24th October – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

 24th October

Sunday 24 October 1971 A member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was shot dead by undercover Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers during a bomb attack in Belfast.

Ruairi O’Brady

Ruairi O’Brady, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), addressed a SF Ard Fheis in Dublin and said that the North of Ireland must be made ungovernable as first step in achieving a united Ireland.

Tuesday 24 October 1972

Michael Naan & Andrew Murray

Two Catholic men were found dead at a farm at Aughinahinch, near Newtownbbutler, County Fermanagh. The incident was referred to as ‘the pitchfork killings’ and was initially thought to have been carried out by Loyalists. However it was later discovered that British soldiers had carried out the killings.

pitcfork murders
Newspaper Report on the murders

Thursday 24 October 1974

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack on a cottage in the grounds of Harrow School in north-west London. No one was injured in the explosion. The time bomb, estimated to have contained 5lbs of explosives, exploded shortly before midnight just outside the cottage which had until just before this date been occupied by the head of the school’s Combined Cadet Force.

At 11.30pm a telephone warning about the bomb had been given to the Press Association.

Sunday 24 October 1976

Oakfield Street, 1970’s

Two British soldiers died as a result of a gun attack at Oakfield Street, Ardoyne, Belfast. The attack was carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Monday 24 October 1977

Michael Neill (16), a Catholic boy, was shot dead by the British Army on Cliftonville Road, Belfast. He had been in the vicinity of an attempted bus-hijacking.

Sunday 24 October 1982

Joseph Donegan (48), a Catholic civilian, was abducted, tortured, and beaten to death by members of a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the ‘Shankill Butchers’.

See Shankill Butchers

[Lenny Murphy, who had been leader of the ‘Shankill Butchers’, was one of the gang who abducted and killed Donegan (Dillon, 1990).]

Lenny Murphy

Friday 24 October 1986 The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) announced that legislation would be introduced to allow public houses in Northern Ireland to open on Sundays.

Wednesday 24 October 1990 ‘Proxy Bomb’ Attacks

proxy bomb

See Coshquinn Proxy Bomb

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) launched three bomb attacks at British Army check points. The attacks became know as ‘proxy bombs’ or ‘human bombs’ because three Catholic men, whom the IRA claimed had worked for the security forces, were tied into cars which had been loaded with explosives and ordered to drive to the check points. At the Coshquin checkpoint near Derry five soldiers and the man who was forced to drive the car were all killed.

In a second attack, at Killeen near Newry, a soldier was killed. The third bomb, that had been driven to Omagh, County Tyrone, failed to detonate. The attacks resulted in widespread outrage.

The Protestant Action Force (PAF) shot and killed a Catholic taxi driver, Francis Hughes, near Moy, County Tyrone.

Monday 24 October 1994

British Army (BA) soldiers stopped patrolling in Derry.

[Troops had been patrolling the city since August 1969.]

Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers in Belfast began to patrol without bullet-proof (‘flak’) jackets. A six member delegation of Loyalist representatives addressed the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in Washington. The delegation was led by Gary McMichael, then leader of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), and David Ervine, then leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP).

Saturday 24 October 1998

David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), delivered a speech to the Annual Conference of the UUP. Trimble repeated his view that Sinn Féin (SF) members could not become part of an Executive before decommissioning by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Wednesday 24 October 2001

Two men were arrested when RUC officers stopped a car near Moira, County Down, and discovered a sub-machine gun. The car was on the Moira interchange at the M1 motorway.

[The two men were believed to be members of a dissident Republican paramilitary group. The incident happened at approximately 4.00pm (1600BST).]

There were disturbances on the Crumlin Road, north Belfast. Loyalists blocked the main road at approximately 4.30pm (1630BST) thus preventing Catholic school children from getting home. Nationalists tried to get up the Crumlin Road to escort their children home and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) moved between the two groups. Bricks and bottles were thrown by both groups.

Flax Street – Crumlin Road

[The Crumlin Road is the ‘alternative’ route that Loyalists want Catholic children and their parents to use when going to and from the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School on the nearby Ardoyne Road.]

A man (40) was shot in the leg at 8.00pm (2000BST) in the Kilcooley Estate, Bangor, County Down.

[The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) were investigating the motive for the shooting.]

There were a number of statements in the House of Commons. Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, welcomed the decommissioning by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said that he had reappointed the three UUP Ministers to the Northern Ireland Executive “without prejudice” to the decision to be taken by the UUP executive on Saturday 27 October 2001. However, Trimble asked Blair,

“what sanctions will the government apply to them [those who had not decommissioning by February 2002] so as to avoid others having to apply sanctions?”.

[Trimble was thus explicitly setting a new deadline in the peace process.]

John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that work had begun on the dismantling of two British Army observation towers in south Armagh. One on Sturgan mountain and one on Camlough mountain. He also announced that work would begin on Thursday 25 October 2001 on demolishing a sangar at Newtownhamilton police station in south Armagh, and also on demolishing the British Royal Irish Regiment (British Army) base in Magherafelt, County Derry. Reid also pledged to introduce a progressive programme of security normalisation as the paramilitary threat lessened.

[The demolition work is expected to take a year to complete. There was no word on the other watch towers (12?) in south Armagh. It is envisaged that there would be further cuts in the number of British Army troops based in Northern Ireland. It is also likely that the British government will make further movement on police-reform legislation, review criminal justice, and honour human rights and equality measures. Some of the security (and other) measures were ones outlined in the British and Irish governments’ Implementation Plan published on 1 August 2001.]

Tony Blair with Martti Ahtisaari (c) and Cyril Ramaphosa (r)

Cyril Ramaphosa and Martti Ahtisarri, the two independent arms inspectors, announced that they had resigned their positions. They said that they were no longer required given that the IICD and the IRA were dealing with the weapons issue. [The arms inspectors had been appointed on 14 May 2000.] The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) called on Loyalist paramilitaries to begin the process of decommissioning their weapons.

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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.

  18 People lost their lives on the 24th  October  between 1971 – 1990

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24 October 1971


Martin Forsythe,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot by undercover RUC during bomb attack on Celebrity Club, Donegall Place, Belfast.

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24 October 1972
Robert Mason,  (19) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Naples Street, off Grosvenor Road, Belfast.

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24 October 1972
John Morrell,   (32) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died ten days after being injured when detonated booby trap bomb while searching house, Drumarg, Armagh.

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24 October 1976
Anthony Abbott,  (19) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by snipers while checking abandoned car, Oakfield Street, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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24 October 1976
Maurice Murphy,   (26) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by snipers while checking abandoned car, Oakfield Street, Ardoyne, Belfast. He died 23 November 1976.

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24 October 1977


Michael Neill,   (16)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while in the vicinity of an attempted hijacking of bus, junction of Cliftonville Road and Oldpark Road, Belfast.

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24 October 1979


Walter Moore,   (50)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot outside his home, Lyndhurst Parade, off Ballygomartin Road, Belfast.

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24 October 1982


Joseph Donegan,   (48)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Kiddlled by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Abducted while walking along Falls Road, Belfast. Found beaten to death, in entry, off Brookmount Street, Shankill, Belfast, on 25 October 1982.

See Shankill Butchers

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24 October 1983


Cyrus Campbell,  (49)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while driving car at his farm, Carricklongfield, near Aughnacloy, County Tyrone.

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24 October 1986
Kenneth Johnston,  (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while sitting in his firm’s stationary car, Magherafelt, County Derry. His firm contractor to British Army (BA) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

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24 October 1990


 Francis Hughes,  (61)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Protestant Action Force (PAF)
Taxi driver. Found shot in his burnt out car Derryane Road, near Moy, County Tyrone.

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24 October 1990
Stephen Burrows,   (30) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

See Coshquin Proxy Bomb

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24 October 1990
Stephen Beacham,   (20) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

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24 October 1990


Paul Worrall,  (23) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

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24 October 1990
Vincent Scott,   (21) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

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24 October 1990
David Sweeney,  (19) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry.

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24 October 1990


Patrick Gillespie,   (42)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

#Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Buncrana Road, Coshquinn, near Derry. A civilian employed by British Army (BA), he was forced to drive the van bomb to the Vehicle Check Point (VCP).

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24 October 1990


Cyril Smith,   (21)

Catholic
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
From Northern Ireland. Killed in van bomb attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Dublin Road, Killeen, County Armagh.

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