17th December – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

17th December

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Tuesday 17 December 1974

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) placed three time bombs at telephone exchanges in London. In one of the explosions George Arthur (34), a post office telephonist, was killed.

Sunday 17 December 1978

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a series of bomb attacks on cities in England. Bombs exploded in Bristol, Coventry, Liverpool, Manchester, and Southampton.

Wednesday 17 December 1980

Tomás Ó Fiaich, then Catholic Primate of Ireland, called on the hunger strikers to call off their strike. He also appealed to Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, to intervene personally in the protest.

Friday 17 December 1982

The Michelin company announced that it was to close its factory at Mallusk, County Antrim, with the loss of over 2,000 jobs.

Saturday 17 December 1983

Three members of the British police and three civilians were killed as a result of an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb attack on Harrod’s store, Brompton Road, London. Approximately 90 people were also injured as a result of the blast. [The IRA later issued a statement claiming that the attack had not been authorised by the Army Council and that it regretted the deaths.] A member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was shot dead by the IRA in County Derry.

See Harrod’s Bombing

Friday 14 December 1984

First Soldier Convicted of Murder Ian Thain, a Private in the British Army, was convicted of murdering a civilian.

[He was the first British soldier to be convicted of murder during the course of the conflict. Thain was released in January 1987 and allowed to rejoin his regiment and resume active service.]

Tuesday 17 December 1985

Unionist MPs Resign All 15 Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) resigned their seats in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). Their intention was to highlight opposition to the Agreement in Northern Ireland during the by-elections that would be caused.

Sunday 17 December 1989

James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), denied that he had ended the UUP boycott of ministers.

Thursday 17 December 1992

Louis Blom-Cooper (Sir), then a Queen’s Council (QC), was appointed to oversee conditions at the three holding centres where people suspected of paramilitary crimes were questioned.

Sunday 17 December 1995

The International Body on Arms Decommissioning travelled to Dublin and met a number of the Irish political parties.

Tuesday 17 December 1996

John Major, then British Prime Minister, began a two day visit to Northern Ireland. Michael Howard, then British Home Secretary, refused to allow the cases of 14 people convicted on Irish Republican Army (IRA) related offences to be reopened. This was despite indications that forensic evidence used against those convicted could have been contaminated.

John Bruton, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), met with Bill Clinton, then President of the United States of America (USA), in Washington. In a statement both men said that they were in favour of a swift entry to the Stormont talks for Sinn Féin (SF) if there was an IRA ceasefire.

Thursday 17 December 1998

The Orange Volunteers (OV) claimed responsibility for a blast-bomb attack on a public house in Crumlin, County Antrim.

[The attack was later also claimed by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD).]

Danny McNamee won an appeal against his conviction for the Hyde Park bombing in July 1982. The court decided the conviction was unsafe.

Friday 17 December 1999

The Inaugural Summit Meeting of the British-Irish Council took place in London and a Joint Communiqué was issued. The British-Irish Council is made up of representatives of: the British government, the Irish government, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, and the institutions of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The British-Irish Council decided to look at the topics of transport, social exclusion, the environment, illegal drugs, and ‘society’. Five men, alleged to be members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) were found guilty of shooting and beating two Catholic brothers in their home in July 1999.

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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.

10  people   lost their lives on the 17th December between 1974  -1984

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17 December 1974
George Arthur,  (35)

nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in bomb attack on Bloomsbury telephone exchange, off Tottenham Court Road, London.

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17 December 1979
William Wilson,   (58)

Protestant
Status: Prison Officer (PO),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot outside Buffs Social Club, Century Street, off Crumlin Road, Belfast

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17 December 1983


Brown McKeown,   (40)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his workplace, shop, Maghera, County Derry.

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17 December 1983
Noel Lane,  (28)

nfNIB
Status: British Police (BP),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by car bomb which exploded outside Harrod’s Department Store, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London. Inadequate warning given.

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17 December 1983
Jane Arbuthnot,   (22)

nfNIB
Status: British Police (BP),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by car bomb which exploded outside Harrod’s Department Store, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London. Inadequate warning given.

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17 December 1983
Philip Geddes,   (24)

nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by car bomb which exploded outside Harrod’s Department Store, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London. Inadequate warning given.

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17 December 1983
Kenneth Salvesan,   (28)

nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by car bomb which exploded outside Harrod’s Department Store, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London. Inadequate warning given.

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17 December 1983
Jasmin Cochrane-Patrick,   (25)

nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by car bomb which exploded outside Harrod’s Department StoreBrompton Road, Knightsbridge, London. Inadequate warning given

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17 December 1983
Stephen Dodd,   (34)

nfNIB
Status: British Police (BP),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Injured by car bomb which exploded outside Harrod’s Department Store, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London. Inadequate warning given. He died 24 December 1983

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17 December 1984
Sean McIlvenna,  (33)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot while running across field, shortly after being involved in an Irish Republican Army (IRA) land mine attack on Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) mobile patrol, off Lisbofin Road, Mullanary, near Blackwatertown, County Armagh.

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