26th February – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

26th February


Friday 26 February 1971


Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers, Cecil Patterson (45) and Robert Buckley (30), were shot and killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) while on a mobile patrol in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.

Wednesday 26 February 1975

A member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) shot dead a police officer in London. During a subsequent search operation a bomb-making facility was uncovered in Hammersmith.

Saturday 26 February 1983

Ken Livingstone, then leader of the Greater London Council (GLC), travelled to Belfast to begin a two day visit at the invitation of Sinn Féin (SF). The visit drew strong criticism from Unionists.

Wednesday 26 February 1986

Leaders of Unionism announced that there would be a general strike, or ‘Day of Action’, on 3 March (1986) against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

Friday 26 February 1993

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded three bombs at a gas works in Warrington, England. The bombs caused a large explosion. Two men were later arrested.


Saturday 26 February 1994

Sinn Féin (SF) held its Ard Fheis in Dublin, Republic of Ireland .

Gerry Adams, then President of SF, addressed the conference and said that the Downing Street Declaration (DSD) was a significant departure from previous policy by the British in its attitude towards Ireland. He added:

“… does anyone really expect the IRA to cease its activities so that British civil servants can discuss with Sinn Féin the surrender of IRA weapons after we have been “decontaminated”?”


Monday 26 February 1996

In a crucial vote at Westminster on the Scott report (on shipments of arms to Iraq) the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and the United Kingdom Unionist (UKU) member voted against the Government. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) abstained. The Government won the debate by one vote.

Wednesday 26 February 1997

Two members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a ‘punishment’ style attack on a 16 year old girl, Judith Boylan, in Armagh.

A survey in the Irish News reported that 62 per cent of respondents favoured compromise on the issue of contentious parades.

Thursday 26 February 1998

The Court of Appeal ruled that Paratrooper Lee Clegg should be granted a retrial.

[The family of Karen Reilly who was shot dead in a ‘joy-riding’ incident on 30 September 1990 were said to be “devastated” by the news of the retrial.]

See Lee Clegg

Friday 26 February 1999

Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), held discussions on decommissioning and the transfer of powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The discussions took place during a meeting of European Union heads of government in Germany.

Monday 26 February 2001

Brian Keenan made a speech warning that there could be a return to armed conflict if the political process broke down.

[Keenan was reportedly the then Chief of Staff of the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army (IRA).]

Tuesday 26 February 2002

British Army bomb disposal officers defused a pipe-bomb that had been left in the garden of a house in Ballynure, County Antrim. The crude device was discovered at approximately 4.30pm (1630GMT).

Daniel McColgan



The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) announced that a £20,000 reward was being offered for information leading to the prosecution of those who had killed Daniel McColgan (20), a Catholic civilian, on 12 January 2002.

The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) admitted responsibility for the killing. The reward money had been raised by a number of groups.

Alex Maskey, then Sinn Féin (SF) Chief Whip, said that the party had turned down an invitation to discuss a Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) plan with Alan McQuillan, then Assistant Chief Constable.

Maskey said the party would play a “full and active” role when there was a new beginning to policing in the North.

Mark Durkan

Mark Durkan, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), addressed the Oxford University Union. He said that the focus of a new campaign for Nationalism should be to persuade Unionists of the benefits of an integrated agreed Ireland.


Robert McCartney



Robert McCartney, then leader of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), was expelled from the Northern Ireland Assembly chamber for one day for repeatedly talking to a colleague during a speech by an Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) member.

Quentin Davies



It was reported that Quentin Davies, then Conservative Party spokesman on Northern Ireland, had attended a meeting in Belfast of the Loyalist Commission at which Loyalist paramilitaries were present.

It was announced that the 26 District Councils in Northern Ireland would undertake a £52m development package to assist their local economies. The funding was provided jointly by the European Union (EU) and the District Councils. The EU funding (£26m) was made available under the Local Economic Development Measure of the Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme.

PricewaterhouseCoopers published its latest ‘UK Economic Outlook and Regional Trends’ survey in which the economy of Northern Ireland was expected to grow at a rate of just under 2 per cent during 2002.

An independent report published by the General Consumer Council indicated that passenger satisfaction with bus and rail services were at an all-time low. Passenger satisfaction had dropped to 63.2 per cent on Northern Ireland Railways, 62.8 per cent on Citybus, and 71.5 per cent on Ulsterbus.

John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, wrote to the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings providing a response to a letter sent by the Inquiry on 10 November 2000.

[The information was provided in the form of a ten-page. An appendix to the letter consisting of six pages gave details concerning the structure and control of intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.]


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 26th February between 1971– 1989


26 February 1971

Cecil Patterson,  (45)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol, Etna Drive, Ardoyne, Belfast.


26 February 1971

Robert Buckley,  (30)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol, Etna Drive, Ardoyne, Belfast


26 February 1975
Stephen Tibble,   (22)

Status: British Police (BP),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while pursuing Irish Republican Army (IRA) member along Charleville Road, Baron’s Court, London


26 February 1976
Joseph McCullough,   (57)

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Found stabbed to death at his farm, Tullyvallen, near Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.


26 February 1977

Robert Mitchell,  (68)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Justice of the Peace. Shot at his home, Windsor Avenue, Newry, County Down


26 February 1978

Paul Duffy,  (23)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members at arms cache, in yard of unoccupied farmhouse, The Diamond, near Coagh, County Tyrone.


26 February 1989
Joseph Fenton,  (35)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot in entry off Bunbeg Park, Lenadoon, Belfast. Alleged informer.




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