24th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

24th March

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Friday 24 March 1972

Announcement of End of Stormont

Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, announced that the Stormont Parliament was to be prorogued, and ‘Direct Rule’ from Westminster imposed on Northern Ireland from 30 March 1972. The announcement was greeted with outrage from Brian Faulkner and Unionist politicians.

The main reason for the suspension of Stormont was the refusal of Unionist government to accept the loss of law and order powers to Westminster.

[The legislation responsible for direct rule was the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act. Under the legislation a new Northern Ireland Office (NIO) was established at Stormont which was supervised by a new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw.]

[Whitelaw eased Internment and gave political status to prisoners because of Billy McKee’s hunger strike.] [ Direct Rule. ]

Monday 24 March 1980

The Constitutional Conference / Atkins Talks were adjourned indefinitely at Stormont with little hope that agreement between the various parties would be possible.

Thursday 24 March 1983

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), all refused invitations to take part in the New Ireland Forum.

Monday 24 March 1986

Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, wrote a letter to Unionist leaders in which she rejected a demand for a suspension of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) to allow talks on devolution to begin.

Tuesday 24 March 1987

James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), called for peaceful protests against the new Public Order legislation on 11 April 1987.

Tuesday 24 March 1992

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb, estimated at 500 pounds, close to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station in Donegall Pass, Belfast. The bomb caused extensive damage to property in the surrounding area

Thursday 24 March 1993

Peter Gallagher (44), a Sinn Féin (SF), member was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), at his place of work on Grosvenor Road, Belfast.

Thursday 24 March 1994

John Fee, then a Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) councillor, was severely beaten by Republicans outside his home in Crossmaglen, south Armagh.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee was constituted with 6 Conservative members, two Labour, two Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), one Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), one Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and one Ulster Popular Unionist Party (UPUP) member. James Kilfedder (Sir) was announced as the chairman.

Friday 24 March 1995

British Army (BA) patrols of the greater Belfast area were suspended at midnight.

Monday 24 March 1997

In the Maze Prison a tunnel was discovered leading from H-Block 7 which housed Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners. The lapse of security drew criticism from many quarters.

David Templeton (43), who was a Presbyterian minister based at Trinity Church in Greyabbey, died six weeks after he had been the subject of a Loyalist ‘punishment’ attack. He died from a pulmonary embolism after his legs were broken.

The Sunday Life had carried a report, 18 months prior to the attack, that customs officers had found an adult gay pornographic video in his possession. No charges had been brought against Templeton in connection with the video.

[During an inquest on 12 November 1997 the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) said that it believed that the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was responsible for the attack.]

Tuesday 24 March 1998

Dissident Republicans carried out a mortar attack on an Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station in south Armagh. It was thought that four mortar bombs had been fired at the police barracks in the village of Forkhill. One was believed to have exploded in the grounds of the base, and another to have landed there without exploding. No one was injured in the attack.

Wednesday 24 March 1999

The Orange Volunteers (OV) carried out a grenade attack on a bar outside of Lurgan, County Armagh. Talks involving pro-Agreement parties took place at Stormont. There were efforts to find common ground between the positions of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Sinn Féin (SF).

The possibility of Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), and Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, travelling to Belfast was also discussed.

[The two men took part in talks at Hillsborough Castle beginning on 29 March 1999.] Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated that she would trigger the d’Hondt mechanism on 2 April 1999.

[D’Hondt was the system for allocating seats in the proposed Executive.]

 

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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 24th March between 1973– 1997

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24 March 1973
John Huddlestone,   (28)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot from passing car, outside his home, Durham Street, Belfast.

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24 March 1974


John Hamilton,  (46)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Found shot near his home, Spruce Street, Donegall Pass, Belfast.

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24 March 1975
William Elliott,   (51)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Post office official. Shot when he arrived at the scene of robbery at Silverbridge Post Office, near Crossmaglen, County Armagh.

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24 March 1993


Peter Gallagher,  (44)

Catholic
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Sinn Fein (SF) member. Shot at his workplace, Westlink Enterprise Centre, Grosvenor Road, Belfast

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24 March 1997


David Templeton,  (43)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Died six weeks after being badly beaten in his home, Fairview Road, Newtownabbey, County Antrim

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