#OTD in Irish History – 16 July:

1685 – Birth of Samuel Haliday in Omagh, Co Tyrone. Minister of Belfast First Presbyterian Church in 1720, he refuses to sign the Westminster Confession, which leads to split between Subscribing and Non-Subscribing adherents.

1803 – Irish Rebellion of 1803: Following an explosion at his arms depot on this date, Robert Emmet brings forward his planned rebellion in Dublin to 23 July.

1865 – James Owen Hannay (pseudonym George A. Birmingham; clergyman and writer) is born in Belfast.

1870 – Birth of priest and writer, Lambert McKenna, in Clontarf, Co Dublin. He was born Andrew Joseph Lambert McKenna, and studied in Europe. He collected and edited religious and folk poetry in the Irish language. Working with the Irish Texts Society, he edited the famous Contention of the bards and many anthologies of Irish bardic poetry and historical works. He was an editor of the Irish Monthly and An Timire. He also served as principal of Belvedere College.

1920 – Glencar Volunteers in Co Kerry wound two RIC men.

1922 – Free State troops take Frank Aiken, who was previously neutral, along with 3–400 of his men from the Fourth Northern Division of the Irish Republican Army, prisoner in Dundalk. Two of Aiken’s men are killed.

1929 – The Censorship of Publications Act is passed.

1958 – Birth of Michael Ryan Flatley in Chicago, IL, an Irish-American step dancer, actor, choreographer, musician and occasional television presenter. He became internationally known for Irish dance shows Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames, and Celtic Tiger.

1971 – The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) withdrew from Stormont because no inquiry had been announced into the shooting dead of Seamus Cusack and Desmond Beattie in Derry on 8 July 1971.

1972 – Two British soldiers were killed in an IRA land mine attack near Crossmaglen, Co Armagh.

1972 – An RUC officer, Robert Laverty, was shot dead by the IRA in Belfast.

1972 – A member of the youth wing of the IRA, Tobias Molloy, was killed by a rubber bullet in Strabane, Co Tyrone.

1972 – The Irish Tourist Board pulls off a major coup getting Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali to promote Ireland. Ali fought Al “Blue” Lewis 19 July in Dublin as he rebuilt his career. He recently passed away on 3 June 2016.

1974 – Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, voted, as a matter of conscience, against his own government’s contraception Bill which was defeated by 75 votes to 61. Unionists in Northern Ireland often pointed to the Republic’s position on issues such as contraception and divorce as an indication that the country was dominated by the Catholic church and was not a modern pluralistic society.

1981 – Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross paid a visit to Long Kesh Prison and met Republican prisoners to discuss the hunger strike.

1982 – A Catholic civilian, Colm Carey (28), died from loss of blood following a ‘punishment’ shooting carried out by the IRA at his home on Strabane Old Road, Gobnascale, Derry. Carey had been shot in the knee.

1982 – Lenny Murphy, who had been leader of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang known as the ‘Shankill Butchers’, was released from prison.

1986 – Rioting continued for a sixth night in areas of Belfast and Portadown, Co Armagh.

1986 – RUC figures showed that 167 RUC officers and 125 civilians had been injured since 11 July; 200 people had been arrested; 300 plastic baton rounds fired; 111 cases of reported intimidation (including 11 cases against the homes of RUC officers.

1990 – Death of educator, Robert Blackburn. Born in Co Sligo, he was an early pioneer of the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) and was instrumental in establishing the first United World College (UWC) in the early 1960s.

1991 – The Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) held a meeting in Dublin. Meetings of the AIIC had been suspended for 11 weeks to allow the political talks (later known as the Brooke/Mayhew talks) to proceed.

1994 – Almost 100 Loyalist paramilitary prisoners rioted in Crumlin Road prison, Belfast, causing extensive damage.

1995 – Members of the Orange Order picketed a Catholic Church in north Belfast as a protest following attacks on Orange Halls and Protestant businesses in the area.

1997 – Two men appeared in a Dublin court and were charged with the capital murder of Garda officer, Gerry McCabe, in June 1996.

1997 – The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP) walked out of the Stormont talks in protest at what they claimed was a lack of clarification by the British government on the issue of decommissioning.

1997 – Alistair Simpson, governor of the Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD), said that he would not talk to the Bogside Residents Group (BRG) about the forthcoming ABD parade in the city. The reason given was that one of the spokespersons for the BRG had served a sentence for paramilitary involvement.

1998 – US President Bill Clinton, made a pledge to the surviving Quinn brother, Lee (13), that he would do all he could to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

2000 – The All Party Committee on the Constitution rejects total ban on abortion.

2002 – The IRA leadership issues a statement which includes an apology for the killing of ‘non-combatants.’ Northern Ireland secretary, Dr John Reid, welcomes the gesture as one of unprecedented strength. “Sunday 21 July marks the 30th anniversary of an IRA operation in Belfast in 1972 which resulted in nine people being killed and many more injured. While it was not our intention to injure or kill non-combatants, the reality is that on this and on a number of other occasions, that was the consequence of our actions. It is therefore appropriate on the anniversary of this tragic event, that we address all of the deaths and injuries of non-combatants caused by us. We offer our sincere apologies and condolences to their families. There have been fatalities amongst combatants on all sides. We also acknowledge the grief and pain of their relatives. The future will not be found in denying collective failures and mistakes or closing minds and hearts to the plight of those who have been hurt. That includes all of the victims of the conflict, combatants and non-combatants. It will not be achieved by creating a hierarchy of victims in which some are deemed more or less worthy than others. The process of conflict resolution requires the equal acknowledgement of the grief and loss of others. On this anniversary, we are endeavouring to fulfil this responsibility to those we have hurt. The IRA is committed unequivocally to the search for freedom, justice and peace in Ireland. We remain totally committed to the peace process and to dealing with the challenges and difficulties which this presents. This includes the acceptance of past mistakes and of the hurt and pain we have caused to others.” -P O’Neill, Irish Republican Publicity Bureau, Dublin

2003 – Death of James Kelly, a former Irish Army officer who was found ‘not guilty’ (along with two former Irish ministers) of attempting to illegally import arms for the Provisional Irish Republican Army in the Arms Trial in 1970. He printed and published a personal memoir in paperback format called “Orders for the Captain?” in 1971. He was elected vice-chairman of Aontacht Éireann, a republican party. Known to family and friends as Jim Kelly, he was a native of Bailieborough in Co Cavan. Irish Army intelligence files in the National Archives of Ireland suggest that Kelly’s activities were being observed in 1974, and that he was then a suspected ‘subversive’ (i.e., acting to subvert the Republic of Ireland).

Image | Dunmore Head together with Slea Head, Co Kerry, is the westernmost point of Ireland and arguably the most western point of Europe of the European mainland plinth | Photo by JAhrensy

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