#OTD in Irish History – 4 November:

1802 – Birth of novelist, Lady Rosina Lytton, née Wheeler, in Co Limerick.

1884 – Birth of engineer, inventor, and pioneer of the modern tractor, Harry Ferguson, in Hillsborough, Co Down.

1908 – Six women meet at the home of women’s activists Hanna and Francis Sheehy-Skeffington to establish the Irish Women’s Franchise League.

1920 – Black and Tans burned the businesses of Sinn Féin sympathisers in Tralee.

1922 – Ernie O’Malley, Anti-Treaty IRA commander in Dublin, is captured following a shoot out with Free State soldiers on Ailesbury road in Donnybrook. O’Malley is hit over 20 times, but survives. He kills a National Army soldier in the gun fight.

1922 – Two Free State soldiers are killed by a land mine and gun attack on a patrol near Dundalk. Another two are killed in Kerry.

1922 – Skirmish between National Army and Republican troops who attack military posts in two villages, Enniskean and Ballineen in West Cork. Five Free State soldiers are injured, two fatally. Republican losses are at least two dead; a section commander, Tadhg O’Leary, and a volunteer, both IRA West Cork Brigade

1927 – Birth of comedian, Hal Roach, in Co Waterford.

1932 – Birth of Tommy Makem. He was an internationally celebrated Irish folk musician, artist, poet and storyteller. He was best known as a member of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. He played the long-necked 5-string banjo, guitar, tin whistle, and bagpipes, and sang in a distinctive baritone. He was sometimes known as “The Bard of Armagh” (taken from a traditional song of the same name) and “The Godfather of Irish Music”.

1944 – Death of Al Smith. In 1928, Alfred Emanuel “Al” Smith was the first Catholic to represent any of the major political parties in a presidential election. Smith’s grandmother hailed from Co Westmeath. Smith grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a melting pot that included Irish, Germans, French, Polish, Italian emigrants. Smith was known as a “man of the people” and is memorialised as such by The Alfred E Smith Foundation, founded by Francis Cardinal Spellman. Today it is a significant fund raiser for charity. Each election year, presidential candidates are expected to attend, make witty remarks and profound commentary about Smith.

1951 – Debut of the Wexford Opera Festival.

1968 – Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Terence O’Neill, together with Home Affairs Minister, William Craig, and Minister of Commerce, Brian Faulkner, met in Downing Street, London, with British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and British Home Secretary, James Callaghan, for talks about the situation in Northern Ireland. The British Prime Minister stated that there would be no change in the constitutional position of Northern Ireland without the consent of the Northern Ireland population. Wilson is believed to have pressed O’Neill to introduce urgent reforms. A reforms package was announced on 22 November 1968.

1971 – Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Brian Faulkner, went to London for a meeting with Leader of the Labour Party, Harold Wilson, and shadow British Home Secretary, James Callaghan.

1974 – IRA Coach Bomb Conviction of Judith Ward. Her conviction was quashed in 1992 and she was subsequently released. This was one of a series of miscarriages of justice during the latter half of the 20th century.

1975 – Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, announced that anyone convicted of terrorist crimes committed after 1 March 1976 would not be accorded special category status.

1978 – The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) annual conference voted that British withdrawal was ‘desirable and inevitable’. The party also called for fresh talks between the British and Irish governments and representatives of the two communities in Northern Ireland.

1982 – The Irish coalition government was defeated in a vote of confidence in the Dáil.

1983 – The IRA planted a bomb in a lecture room of the Ulster Polytechnic at Jordanstown, Co Antrim. The bomb was targeted at a lecture to members of the RUC and killed two officers and injured a further 33. Another officer died from his injuries on 13 August 1984.

1984 – In an article in the Sunday Press, it was claimed that British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, had twice asked her advisors to produce assessments on the possibility of repartition, redrawing the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

1986 – It was revealed that British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, had written to Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald, and rejected suggestions by the Irish government that Diplock courts in Northern Ireland should be heard by three judges instead of one.

1992 – The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) offered to extend 100 per cent capital funding to Catholic (maintained) schools.

1998 – The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) revealed that there had been an estimated 1,000 punishment attacks since September 1994. A British Army Review Board decided that the two Scots Guards, who had been convicted of the murder of Peter McBride (18), a Catholic civilian, in Belfast on 4 September 1992, could rejoin their regiment.

2001 – Riverdeep founder, Pat McDonagh, is named Ireland’s wealthiest businessman by the Sunday Times.

2001 – The RUC was replaced by the PSNI. The powers of the new Northern Ireland Policing Board took effect. The first batch of the 308 recruits to the PSNI, recruited on the basis of 50 per cent Catholic and 50 per cent Protestant, began their training. The Patten report containing recommendations for the police service in Northern Ireland was published in September 1999 and an ‘Updated Implementation Plan 2001’ was published on 17 August 2001. The report called for sweeping changes to the RUC’s name, badge, structure, ethos, and recruitment procedures.

2002 – Delivery of up to a half million letters grounds to a halt with the 24-hour closure of sorting facilities.

2002 – Sonia O’Sullivan finishes 12th in NYC marathon.

2002 – King of skiffle, Lonnie Donegan, dies after collapsing midway through a UK tour.

2002 – Gerry Adams and David Trimble hold a face to face meeting at Stormont in an attempt to break the deadlock in the peace process.

2019 – Death of Broadcaster Gay Byrne, the host of RTÉ’s The Late Late Show for almost four decades and one of the country’s best-known broadcasters, aged 85.

Image | Dunguaire Castle, Kinvarra, Co Galway

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