#OTD in Irish History | 3 October:

1691 – Treaty of Limerick is signed, ending the Williamite War in Ireland; the treaty allows evacuation of the Irish army to France and promises tolerance of Irish Catholics.

1750 – Death of “Captain” James MacLaine (occasionally “Maclean”, “MacLean”, or “Maclane”). He was a notorious highwayman with his accomplice William Plunkett. He was known as the “Gentleman Highwayman” as a result of his courteous behaviour during his robberies. He famously robbed Horace Walpole, and was eventually hanged at Tyburn. The film ‘Plunkett and Macleane’ was based loosely on his exploits.

1871 – Gen. John O’Neill and a small force of Fenians invade Canada at Pembina, Manitoba.

1916 – Birth of James Francis “Frank” Pantridge, in Hillsborough, Co Down. He was a physician and cardiologist from the north of Ireland who transformed emergency medicine and paramedic services with the invention of the portable defibrillator.

1961 – Ireland applies for membership of the European Economic Community on 1 August and joins UNESCO on this date.

1966 – Birth of former professional footballer and businessman, and the ex-chairman of Sunderland, Niall Quinn, in Dublin.

1968 – The proposed civil rights march in Derry was banned from the area of the city centre and the Waterside area. The banning order was issued under the Public Order Act by Home Affairs Minister, William Craig.

1971 – Death of Seán Ó Riada, founder, composer, and arranger for the Chieftains. He composed Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland). Guided by his vision, traditional music changed radically, and became accessible to a modern Irish audience, and through this traditional music, the cultural life of Ireland was invigorated.

1971 – A man was shot dead during an attack by the IRA on a British Army foot patrol.

1975 – The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was declared a ‘proscribed’ (illegal) organisation. Tiede Herrema, a Dutch industrialist living and working in Ireland, was abducted and held hostage at a house in Monasterevin, Co Kildare. On 21 October 1975, Gardaí surrounded the house and a siege began which lasted until the release of Herrema on 6 November 1975.

1979 – Birth of singer-songwriter, Danny O’Donoghue, in Dublin. Best known for being the frontman of the Irish pop band The Script and as a coach on the first two series of the television singing talent show The Voice UK.

1979 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), tried to interrupt Taoiseach and President of the European Council,  Jack Lynch, but was shouted down by other Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

1981 – IRA hunger strike called off at Long Kesh prison. Ten IRA members died during the hunger strikes. While the IRA did not win immediate concessions, in some ways it was a Pyrrhic victory for Margaret Thatcher’s government. It galvanised support and membership for the IRA and generated huge sympathy for the strikers in the United States where fund-raising was a major priority. The death of the first hunger striker, Bobby Sands, created a martyr and an iconic figure. Those Republican prisoners who had been still refusing food decided to end their hunger strike. At this stage in the protest six prisoners were on hunger strike: Hugh Carville – 34 days; James Devine – 13 days; Gerard Hodgkins – 20 days; Jackie McMullan – 48 days; John Pickering – 27 days; and Pat Sheehan – 55 days. The prisoners took their decision when it became clear that each of their families would ask for medical intervention to save their lives. Even though the hunger strike was called off it was announced on 4 October 1981 that the ‘blanket protest’ was set to continue. On 6 October 1981 James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced a series of measures which went a long way to meeting many aspects of the prisoners’ five demands. By 25 October the ‘blanket protest’ was all but over. The hunger strike of 1981 had very important and far-reaching consequences for Northern Ireland and proved to be one of the key turning points of ‘the Troubles’. In addition to the 10 Republican prisoners who had died inside Long Kesh Prison there had been an upsurge in violence outside the prison with 62 people dying as a result. The Republican movement had achieved a huge propaganda victory over the British government and had obtained a lot of international sympathy. Active and tacit support for the IRA increased in Nationalist areas. Political support for Sinn Féin was demonstrated in the two by-elections and eventually led to the emergence of SF as a significant political force in Northern Ireland. The British government’s fear that Sinn Féin would overtake the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) as the main representative of the Catholic population of Northern Ireland was a key reason for the government signing the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) on 15 November 1985.

1984 – The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons said that the loss of £77 million of public money on the De Lorean Motor Company was one “of the gravest cases of misuse of public resources in recent years”.

1987 – Dr John Alderdice was elected as leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI). He replaced John Cushnahan.

1989 – It was confirmed that the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) would, in future, be armed with plastic bullet guns for riot control.

1994 – United States National Security Adviser, Anthony Lake, announced that the US government had ended its policy prohibiting contact with Sinn Féin. On 4 October 1994, a Sinn Féin delegation met with US officials in Washington, DC.

1999 – The planned transfer of legislative powers from Westminster to the Northern Ireland Assembly did not take place because of the failure to appoint an Executive.

2000 – The death toll in storms that have raged for two days off the coast of Galway reaches 20.

2001 – Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), David Trimble, travelled to Downing Street, London, for a meeting with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The meeting had been arranged to discuss the problems in the peace process. Trimble is in favour of a “soft landing”, that is an indefinite suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly, rather than fresh Assembly elections.

2002 – Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness condemns a weekend gun attack on a bus driver in his home city of Derry which police believe was the work of the IRA.

Image | Adare, Co Limerick

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