14th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

14th March


Tuesday 14 March 1972


      Colm Keenan &  Eugene McGillan

Two IRA members were shot dead by British soldiers in the Bogside area of Derry.

Friday 14 March 1975

[Public Records 1975 – Released 1 January 2006:

Merlyn Rees



Note by Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The note deals with plans for the Constitutional Convention; the election to which was held on 1 May 1975.]

Monday 14 March 1977

James Nicholson (44), an English businessman, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as he left the Strathearn Audio factory, Stockman’s Lane, Belfast.

Sunday 14 March 1982

John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said that the plans for ‘rolling devolution’ were “unworkable”.

Wednesday 14 March 1984

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), was shot and wounded by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a covername used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), as he travelled by car through Belfast.

Three other SF members were also wounded in the attack. The men were returning to west Belfast from a court appearance in the center of Belfast.

[In March 1985 three men were sentenced for attempted murder as a result of the attack.]

See John Gregg UDA Leader

Tuesday 14 March 1989

Eighteen members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) were reprimanded and one cautioned over their part in incidents surrounding the shootings which led to the ‘shoot to kill’ allegations.

Wednesday 14 March 1990

There were disturbances in the Crumlin Road Prison over the issue of the segregation of Republican and Loyalist prisoners.

[The issue was to lead to further disturbances during the year.]

Thursday 14 March 1991

‘Birmingham Six’ Freed

Six men, known as the ‘Birmingham Six’, who had spent 16 years in jail were freed by the Court of Appeal in London. The six were: Hugh Callaghan, Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, Billy Power, and Johnny Walker. The men had been convicted for the bombings that occurred in two public houses in Birmingham on 21 November 1974.

The six had been found guilty on the basis of forensic evidence and confessions that the men claimed were beaten out of them.

The forensic evidence was shown to be unreliable and there was evidence that the police had forged notes of interviews and had given false evidence at the original trial. Kenneth Baker, then Home Secretary, accepted that this was the third case of a miscarriage of justice involving Irish people in the previous 18 months.

See Birmingham Pub Bombs

Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced to the House of Commons that an agreement had been reached with the Irish government whereby he would decide when they would enter the political negotiations. In addition he also set Easter as the deadline for all the parties deciding on the arrangements for new political talks.

[The talks were to involve the four main political parties and were the first in a series that lasted from April 1991 to November 1992 and later became known as the Brooke / Mayhew Talks. Patrick Mayhew took over from Brooke as Secretary of State before the talks were concluded.]

Monday 14 March 1994

Louis Blom-Cooper, then independent commissioner for Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) holding stations, called for the introduction of video and audio recording of interrogations.

Tuesday 14 March 1995

Prison officers at the Maze Prison carry out searches for “illicit material” which spark rioting by 150 Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) prisoners.

[In the following week there are a number of attacks on the homes of prison officers.]

Friday 14 March 1997

John Slane (44), a Catholic man, was shot dead in his home in west Belfast.

[It was believed that a Loyalist paramilitary group was responsible although none of the various groups claimed responsibility.]

Sloan left a wife and nine children.


A number of shots were fired by a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) patrol outside the Derryhirk Bar in Aghagallon, County Antrim. An investigation into the incident was announced by the Independent Commission for Police Complaints.

The Court of Appeal cleared Damien Sullivan of the murder in May 1994 of Nigel Smyth who was a security guard at the time. Thomas Fox, a co-accused, had his appeal rejected.

David McClean, then a junior minister in the Home Office, wrote a letter in the Guardian (a British newspaper) in which he compared Roisín McAliskey, then being held in prison awaiting a decision about extradition, to “IRA scum” and to Myra Hindley (a notorious child killer).

George Mitchell, then Chairman of the multi-party talks at Stormont, spoke at the American Ireland Fund dinner in Washington and condemned the “twin demons of Northern Ireland, violence and intransigence” which were feeding off each other “in a deadly ritual in which most of the victims were innocent”.

[Many people took the reference to “intransigence” to have been particularly directed at certain Unionist politicians, especially Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP subsequently issued a statement which called for Mitchell’s resignation as Chairman of the talks.]

Edward Kennedy, then an American Senator, called for an “immediate and unconditional” ceasefire by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Kennedy also called on John Major, then British Prime Minister, to state that Sinn Féin (SF) would be allowed to enter the Stormont talks when they resumed on 3 June 1997.

Sunday 14 March 1999

The Parades Commission banned a Loyalist parade from passing through the mainly Catholic Garvaghy Road in Portadown, County Armagh.

Wednesday 14 March 2001

Adrian Porter (34), a member of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), died several hours after being shot at his home in Conlig, near Bangor, County Down. The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) were responsible for the killing which was part of a feud between the LVF and the UVF.

Thursday 14 March 2002

 There was further speculation in some of the media that there would be an imminent move on arms by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Senior security sources were reported as saying that they expected there would be another act of IRA decommissioning “sooner rather than later”.

John Taylor, then Ulster Unionist peer (Lord Kilclooney), told the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that he believed in 1972, and still believed, that 13 gunmen were killed by the British army on Bloody Sunday.

Later during questioning he partially qualified his assertion and said:

“There are those who now say that innocent people were shot. If that is so it is a tragedy, but at that time I believed that all of those who were shot were shot because they were endangering the lives of the security forces, and that they were armed.”

Lisburn, in County Antrim, and Newry, in County Down, were granted city status in a competition to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee. The towns were judged on their notable characteristics, historical and royal connections and progressive attitudes.

The two new cities join the existing three cities of Armagh, Belfast, and Derry.

There was continued criticism of the remarks made by David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), about the Republic of Ireland on 9 March 2002. Richard Haass, then a special advisor to the US President, said the comments were “regrettable”. He said he thought leaders should not talk “in ways that sharpen sectarian conflict”. John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, also joined the criticism.



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.

9  People   lost their lives on the 14th March between 1972 – 2001


14 March 1972

Colm Keenan,   (19)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while in entry off Dove Gardens, Bogside, Derry.


14 March 1972

Eugene McGillan,  (18)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while in entry off Dove Gardens, Bogside, Derry.


14 March 1974

George Robinson,   (46)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Shot at his home, Bankmore Street, off Ormeau Road, Belfast


14 March 1977

James Nicholson,   (44)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
English businessman. Shot while in chauffeur-driven car, just after leaving Strathearn Audio factory, Stockman’s Lane, Belfast.


14 March 1987
Fergus Conlon,  (31)

Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Irish Republican Socialist Party member. Found shot, Clontigora, near Forkhill, County Armagh. Irish National Liberation Army / Irish People’s Liberation Organisation feud


14 March 1988

Kevin McCracken,  (31)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during attempted Irish Republican Army (IRA) sniper attack on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Norglen Crescent, Turf Lodge, Belfast.


14 March 1989

Thomas Hardy,   (48)

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his workplace, Granville Meats, Aughnacloy Road, Dungannon, County Tyrone.


14 March 1997

John Slane,  (44)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot, at his home, Thames Court, off Broadway, Falls, Belfast.


14 March 2001

Adrian Porter, (34)

Status: Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Died several hours after being shot at his home, Breezemount Park, Conlig, near Bangor, County Down. Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) / Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) feud.




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