31st December – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

31st December


Friday 31 December 1971

Edmund Compton, then Northern Ireland Ombudsman, was replaced by John Benn.

Sunday 31 December 1972

Martin McGuinness was arrested and held under the new Republic of Ireland legislation.

Monday 31 December 1973

[Public Records 1974 – Released 1 January 2005: Statement by the Northern Ireland Executive following its first meeting at Stormont Castle, Belfast, on Monday 31 December 1973. The statement set out the Executive’s hopes for the future and called on people in Northern Ireland to allow 1974 to be “The Year of Reconciliation”.]

Tuesday 31 December 1974

Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, said that the Government would respond positively if a “genuine and sustained cessation of violence” occurred.

Wednesday 31 December 1975

Three Protestant civilians were killed in a bomb attack, carried out the People’s Republican Army (PRA), a covername used by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), on the Central Bar, Gilford, County Down.

Monday 31 December 1979

Sean Cairns (20), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries at his home in Tralee Street, Belfast.

Sunday 31 December 1989

An opinion poll in the Observer (a British Newspaper) estimated that 51 per cent of the British population wanted the British Army withdrawn from Northern Ireland.

Thursday 31 December 1992

The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) issued a statement in which the organisation threatened to increase its campaign of violence “to a ferocity never imagined”.

Wednesday 31 December 1997

Eddie Traynor (31), a Catholic man, was shot dead by members of a Loyalist paramilitary group in a gun attack on a public house, the Clifton Tavern, in north Belfast.

Five other Catholics were shot and injured, some seriously, in the attack.

The incident occurred at 9.00pm just as the bar was beginning to fill up with customers. The LVF issued a statement claiming that it had carried out the killing and said that the attack was in retaliation for the death of Billy Wright. It warned that there would be further attacks. Many people were sceptical of the claim that the LVF was solely responsible for the attack. Some reports said that a member of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) was seen in the car used by the attackers.

[On 22 January 1998, Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), announced that the UFF were responsible for the killing of Eddie Traynor. The UFF is a cover name used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The UFF at the time was supposed to be on ceasefire.]

Friday 31 December 1999

Details of the New Year’s Honours List were announced. Alistair Graham, then chair of the Parades Commission, was given a Knighthood as was Josias Cunningham, the president of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).



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.

8 People   lost their lives on the 31st  December between 1973 – 1997


31 December 1973
Alan Daughtery,   (23)

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while travelling in British Army (BA) Armoured Personnel Carrier, Beechmount Avenue, Falls, Belfast.


31 December 1975

Richard Beattie,   (44)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: People’s Republican Army (PRA)
Killed in bomb attack on Central Bar, Gilford, County Down.


31 December 1975

William Scott,  (28)

Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: People’s Republican Army (PRA)
Killed in bomb attack on Central Bar, Gilford, County Down.


31 December 1975

Sylvia McCullough,   (31)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: People’s Republican Army (PRA)
Injured in bomb attack on Central Bar, Gilford, County Down. She died on 1 January 1976.


31 December 1979

Sean Cairns,  (20)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot at his home, Tralee Street, off Springfield Road, Belfast.


31 December 1980
William Stephenson,   (50)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Died six days after being injured when hit on head by missile thrown during street disturbances outside his home, Newtownards Road, Belfast.


31 December 1981

Danny McIlhone,  (19)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Abducted somewhere in Belfast during 1981. His remains eventually found, on general instructions from the IRA, buried in the Ballynultagh area, near Blessington, County Wicklow, on 8 November 2008.


31 December 1997
Edmund Treanor, (31)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot, during gun attack, on Clifton Tavern, Cliftonville Road, Belfast.




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