#OTD in Irish History – 15 October:

1582 – Pope Gregory reforms the calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 45BCE: 4 October is followed by 15 October. However, the reform will not be implemented in Britain and Ireland till 1752.

1690 – After taking Cork on 28 September, Marlbourough takes Kinsale for the Williamites, who now control Munster.

1763 – Birth of United Irish leader, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, at Carton House, Co Kildare.

1842 – First issue of “The Nation” published.

1858 – John L. Sullivan nicknamed ‘The Boston Strong Boy’ is born in Roxbury, Massachussetts to Irish immigrants, Michael Sullivan from Abbeydorney, Co Kerry and Catherine née Kelly from Athlone.

1922 – The Public Safety Bill comes into effect. The bill called for people to hand over their weapons in a brief amnesty, after which time the possession of arms could be punishable by execution. This led to the summary executions of captured Anti-Treaty fighters.

1922 – Directives are sent to the press by Free State director of communications, Piaras Béaslaí to the effect that; Free State troops are to be referred to as the “National Army”, the “Irish Army”, or just “troops”. The Anti-Treaty side are to called “Irregulars” and are not to be referred to as “Republicans”, “IRA”, “forces”, or “troops”, nor are the ranks of their officers allowed to be given. No letters about the treatment of Anti-Treaty prisoners are to be published. The words “attacked, commandeered and arrested” as used to describe their actions are to be replaced by, “fired at, seized and kidnapped”.

1944 – Birth of politician, David Trimble, in Bangor Co Down. He served as Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP; 1995-2005), was the first ‘First Minister’ of Northern Ireland (1998-2002), and was a Member of the British Parliament (1990-2005). He is currently a life peer for the Conservative Party. Trimble was awarded the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, along with John Hume.

1948 – Birth of musician and songwriter, Chris de Burgh, in Venado Tuerto, Argentina, to Colonel Charles Davison, a British diplomat, and Maeve Emily de Burgh, an Irish secretary. He grew up in Bargy Castle, Co Wexford and is most famous for his 1986 love song “The Lady in Red”.

1949 – Death of Eoin MacNeill, Irish historian and founder of the Irish Volunteers.

1954 – Birth of guitarist and songwriter, Gerry Cott, in Dublin. Best known as a guitarist with The Boomtown Rats. He started playing flamenco guitar when he was 11 years old. In 1966 he saw Bob Dylan performing live in Dublin and the experience influenced him radically.

1957 – Birth of comedian, Jon Kenny, in Co Limerick. He was one half of the famous Irish comic duo d’Unbelievables with Pat Shortt. They were a very successful duo until 2000, releasing One Hell of a Video, D’Unbelievables, D’Video, D’Telly, D’Mother and D’collection but the group stopped touring after Kenny was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He has since made a successful recovery and still performs shows across Ireland. Kenny is best known outside Ireland for appearing in the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted (as Michael the cinema owner in “The Passion of St Tibulus” and as presenter Fred Rickwood in “Song For Europe”).

1963 – Just months after JFK visited Ireland, Seán Lemass visits the White House.

1964 – UK general election; unionists win all 12 Northern Ireland seats; Harold Wilson forms a Labour government.

1968 – The Nationalist Party of Northern Ireland (NPNI) withdrew from its role as ‘official’ opposition within the Northern Ireland parliament at Stormont.

1971 – Two RUC officers were killed by the IRA in Belfast.

1974 – A number of huts in Long Kesh Prison were destroyed by fires which had been started by Republican prisoners. British troops were called into the prison to re-establish control. The estimated cost of damage was put at £1.5m.

1979 – The Economic and Social Research Institute, based in Dublin, published the results of an opinion poll that had been carried out between July and September 1978. One finding in the poll was that 21 per cent of people in the Republic of Ireland expressed some level of support for the IRA.

1980 – Ronnie Bunting, Protestant Irish nationalist and socialist activist, is assassinated. Several gunmen entered Bunting’s home in the Downfine Gardens area of Andersonstown, shooting Bunting, his wife Suzanne and another INLA man, Noel Lyttle. Suzanne Bunting survived, but her husband and Lyttle were killed. The attack was claimed by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) but the INLA claimed the Special Air Service were involved. Upon his death, Bunting’s body was kept in a funeral parlour on the Newtownards Road opposite the headquarters of the UDA. On the day of the funeral, as the coffin was being removed, UDA members jeered from their building. The IRSP had wanted a republican paramilitary-style funeral for Bunting but his father refused and had Bunting buried in the family plot of a Church of Ireland cemetery near Donaghadee.

1986 – The IRA issued a statement in which it said that it would support Sinn Féin in the decision to end the policy of ‘abstentionism’. This policy meant that any member of Sinn Féin elected to the Dáil would refuse to take the seat. The policy was debated by Sinn Féin at its Ard Fheis on 2 November 1986.

1988 – Jim Craig, a leading member of the Ulster Defense Association (UDA), was shot dead by members of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) in a pub in Belfast. Victor Rainey, an innocent member of the public was also shot dead and four people injured in the same incident. Craig was killed as part of an internal UDA feud.

1993 – The Equal Opportunities Unit of the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) reported that Catholics were fairly represented in most levels of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, the exception being in those posts at a senior level.

1993 – A number of workers from the Shorts factory attended a protest meeting following the killing of Joseph Reynolds on 12 October 1993. Reynolds, a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), as he walked to work at Shorts. Five other workers were also injured in the attack.

1995 – Seamus Heaney wins the Nobel Prize for literature.

1999 – Death of ‘The Singing Bobby’ – Irish tenor, Josef Locke. He was successful in the United Kingdom and Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Derry, he was the son of a butcher and cattle dealer, and one of nine children. He started singing in local churches in the Bogside at the age of seven. On 22 March 2005, a bronze memorial to Locke was unveiled outside the City Hotel on Queen’s Quay in Derry by Phil Coulter and John Hume. The memorial was designed by Terry Quigley.

2001 – Bryce Dickson, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, called for an end to the Loyalist protest at the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School in Ardoyne, north Belfast. He said that: “The treatment of these children is inhumane and their right to effective education is being affected.” Protestant parents living in north and west Belfast said that there had been increasing numbers of attacks on buses carrying pupils from the Girls’ and Boys’ Model secondary schools, Belfast Royal Academy, and Castle High School. The parents called for additional security measures to protect their children. Some parents said that they would walk their children to school if the police were unable to protect them.

2001 – Ian Paisley, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said that IRA decommissioning would only be accepted by Unionists if it was verified, permanent, and followed by the dismantling of the IRA organisational structures.

2001 – David Trimble, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), held a meeting with Richard Haass, a United States special envoy, in Washington, DC. Trimble described the meeting as “constructive”.

2001 – Palestinian President Yasser Arafat asks Ireland to use its influence on the UN Security Council to help resume peace talks in the Middle East.

2002 – Following the suspension of the Northern Ireland Government and Assembly, London resumes direct rule of Northern Ireland.

2002 – The hero of the Polish Solidarity movement, Lech Walesa, makes an impassioned plea to the Irish people to vote Yes to Nice.

Image | Maghery, Lough Neagh, Co Armagh | Northern Ireland Photography

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