#OTD in Irish History – 23 September:

1586 – At the Battle of Ardnaree in Co Mayo, Sir Richard Bingham, governor of Connacht, surprises a force of redshanks (Scottish mercenary light infantrymen) engaged by the Burkes of Mayo; 1,000 redshanks and 1,000 camp followers are killed. Bingham hangs the leaders of the Burkes.

1922 – Anti-Treaty fighter Michael Neville, is taken from work in Dublin and found shot dead at Killester Cemetery by Pro-Treaty forces.

1922 – Two Free State soldiers are killed in two separate ambushes in Kerry.

1922 – The Anti-Treaty IRA mounts three attacks in Dublin. In Drumcondra, 10 civilians are wounded by a grenade thrown at an Army lorry. On Eden Quay, one soldier is killed and three wounded along with four civilians wounded in a gun and grenade attack. On Merchant’s Quay, a civilian is killed in another grenade attack.

1930 – Birth of actor, Colin Blakely, in Bangor, Co Down. He was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for the Academy Award-nominated film Equus. At 18 he started work in his family’s sports goods shop, before going on to work as a timber-loader on the railways. In 1957, after a spell of amateur dramatics with the Bangor Drama Club, he turned professional with the Group Theatre, Belfast.

1970 – Sir Arthur Young announces his resignation as Chief Constable of the RUC.

1973 – A British soldier was killed when trying to defuse a bomb which had been planted by the IRA in Birmingham.

1982 – Chief Constable of the RUC, John Hermon, said that the IRA and the INLA were both “reeling” from the evidence given by informers (called ‘supergrass’ by the media) and the subsequent arrests.

1983 – The Fair Employment Agency (FEA) said that it would monitor recruitment policy at Short Brothers aircraft factory in Belfast following allegations of an anti-Catholic bias in the organisation.

1986 – Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillors held separate meetings and decided to continue the protests in council chambers against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). However they decided against mass resignations.

1990 – The IRA shot and killed an off-duty Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldier at Oxford Island, Lough Neagh, Co Armagh. This shooting was the first in a series of fresh killings. On 6 October 1990 a Catholic man was shot dead by the Protestant Action Force (PAF) at the same location.

1992 – The PIRA exploded a 2000 lb bomb at the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory in South Belfast. The laboratory was obliterated, seven hundred houses were damaged, and 20 people were injured. The explosion could be heard from over 16 km away. It was one of the largest bombs to be detonated during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The cost of repairs was estimated at £6 million.

1993 – The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) held a meeting with Michael Ancram, then Political Development Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), to discuss the possibility of future political talks. The Campaign for Labour Representation in Northern Ireland (CLRNI), which was established in 1977 to try to persuade the British Labour Party to stand for elections in Northern Ireland, was dissolved without achieving its central aim.

1994 – British Prime Minister, John Major, said in an interview on BBC radio that “exploratory talks” between British officials and Sinn Féin (SF) could start by Christmas. He added that this would depend whether or not Republicans intended to give up violence for good.

1994 – The United States granted another visa to President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, to allow him to make a second trip to America on 24 September 1994.

1995 – Taoiseach John Bruton, met with British Prime Minister, John Major, at a European Union meeting in Majorca.

1996 – IRA Volunteer, Diarmuid O’Neill (21), was shot dead in raids by security service personnel. In the security operation several people were arrested and bomb-making material recovered. Ten tonnes of home-made explosives, two pounds of Semtex, rifles and other bomb equipment were recovered. Initial reports of the arrest operation suggested that there had been a ‘shoot-out’ but it was later revealed that Mr O’Neill was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

1997 – The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) sat in the same room as Sinn Féin (SF) during a plenary session of the multi-party talks at Stormont, Belfast. The UUP proposed a motion to have SF removed following an indication by the IRA on 11 September 1997 that it had some difficulties with aspects of the Mitchell Principles, however the motion was defeated. William Thompson, a UUP Member of Parliament (MP), threatened to resign because of leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), David Trimble’s, decision to enter the talks at Stormont.

1997 – The BBC screened a programme called Provos: Born Again which alleged that President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, had been a senior member of the IRA.

1998 – There was disagreement between President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, and First Minister designate, David Trimble, over the issue of decommissioning.

1999 – Bob Geldof, Bono and other members of an international lobby group meet with Pope John Paul II to discuss the cancellation of third world debt repayments.

1999 – Sinn Féin published its submission to the Mitchell Review of the Good Friday Agreement.

2001 – Kevin Boland, who resigned from the Fianna Fáil Government during the 1970 Arms Crisis, dies after a short illness. He was the son of Gerald Boland, a 1916 veteran, confidant of Éamon de Valera, and long-time FF government minister; his uncle was the celebrated War of Independence hero, Harry Boland.

2001 – It was reported that members of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee met in Dundalk, Co Louth, to discuss the political situation in Ireland following the attacks in America on 11 September 2001. Some commentators believed that the Committee had political links with the “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA) but this has been denied by both organisations. There was media speculation that the rIRA may be considering a ceasefire following the attacks in America.

2002 – The Listowel Races in Co Kerry begin. For the first year in its history, which dates to 1858, it will be a seven-day meeting.

Image | Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary | © Miguel Diaz Photography

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