#OTD in 1994 – Northern Ireland Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Hutton, quashed the conviction of Paul Hill for the murder of a former British soldier in 1974. Hutton declared that the conviction was ‘unsafe and unsatisfactory’.

An appeals court overturned a 19-year-old murder conviction against Paul Hill, who spent nearly 15 years in prison for two IRA attacks that he insisted he never committed. The decision was the latest rebuke to the British police for mishandling high-profile terrorist cases in which innocent people have gone to jail. The court ruled that […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 21 April:

Easter Sunday 1738 – A Mr Lorimer, receiver of Sir Arthur Acheson (MP for Mullingar), is killed in a duel. 1816 – Birth of author of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, daughter of an Irish father and eldest of the three Brontë Sisters. 1871 – Birth of Labour leader and Irish nationalist, John Fitzpatrick, in Athlone, […]

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#OTD in 1969 – Bernadette Devlin was elected MP for Mid Ulster, standing as the Independent Unity candidate; at 21 years old, she was Britain’s youngest ever female MP and the third youngest MP ever.

Devlin was born in Cookstown, Co Tyrone to a Roman Catholic family. She attended St Patrick’s Girls Academy in Dungannon. She was studying Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast in 1968 when she took a prominent role in a student-led civil rights organisation, People’s Democracy. Devlin was subsequently excluded from the university. She stood unsuccessfully against […]

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#OTD in 1912 – The Titanic sank on her maiden voyage with the loss of 1,513 souls, many of them Irish; 732 would survive.

Just before midnight on 14 April, the RMS Titanic failed to divert its course from an iceberg and ruptured at least five of its hull compartments. These compartments filled with water and pulled down the bow of the ship. Because the Titanic’s compartments were not capped at the top, water from the ruptured compartments filled […]

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#OTD in 1912 – The Titanic, the world’s largest ship built at Belfast’s Harland and Wolfe, hits an iceberg at 11:40pm.

Just before midnight in the North Atlantic, the RMS Titanic failed to divert its course from an iceberg, rupturing its hull, began to sink. The Titanic was designed by the Irish shipbuilder William Pirrie and spanned 883 feet from stern to bow. Its hull was divided into 16 compartments that were presumed to be watertight. […]

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#OTD in 1939 – Birth of poet, Seamus Heaney, near Castledawson, Co Derry.

“Even if the hopes you started out with are dashed, hope has to be maintained.” –Seamus Heaney Seamus Heaney published his first poetry book in 1966, Death of a Naturalist, creating vivid portraits of rural life. Later work looked at his homeland’s civil war, and he won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature for his […]

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#OTD in 1952 – Birth of rock guitarist, Gary Moore, in Belfast.

Gary Moore was a guitar prodigy who was mentored in his teens by Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac. Green gave Moore his 1959 Les Paul Standard guitar after he left Fleetwood Mac. In Dublin, Moore joined the group Skid Row with Noel Bridgeman and Brendan “Brush” Shiels. It was with this group that he earned […]

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#OTD in 1980 – Kincora Scandal: ‘Boys suicide bids brought Kincora scandal to light’. Three staff members of the Kincora Boys Home, Belfast, were charged with acts of gross indecency.

The Kincora Boys’ Home was a boys’ home in Belfast, that was the scene of serious organised child sexual abuse, causing a scandal and attempted cover-up in 1980, with allegations of state collusion. The Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry began examining allegations relating to the Home on 31 May 2016, including claims that there […]

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#OTD in 1922 – The ‘Arnon Street Massacre’ – Belfast.

Six Catholic civilians, three in Arnon Street, were shot dead. It is believed that members of either the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) or of the RIC were responsible, acting in retaliation for the killing of an RIC officer by the IRA. Although the Irish War of Independence officially ended in July 1921, the IRA’s conflict with […]

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#OTD in 1922 – Craig-Collins Pact was signed in London. The Irish Free State formally recognised Northern Ireland government.

David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, concerned that violence in the north of Ireland would cause the collapse of the new Northern Ireland administration, organised a meeting in London between Michael Collins and Sir James Craig, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, both to try to stop the IRA violence which Collins had been tacitly encouraging […]

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