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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