath; he studied medicine at the nearby College of Surgeons. He founded the Irish Medical Association in 1840 and was president of it until his death. Carmichael drowned while riding his horse across the sands to his summer residence in Sutton, near Dublin, and was buried in St. George’s Churchyard, Whitworth Road.

1860 – Birth of mathematician, Alicia Boole Stott, in Co Cork. Despite never holding an academic position, she made a number of valuable contributions to the field, receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Groningen (in the Netherlands). She is best known for coining the term ‘polytope’ for a convex solid in four (or more) dimensions, and having an impressive grasp of four-dimensional geometry from a very early age.

1886 – Gladstone’s Home Rule Bill is defeated.

1905 – Brian Coffey, poet and scientist, is born in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

1926 – Birth of screenwriter, producer, and director, Kevin McClory in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. McClory was best known for adapting Ian Fleming’s James Bond character for the screen, for producing Thunderball, and for his legal battles with Fleming (later United Artists, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions).

1958 – Birth of political scientist, Louise Mary Richardson, in Tramore, Co Waterford. Richardson’s specialist field is the study of terrorism. In January 2016 she became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, having formerly served as the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, and as the executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Richardson is the author of What Terrorists Want, an account of terrorism written after the September 11 attacks. Other publications include When Allies Differ: Anglo-American Relations in the Suez and Falkland Crises, The Roots of Terrorism (ed) and Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past (co-edited with Robert Art). She has also published many journal articles, book chapters, and reviews on the subject of terrorism.

1971 – General Officer Commanding the British Army, Harry Tuzo, said that a permanent military solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland could not be achieved.

1974 – The Price sisters ended their hunger strike in Brixton Prison, England. The hunger strike had lasted six months because of a policy of force-feeding by the prison authorities.

1977 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Roy Mason, announced that the strength of the RUC would be increased by 1,200 and that of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) increased to 2,500 full-time members. He also announced that there would be more undercover activity by troops, and that the spearhead battalion would be withdrawn.

1980 – Birth of flat racing jockey, Jamie Spencer, in  Co Tipperary. He has been champion jockey in both Ireland and Britain and has won four classics, two in each country. Spencer is an advocate for the art of holding up horses late into the races, and then making use of their natural dash of speed.

1981 – Thomas McElwee began his hunger strike in the H Blocks of Long Kesh prison. He was a volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) who died on 8 August after 62 days on hunger strike.

1985 – Barry McGuigan wins the World Featherweight Boxing Title defeating Eusebio Pedroza over 15 rounds at Loftus Road soccer stadium in London. McGuigan’s father, singer Pat McGeegan sang Danny Boy prior to the fight.

1990 – Banbridge District Council introduced a form of ‘power-sharing’.

1992 – A BBC programme made a number of claims about Brian Nelson, who had operated as a British Army agent and an Ulster Defence Association (UDA) intelligence officer. The programme claimed that Nelson had been involved in 10 murders, attempted murders, or conspiracies to murder, and that his British Army controllers had known of the events. The programme further claimed that in some instances British Army intelligence had failed to pass on information about planned attacks to the RUC.

1993 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, held a meeting with James Molyneaux, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), in London. This was the start of a fresh set of bilateral talks.

1998 – The IDA and Apple Computer management continue emergency talks over the expected loss of at least 500 jobs at the American giant’s plant in Co Cork.

1998 – The fact that the newly established Police Commission in Northern Ireland did not contain any of the people nominated by the Irish government, on behalf of Nationalists in Northern Ireland, was thought to have caused considerable difficulties between the two governments. A leaked memo indicated that Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, had personally contacted the Irish government, the White House, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Sinn Féin, and other interested parties to explain her decision and to seek agreement for it. The RUC was eventually called in to try to discover the source of the leak in the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). This was one of a number of leaks in the recent pass. Seamus Mallon, deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), questioned the loyalty of the civil servants working for Mowlam.

1998 – After being nominated in six categories, Galway’s Druid Theatre wins four Tony awards for its production of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Director Garry Hynes wins best director, the first woman in the history of the Tonys to receive this honour; Marie Mullen wins best actress, Anna Manahan best supporting actress, and Tom Murphy best supporting actor.

1999 – British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, announced a series of intensive talks in a final attempt to break the deadlock in the Northern Ireland talks before the 30 June 1999 deadline.

1999 – Chairman of the Police Federation, Les Rodgers, spoke at the organisation’s annual conference. He claimed that some lawyers, academics and human rights groups were part of ‘an evil conspiracy to vilify the police force’. He also claimed that the attempt was ‘being coordinated by Sinn Féin’.

2001 – The Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland comes under fierce new pressure after big General Election victories by the Rev. Ian Paisley’s hardline Democratic Unionists.

2003 – An RTÉ spokesperson confirms that the popular Who Wants to be a Millionaire quiz show is to be axed due to lack of funding.

2004 – Catholic Primate Archbishop Sean Brady makes history by being the first Roman Catholic leader to attend the opening of the Presbyterian General Assembly in Belfast.

Image | Athenry Castle, Co Galway | Credit: Ireland of The Welcomes

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