#OTD in Irish History – 15 June:

1555 – After Henry VIII suppresses the Chapter of St Patrick’s Cathedral it is restored on this date.

1698 – Count George de Browne, governor of Livonia, Latvia, and field marshal in the Russian army, is born in Camas, Co Limerick.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: The Rebel’s main division marches to Mountpleasant.

1828 – Birth of Sir Thomas Newenhan Deane, architect, in Dundanion, Co Cork.

1866 – Birth of composer and teacher, Charles Wood in Co Armagh. Wood notably co-edited three books of carols, wrote eight string quartets, and was co-founder (in 1904) of the Irish Folk Song Society.

1902 – Birth of cartoonist, Charles Edward Kelly in Dublin. Kelly was one of the founders and editors of the satirical magazine Dublin Opinion. His prolific contributions to the magazine were drawn in a variety of styles, from cartoony to illustrative.

1919 – Pioneer Atlantic airmen Alcock and Brown land at Clifden, Co Galway and complete the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight.

1920 – Percival Lea-Wilson, a District Inspector in the RIC who was stationed at Gorey was shot dead by the IRA outside his Gorey home on 15 June 1920, on the orders of Michael Collins.

1921 – Members of the East Clare Brigade IRA were ambushed by British soldiers at Woodcock Hill, Meelick while they were attempting to raid the Limerick to Ennis train. Captain Christopher McCarthy of the IRA was wounded during the ambush and his comrade Captain Michael Gleeson returned under fire to rescue McCarthy. Both men were subsequently captured by British soldiers and killed. This event has since been known as The Meelick Ambush.

1961 – Birth of former professional boxer, Dave McAuley, in Larne, Co Antrim. During his professional career he held the IBF world title in the Flyweight category. He was arguably Ireland’s greatest ever Flyweight.

1967 – Black Velvet Band by Johnny Kelly and the Capitol showband reaches no. 1 in the Irish charts.

1969 – The Campaign for Social Justice published a second edition of ‘Northern Ireland The Plain Truth’, which set out the allegations of discrimination against Catholics by Unionists in the region.

1972 – Representatives of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) met William Whitelaw, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in London and presented the IRA conditions for a meeting. Whitelaw accepted the proposals. The IRA made an announcement about the proposed ceasefire on Thursday 22 June 1972.

1979 – The memorial statue to James Larkin on O’Connell Street, Dublin is unveiled. Larkin, a revolutionary socialist, dominated the Irish Trade Union movement. G. B. Shaw once described him as ‘the greatest Irishman since Parnell’.

1981 – Sinn Féin issued a statement to say that a Republican prisoner would join the hunger strike every week. This was seen as a stepping-up of the hunger strike. Paddy Quinn, then an IRA prisoner joined the strike.

1982 – Actor Neil Fitzgerald dies at 90, in Princeton NJ.

1982 – The Falkland Islands were recaptured by British forces. This brought an end to the Falkands War.

1984 – A member of the INLA and a RUC officer were killed in an exchange of gunfire after the RUC surrounded a house in Lenadoon Avenue, Belfast.

1987 – Tom King was reappointed as Secretary for State for Northern Ireland. Nicholas Scott, formerly the Minister for State at the Northern Ireland Office, was replaced by John Stanley.

1988 – An IRA bomb in Lisburn killed six off-duty British Army soldiers.

1989 – Actor, Ray McAlly, dies in Dublin at 63.

1991 – (Sir) Ninian Stephen, an Australian High Court judge and a former Governor-General of Australia, was named as the independent chairman for the strand of the forthcoming talks (later known as the Brooke/Mayhew talks) involving relationships between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

1993 – The Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR) argued for changes to the way in which the House of Commons dealt with legislation on Northern Ireland matters. Following the introduction of Direct Rule the region was governed under a Temporary Provisions Act, and Northern Ireland legislation was introduce by way of ‘Orders in Council’. The main criticism of this procedure was that the legislation could not be amended in the House of Commons.

1994 – Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, sent a letter containing ‘clarification’ of the Downing Street Declaration to Gary McMichael, leader of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP). The letter stated: ‘We do not seek to impose constitutional change by stealth or coercion, whether it be a united Ireland, or joint sovereignty or joint authority. What we seek is a new accommodation between the two traditions on this island …’ (Belfast Telegraph, 24 June 1994).

1996 – Manchester bombing: After a telephoned warning, the PIRA exploded a bomb in Manchester, England. It destroyed a large part of the city centre and injured over 200 people. To date, it is the largest bomb to be detonated on the British mainland since the Second World War.

1988 – Lisburn van bombing: Six off-duty British Army soldiers were killed by a PIRA bomb attached to their van in Lisburn. The bomb was made in such a way so as to ensure it exploded upwards, lowering the risk of collateral damage.

1998 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern dines at Cardiff Castle as European Union heads of government celebrate the launch of “the people’s Europe”. Mr. Ahern is given a place of honour on the left of Queen Elizabeth II.

1999 – In a keynote speech at Stranmillis College in Belfast, British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said the governments would ‘have to look for another way forward’ if the devolution deadline were missed. Blair also invited Portadown Orangemen and representatives of the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition (GRRC) to new talks at Stormont in a further attempt to resolve the dispute surrounding the Drumcree parade planned for 4 July 1999.

1999 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, said the Irish and British governments would ‘set aside’ the Good Friday Agreement and seek alternative means of political progress if a breakthrough was not made by 30 June 1999. Ahern told the Dáil the decommissioning issue had now been ‘debated to death’.

2003 – The total ban on smoking in pubs will definitely not go ahead on 1 January next, the country’s leading publicans’ representative confidently predict.

2003 – According to a new international survey, Irish women are far more likely to be better educated than their male counterparts. The study based on joint UNESCO, OECD and EU data shows over 93% of 18-year-old females in Ireland are in continuing education, while only 66% of males are still in school or college.

2010 – David Cameron issues a formal, state apology for the “unjustified and unjustifiable” killing of 14 civil rights marchers by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972. The prime minister said Lord Saville inquiry’s long-awaited report showed soldiers lied about their involvement in the killings, and that all of those who died were innocent.

Image | Murlough Bay, Co Antrim | Credit: Marius Kastečkas

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