Monthly Archives: March 2016

1st April – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

1st April

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Tuesday 1 April 1969

 Political Developments

Civil Rights Campaign

Wednesday 1 April 1970

UDR Began Operations

Serious riots continued in the Ballymurphy estate in Belfast between Catholic residents and the British Army. The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) became operational. The UDR was introduced to replace the ‘B-Specials’ (the Ulster Special Constabulary).

The UDR was a locally recruited regiment of the British Army. Roy Hattersley, then Minister of Defence, visited Northern Ireland to mark the occasion.

[Initially Catholics formed 18 per cent of the membership of the UDR, however it was to become almost exclusively Protestant and in its time attract almost as much controversy as the ‘B-Specials’. Many ex-members of the ‘B-Specials’ joined the new force.]

Friday 1 April 1977

The British government came out in support of the idea of treating Northern Ireland as a single constituency, returning three members, for elections to the European Parliament. The government also supported the use of Proportional Representation (PR) in these elections.

The proposals were supported by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and the Alliance Party (APNI) but were opposed by the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Thursday 1 April 1981

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) organised three late-night rallies on top of hills near Armagh, Gortin and Newry. At the rally near Gortin, County Tyrone, two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) vehicles were overturned by the crowd.

[The rallies were similar to one held on 6 February 1981 when firearm certificates were displayed by those taking part.]

Thursday 1 April 1982

Two undercover members of the British Army were shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as they drove a civilian type van from the joint Army / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base in Rosemount, Derry.

Tuesday 1 April 1986

There were further periods of rioting in Portadown, County Armagh. During the riots Keith White (20), a Protestant civilian, was fatally wounded by a plastic baton round fired by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

[White died on 14 April 1986 and was the first Protestant to be killed by a plastic bullet. Police figures released later showed that there were: 38 civilians injured; 39 RUC officers injured; 147 plastic baton rounds fired; 38 cases of damage to property; and 33 arrests. These figures were to increase over the following weeks.]

Sunday 1 April 1990

On the 20th anniversary of the setting up of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, describes the regiment as committed to ‘justice, decency and democracy’.

Thursday 1 April 1993

Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), gave a speech in the Daíl about the prospects for peace in Northern Ireland. Reynolds defended the Irish Constitution and called for a new framework to help take the gun out of politics on the island.

The News Letter (a Northern Ireland newspaper) published a poll of its readers which showed that, of those who took part, 42 per cent agreed with Loyalist paramilitary violence.

Saturday 1 April 1995

British Army technical officers defused an incendiary device that had been found in a grocery shop in Belfast.

This was the third such device in a week

Monday 1 April 1996

A ‘consultation paper’ was issued by the British Government which listed 15 parties entitled to take part in the 30 May 1996 elections.

[There was a series of concerns about a number of groups and individuals who were not included on the list. The list was increased to 30 on 16 April 1996.]

Tuesday 1 April 1997

The Mountpottinger Baptist Tabernacle in east Belfast was damaged in an arson attack.

[Initially Catholics were blamed by Sammy Wilson, then a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillor. However David Ervine, then a spokesperson for the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), later (on 20 April 1997) said that dissident Loyalists had carried out the attack. This was evidently another attempt to raise general Protestant anger at the Catholic community. This tactic has been used by Loyalists on numerous occasions during the current conflict.]

There were arson attacks on several Protestant houses and business in the Dungannon and Coalisland areas. The home of Joel Patton, then leader of Spirit of Drumcree (SOD), was also attacked.

A special court was held in Belfast City Hospital to charge Gareth Doris, who had been shot by the Special Air Service (SAS) in Coalisland on 26 March 1997, with attempted murder and causing an explosion.

Wednesday 1 April 1998

Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), travelled to London to meet with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, to try to reach a common position on the key elements of any potential agreement. Despite hours of talks lasting late into the evening the two sides were unable to reach agreement.

Ahern said that there were “large disagreements which could not be cloaked”.

The British government said that it would not order any inquiry into the killing (on 12 February 1989) of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

See Pat Finucane

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) agreed to the building of a new ‘peaceline’ in the White City area of north Belfast. There had been a high level of sectarian violence in the area.

Thursday 1 April 1999

Hillsborough Declaration

The multi-party talks at Hillsborough came to an end with a call for the proposed Executive to be established within three weeks. Talks were adjourned until 13 April 1999. The Hillsborough Declaration was agreed by Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister).

The Declaration set out a framework for progress towards establishing the Executive. It also stated that:

“At a date to be proposed by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning [IICD] but not later than [one month after nomination date] a collective act of reconciliation will take place. This will see some arms put beyond use on a voluntary basis, in a manner which will be verified by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, and further moves on normalisation and demilitarisation in recognition of the changed situation on security.”

[The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) had been insisting that there should be decommissioning of arms by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) before Sinn Féin (SF) could sit on an Executive. SF said that it could not deliver decommissioning before the Executive was formed. Those Unionists who were against the Good Friday Agreement also came out strongly against the Declaration.]

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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.

8  People lost their lives on the 1st April  between 1974– 1992

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01 April 1974


James Hanna,  (27)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Found shot in abandoned car, Mansfield Street, Shankill, Belfast. Alleged informer

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01 April 1975


Dorothy Trainor,   (52)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot while walking across park near her home, off Garvaghy Road, Portadown, County Armagh.

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01 April 1975
Patrick Cachart,  (36)

nfNI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Originally from India. Married to a Catholic. Shot at his home, Northlands, Carrickfergus, County Antrim.

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01 April 1976
John McCutcheon,   (48)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his workplace, Macrete Concrete Company, Castledawson, County Derry.

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01 April 1980


Robert Carr,   (21)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died nine days after being injured in premature bomb explosion, Customs Office, Newry, County Down.

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01 April 1982
Michael Ward,  (29)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while travelling in British Army (BA) civilian type van, shortly after leaving Rosemount British Army (BA) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, Derry

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01 April 1982
Michael Burbridge,  (31)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while travelling in British Army (BA) civilian type van, shortly after leaving Rosemount British Army (BA) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, Derry

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01 April 1992
Peter McClements,  (43)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot outside his home, Lower Toberhewney Lane, Lurgan, County Armagh. Alleged informer.

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31st March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

 Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

31st March

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Tuesday 31 March 1970

There were riots in the Springfield Road area of Belfast following an Orange parade. The British Army used ‘snatch squads’ to make arrests of Catholic youths.

The confrontations were intense with 38 soldiers injured together with an unknown number of civilians. The Army used CS gas for the first time in large quantities.

Wednesday 31 March 1976

Three British soldiers were killed in a land mine attack carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) near Belleek, County Armagh.

Tuesday 31 March 1981

hungry strikes

See 1981 Hunger Strike

Monday 31 March 1986

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) announced a ban on a planned Apprentice Boys of Derry march in Portadown, County Armagh.

The decision sparked serious rioting between Loyalists and the police that was to continue off and on over the following weeks. Loyalist gangs carried out petrol bomb attacks on 11 Catholic homes in Lisburn, County Antrim. RUC officers were also the subject of

Thursday 31 March 1988

The Human Rights organisation, Amnesty International, announced that it was to investigate the deaths of the three Irish Republican Army (IRA) members in Gilbraltar on 6 March 1988. intimidation from Loyalists.

gib3 with text

See Gibraltar SAS

Sunday 31 March 1991

Republicans held commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the Easter Rising that took place in Dublin in 1916.

easter rising

See Easter Rising

Thursday 31 March 1994

The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), carried out two gun attacks on Catholics.

Two Catholic men were injured in Belfast and a third was injured in Antrim.

Cahal Daly, then Cardinal, said that the announcement of an Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire was an indication that Republicans were sincere in their desire for peace.

Friday 31 March 1995

Statistics were released on the level of paramilitary ‘punishment’ attacks since the ceasefires on 31 August and 13 October 1994. Republican paramilitaries had been responsible for 51 ‘punishment’ beatings while Loyalist paramilitaries had carried out 39 such attacks.

Senior representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) held a meeting in Belfast.

[This was the highest level contact between the two parties since disputes following the publication of the Downing Street Declaration (DSD) on 15 December 1993.]

Monday 31 March 1997

The Belfast Walkers Club of the Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) voluntarily rerouted their parade to avoid the lower part of the Ormeau Road.

Tuesday 31 March 1998

UN Report Critical Of RUC

A report by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights accused the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) of engaging in widespread intimidation of lawyers involved in defending Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries.

The report also called for an independent investigation into the death (on 12 February 1989) of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane to determine whether any of the security forces had colluded with the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), in his killing.

In the multi-party talks at Stormont the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) confirmed that it would like to see an Executive to head up the proposed Northern Ireland Assembly.

This was in contrast to the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) position of arguing for a series of committees to deal with the major government departments. It was reported that Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, had drawn up a working paper on the structure and powers of planned cross-border bodies and presented the paper to the UUP for consideration.

Wednesday 31 March 1999

A Catholic businessman from Dungannon, County Tyrone, discovered a pipe-bomb attached to his car. The device failed to explode.

Another pipe-bomb was found in north Belfast. Army technical officers dealt with the device. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) claimed responsibility for both bombs.

[In 2001 it became apparent that RHD was a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).]

Participants in the talks at Hillsborough Castle reported some progress following the issuing of the Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) Easter statement which read: “we wholeheartedly support efforts to secure a lasting resolution to the conflict”.

Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), accused David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), of taking part in “surrender negotiations”.

A group of anti-Agreement Loyalists staged a protest outside Hillsborough Castle. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued an Easter statement. Visitors to the Republic of Ireland were discovering “an atmosphere which is almost rude, brusque and indifferent”, a senior tourism executive warned.

Wednesday 31 March 2000

A Catholic businessman discovered a pipe-bomb attached to his car and removed the device and threw it into a nearby hedge in Dungannon. Meanwhile, a second pipe-bomb was discovered at the rear of a garden in Gray’s Lane off the Antrim Road in north Belfast. Both attacks were claimed by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD) a Loyalist paramilitary group

Saturday 31 March 2001

Loyalists Mortally Wound Protestant Man

Trevor Thomas Lowry (49), a Protestant civilian, was badly beaten, and mortally wounded, in an attack in Glengormley, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

He was found at 11.30pm (2330BST) and taken to hospital. [Lowry died on Tuesday 3 April 2001.]

Police said that they believed the attack was a sectarian one carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries who thought that Lowry was a Catholic.

[In April 2001, members of the (Ulster) Young Militants (YM), the youth wing of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), appeared in Belfast High Court accused of his murder. It was reported that Lowry was repeatedly stamped upon during the attack.]

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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.

5  People lost their lives on the 31st  March between 1974– 1980

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31 March 1974


Sean McAstocker,  (28)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot, Lagan Street, Markets, Belfast.

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31 March 1976
David Ferguson,  (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Carrickgallogly Bridge, near Belleek, County Armagh.

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31 March 1976
Roderick Bannon,  (25)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Carrickgallogly Bridge, near Belleek, County Armagh.

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31 March 1976
John Pearson,  (23)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Carrickgallogly Bridge, near Belleek, County Armagh.

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31 March 1980


Paul Moan, (15)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while travelling in stolen car at British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), junction of Shaw’s Road and Glen Road, Andersonstown, Belfast.

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Dublin’s deadly Gang War – Kinahan vs Hutch

Belfast Child

Two Dublin Families at war as underworld godfathers fight for supremacy

All-out gang war has broken out in Dublin, with two high-profile murders within a few days

On Monday 8th February  Eddie Hutch, 59, brother of former gangland boss Gerry “The Monk” Hutch, was shot dead by four masked men at his home in Poplar Row in Dublin’s north inner city.

Eddie Hutch

Detectives have no doubt it was a revenge killing for the murder three days earlier of leading Dublin criminal David Byrne, 33, in a prohibition era, Chicago-style attack at the Regency Hotel, also on Dublin’s North Side.

David Byrne’s body

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Fatal Dublin Shooting at boxing weigh-in Linked To Gangland Feud

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Byrne’s murder at a boxing weigh-in before 200 people, including children, was believed to have been in retaliation for last September’s assassination of 34-year-old Gary Hutch, a nephew of both Eddie and The Monk, near Marbella in…

View original post 1,134 more words

Jihadi Jake – Jake Bilardi Life & Death

Jake Bilardi

Abu Abdullah al-Australi

jihad jake 2 resized

Abu Abdullah al-Australi (1 December 1996 – 11 March 2015), born Jake Bilardi, dubbed by the media as Jihadi Jake, was an 18-year-old Australian suicide bomber considered among the youngest recruited from a Western nation.

Bilardi’s background has been described as radically different from other Western recruits and symbolises youth issues more than ideological ones.

Life, Radicalisation and Death

Born in Craigieburn, Victoria, Bilardi was a shy and lonely school student who was reportedly bullied by peers. Bilardi kept a blog describing his disdain for United States forces committing crimes against Muslims in the Middle East. He became radical after his mother died of cancer. By 2014, he expressed sympathy for Osama Bin Laden on Facebook. Concerned that the Australian government was monitoring him, Bilardi turned to building explosives in the event he would not be able to leave the country. A recruiter for Jabhat al-Nusra made contact with him in August 2014, and he left for Iraq.

Bilardi died in a suicide attack in Ramadi, Iraq on 11 March 2015. The Iraqi Army stated Bilardi’s attack was unsuccessful, killing only himself. ISIL used his death as propaganda, in order to recruit more people to become suicide bombers. According to a friend, Bilardi was concerned his family would “spend eternity in hell” for being non-believers.

Reaction

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Life of Islamic State Suicide Bomber Behind the scenes

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott, commented on Bilardi’s death as an “absolutely horrific situation” stating, “it’s very, very important that we do everything we can to try to safeguard our young people against the lure of this shocking, alien and extreme ideology. Professor Greg Barton, director of the Centre for Islam and the Modern World, considers Bilardi a self-radical motivated by underlying mental health issues instead of religious zealotry.

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Captured Islamic State suicide bomber: ‘I’m so sorry’

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Failed suicide bomber interview

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Wafa al Bass

Wafa al Bass (Wafa al-Biss, b. 1984) is a Palestinian Arab resident of Gaza who was permitted to enter Israel for the purpose of being treated at an Israeli hospital in 2005. She wore a suicide bomb vest which she attempted to explode as she crossed into Israel via the Erez Crossing.

Al Bass had been given permission to enter Israel to receive hospital treatment for severe burns. Guards at the crossing became suspicious and discovered that under her traditional black robes she had strapped a 22-pound bomb to her leg.

She was imprisoned for several years and released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

Upon release from prison she immediately attained further notoriety by urging Gazans to “take another Shalit” every year until all convicted Arab terrorists held in Israeli prisons were freed. As schoolchildren gathered at her home in northern Gaza to welcome her home, she told them, “I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs

30th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

30th March

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Sunday 30 March 1969 Loyalist Bombs

There were a number of explosions at an electricity substation at Castlereagh, east Belfast. The explosions resulted in a blackout in a large area of Belfast and did damage estimated at £500,000.

[It was later established that the bombs were planted by Loyalists who were members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV). This incident was initially blamed on the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and was part of a campaign by Loyalist groups to destabilise Terence O’Neill, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, and bring an end to reforms. Other bombs were planted by Loyalists on 4 April 1969, 20 Arpil 1969, 24 April 1969, 26 April 1969, and 19 October 1969.]

Thursday 30 March 1972

Direct Rule Introduced

William Faulkner announces his resignation, heralding the beginning of direct rule

The legislation which introduced direct rule, the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act, was passed at the House of Commons at Westminster.

[With the exception of a brief period in 1974, Northern Ireland was to be ruled from Westminster until 1999.]

Friday 30 March 1973

William Craig, and some other former members of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), formed a new political party the Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party (VUPP). The VUPP was formed with the support of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

[In addition to having close links with Loyalist paramilitary groups the VUPP also was prepared to accept an independent Northern Ireland because of the inevitable Unionist domination of any new government. Indeed the VUPP had one Loyalist paramilitary grouping, the Vanguard Service Corps (VSC) directly linked with the party.]

Saturday 30 March 1974

Two Protestant civilians were killed in a bomb attack on the Crescent Bar, Sandy Row, Belfast. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tuesday 30 March 1976

The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) called off its ‘rent and rates strike’ which had originally started as a campaign of civil disobedience against the introduction of Internment. [Many of those who had taken part in the protest were left with arrears and in many cases money was deducted from welfare benefit payments to recoup the amounts owing.]

Wednesday 30 March 1977

Shankill Butchers.

Francis Cassidy (43), a Catholic civilian, was found shot with his throat cut in the Highfield area of Belfast.

Members of he Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang known as the ‘Shankill Butchers’ were responsible for the killing.

See Shankill Butchers

Friday 30 March 1979

Airey Neave Killed

Airey-Neave 2 resized

Airey Neave, then Conservative Party spokesperson on Northern Ireland, was killed by a booby-trap bomb attached to his car as he left the car park at the House of Commons. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) claimed responsibility for the killing.

[If he had lived Neave would have been highly likely to have become the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in the new Conservative government. Neave had been an advocate of a strong security response to counter Republican paramilitaries. Neave had also advocated the setting up of one or more regional councils to take responsibility for local services.]

See Airey Neave

Monday 30 March 1981

Noel Maguire decided to withdraw his nomination in the forthcoming by-election in Fermanagh / South Tyrone.

[This decision meant that voters were faced with a straight choice between Bobby Sands and Harry West, the Unionist candidate.] [ 1981 Hunger Strike.]

Friday 30 March 1990

It was announced that the report of the Stevens Inquiry would not be published.

Tuesday 30 March 1993

Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) lost its appeal against a High Court decision that its blanket ban on broadcasting interviews with members of Sinn Féin (SF) was wrong and that Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act was being misinterpreted by the station. The five-judge Supreme Court unanimously upheld the High Court decision.

[In the High Court in July 1992, Mr. Justice O’Hanlon found that RTE, in deciding that no SF member should be permitted by reason of that membership to broadcast on any matter or topic, had misinterpreted the provisions of the ministerial order. In its appeal, RTE argued that the purpose of the order was to prevent its broadcasting system being used for the purpose of subverting or undermining the authority of the state.]

Wednesday 30 March 1994

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced that there would be a three day ceasefire from 6 April to 8 April 1994.

During a visit to Northern Ireland John Major, then British Prime Minister, said that what people wanted was a “permanent end to violence”.

lee glegg

The appeal by Lee Clegg, a private in the Parachute Regiment, against his murder conviction was dismissed by Brian Hutton (Sir), then Lord Chief Justice.

[However, Clegg was released from prison on 3 July 1995 having served two years of a life sentence for the murder of Karen Reilly (16) on 30 September 1990.]

See Lee Clegg

Thursday 30 March 1995

The annual report of the Fair Employment Commission (FEC) noted that 62.7 per cent of the workforce was Protestant and 37.3 per cent Catholic. [Based on the 1991 Census, the estimated Catholic population was 41.5 per cent.]

Saturday 30 March 1996

Jim McDonnell (36), then a prisoner at Maghaberry Prison, was found dead of a ‘heart attack’.

[It was later revealed that he had a series of injuries, including 11 broken ribs, which the Prison Service said was a result of a fall or the attempts at resuscitation.]

Sunday 30 March 1997

A Loyalist paramilitary group planted a car bomb outside the offices of Sinn Féin (SF) in the New Lodge area of north Belfast. The bomb was defused.

easter rising

Various Republican groups held commemorations of the Easter Rising, which took place in Dublin in 1916, at locations across Northern Ireland. The groups involved were: SF, Republican SF, the Workers’ Party, and the Official Republican Movement.

See Easter Rising

Tuesday 30 March 1999

Talks between Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), continued at Hillsborough Castle in County Down. Efforts were being made to incorporate guarantees from Seamus Mallon, then Deputy First Minister Designate, that the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) would co-operate in excluding Sinn Féin (SF) from government if decommissioning failed to take place by a specific date.

Seven hours of talks adjourned at midnight without agreement. There were protests by Republicans and anti-Agreement Loyalists at Stormont, Belfast.

Rosemary-Nelson--001

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) together with the Independent Commission on Police Complaints (ICPC) issued a ‘review’ of a report based on an inquiry into the killing of Rosemary Nelson on 15 March 1999 and the allegations of death threats against Nelson made by members of the RUC.

The report had been prepared by Niall Mulvihill, then Commander of the Metropolitan Police in London, and had been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Nationalists criticised the ‘review’ and claimed it was an “exercise in damage limitation

See Rosemary Nelson

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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.

8  People lost their lives on the 30th March between 1972– 1987

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30 March 1972
Martha Crawford,   (39)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot during gun battle between British Army (BA) and Irish Republican Army (IRA), Rossnareen Avenue, Andersonstown, Belfast.

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30 March 1974


William Thompson,  (43)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Killed in bomb attack on Crescent Bar, Sandy Row, Belfast.

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30 March 1974


Howard Mercer,  (39)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Killed in bomb attack on Crescent Bar, Sandy Row, Belfast.

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30 March 1976
Donald Traynor,   (28)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb at Orange Hall, Ballygargan, near Portadown, County Armagh.

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30 March 1977
Francis Cassidy,   (43)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Abducted while walking along New Lodge Road, Belfast. Found stabbed and shot a short time later, on grass verge, off Highfern Gardens, Highfield, Belfast.

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30 March 1979


Airey Neave,  (63)

 nfNIB
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Member of Parliament and Conservative Party Spokesman on Northern Ireland. Killed by booby trap bomb attached to his car at House of Commons, Westminster, London.

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30 March 1979


Martin McConville,  (25)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Beaten to death somewhere in Portadown, County Armagh. Body found in River Bann, beside Seagoe Industrial Estate, Portadown, County Armagh, on 22 April 1979.

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30 March 1987
Ian O’Connor,  (23)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by grenade dropped on to stationary British Army (BA) vehicle from the balcony above, Divis Flats, Belfast.

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If you would like more information on any of these events or deaths please visit the contact me page  and  me an email.

 

Airey Neave- The Assasination of Airey Neave

Airey Middleton Sheffield Neave

Airey Neave

23 January 1916 – 30 March 1979

Airey Middleton Sheffield Neave, DSO, OBE, MC, TD (23 January 1916 – 30 March 1979) was a British army officer, barrister and politician.

During World War II, Neave was the first British officer to successfully escape from the German prisoner-of-war camp Oflag IV-C at Colditz Castle. He later became Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Abingdon.

Neave was assassinated in 1979 in a car-bomb attack at the House of Commons. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) claimed responsibility.

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The Assasination of Airey Neave

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Early life

Neave was the son of Sheffield Airey Neave CMG, OBE (1879–1961), a well-known entomologist, and his wife Dorothy (d. 1943), the daughter of Arthur Thomson Middleton. His father was the grandson of Sheffield Neave, the third son of Sir Thomas Neave, 2nd Baronet (see Neave Baronets). Neave spent his early years in Knightsbridge in London, before he moved to Beaconsfield. Neave was sent to St. Ronan’s School, Worthing, and from there, in 1929, he went to Eton College.

He went on to study jurisprudence at Merton College, Oxford While at Eton, Neave composed a prize-winning essay in 1933 that examined the likely consequences of Adolf Hitler‘s rise to supreme power in Germany, and Neave predicted then that another widespread war would break out in Europe in the near future. Neave had earlier been on a visit to Germany, and he witnessed the Nazi German methods of grasping political and military power in their hands.

At Eton, Neave served in the school cadet corps as a cadet lance corporal, and received a territorial commission as a second lieutenant in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 11 December 1935.]

When Neave went to Oxford University, he purchased and read the entire written works of the writer Carl von Clausewitz. When Neave was asked why, he answered:

“since war [is] coming, it [is] only sensible to learn as much as possible about the art of waging it”.

During 1938, Neave completed his third-class degree in the study of jurisprudence. By his own admission, while at Oxford University, Neave did only the minimal amount of academic work that was required of him by his tutors.

Wartime service

Neave transferred his territorial commission to the Royal Engineers on 2 May 1938  and following the outbreak of war he was mobilised. Sent to France in February 1940 as part of a searchlight regiment, he was wounded and captured by the Germans at Calais on 23 May 1940. He was imprisoned at Oflag IX-A/H near Spangenberg and in February 1941 moved to Stalag XX-A near Thorn in German-occupied western Poland. Meanwhile, Neave’s commission was transferred to the Royal Artillery on 1 August 1940.

In April 1941 he escaped from Thorn with Norman Forbes. They were captured near Ilow while trying to enter Soviet-controlled Poland and were briefly in the hands of the Gestapo. In May, they were both sent to Oflag IV-C (often referred to as Colditz Castle because of its location).

Image result for Colditz Castle

Neave made his first attempt to escape from Colditz on 28 August 1941 disguised as a German NCO. He did not get out of the castle as his hastily contrived German uniform (made from a Polish army tunic and cap painted with scenery paint) was rendered bright green under the prison searchlights.

Together with Dutch officer Anthony Luteyn he made a second attempt on 5 January 1942, again in disguise. Better uniforms and escape route (they made a quick exit from a theatrical production using the trap door beneath the stage) got them out of the prison and by train and on foot they travelled to Leipzig and Ulm and finally reached the border to Switzerland near Singen. Via France, Spain and Gibraltar, Neave returned to England in April 1942. Neave was the first British officer to escape from Colditz Castle.

On 12 May 1942, shortly after his return to England, he was decorated with the Military Cross. He was subsequently promoted to war substantive captain and to the permanent rank of captain on 11 April 1945. A temporary major at the war’s end, he was appointed an MBE (Military Division) on 30 August 1945, and awarded the DSO on 18 October.

As a result, the earlier award of the MBE was cancelled on 25 October.

He was later recruited as an intelligence agent for MI9. While at MI9, he was the immediate superior of Michael Bentine. He also served with the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials, investigating Krupp. As a well-known war hero – as well as a qualified lawyer who spoke fluent German – he was honoured with the role of reading the indictments to the Nazi leaders on trial. He wrote several books about his war experiences including an account of the Trials.

A temporary lieutenant-colonel by 1947, he was appointed an OBE (Military Division) in that year’s Birthday Honours.[17] He was awarded the Bronze Star by the US government on 23 July 1948,  and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 1 April 1950, At the same time, his promotion to acting major was gazetted, with retroactive effect from 16 April 1948. He entered the reserves on 21 September 1951.

Political career

Neave stood for the Conservative Party at the 1950 election in Thurrock and at Ealing North in 1951. He was elected for Abingdon in a by-election in June 1953, but his career was held back by a heart attack he suffered in 1959.

He was a Governor of Imperial College between 1963 and 1971 and was a member of the House of Commons select committee on Science and Technology between 1965 and 1970.

Edward Heath, when Chief Whip, was alleged to have told Neave that after he suffered his heart attack his career was finished  but in his 1998 autobiography, Heath strongly denied ever making such a remark. He admitted that in December 1974 Neave had told him to stand down for the good of the party. During the final two months of 1974, Neave had asked Keith Joseph, William Whitelaw and Edward du Cann to stand against Heath, and said that in the case of any of them challenging for the party leadership, he would be their campaign manager.

When all three refused to stand, Neave agreed to be the campaign manager for Margaret Thatcher‘s attempt to become leader of the Conservative Party, that was eventually victorious.

When Thatcher was elected leader in February 1975, he was rewarded with the post of head of her private office. He was then appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and was poised to attain the equivalent Cabinet position at the time of his death in the event of their party winning the general election of 1979. In opposition, Neave was a strong supporter of Roy Mason, who had extended the policy of Ulsterisation.

Neave was author of the new and radical Conservative policy of abandoning devolution in Northern Ireland if there was no early progress in that regard and concentrating on local government reform instead. This integrationist policy was hastily abandoned by Humphrey Atkins, who became Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the role Neave had shadowed.

Tony Benn2.jpg

Politician Tony Benn records in his diary (17 February 1981) that a journalist from the New Statesman, Duncan Campbell, told him that he had received information from an intelligence agent two years previously that Neave had planned to have Benn assassinated if a Labour government was elected, James Callaghan resigned and there was a possibility that Benn might be elected party leader in his place. Campbell claimed that the agent was ready to give his name and the New Statesman was going to print the story.

Benn, however, discounted the validity of the story and wrote in his diary:

“No one will believe for a moment that Airey Neave would have done such a thing”.

The magazine printed the story on 20 February 1981, naming the agent as Lee Tracey. Tracey claimed to have met Neave and was asked to join a team of intelligence and security specialists which would “make sure Benn was stopped”. Tracey planned a second meeting with Neave but Neave was killed before they could meet again.

Assassination

 

 

Memorial plaque to Airey Neave at his alma mater, Merton College, Oxford

 
 

Airey Neave was killed on 30 March 1979, when a magnetic car bomb fitted with a ball bearing tilt switch exploded under his new Vauxhall Cavalier  at 14:58 as he drove out of the Palace of Westminster car park.

He lost his right leg below the knee and his left was hanging on by a flap of skin. Neave died in hospital an hour after being freed from the wreckage without regaining consciousness.

The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), an illegal Irish republican paramilitary group, claimed responsibility for the killing.

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Margaret Thatcher speaking to the press immediately after the assassination of Airey Neave

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Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher led tributes, saying:

He was one of freedom’s warriors. No one knew of the great man he was, except those nearest to him. He was staunch, brave, true, strong; but he was very gentle and kind and loyal. It’s a rare combination of qualities. There’s no one else who can quite fill them. I, and so many other people, owe so much to him and now we must carry on for the things he fought for and not let the people who got him triumph.

Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan said:

James Callaghan.JPG

“No effort will be spared to bring the murderers to justice and to rid the United Kingdom of the scourge of terrorism.”

The INLA issued a statement regarding the killing in the August 1979 edition of The Starry Plough:

In March, retired terrorist and supporter of capital punishment, Airey Neave, got a taste of his own medicine when an INLA unit pulled off the operation of the decade and blew him to bits inside the ‘impregnable’ Palace of Westminster. The nauseous Margaret Thatcher snivelled on television that he was an ‘incalculable loss’—and so he was—to the British ruling class.

Neave’s death came just two days after the vote of no confidence which brought down Callaghan’s government and a few weeks before the 1979 general election, which brought about a Conservative victory and saw Thatcher come to power as Prime Minister. Neave’s wife Diana, whom he married on 29 December 1942, was subsequently elevated to the House of Lords as Baroness Airey of Abingdon.

Neave’s biographer Paul Routledge met a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (the political wing of INLA) who was involved in the killing of Neave and who told Routledge that Neave:

“would have been very successful at that job [Northern Ireland Secretary]. He would have brought the armed struggle to its knees”.

Conspiracy theories

Whilst working in the House of Commons as Paddy Ashdown‘s research assistant, Kevin Cahill claims to have had around six conversations with the security staff there. The most frequent remark was that “everyone knew” the story behind Neave’s death but that no one could talk about it in detail because it would have been too dangerous. Cahill claims they did not believe INLA killed Neave but that it was an “inside job”.

Cahill concluded that Neave was killed by MI6 agents working with the CIA because Neave sought to prosecute senior figures in the intelligence establishment for corruption.

Another person who did not accept the generally accepted version of events was Enoch Powell, the Ulster Unionist MP. Powell claimed in an interview with The Guardian on 9 January 1984 that the Americans had killed Neave, along with Lord Mountbatten and Robert Bradford MP. He claimed the evidence came from a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary with whom he had a conversation.

On 18 October 1986 Powell returned to the subject of Neave’s death in a speech to Conservative students in Birmingham. He told them that INLA had not killed Neave, but that he had been assassinated by “MI6 and their friends”. Powell claimed Neave’s Northern Ireland policy had been one of integration with the rest of the UK and that the Americans feared that this process, if implemented by Neave, would have been irreversible.

His killing, alleged Powell, was intended to make the British Government adopt a policy more acceptable to America in her aim of a united Ireland within NATO.

In 2014, 35 years after Neave’s death, it was reported that a fictionalised account of Neave’s murder was to be used in a Channel 4 drama. The drama, Utopia, portrays Neave as a drinker who colluded with spies and portrays his assassination as perpetrated by MI5.

This led to condemnation of the broadcaster, with Norman Tebbit (a friend and colleague of Neave and survivor of the Brighton hotel bombing in 1984) saying:

“To attack a man like that who is dead and cannot defend himself is despicable”.

Neave’s family, who had not been consulted about the programme, announced their intention to take action to prevent the programme from being broadcast, claiming it had “fictionalised the atrocity ‘in the name of entertainment’ as well as falsely depicting him as a debauched and conniving figure.

Main source: https: wikipedia

See: Ian Gow 

My book is now available to order online, see below for more details : 

29th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

29th March

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Sunday 29 March 1970

There were serious disturbances in Derry following a march to commemoration the Easter Rising.

The British Army later established a cordon around parts of the Bogside.

Friday 29 March 1974

Two Catholic civilians were killed in a bomb attack on Conway’s public house, Greencastle, near Belfast. The bomb was planted by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Tuesday 29 March 1977

There were reports that the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) was boycotting the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC).

Thursday 29 March 1979

 Political Developments, Segregation

flag-one-752x501

See Segregation in Northern Ireland

Sunday 29 March 1981

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) decided to withdraw the nomination of Austin Currie from the forthcoming by-election in Fermanagh / South Tyrone.

Thursday 29 March 1984

During the trial of John Robinson, a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer, for the killing of Seamus Grew, a member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), on 12 December 1982, Robinson said he had been ordered to lie about events leading up to the shooting.

He claimed that senior RUC officers had told him what to say and gave the reason as protecting Special Branch officers and an RUC informer in the Republic of Ireland.

[Robinson was later acquitted of the killing.]

on the situation in Northern Ireland which was drawn up on behalf of the Political Affairs Committee, was passed by the European Parliament by124 votes to 3. The report called for a power-sharing administration in Northern Ireland together with an integrated economic plan. The preparation of the report had been opposed by Unionists and the British government.

 

Tuesday 29 March 1994

The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), launched a rocket and gun attack on a Sinn Féin (SF) office on the Falls Road, west Belfast.

A report published by the Fair Employment Commission (FEC) suggested that Catholic under-representation in the workplace was 5 per cent compared to 7 per cent in 1990.

Wednesday 29 March 1995

Michael Ancram, then Political Development Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), held a second meeting with representatives of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP).

Friday 29 March 1996

The Forum for Peace and Reconciliation in Dublin was suspended until a new Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire has been established.

Saturday 29 March 1997

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) left a large bomb, estimated at 1,000 lbs, close to a British Army base at Ballykinlar, County Down. The bomb was defused by the army.

An Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer was shot in the leg at Forkhill, County Armagh.

Republican paramilitaries carried out two separate ‘punishment’ attacks in west Belfast. In one of the attacks a man was shot in the leg, in the other a teenager was beaten. Loyalist paramilitaries carried out two separate ‘punishment’ shooting attacks in Belfast.

A man was shot in the leg near the Ormeau Road, while a second man was shot in both hands near the Shore Road. An IRA underground firing range was discovered in the Republic of Ireland near Scotstown, County Monaghan.

Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Labour Party spokesperson on Northern Ireland, said in a radio interview that an IRA ceasefire could allow Sinn Féin (SF) to enter the multi-party Stormont talks on 3 June 1997.

Sunday 29 March 1998

A Catholic family were forced to leave their home in the Greymount area of north Belfast following a petrol-bomb attack by Loyalists in the early hours of the morning. The house was badly damaged in the attack. The family were the subject of a prolonged campaign of sectarian intimidation.

The Sunday Telegraph (a British newspaper) published a report in which it claimed that a clandestine British Army unit called Force Research Unit (FRU) had links to Loyalist paramilitary groups. Although allegations about a similar unit known as Future Reaction Force (FRF) were made in 1992 (Dillon, 1992 ‘Stone Cold’) the report claimed that the unit was still operating in Northern Ireland.

Brian_Nelson_Loyalist

[Reports about the FRU were linked to Brian Nelson who was an intelligence officer for the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) but who was at the same time working for British Army intelligence.

Nelson was given intelligence reports on Republicans which he passed on to the UDA who made plans to carry out assassinations. At the time of the Stevens inquiry (which began on 14 September 1989) the security forces stated that they acted to prevent over 200 assassinations.

See Brian Nelson

However the Sunday Telegraphy claimed a number of the assassinations went ahead although the security forces had knowledge of what was planned. It was believed that as many as 15 murders could have been prevented. Sinn Féin (SF) called for a independent judicial inquiry into the latest allegations.]

David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), travelled to Chequers for a private meeting with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, about the final phase of the multi-party talks at Stormont. After years of controversy, the Irish Christian Brothers published a formal apology to all those in its care who had been mistreated. It invited all such people to seek help.

Monday 29 March 1999

Talks at Hillsborough

Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), met at Hillsborough Castle for the opening round of meetings on decommissioning of paramilitary weapons. Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a bomb attack on the home of James McCarry, then a Sinn Féin (SF) councillor on Moyle District Council; no one was injured in the attack.

There were clashes between Republicans and Loyalists outside the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, where the Orange Order was holding a ‘cultural evening’.

The IRA announced it had identified the location of the bodies of nine people killed by the organisation between 1972 and 1981 and buried in secret.

jeanmcconville2

The British and Irish governments said they were willing to facilitate the exhumation of the remains of the ‘missing’ by ensuring that any new evidence uncovered would not be used in subsequent criminal proceedings.

See The Disappeared

The Parades Commission announced that the planned Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) parade would be re-routed away from the lower Ormeau Road area of Belfast. Colin Part, then Deputy Chief Constable for Norfolk, was appointed to take over control of the investigation into the killing of Rosemary Nelson.

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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.

7  People lost their lives on the 29th March between 1972– 1992

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29 March 1972


Bernard Calladene,   (39)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb in abandoned car, Wellington Street, Belfast

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29 March 1972
Ruby Johnston,   (35)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Died seven weeks after being badly burned during petrol bomb attack on bus, Ring Road, Armagh.

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29 March 1973
Michael Marr,   (33)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Andersonstown Park West, Andersonstown, Belfast.

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29 March 1974


James Mitchell,  (38)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Killed in bomb attack on Conway’s Bar, Shore Road, Greencastle, Belfast.

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29 March 1974


 Joseph Donnelly,   (24)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Killed in bomb attack on Conway’s Bar, Shore Road, Greencastle, Belfast.

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29 March 1985


John Bell,  (34)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty reservist. Shot at his workplace, garage, Church Square, Rathfriland, County Down.

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29 March 1992


Terence McConville,   (43)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his home, Bann Street, Portadown, County Armagh.

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Khaled al-Asaad. Slaughtered by Animals – Now with those he loved & Studied. R.I.P

Thinking of Khaled al-Asaad who loved this place

Belfast Child

Khaled al-Asaad

1934 – 18 August 2015

R.I.P

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UPDATED

28th March 2016

Syrian government troops advance towards Palmyra

Thinking of Khaled al-Asaad who loved this place and died protecting it from the deluded followers of Islamic State and their twisted , obscene take on Islam. Although to late to save his life and the ancient sites he loved and studied – hopefully he will be looking down from  heaven and rejoicing at its recapture and the news that the damage was not as great as first thought.

Rest in peace Khaled – Now with those you loved and studied.

 The retaking of Palmyra by the Syrian army ends 10 months of occupation by the so-called Islamic State (IS). It is an important step in the containment and eventual defeat of the jihadist group that has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq.

It may not mean the end for IS, whose heartlands of Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, and Mosul remain…

View original post 11,635 more words

ISlamic State Crucify Catholic Priest ?

Church leaders deny reports Catholic priest was crucified by ISIS on Good Friday

jesus weeping

If this story turns out to be true and  Islamic State have crucified this priest they  have sunk to new depths of depravity that should outrage and disgust all right minded people the world over.

Their twisted take of on Islam seems to thrive on outrageous acts of barbarity and inhuman treatment of those opposed to their sick ideology and they seem to get off in shocking the world with one atrocity after another. To my mind no religion in the history of mankind has ever shown such casual and brutal disregard to human life andd these merchants of death are the devil incarnated.

Karma is watching and Karma always collects its debts

The chief Catholic bishop in Arabia denied Monday reports that the Islamic State had crucified a Catholic priest on Good Friday, and the cardinal responsible for the initial reports walked back his words also.

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ISIS Abducts Indian Priest

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The Rev. Thomas Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest, was kidnapped in Yemen in early March during a raid on a nursing home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. His ISIS kidnappers, who also killed 16 Christian nuns, nurses and patients, had issued threats to execute him& sing the same method used by the Romans on Jesus and marked on Good Friday every year.

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Indian Priest Kidnapped By ISIS In Yemen To Be Crucified On Good Friday

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According to a report in the Salzburg News, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna said at his Easter Vigil Mass that the Islamist group had followed through on those threats. There had been no official confirmation from the priest’s order, the responsible diocese or the Vatican.

However, after numerous news outlets, including The Washington Times, picked up Cardinal Schonborn’s words, Bishop Paul Hinder of Southern Arabia said the cardinal had been misinformed.

Bishop Hinder told Catholic News Agency on Monday that he has “strong indications that Fr. Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers.”

The bishop also told CNA that Cardinal Schonborn’s statement at the Easter Mass was made in error — hearsay based on rumors from India, the native land of Father Uzhunnalil.

In a statement Monday on its website, the Archdiocese of Vienna also walked back Cardinal Schonborn’s reported words and repeated Bishop Hinder’s words that “there is still uncertainty” about the Indian priest’s fate.

According to the archdiocese, Cardinal Schonborn spoke with bishops from Arabia on Sunday and said “there is still hope.”

Father Uzhunnalil had been the object of both prayers and diplomatic efforts since the March 4 raid in which Islamic State attackers killed four nuns. Pope Francis consequently praised the nuns as martyrs.

Bishop Hinder said the Missionaries’ home had been the object of numerous threats but they refused to leave.

See Washington Times for full story