#OTD in Irish History | 7 March:

1777 – Sir Philip Crampton, surgeon, is born in Dublin.

1848 – First unveiling of the Irish Tricolour by Thomas Francis Meagher at 33 the Mall in Waterford city. He was an Irish nationalist and leader of the Young Irelanders in the Rebellion of 1848.

1864 – Archbishop Paul Cullen issues a pastoral for St. Patrick’s Day denouncing Fenianism.

1915 – ‘We shall never consent to divide this island or this nation and we shall never consent to allow any section, clique, or faction to rule the people of Ireland’, Irish Parliamentary Party MP, John Dillon, said in Belfast. Mr. Dillon was speaking at a review of 800 Irish Volunteers who had marched through Belfast City from Smithfield Square and down the Falls Road to Celtic Park. Thousands of people had lined the route and cheered enthusiastically as the Volunteers passed.

1916 – Robert Monteith arrives at Munich Hospital to visit Roger Casement. They discussed the German offer of arms. Casement drew up two memorandums on how to land the arms and Monteith took these back to Berlin on 8th March. The documents he wrote suggested that Casement and two men from Zossen would land in Ireland via submarine to organise the landing of the arms.

1918 – An inquest has been held into the death of Bridget Doyle, a native of Borris, Co Carlow, whose body has been found in a lodging house in Cork alongside the dead bodies of her two new-born children. Ms Doyle, unmarried, had been employed until recent months at Coolmore House in Carrigaline. In evidence provided to the coroner, Mr Timothy West, who works as a coachman at Coolmore, confessed to having intimate relations with Ms Doyle as a result of which she had become pregnant. He claimed that he had offered to marry her, but that she had rejected him. However, Sgt Flanagan, who conducted the examination, accused Mr West of leaving this ‘fine girl’ at the ‘mercy of the world’.

1918 – The SS Kenmare, part of the fleet of the Cork Steampacket Company, was sunk without warning in Irish waters, from a torpedo fired from a German submarine. Of the crew of 35, only six have been saved. The vessel was en route from Liverpool to Cork when it was struck. Most of the crew were in their bunks asleep when they were awoken by a loud explosion that shattered the ship from end to end. It sank in less than two minutes.

1920 – Birth of novelist and children’s writer, Éilis Dillon, in Galway.

1922 – Birth of folk singer, Patrick Clancy, in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary. Best known as a member of the group The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

1922 – In Belfast, four people were shot dead (three civilians and one IRA volunteer).

1923 – Nine Republican prisoners are taken from Ballymullen Barracks in Tralee to Ballyseedy Cross, ostensibly to clear a mined road. They are then tied together around the landmine, which is then detonated by National army troops at Ballyseedy, Co Kerry.

1933 – Birth of football player, Jackie Blanchflower, in Belfast. He graduated from Manchester United’s youth system and played for the club on 117 occasions, before his career was cut short due to injuries sustained in the Munich air disaster. He was the younger brother of Danny Blanchflower, the captain of the Tottenham Hotspur side that dominated English football in the early 1960s.

1934 – The first US Ambassador to Ireland Frederick A. Sterling finishes his mission in Ireland. Sterling first presented his credentials in 1927.

1957 – Fianna Fáil returns to government winning 78 seats in the sixteenth Dáil. Fianna Fáil would win majorities in the elections of 1961, 1965, 1966. Éamon de Valera would remain as Taoiseach until 1959, when he would hand power over to Seán Lemass.

1965 – Following the liturgical changes of the Second Vatican Council, Mass in Ireland is read for the first time in the English and Irish languages.

1967 – Birth of flat jockey, Kevin Manning, in Co Kildare.

1977 – Birth of former rugby player, Ronan O’Gara, in San Diego, California. He played fly-half for both Ireland and Munster. He is Ireland’s second most-capped player (128) behind Brian O’Driscoll (133) and the fourth most-capped in rugby history. O’Gara has captained Munster and the British and Irish Lions and won four Triple Crowns with Ireland and two Heineken Cups with Munster. O’Gara scored several match-winning dropped goals for Ireland, including in the 78th minute of the Wales vs Ireland match in the 2009 Six Nations Championship to secure the Grand Slam and in the 78th minute of the Italy vs Ireland match in the 2011 Six Nations Championship, which ensured Ireland avoided a first defeat to Italy in the Six Nations.

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 entry: http://www.bobbysandstrust.com/writings/prison-diary

1983 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, announced a new anti-terrorism Bill which would have a five year clause and be subject to annual review.

1985 – In London two men were sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment for planning the 1981 bombings in the city.

1985 – The song ‘We Are the World’ receives its international release.

1989 – The IRA killed three Protestant men in Coagh, Co Tyrone.

1990 – A former Republican prisoner, Sam Marshall (31), was shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in Lurgan, Co Armagh. He, and two other Republicans, had earlier been to the RUC police station in the town to sign in as part of their bail conditions. The attack on the three men happened minutes after they had left the police station. Republicans claimed that there had been police collusion in the attack because only the men, their solicitors and the police knew of the timing of their appearance at the police station. Republicans also claimed that the men were under security force surveillance at the time of the killing, this was denied by the RUC.  On 5 March 2012 some details from an Historical Enquires Team (HET) report into the incident were released. The HET review found that at least eight armed undercover British soldiers were deployed near the killing, while their commander monitored the operation from a remote location. The armed soldiers were in six cars. When the three men left the police station, two soldiers followed them on foot and ‘partially witnessed’ the shooting. There were two plainclothed soldiers with camera equipment in the observation post at the entrance to the police station. The guns used by the UVF were never recovered but were linked through ballistic tests to three other killings and one attempted killing.

1993 – The IRA exploded a large bomb, estimated at 500 lbs, in Main Street in Bangor, Co Down. Four RUC officers were injured in the explosion. The cost of the damage was later estimated at £2 million. The blast came five days after Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, delivered a speech in the town. There was another large explosion in the same street in Bangor on 21 October 1992.

1995 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, during a visit to Washington outlined a three-point plan for the decommissioning of Irish Republican Army (IRA) weapons. Mayhew said that Sinn Féin (SF) could only enter into substantive negotiations when: there was a willingness by the IRA to “disarm progressively”; there was agreement on the method of decommissioning; and there had been a start to the process of decommissioning. These three conditions became known as the ‘Washington 3’ conditions. This statement signalled a period of deadlock over the issue of decommissioning of paramilitary weapons.

1997 – Billy Wright, a leading Loyalist figure from Portadown, was sentenced to seven years for threatening a witness. At the same trial Dale Weathered and Trevor Buchanan were sentenced to seven and eight years respectively for their part in a paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack.

1997 – The security status of Roisín McAliskey, being held in prison awaiting a decision about extradition, was reduced from High Risk Category A to Standard Risk Category A. This had the affect of ending regular strip searches of McAliskey who was then seven months pregnant.

1988 – The IRA confirmed that the three people shot dead by SAS forces in Gibraltar were members of an active service unit.

1999 – A human chain is formed around the Central Bank in Dublin to highlight the campaign to cancel unpayable Third World debt for the millennium. Over 400 people take part in the ceremony organised by Trocaire, Jubilee 2000 and the One World Network of Students in Ireland. Similar events are held in as many as 50 other countries across the world.

2002 – The PSNI announced that it had received at least 200 names of people ‘on the run’ (paramilitary fugitives). However, it was also understood that some of the names submitted to the PSNI were ones that were not known to the police. The offences for which people were being sought by the police included firearms offences, bombings and murder. Most of those seeking to return to Northern Ireland have been living in the Republic of Ireland with some in the United States, central America, and a number of other countries.

2002 – The family of Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, killed on 12 February 1989, said they were ‘insulted’ by a British government’s offer of compensation of £10,000. The British government had been ordered to pay compensation by the European Court of Human Rights because the government had failed to carry out a proper investigation into his killing. Finucane’s widow said her family had not sought compensation but had requested a full independent judicial inquiry.

2005 – Calling the story of the Irish in America ‘an important part of the history of our country’, President George W. Bush proclaims March as Irish-American Heritage Month.

2009 – Two British Army soldiers were shot dead and two more seriously injured during a gun attack at Massereene Barracks in Co Antrim. The Real IRA claimed responsibility. These were the first British military fatalities in the north of Ireland since 1997.

2016 – Death of Supreme Court judge, Adrian Hardiman. Born in Dublin, he held that position from 7 February 2000 until his death on 7 March 2016. In a tribute following his death, President Michael D. Higgins said Mr. Justice Hardiman ‘was one of the great legal minds of his generation, who was ‘always committed to the ideals of public service’. He was described as a ‘colossus of the legal world’ by Chief Justice Susan Denham.

Image | Thatched cottage | Killarney, Co Kerry

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