#OTD in Irish History – 1 September (Meán Fómhair):

1737 – Launch of the Belfast News Letter, now the oldest surviving newspaper in Ireland or Britain, and one of the oldest in the world.

1729 – Death of dramatist, essayist and publisher Sir Richard Steele, the Dubliner who founded The Tatler and The Spectator.

1789 – Marguerite Power Farmer Gardiner, Countess of Blessington; author, is born near Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

1814 – Birth of James O’Flanagan, author, in Fermoy, Co Cork.

1830 – The “Wild Colonial Boy” is shot dead in a gun battle with police at Cambelltown, Sydney. Contrary to the popular song, “The Wild Colonial Boy” was John Donohue, transported from Ireland in 1824.

1831 – Dublin Zoo opened.

1856 – Birth of Irish Nationalist Party leader John Redmond in Ballytrent, Co Wexford.

1861 – The 10th Tennessee Infantry Regiment enters Confederate service. Company D was known as the Rebel Sons of Erin because so many of them were Irish. The regiment was led by Randall McGavock whose parents had emigrated from Ireland in the 1820s. McGavock features strongly in the memoirs of Galway born Patrick Griffin, who entered service as a seventeen year old and was a loyal aide and friend to McGavock. Song of The Irish Brigade: http://youtu.be/aWB7_o6x6DA

1864 – Roger Casement, British consular official and Irish nationalist, is born in Sandycove, Co Dublin.

1870 – Isaac Butt founds the Home Government Association; Home Rule is now the objective of constitutional nationalists.

1913 – Protest by locked-out workers leads to serious riots in Dublin. Shops are looted and attempts made to tear up tram lines.

1920 – Two RIC men were killed in an ambush by East Mayo and South Sligo IRA brigades, at Ratra near Frenchpark, Co Roscommon. One volunteer died in the action; Black and Tans mutilated his body and dragged it through the streets of Ballaghaderreen.

1922 – A civilian, Livingstone Cooke, is shot dead by gunmen thought to be anti-Treaty IRA men, at Old Blackrock Road, Cork City.

1949 – Birth of politician, Alasdair McDonnell, in Cushendall, Co Antrim. He is a member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and was the Member of Parliament for Belfast South from 2005–2017. He was also a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland for Belfast South from 1998 until 2015. He was Leader of the SDLP from 2011–15.

1971 – A number of Loyalist Defence Associations came together and formed the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The UDA was to quickly become the largest of the Loyalist paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland. The smaller Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), which was responsible for many sectarian killings, was considered a cover name for the UDA. Indeed, the UDA was a legal organisation between 1971 and 11 August 1992 when it was finally proscribed.

1971 – The IRA exploded a series of bombs across Northern Ireland injuring a number of people.

1975 – Five Protestant civilians (all Orangemen) were killed and seven were wounded in a gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall near Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh. One of the Orangemen was an off-duty RUC officer, who returned fire. The attack was claimed by the South Armagh Republican Action Force (SARAF), who said it was retaliation for “the assassinations of fellow Catholics in Belfast”.

1976 – Blanket protests began in Long Kesh prison, in protest at the end of special category status. The term ‘blanket protest’ comes from the protesters refusal to wear prison uniforms, instead wrapping blankets around themselves.

1981 – Northern Ireland’s first religiously integrated secondary school, Lagan College, opened. The integrated school movement was mainly driven by the desire of parents to have schools which would provide the opportunity for greater cross community contact amongst young people.

1982 – The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) shot and wounded Billy Dickson, a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) member of Belfast City Council.

1982 – A new Department of Economic Development was formed when the merger took place between the Departments of Commerce and Manpower.

1982 – During September unemployment in Northern Ireland increased to 22.3 per cent of the workforce.

1991 – A delegation of politicians from the United States arrived in Northern Ireland for a fact-finding visit. Tom Foley, Democrat Party member and Speaker of the House of Representatives, led the delegation. Foley called on Americans not to provide financial support for NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee). Foley also refused to meet representatives of Sinn Féin until it had renounced the use of violence.

1994 – A Catholic civilian, John O’Hanlon (32), was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). He was killed outside a friend’s home in Skegoneill Avenue, Skegoneill, north Belfast.

1995 – An IRA spokesperson was reported to have said: “There is absolutely no question of any IRA decommissioning at all, either through the back door or the front door”. The first act of decommissioning by the IRA happened on 23 October 2001.

1996 – Billy Wright, a leading Loyalist who had been ordered to leave Northern Ireland by the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) on 28 August 1996, addressed a group of supporters at midnight; the time of the deadline set by the CLMC. A bomb was thrown through the window of the home of Alex Kerr’s parents (Alex Kerr was also under threat from the CLMC but was in police custody at the time of the attack). There were no injuries as a result of the bombing.

1996 – A series of Orange marches were rerouted in Dunloy, Newry, lower Ormeau Road, Pomeroy, and Strabane.

1997 – Relatives of three men that were shot dead on 13 January 1990 by undercover soldiers walked out of an inquest in Belfast in protest at the “restricted scope” of the inquiry. The three men, Edward Hale (25), John McNeill (43), and Peter Thompson (23), all Catholic civilians, were shot dead during an attempted robbery at Sean Graham’s bookmaker’s shop at the junction of Whiterock Road and Falls Road, Belfast.

1997 – David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), held a meeting in Armagh with leaders of the Catholic Church. The meeting was part of a consultation process that the UUP engaged in to determine whether or not to take part in the Stormont talks. Trimble said later that the UUP would not meet Sinn Féin (SF) face-to-face.

1997 – It was announced that the new head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland would be John Semple.

1998 – President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, announced in a statement that: “Sinn Féin believe the violence we have seen must be for all of us now a thing of the past, over, done with and gone.” David Trimble in his role as First Minister Designate, invited Gerry Adams to a round-table meeting. These developments came in advance of the arrival of President of the United States, Bill Clinton, on a visit to Northern Ireland on 3 September 1998.

1998 – In an interview the IRA said that it would not decommission its weapons and claimed that Unionists were using the issue to try to re-negotiate the Good Friday Agreement. The interview was given to ‘An Phoblacht/Republican News’ and was published in full on 3 September 1998. In addition, the IRA said that it would do all in its power to help the relatives of people who had disappeared during the conflict. John Bruton, leader of Fine Gael (FG), said the statement by the IRA on decommissioning made it unthinkable that politicians associated with it could take part in an Executive.

1998 – The Garda Síochána established a special unit to investigate malicious calls to the families of two young Buncrana boys killed in the Omagh bombing.

1999 – Van Morrison becomes the first inductee to The Hot Press Irish Music Hall of Fame.

1999 – Five-year-old triplets Jake, Melissa and Denis Doherty from Knockanes, Headford, Co Kerry, arrive for their first day at school in Knockanes National School.

2000 – The number of people out of work falls to an 18-year low.

2000 – The resumption of normal train services to Westport, Co Mayo is celebrated with a platform party. Bemused but delighted passengers are greeted with delicacies and glasses of champagne laid on by the local Atlantic Coast Hotel, one of hundreds of establishments in the Mayo region hit financially by the 10 week rail stoppage.

2001 – The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) held a meeting of its 120 member executive to decide its response to the ‘Patten Report – Updated Implementation Plan 2001’ that was issued on 17 August 2001. The meeting unanimously supported a motion outlining: “the leader’s determination to resolve satisfactorily with the Secretary of State a number of fundamental issues regarding the Policing Board and the police implementation plan before any further decision is given by the Ulster Unionist Party to nominating members to the Policing Board”.

2001 – In an interview with the BBC David Ervine, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), suggested that individual members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) may have been responsible for the attempted car bomb attack on the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, Co Antrim, on 28 August 2001.

2002 – Hugh Orde, Northern Ireland’s new chief constable vows to crack down on paramilitary “godfathers” who have orchestrated a series of unsolved sectarian murders.

Image | Benevenagh Mountain, Co Derry | Hibernia Landscapes by Stephen Wallace

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