15th February – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

15th February


Monday 15 February 1971

A British soldier died seven days after being mortally wounded in an Irish Republican Army (IRA) attack.

Thursday 15 February 1973

Albert Browne, then a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was found guilty of killing a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in October 1972.

[Initially Browne was sentenced to death but this was later commuted to life imprisonment. The death penalty was later abolished as part of the Emergency Provisions Act.] [ Political Developments. ]

Sunday 15 February 1976

Two Catholic civilians, and a Protestant friend, were shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries at Wolfhill Drive, Ligoniel, Belfast. Another member of the family was shot but survived.

IRA member James McGrillen,

An IRA member was killed by the British Army in Belfast.

Tuesday 15 February 1977

Ian Smith, then leader of Rhodesia, thanked the Portadown branch of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for its message of support to him.

Wednesday 15 February 1978

John Hume, then deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said that the British government should consider a third option in its search for a political solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

[The first option, of maintaining the status quo or further integration with Britain, was one which Nationalists believed the government had been following, and the second option was withdrawal from Northern Ireland which was being advocated by many Nationalists.]

The third option was an “agreed Ireland” where the British government would declare that its objective was to bring the two main traditions in Ireland together in reconciliation and agreement

Monday 15 February 1982

The shipyard Harland and Wolff in Belfast announced that it would lay off 1,000 workers from its workforce of 7,000.

Monday 15 February 1988

Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, met Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), following a European Community summit in Brussels.

Saturday 15 February 1992

A bomb, estimated at 250 pounds, exploded in the centre of Belfast.

Thursday 15 February 1996

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) left a five pound Semtex bomb in a telephone kiosk in the Charing Cross Road, London. Additional troops were flown into Northern Ireland to be deployed in the border areas.

Saturday 15 February 1997

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that there would be no official apology or no new inquiry into the killings on ‘Bloody Sunday’. The relatives of those killed on 30 January 1972 expressed outrage and disappointment.

Tuesday 15 February 2000

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced that it was withdrawing from talks with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).

Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), agreed and published the terms pf reference for the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974.

[The Commission of Inquiry began its work in February 2000, with a minimal staff consisting of the Sole Member, Liam Hamilton, the former Chief Justice, a legal assistant, and a secretary. Subsequently, the Commission on Inquiry was asked to conduct similar Inquiries into the bombing of Kay’s Tavern, Dundalk, on 19 December 1975, and the shooting of Seamus Ludlow on 2 May 1976. The Inquiry was also asked to look into the shooting of Brid Carr in 1971; bombings in Dublin on 1 December 1972 and 20 January 1973; and other bombings within the State. These inquiries were to be dealt with separately.]

Friday 15 February 2002

British Army technical officers were called to deal with a pipe-bomb discovered near a hospital in Ballymena, County Antrim. Two controlled explosions were carried out and the remains of the device were removed for forensic examination.

A police officer was slightly injured during a disturbance at 2.00am (0200GMT) in the Dunmurry area south of Belfast. A police patrol had gone to a reported traffic accident. The patrol was attacked by a large crowd throwing petrol bombs, bricks and bottles.

Postal deliveries in Derry were again disrupted after a threatening letter was sent to staff. The letter was signed “Waterside Young Loyalists” and it warned 11 named people not to enter the Waterside area of the city.

[The threat had been made almost two weeks previously but details were not made public.]

Kevin Fulton, who had previously acted as a police informer, was granted leave to begin a judicial review of the decision, by the Chief Constable of the police, not to grant him a firearms certificate. Fulton was one of two people who had supplied information about a bomb attack in Northern Ireland prior to the Omagh bombing (15 August 1998).

[The police had been accused of “undue delay” in processing his application for a personal protection weapon.]

The National Audit Office published a report that suggested that over half of the petrol stations in Northern Ireland were selling illegal (smuggled) fuel. It was estimated that of the 700 filling stations in the region as many as 450 were dealing in illicit supplies. This illegal trade plus the loss incurred by drivers crossing the border to fill their cars with cheaper fuel resulted in a loss to the Exchequer of £380 million during 2000.


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.

7 People   lost their lives on the 15th February between 1971– 1993


15 February 1971

John Laurie,  (22)

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died seven days after being shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Crumlin Road, Ardoyne, Belfast.


15 February 1976

James McGrillen,   (25)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while travelling in car, immediately after launching gun attack on pedestrians, Ballygomartin Road, Belfast.


15 February 1976
Mary Sloan,  (50)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot at her home, Wolfhill Drive, Ligoniel, Belfast.


15 February 1976
Mary Sloan,  (19)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot at her home, Wolfhill Drive, Ligoniel, Belfast


15 February 1976
 Doris McGrath,   (23)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot while visiting friends home, Wolfhill Drive, Ligoniel, Belfast.


15 February 1988

Alan Johnston,  (23)

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his workplace, joinery works, Greencastle Road, Kilkeel, County Down.


15 February 1993

Mervyn Johnson,  (38)

Status: Royal Irish Regiment (RIR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot outside his home, Highfern Gardens, Highfield, Belfast.



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