20th December – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

 Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

20th December

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Friday 20 December 1968

The People’s Democracy (PD) announced that its members would undertake a protest march from Belfast to Derry beginning on 1 January 1969.

Monday 20 December 1971

A woman was shot dead during a gun attack on British soldiers.

Wednesday 20 December 1972

Diplock Report Published

Four Catholic civilians and one Protestant civilian were shot dead during a Loyalist paramilitary gun attack on the ‘Top of the Hill’ bar in the Waterside area of Derry.

The Report of the Diplock Committee was published. The Committee had been looking at possible changes to the legal procedures used in cases arising out the conflict. The report recommended that such cases should be heard by a Judge of the High Court, or a County Court Judge, sitting alone with no jury.

[These recommendations were included in the 1973 Emergency Powers Act.]

Friday 20 December 1974

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced that a ceasefire would take place between midnight on 22 December 1974 and midnight on 2 January 1975. A bomb left by the IRA on a platform of the railway station in Aldershot, England, was defused by explosives officers.

Monday 20 December 1976

Thomas Easton (22), a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was beaten to death by members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in Forthriver Road, Glencairn, Belfast. This killing was part of feud between the UDA and the UVF.

Monday 20 December 1982

The British Parliament approved the increase in the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) representing Northern Ireland at the House of Commons from 12 to 17.

[This figure was increased in 1997 to 18.]

Parliament also decided that the number of members of any future Northern Ireland Assembly would be increased from 78 to 85, which represented five members per constituency.

Thursday 20 December 1990

A large number of prisoners, including many coming to the end of life sentences, were release on parole for the Christmas period.

Neil Kinnock, then leader of the British Labour Party, paid a visit to Northern Ireland

Friday 20 December 1991

Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, outlined a fresh set of proposals to the Northern Ireland parties in the hope that these would lead to the resumption of the political negotiations that have been suspended since July 1991

Monday 20 December 1993

John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held a meeting with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), and decided to meet again when SF had considered its response to the Downing Street Declaration.

James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), gave a radio interview in which he argued that the Downing Street Declaration was not a “sell out” of Unionists.

Tuesday 20 December 1994

Sinn Féin (SF) and Northern Ireland Office (NIO) officials held a second meeting at Stormont, Belfast. John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Gerry Adams, then President of SF, issued a joint statement calling for inclusive negotiations without delay.

Wednesday 20 December 1995

A senior Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer said that the police believed that that the killing of five alleged drugs dealers was carried out by, or on behalf of, the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Due to the recent killings attributed to the IRA the Irish government decided not to give permanent release to 10 Republican prisoners. It was claimed that the Irish security services had prevented attempts by the IRA to carry out raids on cash shipments in the Republic of Ireland.

The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) held the first meeting with British and Irish ministers under the twin-track approach. Sinn Féin (SF) announced that it had made proposals to Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, for all-party talks to be held in January 1996.

Friday 20 December 1996

Two members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) shot and injured a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer who was protecting Nigel Dodds, then a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillor. The attack took place in the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast.

Monday 20 December 1999

The Prime Minister’s Office at Downing Street confirmed that Sinn Féin (SF) MPs would be allowed to have office facilities at Westminster despite the fact that none of the MPs intended to take their seats in the House of Commons. Peter Robinson (DUP), then Minister for Regional Development, announced his intention to introduce free travel on public transport for pensioners.

[This proposal would bring Northern Ireland into line with the existing arrangements in the Republic of Ireland.]

Seamus Tracy and Barry Macdonald, then both barristers, were granted leave by the High Court in Belfast for a judicial review of the requirement to swear an oath to “well and truly serve the Queen” before becoming Queen’s Councils. The two barristers were supported in their action by the Northern Ireland Bar Council.

Christmas parole arrangements were announced by the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

Over 300 paramilitary and ‘ordinary’ prisoners were to be granted 12 days leave over the Christmas period.

[To date 309 prisoners had been released under licence according to the terms of the early release scheme.]

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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 20th December between 1971  – 1992

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20 December 1971


Margaret McCorry,   (20)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper during gun attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Crumlin Road, Belfast.

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20 December 1972


David McAleese, (37)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot while walking to work, junction of Young’s Row and Newtownards Road, Belfast

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20 December 1972
George Hamilton,  (28)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his workplace, building site, Kildoag, Claudy, County Derry.

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20 December 1972
Alphonus McGeown,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot from passing car while walking along laneway, Clonmore, near Charlemont, County Armagh

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20 December 1972
Michael McGinley,   (37)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot during gun attack on Top of the Hill Bar, Strabane Old Road, Waterside, Derry

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20 December 1972


Charles McCafferty,   (31)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot during gun attack on Top of the Hill Bar, Strabane Old Road, Waterside, Derry

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20 December 1972


Bernard Kelly,  (26)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot during gun attack on Top of the Hill Bar, Strabane Old Road, Waterside, Derry

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20 December 1972


Francis McCarron,   (58)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot during gun attack on Top of the Hill Bar, Strabane Old Road, Waterside, Derry.

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20 December 1972


Charles Moore,   (31)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot during gun attack on Top of the Hill Bar, Strabane Old Road, Waterside, Derry

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20 December 1973
Rodney Fenton,   (23)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Bank clerk. Shot shortly after leaving bank with colleagues, Atlantic Avenue, New Lodge, Belfast. Off duty Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) reservist intended target.

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20 December 1976


Thomas Easton,   (22)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Found beaten to death behind St Andrew’s Church, Forthriver Road, Glencairn, Belfast

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20 December 1990


Wilfred Wethers,  (46)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot by sniper, while driving his car near to his home, Waringstown, County Down.

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20 December 1992


Martin Lavery,  (40)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his home, Upper Crumlin Road, Belfast.

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