#OTD in Irish History – 24 September:

1661 – Faithful Tadpole is admitted as a clerical vicar choral of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

1786 – Birth of Irish passenger-car entrepreneur, Charles Bianconi, in Costa Masnaga, Italy.

1798 – United Irishman, Bartholomew Teeling, is hanged in Dublin.

1801 – James Moore O’Donell, former MP for Ratoath, is killed in a duel with Major Denis Bingham in a feud over Co. Mayo politics.

1857 – Death of Westmeath born Victoria Cross winner, John Alexander, during the Battle of Lucknow in India. Alexander had been awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery during the Crimean War. His citation reads: “On 18 June 1855 after the attack on the Redan at Sebastopol, Crimea, Alexander went out from the trenches under very heavy fire and brought in several wounded men. On 6 September, when he was with a working party in the most advanced trench, he went out under heavy fire and helped to bring in a captain who was severely wounded.”

1880 – Mayo agent, Captain Charles Boycott, was sent to a ‘moral Coventry.’ He described his plight in a letter to The Times: “…people collect in crowds upon my farm and order off all my workmen. The shopkeepers have been warned to stop all supplies to my house. My farm is public property, I can get no workmen to do anything, and my ruin is openly avowed as the object of the Land League unless I throw up everything and leave the country”.

1892 – Death of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore. Born in Ballygar, Co Galway, he was a composer and bandmaster who lived and worked in the United States after 1848. Whilst serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, Gilmore wrote the lyrics to the song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, the tune he took from an old Irish antiwar folk song, “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye”. This was published under the name Louis Lambert.

1896 – F Scott Fitzgerald was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota the son of Edward and Mary McQuillan Fitzgerald. an Irish Catholic family. Fitzgerald’s most famous work The Great Gatsby opens with:

Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;
If you can bounce high, bounce for her too,
Till she cry “Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,
I must have you!”

1918 – Sinn Féin’s preparations for a general election gathered pace.

1921 – Speaking in Dundee, Winston Churchill threatened war if the Dáil refused to accept the British offer.

1921 – During rioting in Belfast, a grenade was thrown at a loyalist mob advancing towards a nationalist area. Two were killed and over twenty injured.

1922 – The Free State evacuates its garrison at Newport, Co Mayo due to the intense guerrilla activity in the area.

1944 – Birth of poet, author, and professor, Eavan Boland in Dublin. She helped develop Arlen House, a feminist publishing company. She is currently a professor at Stanford University, where she has taught since 1996. Her work deals with the Irish national identity, and the role of women in Irish history.

1959 – Ireland’s first Ban Garda recruit – woman police-officer – is introduced to RTÉ listeners.

1966 – Birth of blogger, Stefan Molyneux, in Athlone. Molyneux’s areas of interest include anarcho-capitalism, atheism, secular ethics, right-libertarianism, cryptocurrencies, and familial relationships. He is a self-published author and has spoken at libertarian conferences and on podcasts. Molyneux formerly worked in the software industry.

1968 – Civil Rights Campaign – Derry March.

1973 – Irish Foreign Minister, Garret FitzGerald, said that the British and Irish governments had agreed on the formation of an Executive for Northern Ireland, and on the reform of the RUC, the reform of the civil service, and on the creation of a Council of Ireland.

1976 – Two Protestant civilians were shot dead by Republican paramilitaries during an attack on Crangle’s Bar, Cavehill Road, Belfast. A Catholic civilian was shot dead by Loyalists in Belfast.

1978 – Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, held a religious service in Dublin, at the Mansion House, for the first time.

1980 – Catholic Primate of Ireland, Tomás Ó Fiaich, said that he was hopeful of progress on the issue of the blanket protest at Long Kesh Prison.

1981 – Bernard Fox, then on day 32 of his hunger strike, ended his fast. Fox’s condition had deteriorated quickly.

1984 – Oliver Napier resigned as leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI). His successor was John Cushnahan.

1986 – James Molyneaux, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), called off the ‘rates’ strike that had been announced on 23 April 1986. The two leaders advised people on strike to now pay the amounts owed in full.

1994 – President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, flew to the United States for a second visit and received an enthusiastic reception. Michael Mates, a former Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Minister, also flew to the USA in an attempt to counter some of the publicity surrounding Adam’s visit.

1997 – A bomb was sent by post to the constituency office of Robert McCartney, leader of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP). The bomb was defused by the British Army. This was the second bomb that had been sent to McCartney in two months.

1997 – At the multi-party talks there was agreement over the procedures that would govern the conduct of the negotiations. This agreement on procedures took 16 months to achieve. In effect the issue of the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons was side-stepped with the parties agreeing to move to “substantive issues” on 29 September 1997. This was the first time in 70 years that Unionist parties had sat at the same talks table as Republicans.

1997 – The Independent Commission on Decommissioning was formally launched. The Commission members were: John de Chastelain, who was a co-chair of the multi-party talks and a General in the Canadian Army, Tauno Nieminen, a Brigadier in the Finnish Army, and Donal Johnson, a United States (USA) diplomat.

1998 – Garda Commissioner, Pat Byrne, admits that the Real IRA leaders who ordered the Omagh bombing will probably never be prosecuted.

1998 – First Minister David Trimble and his deputy Séamus Mallon are divided over the set-up of the Assembly’s power-sharing Executive.

1999 – The 29 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) belonging to the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) travelled to Glasgow, Scotland, to discuss the Mitchell Review of the Good Friday Agreement and political strategy. The exact location of the meeting was not revealed to the media. The arrangements for the meeting were criticised by anti-Agreement unionists.

1999 – There were claims in the Irish News that Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD), believed to be a cover name used by the IRA, had ordered nine people to leave Bessbrook in south Armagh.

2000 – Boy band Westlife makes British pop history by becoming the first act to have six consecutive number one singles.

2001 – Loyalists held a protest on the Crumlin Road, north Belfast. More than 100 protesters blocked the main road in what they said was a protest against attacks by Republicans. There was further serious rioting in north Belfast during Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday. The British Army was called to make safe an explosive device found in Newington Avenue, north Belfast, just before 11.00pm.

2001 – There were three incidents when shots were fired and a number of pipe-bombs and blast bombs were also thrown. Eight shots were fired from the Nationalist end of Hallidays Road, north Belfast, at a RUC patrol. Later in the evening approximately 15 shots were fired at a Protestant house at the end of the same street. No one was injured in during these attacks.

2001 – Unionist politicians called on the British government to review the status of the IRA ceasefire. Sinn Féin (SF) accused Loyalist paramilitaries of stoking up the recent violence. RUC officers also investigated two loud explosions at Clanchattan Street. Sinn Féin claimed that blast bombs had been thrown across the interface at Catholic owned homes. A pipe-bomb also exploded near a house at Hallidays Road. There were no reported injuries. Alan McQuillan, Assistant Chief Constable of the RUC, said the rioting was the worst that Belfast had experienced for 20 years.

2001 – A man (19) was shot in a paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim. The man was forced into a van at about 8.00pm and was taken to the Fairview area where he was shot. Another man (27) was shot in a paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack in Bangor, Co Down. The man was taken from the Kilcooley estate at about 9.30pm and driven to the Old Bangor Road where he was shot.

2006 – Death of republican politician, Michael Ferguson. Born in Lisburn, he served as a councillor on Lisburn City Council and as an MLA for Belfast West. Ferguson died from testicular cancer. He had spoken about the illness to the Belfast-based Irish News, saying “Men are neglectful of their own health and do not visit their doctors.”

2015 – Death of Judge Paul Carney. Born in Dublin, he was a judge of the Irish High Court and the presiding judge of its criminal division, the Central Criminal Court. He was regarded as a leading expert on Irish criminal law and presided over murder and rape trials since his appointment to the High Court in 1991. Carney, as the “listing judge” of the criminal division of the High Court and the only judge permanently assigned to the Central Criminal Court, heard seven out of every 10 rape cases and over half of all murder trials in the State. His views on many issues were controversial, and his insistence upon wigs being worn and titles used in public courtrooms that he was serving in resulted in his being rebuked by his superiors.

Image | Muckross Head, Co Donegal | Fiachra Mangan Photography

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