22nd March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

22nd March


Wednesday 22 March 1972

Brian Faulkner, then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, went to London to be informed of the introduction of ‘Direct Rule’.

Thursday 22 March 1979

Members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed Richard Sykes (58), then British Ambassador to the Netherlands, and also his Dutch valet Krel Straub (19), in a gun attack in Den Haag, Netherlands.

The IRA carried out a series of attacks across Northern Ireland with 24 bombs exploding on same day.

Sunday 22 March 1981

Raymond McCreesh, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner in the Maze Prison, and Patsy O’Hara, then leader of Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoners in the Maze, joined the hunger strike. Brian Lenihan, then Irish Foreign Minister, said that the on-going talks between the British and Irish governments could lead to a United Ireland in 10 years.

Tuesday 22 March 1983

In a district council by-election in Omagh, County Tyrone, a Sinn Féin (SF) candidate won the seat.

[This was the first local government election contested by SF during the current conflict.]

Thursday 22 March 1984

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded three bombs in buildings in the centre of Belfast.

A new Prevention of Terrorism Act became law. The act allowed the Secretary of State to proscribe (declare illegal) organisations that were believed to be associated with terrorism. In addition to issue exclusion orders that prevent people from Northern Ireland travelling to other parts of the United Kingdom or from travelling from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland.

The act allowed the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) to arrest people without a warrant and to detain them for 48 hours, and a further five days on the authority of the Secretary of State.

Friday 22 March 1985

It was announced that Roberty Pascoe would replace Robert Richardson as Commanding Officer of the British Army in Northern Ireland as from June 1985

Sunday 22 March 1987

James Miller, a former MI5 (British Intelligence) agent, claimed that the intelligence service had helped to promote the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC) strike of 1974 in an effort to destabilise the then Laour Government led by Harold Wilson.

Tuesday 22 March 1988

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) asked television companies (BBC, ITN and RTE) to give them untransmitted film of the incident involving the two British Army corporals on 19 March 1988.

[The television companies initially refused but later allowed the RUC access to the material. The event caused further friction between the British government and the media.]

Wednesday 22 March 1989

The new Prevention of Terrorism Act became law and allowed the authorities to check bank accounts for paramilitary funds.

Wednesday 22 March 1995

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

Friday 22 March 1996

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) stated that there was little prospect for a renewed ceasefire.

Saturday 22 March 1997

The Ulster Unionist Council of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) held its annual meeting in Belfast. David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, criticised “aggressive, loudmouth Unionists” without naming anyone in particular.

[Many people took this to be a reference to Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and the DUP issued a statement which called Trimble’s comments “vile, vicious, and venomous”.]

The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) held its annual conference. Addressing the conference John Alderdice, then leader of APNI, warned that Northern Ireland could become “Balkanised” by conflict over parades.

Sunday 22 March 1998

Garda Síochána (the Irish police) discovered a large bomb, estimated at 1,300 pounds, in Dundalk, Republic of Ireland, which was about to be transported to a target in Northern Ireland. Two men were arrested at the scene of the discovery.

[It was initially believed that the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) was responsible for the bomb.]

The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC) organised a march from Park Road in Portadown, County Armagh, to a rally on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown. The march was held to highlight the continuing lack of dialogue between the Orange Order and the residents of the Garvaghy Road.

Several hundred Loyalists gathered to demonstrate against the parade and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) kept the two groups apart.

A Loyalist gang of approximately 50 men tried to enter a Nationalist estate in north Belfast but were prevented by an RUC patrol. The Loyalists then attacked the RUC car and the officers inside with petrol bombs. Reinforcements had to be called and six people were arrested.



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.

3 People   lost their lives on the 22nd March between 1979– 1987


22 March 1979

Richard Sykes,   (58)

Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
British Ambassador to the Netherlands. Shot outside his official residence, Den Haag, Netherlands.


22 March 1979
Krel Straub,   (19)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Dutch valet to British Ambassador to the Netherlands. Shot outside the ambassador’s official residence, Den Haag, Netherlands.


22 March 1987
Kevin Duffy,  (20)

Status: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA),

Killed by: Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO)
Found shot in playground of St Brigid’s School, Nursery Road, Armagh. Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) / Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO) feud.


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