16th December – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

16th December

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Thursday 16 December 1971

A British soldier was shot dead in Belfast.

Sunday 16 December 1979

Four British soldiers were killed by a landmine bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at Ballygawley Road, near Dungannon, County Tyrone.

See Ballygawley Bus Bomb 20 August 1988

Another soldier was killed by a booby-trap bomb at Forkhill, County Armagh. James Fowler, a former member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), was shot dead by the IRA in Omagh, County Tyrone.

Tuesday 16 December 1980

Three members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) escaped from Brixton Prison, London. One of the escapees was Gerard Tuite who had been imprisoned for bombing offences in London in 1978.

Thursday 16 December 1982

Seamus Mallon, then Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), is removed from his Northern Ireland Assembly seat by an Election Petition Court. The reason given was that Mallon was a member of the Irish Senate at the time of the election.

Friday 16 December 1983

Security forces in the Republic of Ireland rescued Don Tidey, who had been kidnapped by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). During the rescue at Ballinamore, County Leitrim, there was a gun battle and an Irish soldier and a Garda Síochána (the Irish police) cadet were killed.

Tuesday 16 December 1986

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a ‘proxy’ bomb attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station on the Lisburn Road in Belfast. The station was destroyed in the blast and an estimated 700 homes and scores of business premises were damaged.

Monday 16 December 1991

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb on a railway line in south London causing disruption to the rail service.

Wednesday 16 December 1992

Mayhew Speech at Coleraine

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, gave a speech at the Coleraine campus of the University of Ulster. In the speech Mayhew said that the British government had no “pre-selected constitutional outcome” in political talks.

Mayhew also said that Sinn Féin (SF) could be included in future talks if the IRA ended its violent campaign.

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded two small bombs in London and injured four people.

Thursday 16 December 1993

Tony Newton, then leader of the House of Commons, announced the decision to create a cross-party parliamentary committee at Westminster on Northern Ireland affairs.

Friday 16 December 1994

John Bruton, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), shook hands with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), at the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation.

Saturday 16 December 1995

The International Body on Arms Decommissioning held a meeting with Sir Hugh Annesley, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). The body also received submissions from five of the political parties

Thursday 16 December 1999

Padraig Wilson, then Officer Commanding the Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners in the Maze Prison, was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

[There was media speculation about his possible role as an interlocutor between the IRA and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).]

Mitchel McLaughlin, then Sinn Féin (SF) chairman, resigned his post as a local councillor to concentrate on his role as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). Mary McAleese, then President of the Republic of Ireland, addressed both houses of the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament) and called for a socially inclusive Ireland.

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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.

13  people   lost their lives on the 16th December between 1971  -1988

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16 December 1971
Anthony Aspinwall,  (22)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Alma Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

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16 December 1972


Louis Leonard,   (26)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Found shot at his butcher’s shop, Derrylin, County Fermanagh.

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16 December 1972
Joseph Blaney,   (38)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot at his off-licence shop, York Road, Belfast.

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16 December 1979
 William Beck,  (23)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Ballygawley Road, near Dungannon, County Tyrone.

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16 December 1979
Keith Richards,  (22)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Ballygawley Road, near Dungannon, County Tyrone.

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16 December 1979
Simon Evans,   (19)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Ballygawley Road, near Dungannon, County Tyrone.

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16 December 1979
Allan Ayrton,   (21)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Ballygawley Road, near Dungannon, County Tyrone.

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16 December 1979
James Fowler,  (40)

Protestant
Status: ex-Ulster Defence Regiment (xUDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while driving mobile fish and chip van, Omagh, County Tyrone.

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16 December 1979


Peter Grundy,  (21)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb hidden in derelict house, while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Forkhill, County Armagh.

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16 December 1983
Gary Sheehan,  (23)

nfNIRI
Status: Garda Siochana (GS),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot during gun battle between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Irish forces, at the release of kidnap victim Don Tidey, near Ballinamore, County Leitrim.

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16 December 1983
Patrick Kelly,   (35)

nfNIRI
Status: Irish Army (IA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot during gun battle between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Irish forces, at the release of kidnap victim Don Tidey, near Ballinamore, County Leitrim.

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16 December 1987


Gerard Doherty,   (68)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Killed in bomb explosion outside his home, Milltown View, Tullyally, Derry.

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16 December 1988
John Moreland,  (36)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while delivering coal, Ardpatrick Avenue, Downpatrick, County Down.

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