16th January – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

16th January


Wednesday 16 January 1974

Brian Faulkner, then Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Executive, travelled to Dublin for a meeting with Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) following a ruling in the Dublin High Court. The ruling implied that the reunification of Ireland did not require the consent of the majority of people in Northern Ireland.

Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike.

Thursday 16 January 1975

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced that it would call off its ceasefire as of midnight 16 January 1975

Monday 16 January 1978

Tomás Ó Fiaich, then Catholic Primate of Ireland, was quoted in the Irish Press as saying: “I believe the British should withdraw from Ireland. I think that it is the only thing that will get things moving.” The comments drew a lot of criticism including from Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who called Ó Fiaich “the IRA’s bishop from Crossmaglen”.

Friday 16 January 1981

Bernadette McAliskey

Bernadette McAliskey (formally Devlin) and her husband were shot and seriously injured in a gun attack in their home near Coalisland, County Tyrone. It was believed that members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) were responsible for the attack. Bernadette McAliskey was shot seven times in front of her children, but both her and her husband recovered from their injuries.

Injured in loyalist shooting

On 16 January 1981, she and her husband were shot by members of the Ulster Freedom Fighters, who broke into their home near Coalisland, County Tyrone. The gunmen shot Devlin fourteen times in front of her children. British soldiers were watching the McAliskey home at the time, but failed to prevent the assassination attempt.An army patrol of the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, entered the house and waited for half an hour. Bernadette Devlin McAliskey claimed they were waiting for the couple to die. Another group of soldiers then arrived. The paramilitaries had torn out the telephone and while the wounded couple were being given first aid by the newly arrived troops, a soldier ran to a neighbour’s house, commandeered a car, and drove to the home of a councillor to telephone for help. The couple were taken by helicopter to hospital in nearby Dungannon for emergency treatment and then to the Musgrave Park Hospital, Military Wing, in Belfast, under intensive care. The attackers, Ray Smallwoods, Tom Graham (38), both from Lisburn, and Andrew Watson (25) from Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, were captured by the army patrol and subsequently jailed. All three were members of the South Belfast UDA. Smallwoods was the driver of the getaway car.

Sunday 16 January 1983

William Doyle, a County Court judge, was shot dead by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as he left mass at a Catholic church in south Belfast.

Thursday 16 January 1986

Security forces in Holland raided a flat in Amsterdam and arrested two Republicans, Brendan McFarlane and Gerard Kelly, who had escaped from the Maze prison on 25 September 1983.

[The two men were extradited to the United Kingdom (UK) on 3 December 1986.]

Friday 16 January 1987

Peter Robinson, then deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), pleaded guilty in a Dublin court to unlawful assembly. Robinson paid £17,500 in fines and compensation and was freed.

Saturday 16 January 1988

Two members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) were killed in separate incidents.

Monday 16 January 1989

The case of the ‘Guildford Four’ was referred to the Court of Appeal.

Tuesday 16 January 1990

John Taylor, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament, called for an end to the Unionist boycott of talks with Northern Ireland Office ministers.

Tommy Lyttle, then leader of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), appeared in court on charges relating to the Stevens Inquiry

Tuesday 16 February 1993

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), gave an interview to the Irish News (a Northern Ireland newspaper) in which he called for “inclusive dialogue” and a new Irish-British agreement that would bring an end to partition.

Sunday 16 January 1994

The Sunday Independent (an Dublin based newspaper) contained a story about an alleged plan of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) to carry out ‘ethnic cleansing’. The plan involved the repartition of Northern Ireland followed by the forced removal of Catholics from the remaining area.

Monday 16 January 1995

SF Meeting With NIO Officials A delegation from Sinn Féin (SF) held a meeting with Northern Ireland Office (NIO) officials at Stormont. SF accepted that the party had an “influence” on paramilitary weapons.

Michael Ancram, then Political Development Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), later said that the decommissioning of Irish Republican Army (IRA) weapons was not a precondition to SF’s entry into substantive talks.

Thursday 16 January 1997

The case of Lee Clegg was referred to the Court of Appeal by Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

[Clegg had been released from prison in 1995 having served two years of a life sentence for the murder of Karen Reilly (16) on 30 September 1990.]

The trial of six men who had escaped from Whitmoor Prison collapsed due to “prejudicial publicity” from the London Evening Standard. The trial was being heard in the High Court in London.

Saturday 16 January 1988

Two members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) were killed in separate incidents.

Saturday 16 January 1999

It was announced that a commission involving the Orange Order and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) would be established to consider formal links between the two organisations.

Tuesday 16 January 2001

There was a pipe-bomb attack on the home of a Catholic family in Coleraine, County Derry. A couple and their two children, aged seven and 13, were in the house at the Heights in Coleraine when the device exploded just after midnight. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

British Army (BA) bomb disposal experts defused a pipe-bomb at the north Belfast home of the brother of Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). Loyalists paramilitaries were believed to be responsible for leaving the device in the front garden of the house on the Cavehill Road. No-one was in the house at the time.

Wednesday 16 January 2002

Postal deliveries throughout Northern Ireland were again suspended as the Communication Workers Union, together with other trade unions, continued efforts to have Ulster Defence Association (UDA) death threats lifted.

Alan McQuillan, then Assistant Chief Constable of PSNI, met leaders of the Communication Workers Union in Belfast and give them an “honest assessment” of the threat issued by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD). Following the meeting the Belfast postal workers said they would return to work beginning with the first shifts on Thursday 17 January 2002.

The body of Stephen McCullough (39) was found at the bottom of Cavehill in north Belfast. It appeared that he had fallen from the top of a cliff. Initially the police said a crime was not suspected.

[Later (on 21 January 2002) it was revealed that McCullough was a member of the UDA. It was also revealed that hours before his death McCullough had told Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) soldiers and some police officers that he had information about the killing of Daniel McColgan (12 January 2002). Nuala O’Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), began an investigation into the death of McCullough.]

Richard Haass, then a special advisor to the US President, travelled to Belfast for talks with John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and also met members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB). Haass also met representatives of Unionist political parties. Haass urged Sinn Féin (SF) to join the Policing Board saying it was in the party’s own interests to serve alongside the other political parties.

[Haass met with other groups on 17 January 2002.]

The High Court in Belfast ruled that David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Seamus Mallon (SDLP), former Deputy First Minister, were wrong to withhold Executive papers, relating to free public transport, from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

[The two DUP ministers had refused to serve on the Executive.]

Pat Cox (49), a Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Republic of Ireland, won the election to become the President of the European Parliament.



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.

6 People   lost their lives on the 16th  January  between  1972 – 1988


16 January 1972

Eamon McCormick,  (17)

Status: Irish Republican Army Youth Section (IRAF),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Died over two months after being shot during gun battle, near St Peter’s School, Ballymurphy, Belfast.


16 January 1977
Seamus Harvey, (20)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, from concealed observation post, Drummuckavall, near Crossmaglen, County Armagh.


16 January 1981

Ivan Toombs,  (42)

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his workplace, Customs Office, Warrenpoint, County Down


16 January 1983

William Doyle,   (55)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Judge. Shot outside St Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church, Derryvolgie Avenue, Malone, Belfast.


16 January 1988
Timothy Armstrong,   (29)

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Off duty. Shot while walking along Park Road, Ballynafeigh, Belfast. Assumed to be a Catholic.


16 January 1988

William Stewart,  (23)

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Died one day after being shot while driving his car near to his home, Brackaville, Coalisland, County Tyrone.




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