18th December – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

 Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

18th December

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Thursday 18 December 1969

The Northern Ireland Police Authority (NIPA) was established. The Act to establish Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was passed.

Saturday 18 December 1971

Three members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), James Sheridan (20), John Bateson (19) and Martin Lee (19), were killed when the bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely in King Street, Magherafelt, County Derry.

A man was killed in a bomb attack in Belfast.

Wednesday 18 December 1974

Protestant clergymen met with Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, to report on their meeting with representatives of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on 10 December 1974. (See: 30 December 1974)

Thursday 18 December 1975

Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, paid a visit to Derry. Shortly after the Prime Minister’s visit two British soldiers were killed in Derry in a bomb attack which was carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Thursday 18 December 1980 

Hunger Strike Ended The Republican hunger strike at the Maze Prison, and other prisons in Northern Ireland, was called off following the appeal by Tomás Ó Fiaich, then Catholic Primate of Ireland, on 17 December 1980. The strike had lasted for 53 days.

[There had been suggestions towards the end of the strike that there would be a move towards conceding aspects of special status. Republicans claimed to have a document setting out proposals which would have met many of their demands.]

Tuesday 18 December 1984

The court cases against 35 people from Derry, involving 180 charges, were dropped.

[The case revolved around the evidence of an Irish Republican Army (IRA) ‘supergrass’ informer Raymond Gilmour. Most of those released had been held in prison for over two years.]

Wednesday 18 December 1985

Twenty-five people were sentenced for paramilitary related offences on the evidence of Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) ‘supergrass’ informer Harry Kirkpatrick. This was the last of the ‘supergrass’ trials.

[The system had depended on the uncorroborated evidence of one person who often was given immunity from prosecution and also received substantial sums of money. A number of people who had been convicted previously under the system had their convictions overturned.]

Monday 18 December 1989

Richard Needham, then Minister of Economic Development, announced a £65 million investment in Derry half of which was being invested by a Boston developer.

Wednesday 18 December 1991

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb, estimated at 500 pounds, at the Belfast law courts. The buildings were damaged in the attack. There was a meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) in London.

Saturday 18 December 1993

Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), announced that he would organise a series of rallies against the Downing Street Declaration.

Sunday 18 December 1994

The Sunday Tribune (a Dublin based newspaper) carried a report of an interview with John Bruton, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). Bruton warned that the peace process should not get into a stalemate over the issue of decommissioning

Monday 18 December 1995

Francis Collins (40), who had been a former member of the-Irish Republican Army (IRA), was shot dead at his shop in Lepper Street, New Lodge, Belfast.

[Responsibility for the killing was claimed by Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the IRA. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) issued a statement on 20 December 1995 about the recent killings.]

The International Body on Arms Decommissioning held a meeting in Dublin with Sinn Féin (SF). Gerry Adams, then President of SF, said the meeting had been “very constructive and positive”. The body also had meetings with the Irish government and church leaders. Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, began another round of political talks with local parties.

The annual report of the Fair Employment Commission (FEC) noted that the Catholic proportion of the workforce had risen by 2.4 per cent since 1990 to 37.3 per cent. However the figures showed that Catholics still remained twice as likely to be unemployed as Protestants.

Wednesday 18 December 1996

John Major, then British Prime Minister, during his visit to Northern Ireland, admitted that the Stormont talks were “stuck” over the issue of decommissioning.

Friday 18 December 1998

Agreement on Government Departments and Cross-Border Bodies In a significant breakthrough in the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, six new North-South administrative bodies and an increase from six to 10 government ministries were agreed after 18 hours of negotiations between the political parties in Northern Ireland.

The six North-South bodies will cover: inland waterways, agriculture, food safety, the Irish and Ulster-Scots languages, European Union funding programmes, and trade and business development.

The First Minister designate and Deputy First Minister designate issued a joint statement on what had been agreed. It was revealed that the Orange Order was considering disciplining David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Denis Rogan, then Chairperson of the UUP, because they had attended the Catholic funeral services of some of those killed in the Omagh bombing.

The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) handed over some weapons to be destroyed to the International Decommissioning Body. The LVF was the first paramilitary group to voluntarily hand over its weapons

Monday 18 December 2000

James Rockett (29), a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was found shot Tyndale Gardens, Ballysillan, north Belfast.

[It was believed that the UDA was responsible for the killing which was part of an internal UDA dispute.]

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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 18th December between 1971  – 2000

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18 December 1971
James Sheridan,  (20)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died in premature bomb explosion while travelling in car, King Street, Magherafelt, County Derry.

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18 December 1971
John Bateson,   (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died in premature bomb explosion while travelling in car, King Street, Magherafelt, County Derry.

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18 December 1971
Martin Lee,   (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died in premature bomb explosion while travelling in car, King Street, Magherafelt, County Derry

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18 December 1971
 James McCallum,   (16)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Barman, killed in bomb attack on Murtagh’s Bar, Springfield Road, Belfast.

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18 December 1972


William Johnston,   (48)

Protestant
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Ulster Unionist Party Councillor and member of Police Authority. Abducted from a house, Drumarg estate, Armagh. Found shot a short time later, Knockbane, near Middletown, County Armagh.

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18 December 1975
Cyril McDonald,   (43)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in bomb attack on British Army (BA) base, Bank Place, near Guildhall Square, Derry.

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18 December 1975
Colin McInnes,  (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in bomb attack on British Army (BA) base, Bank Place, near Guildhall Square, Derry.

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18 December 1976


John Savage,   (17)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while travelling in stolen car, Springfield Road, Belfast.

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18 December 1995


Francis Collins,   (40)

Catholic
Status: ex-Irish Republican Army (xIRA),

Killed by: Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD)
Shot at his shop, Lepper Street, New Lodge, Belfast.

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18 December 2000
James Rockett,  (29)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Found shot Tyndale Gardens, Ballysillan, Belfast. Internal Ulster Defence Association (UDA) dispute.

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