23rd October – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

 23rd Octobe

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Friday 23 October 1970

Charles Haughey, and two others were found not guilty of illegal arms importation by a Dublin jury. The ‘Arms Trial’ had begun on 28 May 1970. Neil Blaney, a co-accused, had been found not guilty on 2 July 1970.

Saturday 23 October 1971

Funeral of Mrs Maura Meehan 31

Two female members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Maura Meehan (30) and Dorothy Maguire (19), were shot dead by the British Army (BA) in the Lower Falls area of Belfast. The two women had been travelling the area warning people of British Army raids on houses.

[The two women were the first members of Cumann na mBan to die in the conflict.] Three Catholic civilians, Sean Ruddy (28), James McLaughlin (26) and Robert Anderson (26), were shot dead by the British Army during an attempted robbery in Newry, County Down.

Tuesday 23 October 1973

The Standing Committee of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) voted by 132 to 105 to support a policy which would allow UUP members to take part in any future power-sharing executive.

[While Brian Faulkner, then leader of the UUP expressed his public pleasure at the result, the narrowness of the victory was an indication of deep divisions within the UUP.]

Thursday 23 October 1975

Two Catholic civilians, Peter McKearney (63) and his wife Jane McKearney (58), were shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at their home near Moy, County Tyrone.

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted a bomb on a car outside the home of Hugh Fraser, then a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP). A person passing the car was killed when the bomb exploded prematurely.

Monday 23 October 1978 [ Hunger Strike. ]

Friday 23 October 1981

Ulster Unionist Party conference took place over two days (23 – 24 October 1981). [ Political Developments.]

Friday 23 October 1987

Sinn Féin (SF) gained by-election victories in elections to Belfast City Council.

Tuesday 23 October 1990

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) shot and killed a Protestant taxi driver, William Aitken, in Belfast.

Saturday 23 October 1993

Shankill Road Bombing

See Shankill Bomb

See Greysteel

Ten people were killed when a bomb being planted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded prematurely as it was being planted in a fish shop on the Shankill Road, Belfast. With the exception of one of the bombers who was also killed, the rest of those who died were Protestant civilians. The bombing represented the greatest loss of life in Northern Ireland in a single incident since the Enniskillen bombing on 8 November 1987.

A further 57 people were injured in the attack. There was a wave of condemnations of the attack. Loyalist paramilitaries reacted immediately shooting two Catholic men one of whom died later from his wounds.

[Over the next week Loyalist paramilitaries killed a total of 12 Catholic civilians. The IRA later claimed that the intended target of the bomb was a meeting of Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) members that was believed to be taking place in the former Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office above the fish shop.]

It was announced that the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) meeting planned for 27 October would be postponed as a mark of respect following the Shankill Road bombing. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in Belfast City Council decided not to engage with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) until the Hume-Adams Initiative had ended.

Sunday 23 October 1994

Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), who was on a visit to London, stated that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) could end its ceasefire if a satisfactory outcome was not produced by the peace process.

Monday 23 October 1995

Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), travelled to Belfast for talks with David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). The two men failed to agree on the issue of the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons. Spring also held a meeting with a delegation from the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) which was led by Gusty Spence, former leader of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Wednesday 23 October 1996

In the Queen’s speech during the opening of a new session of the British parliament, the government announced that it would pass a bill on decommissioning. Later John Major, then British Prime Minister, stated that it would require more than a new ceasefire to allow Sinn Féin (SF) to enter the Stormont talks. James Molyneaux, the former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), announced that he would not be standing for re-election to the Lagan Valley constituency.

Friday 23 October 1998

Davy Jones, then a Orange Order spokesperson, was suspended by Dennis Watson, then Grand Master of Armagh, for “breaching Orange protocol”

. [The suspension was lifted the following day.]

Saturday 23 October 1999

Senator George Mitchell announced his review of the Good Friday Agreement would be extended as the pro-Agreement parties met at Castle Buildings, Stormont, Belfast. Sinn Féin (SF), the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) were attempting to end the stalemate over decommissioning and the formation of an Executive. David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, wrote an article for the Newsletter (a Belfast based newspaper).

Tuesday 23 October 2001

IRA Began Decommissioning

Loyalist paramilitaries threw a pipe-bomb at the home of a Catholic family on the Deerpark Road, north Belfast, at approximately 9.00pm (2100BST). The RUC said the family, “narrowly escaped death or injury”. There was some damage to the house and a car. At around 4.00pm (1600BST) the Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement that announced that the organisation had begun to decommission its weapons.

The IRA statement included the sentence:

“Therefore, in order to save the peace process we have implemented the scheme agreed with the IICD [Independent International Commission on Decommissioning] in August [2001].”

Later in the day the IICD issued a statement, part of which read: “We have now witnessed an event – which we regard as significant – in which the IRA has put a quantity of arms completely beyond use. The material in question includes arms, ammunition and explosives.” David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), held a meeting with John de Chastelain (Gen.), then chairman of the IICD, to discuss the act of decommissioning by the IRA. Following the discussions Trimble announced that he would would be recommending to a meeting of the UUP executive on Saturday (27 October 20001) that the UUP ministers retake their seats on the Northern Ireland Executive. The announcements by the IRA and the IICD were welcomed by the British and Irish governments, by the American administration, by Nationalists, and by some Unionists. The Democratice Unionist Party (DUP) and some members of the UUP claimed the move by the IRA was “one-off gesture” or a “stunt”.

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Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

  22  People lost their lives on the 23rd  October  between 1971 – 1993

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23 October 1971


Maura Meehan,  (30)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while travelling in car warning local residents of British Army (BA) house raids, Cape Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

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23 October 1971


Dorothy Maguire,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while travelling in car warning local residents of British Army (BA) house raids, Cape Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

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23 October 1971


Sean Ruddy,   (19)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, from nearby roof top, during attempted robbery of man outside bank, Hill Street, Newry, County Down. Assumed to be an Irish Republican Army (IRA) member.

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23 October 1971
Thomas McLoughlin,   (27)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, from nearby roof top, during attempted robbery of man outside bank, Hill Street, Newry, County Down. Assumed to be an Irish Republican Army (IRA) member.

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23 October 1971


Robert Anderson,  (25)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, from nearby roof top, during attempted robbery of man outside bank, Hill Street, Newry, County Down. Assumed to be an Irish Republican Army (IRA) member.

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23 October 1972


Michael Naan,  (31)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Stabbed to death at his farm, Aghnahinch, near Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh. His body found on 24 October 1972.

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23 October 1972


Andrew Murray, (24)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Stabbed to death at his workplace, Michael Naan’s farm, Aghnahinch, near Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh. His body found on 24 October 1972.

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23 October 1974
Michael Simpson,   (21) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died three weeks after being shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Racecourse Road, Shantallow, Derry.

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23 October 1975


Peter McKearney,  (63)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his home, Listamlet, near Moy, County Tyrone.

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23 October 1975


Jane McKearney,   (58)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at her home, Listamlet, near Moy, County Tyrone.

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23 October 1975
Gordon Hamilton-Fairley,   (45) nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Passerby. Killed when bomb attached to the car of Conservative MP Hugh Fraser exploded prematurely, Campden Hill Square, Kensington, London.

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23 October 1990
William Aitken,   (53)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Taxi driver. Shot when he left off passenger at Royal Victoria Hospital, Falls Road, Belfast.

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The Shankill Bombing

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The Bomber

23 October 1993


Thomas Begley,   (23)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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The Innocent Victims

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23 October 1993

4
John Frizzell, (63)


John Frizzell,  (63)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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23 October 1993

_45418618_sharon226
Sharon McBride, (29)


Sharon McBride,  (29)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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23 October 1993

NWS_20131023_NEW_006_29372561_I4
Michael Morrison, (27)


Michael Morrison,  (27)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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23 October 1993

6
Evelyn Baird, (27)


Evelyn Baird,  (27)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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23 October 1993

2
Michelle Baird, (7)


Michelle Baird,  (7)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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23 October 1993

11
Leanne Murray, (13)


Leanne Murray,   (13)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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23 October 1993

3
George Williamson, (63)


George Williamson,   (63)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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23 October 1993

10
Gillian Williamson, (49)


Gillian Williamson,   (49)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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23 October 1993

5
Wilma McKee, (38)


Wilma McKee,  (38)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb which exploded prematurely in shop, during attack on the upstairs Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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