#OTD in Irish History | 4 March:

1704 – Penal law ‘to prevent the further growth of popery’ restricts landholding rights for Catholics; gavelkind is reimposed on Catholics (unless the eldest son converts to Protestantism, in which case he inherits the whole); a ‘sacramental test’ for public office is introduced, directed mainly at Ulster Presbyterians.

1771 – John Ponsonby resigns as Speaker of the Irish parliament for political reasons; Edmond Sexton Pery is elected to replace him.

1778 – Robert Emmet, one of Ireland’s most famous revolutionaries, is born in Dublin.

1804 – Castle Hill Rebellion: Irish convicts rebel against British colonial authority in the Colony of New South Wales. The Battle of Vinegar Hill: http://youtu.be/0xgni8pHY-g

1864 – Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne and advocate of Irish independence, is born in Charleville, Co Cork.

1866 – Death of Alexander Campbell. Born in Ballymena, Co Antrim, he emigrated to the United States and became an ordained minister. He joined his father Thomas Campbell as a leader of a reform effort that is historically known as the Restoration Movement, and by some as the ‘Stone-Campbell Movement.’

1867 – Fenian national uprising begins in Ireland.

1888 – Birth of patriot and artist, Grace Gifford Plunkett, in Rathmines, Co Dublin.

1898 – Birth of soldier and film producer, Emmet Dalton (he also died on 4 March 1978). He served in the British Army in the First World War, reaching the rank of Major. However, on his return to Ireland he became one of the senior figures in the Dublin Brigade of the guerrilla Irish Republican Army which fought against British rule in Ireland. He was a close associate of Michael Collins. In the Irish Civil War he held one of the highest commands in the Pro-Treaty National Army but resigned his command before the war was over.

1902 – Ancient Order of Hibernians is revived at unity council.

1916 – Roger Casement’s letter to Richard Meyer says he has had flu for a week and that the doctors are concerned that he may get pneumonia.

1916 – First Irish Race Convention is held in New York City. Serves as immediate call for the Easter Rebellion in Dublin.

1921 – The South Leitrim Brigade of the IRA ambush a Black and Tan Convoy, at the Sheemore ambush, near Carrick on Shannon. Several casualties result, including the death of a Captain in the Bedfordshire Regiment. Black and Tans later ran amok in Carrick, burning and looting, and burned both the premises of the Leitrim Observer newspaper and the local rowing club to the ground.

1922 – IRA volunteers under Mick Mansfield seized the RIC Barracks in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

1923 – Birth of Sir Patrick Moore, broadcaster, astronomer and curate at the Armagh Observatory.

1954 – Death of Terry ‘Machine Gun’ Duggan. He was an Irish-American mobster and leader of the Chicago based mob – the Valley Gang during prohibition. Druggan was well-known throughout the Chicago area as a tough street fighter. In 1919, Terry Druggan took over the Valley Gang. Druggan was a dwarf-like little man with a hair-trigger temper and a lisp. He owned a thoroughbred racing stable and raced his horses at Chicago’s tracks, the horses draped in his family’s Celtic crest and colours.

1960 – David Jones, a self-proclaimed, ‘Living Leprechaun’, who stood at just 2ft 2in (29 cm), dealt with his ‘littleness’ by putting a lawnmower engine into a child’s pedal car. He was a regular sight as of this date as he drove about town.

1964 – Birth of politician, Brian Crowley, in Dublin. He is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the South constituency. He sits as an independent MEP after he was expelled from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party in June 2014, when he left the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group in the European Parliament and joined the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).

1971 – The first meeting of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive was held at Stormont. The headquarters and regional offices of the NIHE were to be the target of paramilitary attacks on many occasions during the Troubles.

1972 – Abercorn Restaurant bombing: A bomb exploded in a crowded restaurant in Belfast, killing two civilians and wounding 130. Many were badly maimed. The IRA did not claim responsibility for the bomb but were universally considered to have been involved.

1972 – The Stormont government refused to hand over control of law and order to Westminster.

1976 – The Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention is formally dissolved in Northern Ireland resulting in direct rule of Northern Ireland from London by the British parliament.

1976 – The Maguire Seven: Guilty in Law, innocent in Fact.

1978 – Death of General James Emmet Dalton, aged 80 (he was also born on this date). Dalton led the bombardment of the Four Courts in what effectively is the start of the Civil War, and was with Michael Collins at Béal na mBlátha when they were ambushed and Collins was killed.

1978 – Death of John Joseph Meighan. He was an Irish Clann na Talmhan politician. A farmer by profession, Meighan was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1943 general election as a Clann na Talmhan Teachta Dála (TD) for the Roscommon constituency but lost his seat in the 1944 general election. He was elected to the 5th Seanad in the 1944 Seanad election on the Labour Panel. He was re-elected to the Seanad in 1948 and 1951. In 1954 he was nominated to the Seanad by the then Taoiseach John A. Costello. He was defeated in the 1957 Seanad election.

1979 – Birth of Neil Best in Belfast. He is a rugby footballer, who attended Wellington College Belfast and played his school rugby there until he left in 1997 after upper sixth. He plays for London Scottish and has previously played on the Irish national team. He plays as a flanker.

1981 – Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him. In order to secure his status as Irish political prisoner he was willing to fast til death, an event that would earn him a place in the annals of Irish history and in the hearts and minds of Irish republicans world-wide. See Bobby Sands Trust for today’s recording: http://www.bobbysandstrust.com/writings/prison-diary 

1982 – Following the killing of Robert Bradford on 14 November 1981 there was a  by–election in the constituency of South Belfast to fill the vacant Westminster seat. Martin Smyth, head of the Orange Order, won the election as a Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) candidate.

1982 – Gerard Tuite, a member of the IRA, was arrested in the Republic of Ireland following a period ‘on the run’. Tuite became the first person to be charged in the Republic for offences committed in Britain. He had escaped from Brixton Prison in London on 16 December 1980 where he had been serving a sentence for bombing offences in London in 1978. He was sentenced in July 1982 to 10 years imprisonment.

1986 – Death of Edward MacLysaght. He was one of the foremost genealogists of twentieth century Ireland. His numerous books on Irish surnames built upon the work of Patrick Woulfe’s Irish Names and Surnames (1923) and made him well-known to all those researching their family past.

1986 – James Molyneaux, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), issued a joint statement which condemned the violence and the intimidation during the ‘Day of Action’ (3 March 1986).

1990 – Birth of Paddy Madden in Dublin. He is a footballer who plays as a striker for Football League One club Scunthorpe United.

1991 – Councillors in Belfast City Council voted by 21 to 19 to end the ban on visits by government ministers. The first visit by a government minister since the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) took place on 25 March 1991.

1993 – U2 ties with REM as ‘best band’ in a Rolling Stones magazine reader’s poll.

1994 – Death of philosopher and logician, George Edward Hughes. Born in Co Waterford, his principal scholarly works were concerned with modal logic and medieval philosophy.

1994 – Chief Constable of the RUC, Hugh Annesley, was subpoenaed to produce the Stalker report in order to assist the ‘shoot to kill’ inquest.

1996 – Launch of a period of intensive consultations between the Northern Ireland political parties at Stormont. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) refused to join these ‘proximity’ talks. Sinn Féin (SF) were refused entry to the talks.

1996 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, and Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dick Spring, met a number of the other parties.

1997 – RTÉ programme Prime Time claimed that President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, had indicated that Sinn Féin was ‘behind’ some of the residents groups that were opposing Orange Order parades. Adams was alleged to have made the comments at a Republican conference in Athboy, Co Meath on 23 November 1996. Sinn Féin denied the claims.

1998 – The impact of the double killing in the village of Poyntzpass, Co Armagh, on 3 March 1998 continued to be felt across Northern Ireland. In a rare show of unity David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Seamus Mallon, Deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, walked through the village together to pay their respect to the families of those killed and to condemn the killings.

1998 – Leaders of the main Churches in Ireland issued a strong condemnation of the violence that had escalated since 27 December 1997.

1998 – The British government issued a discussion paper on the future of policing in Northern Ireland. John McDonnell, a Labour Member of Parliament (MP), said that the Irish in Britain should be treated as a separate ethnic category in the census in 2001.

1999 – Final details of four new British-Irish treaties were agreed between Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, and First Minister Designate David Trimble. The treaties provided for the establishment, in principle, of North-South bodies and other institutions in the Good Friday Agreement. The principal treaty would establish the six North-South implementation bodies that had been agreed before Christmas. The other one-page treaties allowed for the setting up of the North-South ministerial council, the British-Irish council and the new British-Irish inter-governmental conference. The treaties were signed by the two governments on 8 March 1999.

1999 – British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, called on the IRA to begin handing over its weapons before Sinn Féin joined an Executive Committee. An opinion poll commissioned by the BBC and Price Waterhouse Coopers indicated that, of those asked, only 41 per cent of Unionists now supported the Good Friday Agreement.

2001 – A car bomb exploded outside BBC Television Centre in west London at 12.30am. A warning had been received at 11.20pm on Saturday evening. The bomb exploded as bomb squad officers tried to carry out a controlled explosion on a taxi left near the Television Centre. One man was injured in the explosion and there was some damage to surrounding buildings. The bomb was thought to have been planted by the rIRA. There was speculation that the bomb was in retaliation for last year’s Panorama programme which named four men allegedly responsible for the Omagh bombing.

2001 – 300 sheep are destroyed and eight Irish farms are cordoned off as a precaution against foot and mouth disease. Despite 69 confirmed cases in Britain and one in the North, there is still no case of the disease in the Republic.

2001 – The world’s largest car ferry arrives in Dublin Port. The £80 million Ulysses sailed from Finland following her construction for Irish Ferries. Once she has completed final sea trials the vessel will go into service on the Dublin-Holyhead route.

2001 – After being left to rot for the last 22 years, the boat made famous for smuggling arms to the Irish Volunteers in 1914, the Asgard, is released from Kilmainham Gaol and moved to the Docklands where restoration, estimated to cost over £1 million, will take place.

2001 – BBC bombing: A massive car bomb explodes in front of the BBC Television Centre in London, seriously injuring one person. The attack was attributed to the Real IRA.

2002 – Fears of chaos around the country’s schools prove to be unfounded as 2,500 non-teachers begin supervision and substitution duties in more than 600 schools.

2002 – The Belfast Telegraph reported on a paper entitled Post Mortem by Michael McKeown. The paper (which was circulated privately) was a study of the motives behind the killings that occurred during the conflict. McKeown used eight general categories, ranging from ‘counter insurgency’ to ‘economic sabotage’, and applied one to each of the more than 3,600 deaths that occurred after 1969. His figures showed that 31.19 per cent of the deaths were attributable to attacks on security forces and most of these were carried out by Republican paramilitaries; 26.91 per cent were the result of sectarian attacks with the majority carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries; 18.52 per cent of killings were ‘punitive’ attacks – killings carried out by paramilitaries to intimidate their own communities or protect rackets. ‘Counter insurgency’ killings accounted for 7.15 per cent of the deaths.

2003 – The North’s assembly elections look set to be delayed for weeks following failure to reach an early agreement on a deal to restore the power-sharing government.

2008 – The Rev Ian Paisley signals the end of an era by announcing he will step down as leader of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing administration and the Democratic Unionist Party. The news represents a huge moment in the politics and recent history of Northern Ireland, removing from the scene as it does one of its most striking figures.

2016 – A prison officer (Adrian Ismay) died from a heart attack in a hospital. He had been seriously wounded by a booby-trap bomb which detonated under his van on Hillsborough Drive, East Belfast 11 days earlier. These wounds were directly responsible for the heart attack that killed him. The “New IRA” claimed responsibility and said it was a response to the alleged mistreatment of republican prisoners at Maghaberry Prison. It added that the officer was targeted because he trained prison officers at Maghaberry.

Image | Ballyness Bay, Falcarragh, Co Donegal | Gareth Wray Photography

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