23rd January – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

23rd January


Thursday 23 January 1969

 People’ Democracy March; Civil Rights Campaign.

Saturday 23 January 1971

There were riots in the Shankill Road area of Belfast.

Thursday 23 January 1975

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) placed a large time bomb at the Woodford waterworks pumping station in North London.

Three people were injured in the explosion and there was substantial damage.

Friday 23 January 1976

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) truce was officially brought to an end.

[Indirect contact between the British government and the IRA were maintained for a period after the ending of the truce.]

Saturday 23 January 1982


Two members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a father and son, were shot dead in their home by other UDA members in an internal dispute.

Thursday 23 January 1986

Westminster By-Elections

Fifteen Westminster by-elections were held across Northern Ireland. The by-elections were caused when Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) resigned their seats in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

Unionists fought the election under the slogan ‘Ulster Says No’ and wanted the elections to act as a referendum on the AIA. The SDLP decided not to nominate candidates in safe Unionists seats but instead fought in four marginal constituencies.

[When counting of the votes was completed it became clear that Unionists had increased their vote on the 1983 general election. The vote for Sinn Féin (SF) was down by 5 per cent on the 1985 local government election. Seamus Mallon of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) won the Newry and Armagh seat from Jim Nicholson of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). As most of the constituencies were uncontested by Nationalist candidates, Unionists put up dummy candidates called ‘Peter Barry’ in four seats. Peter Barry was at the time Irish Foreign Minister.]

Brian Mawhinney, then Member of Parliament (MP) for Peterborough, was appointed as a junior minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). Mawhinney was originally from Northern Ireland.

Monday 23 January 1989

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement that it had “stood down and disarmed” its West Fermanagh Brigade. This action followed the killing (on 15 January 1989) of a man whom, it was claimed, was an Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) informer.

Saturday 23 January 1993

Michael Ferguson (21), a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on Shipquay Street, Derry.

Sunday 23 January 1994

Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), said he would give clarification of the Downing Street Declaration (DSD) to anyone who asked for it.

Friday 23 January 1998

UFF Reinstate Ceasefire The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) for the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), issued a statement saying that they were reinstating their ceasefire following a “measured military response”

. The statement was seen as an admission that they had been responsible for a number of recent deaths of Catholics. Nationalists were angered by the wording of the statement;

Martin McGuinness, the Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), described it as an affront. A number of parties and individuals called for the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), which is politically associated with the UDA / UFF, to be expelled from the multi-party talks at Stormont. The UDP issued a short statement in response to these calls.

Liam Conway (39), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by a Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) gunman in Hesketh Road, in north Belfast. The shooting occurred around 5.00pm a few hours after the UFF had announced the reinstatement of its ceasefire. Conway was working on laying gas pipes in a Loyalist area. Liam Conway worked to help support his sister and two blind brothers.

[The UFF / UDA denied that it was responsible for the killing.]

A man was shot and injured in the legs in a Loyalist paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) arrested a 13 Protestant men in various parts of Belfast. Four of the men were from Portadown and were believed to have links with the LVF.

The RUC also discovered a cache of Powergel, a powerful commercial explosive, together with other explosives in a house in the Shankill area of Belfast. An estimated 300 pounds of explosive were recovered.

Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), laid a wreath at the ‘Bloody Sunday’ memorial in the Bogside during a visit to Derry. He called for a full independent inquiry into the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’. He also visited Belfast where he stated that there would be no “internal solution” to the problems of Northern Ireland and that any North-South bodies would have to have executive powers.

Saturday 23 January 1999

Loyalist paramilitaries carried out two ‘pipe bomb’ attacks on the homes of Catholic families living in Larne, County Antrim.

[The attacks appeared to be part of systematic intimidation campaign against Catholics living in east Antrim that began in early 1997. The first use of ‘pipe-bombs’ by Loyalist paramilitaries was recorded on 19 May 1998.]

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) announced that seven police bases along the County Fermanagh border would be closed in the coming weeks.

Tuesday 23 January 2001

A 70 year old man carried a pipe-bomb out of his home in Garvagh, County Derry, after it was thrown through a window and landed at his feet about 1.00am. Not realising what it was, he lifted it and took it outside. His 60 year old neighbour, who lives alone, had been asleep when a similar device was hurled through her window. The householders, both Protestant, said they had no idea why their homes had been targeted. The attacks were not thought to have been sectarian.

Tuesday 23 January 2001

Republican Mortar Attack There was a mortar attack on a British Army base in Derry. Dissident Republican Paramilitaries were believed to have been responsible for the attack. Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, held meetings with the pro-Agreement political parties to try to break the impasse over the remaining issues of police reform, demilitarisation, and paramilitary disarmament.

Wednesday 23 January 2002

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry announced that it would temporarily move to a location in Britain in order to hear the testimony of British Army paratroopers who fired the fatal shots in Derry on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972). The 36 soldiers had won court cases that supported their wish not to have to travel to Derry to give evidence.

[The soldiers will also retain their anonymity during the proceedings. Initially Lord Saville suggested that the soldiers’ evidence could be taken by a video link from Britain. However both the soldiers and the families of those killed and injured objected to this solution.]


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.

 5 People   lost their lives on the 23rd January  between  1977– 1998


23 January 1977
Alan Muncaster,  (19)

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Eliza Street, Markets, Belfast


23 January 1982
Robert Mitchell,  (46)

Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot with his son at their home, Rosebery Gardens, off Woodstock Road, Belfast. Internal Ulster Defence Association dispute.


23 January 1982
Roy Mitchell,  (21)

Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot with his father at their home, Rosebery Gardens, off Woodstock Road, Belfast. Internal Ulster Defence Association dispute.


23 January 1993

Michael Ferguson,   (21)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) foot patrol, Shipquay Street, Derry


23 January 1998

Liam Conway,  (39)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF)
Shot, while sitting in mechanical digger, laying pipes, Hesketh Road, off Crumlin Road, Belfast.



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