20th January – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

20th January

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Wednesday 20 January 1971

It was announced that an independent commissioner would decide on the boundaries of the new district council areas.

Saturday 20 January 1973

A car bomb exploded in Sackville Place, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and killed one person and injured 17 others. The person killed was Thomas Douglas (25). The car used in the bombing had been hijacked at Agnes Street, Belfast.

[No organisation claimed responsibility but the bomb was believed to have been planted by one of the Loyalist paramilitary organisations.]

Monday 20 January 1975

[Public Records 1975 – Released 1 January 2006:

Telegram containing a note of a meeting between Galsworth, then of the British Embassy in Dublin, and Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). The telegram mentions the concerns of Cosgrave about the likely impact on public opinion if it became known that the British government was negotiating with the Irish Republican Army (IRA).]

[Public Records 1975 – Released 1 January 2006: Letter from Joel Barnett, then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, about the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.]

Tuesday 20 February 1979

lennie murphy
Leader of the Shankill Butchers Lenny Murphy

 

‘Shankill Butchers’ Sentenced A group of 11 Loyalists known as the ‘Shankill butchers’ were sentenced to life imprisonment for 112 offences including 19 murders. The 11 men were given 42 life sentences and received 2,000 years imprisonment, in total, in the form of concurrent sentences.

[The Shankill Butchers had begun killing Catholics in July 1972 and were not arrested until May 1977. The Loyalist gang operated out of a number of Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) drinking dens in the Shankill Road area of Belfast. The gang was initially led by Lenny Murphy but it continued to operate following his imprisonment in 1976. The Shankill Butchers got their name because not only did they kill Catholics but they first abducted many of their victims, tortured them, mutilated them with butcher knives and axes, and then finally killed them.]

See Shankill Butchers

See Lenny Murphy

Tuesday 20 January 1981

Maurice Gilvarry (24), a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was found shot dead near Jonesborough, County Armagh. He had been killed by other members of the IRA who alleged that he had acted as an informer.

A British soldier was shot dead by the IRA in Derry.

Sunday 20 January 1985

Douglas Hurd, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was interviewed on Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) during which he said that political arrangements could be created to improve Anglo-Irish relationships.

Tuesday 20 January 1987

Thomas Power

 

John O’Reilly

 

When two Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) members were shot dead by members of the Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO) in Drogheda, County Louth, Republic of Ireland, a feud began between the two organisations.

[The feud continued until 26 March 1987 with a final death toll of 11.]

The coalition government in the Republic of Ireland, led by Garret FitzGerald, ended after the Labour Party withdrew its support. John Taylor, then Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Northern Ireland, left the European Democratic Group to join the European Right Group.

The case of the ‘Birmingham Six’ was referred to the Court of Appeal by Douglas Hurd, then British Home Secretary.

Wednesday 20 January 1988

The British government opposed the classification of Northern Ireland as one of Europe’s poorest regions thus reducing the amount of regional structural funds that it received.

Saturday 20 January 1990

Brian_Nelson_Loyalist

Brian Nelson appeared in court on charges relating to the Stevens Inquiry.

See Brian Nelson

[On 28 January 1990 the ‘Sunday Tribune’ (a newspaper published in the Republic of Ireland) alleged that Nelson had worked for British Army intelligence for a number of years.]

Monday 20 January 1992

John Major, then British Prime Minister, travelled to Northern Ireland and held meetings with senior members of the security services

Thursday 20 January 1994

The private secretary to John Major, then British Prime Minister, replied to a letter from Gerry Adams, then President of SF, to state that there “can be no question of renegotiation” of the Downing Street Declaration (DSD).

Monday 20 January 1997

A Catholic family escaped injury when a bomb exploded under their van in Larne.

[No group claimed responsibility but the incident was believed to be the work of the Loyalist Volunteer Force; LVF. ]

There was an attack on the Mountpottinger Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station in Short Strand, Belfast. Two ‘coffee jar bombs’ were thrown at the station but there were no injuries. [The attack was believed to have been carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) (?).]

Tuesday 20 January 1998

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), accused the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) / Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) of “actively” collaborating with the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) in some of the recent killings of Catholics. However, Adams said that the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), the political representatives of the UDA / UFF, should not be expelled from the multi-party Stormont talks.

Wednesday 20 January 1999

Kenny McClinton, then acting as Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) representative to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), said that the LVF was considering a second round of decommissioning.

[To date this second act of decommissioning had not taken place.]

Patrick Harty, a farmer from Toomevara, County Tipperary, refused to give evidence as a prosecution witness in the trial of the four men accused of the killing of Jerry McCabe, who was a Detective in the Garda Síochána (the Irish police). Harty said he could not give a reason for his refusal to give evidence and was jailed for 18 months.

Sunday 20 January 2002

There were disturbances in the Serpentine Gardens and White City areas of north Belfast. Catholic homes in the Serpentine Gardens area were petrol-bombed between midnight and approximately 1.30am (0130GMT). The devices were thrown from the Loyalist White City area.

In follow-up searches in White City the police found a crate of petrol-bombs – some with fireworks inside. At approximately 4.30am (0430GMT) the home of a Protestant family in White City was attacked with petrol-bombs. There was scorch damage to the house but no injuries. The petrol-bombs were thrown from the Nationalist Serpentine Gardens. The family of six said they would leave the area.

Shore Road Riots

There was also rioting in the nearby Shore Road and the Whitewell Road areas of north Belfast. Nationalists threw a petrol-bomb into a Protestant house on the Whitewell Road. The house was empty at the time and there were no injuries. There were then further disturbances involving Loyalists and Nationalists. Nationalists crowds throwing petrol-bombs, stones, and blast-bombs attacked police and fire officers who were dealing with burning barricades.

 

Nigel Dodds (DUP), then Member of Parliament (MP) for north Belfast, held a meeting with Alan McQuillan, then Assistant Chief Constable, to ask for 24-hour police patrols.

Independent Television (ITV) in the United Kingdom (UK) broadcast a film entitled ‘Bloody Sunday‘ that portrayed the events in Derry on 30 January 1972.

[Prior to broadcast the film had been criticised by some Unionists in Northern Ireland and by some members of the Conservative party in Britain. The film was also given a limited cinema release.]

 

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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 20th January  between  1973 – 1987

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20 January 1973
Thomas Douglas  (21)

nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Orginally from Scotland. Killed when car bomb exploded, Sackville Place, off O’Connell Street, Dublin.

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20 January 1974
Desmond Mullan,   (33)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot while walking along Maple Gardens, Carrickfergus, County Antrim.

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20 January 1974


Cormac McCabe,   (42)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Found shot in field, Altadaven, near Clogher, County Tyrone.

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20 January 1975


Kevin Coen,   (28)

nfNI
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
From County Sligo. Shot during attempted hijacking of bus, Kinawley, County Fermanagh.

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20 January 1981
 Christopher Shenton,   (21)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while in British Army (BA) observation post overlooking Bogside, City Walls, Derry

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20 January 1981


Maurice Gilvarry,  (24)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot near Jonesborough, County Armagh. Alleged informer

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20 January 1983


Frank McColgan,  (31)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot during car chase, shortly after being involved in robbery, Black’s Road, Dunmurry, near Belfast, County Antrim.

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20 January 1984
Colin Houston,  (30)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Shot at his home, Sunnymede Avenue, Dunmurry, near Belfast, County Antrim

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20 January 1987


Thomas Power,  (34)

Catholic
Status: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA),

Killed by: Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO)
Shot while in Rossnaree Hotel, Drogheda, County Louth. Irish National Liberation Army / Irish People’s Liberation Organisation feud.

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20 January 1987


John O’Reilly,   (26)

Catholic
Status: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA),

Killed by: Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO)
Shot while in Rossnaree Hotel, Drogheda, County Louth. Irish National Liberation Army / Irish People’s Liberation Organisation feud.

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