17th April – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

17th April

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Thursday 17 April 1969

Westminster By-Election

In a by-election to the Westminster parliament Bernadette Devlin, standing as a Unity candidate in Mid-Ulster, was elected and, at 21 years of age, became the youngest woman ever to be elected as a Member of Parliament (MP).

Sunday 17 April 1977

Cardinal Willian Conway, then Catholic Primate of Ireland, died in Armagh.

Tuesday 17 April 1979

        

Four Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were killed when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded an estimated 1,000 pound van bomb at Bessbrook, County Armagh.

[This was believed to be the largest bomb used by the IRA to this date.]

See Bessbrook Van Bomb

Saturday 17 April 1982

A British soldier driving an armoured personnel carrier rammed the vehicle into the gable wall that formed ‘Free Derry Corner’. The soldier was later taken into military custody.

Wednesday 17 April 1991

The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC), acting on behalf of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), and the Red Hand Commandos (RHC), announced that there would be a ceasefire beginning on 30 April 1991.

[The ceasefire was to facilitate the proposed political talks and would last as long as the talks. Attacks by all three organisations continued in the period before the ceasefire.]

Friday 16 April 1993

Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), addressed a meeting of the British-Irish Association in Oxford, England. Spring stated that a possible solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland lay in a ‘Europe of the regions’.

Saturday 17 April 1993

Douglas Hurd, then British Foreign Secretary, said that the Republic of Ireland had a “crucial role” in any new talks. He also stated that the Republic’s willingness to consider changes to the Irish Constitution provided a “positive context”.

Monday 17 April 1995

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) rerouted an Apprentice Boys of Derry parade away from the lower Ormeau Road area of Belfast. Approximately 200 people had joined a protest against loyal order parades passing through the area.

[There was a further protest on 23 April 1995.]

Wednesday 17 April 1996

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb in The Boltons, Earls Court, London. The bomb went off in a vacant house and there were no injuries.

Thursday 17 April 1997

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, referred the cases of two Scots Guards to the Life Sentence Review Board.

The two British soldiers, Mark Wright and James Fisher, were both serving life sentences for the murder of Peter McBride (18) in the New Lodge area of Belfast (on 4 September 1992).

Of the seven men who were arrested on 11 April 1997, three were released, three charged with various offences, and one man was flown to London for questioning about the Docklands bomb on 9 February 1996.

All seven men alleged that they had been beaten while in custody in Gough Barracks in Armagh.

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools objected to a statement by Julia Neuberger, then Chancellor of the University of Ulster and a Rabbi, in which she criticised the sectarian nature of primary and secondary education in Northern Ireland. Neuberger denied that her statement referred solely to Catholic schools.

The University initially defended the remarks but later apologised to the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools

Friday 17 April 1998

Mark McNeill (32), a former member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), was shot dead by two gunmen as he got out of his taxi on Shaw’s Road in the west of Belfast. McNeill was a father of five.

[It was believed that the attack was a “grudge killing” involving former INLA members and there was speculation that the killing may have been drugs-related.]

David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), delivered a speech to the Northern Ireland Forum. Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, stated that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) would not be disbanded and that only those prisoners whose organisations were on ceasefire would be release, on licence, from prison.

Saturday 17 April 1999

Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), announced that John Stevens would conduct a fresh inquire into the killing of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989.

 

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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.

 13  People lost their lives on the 17th April   between 1972– 1998

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17 April 1972
Patrick Magee, 

  (20) Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot as he walked along Divis Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

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17 April 1972
Patrick Donaghy, 

(86) Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot at the window of his flat, Divis Tower, Divis Flats, Belfast.

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17 April 1973


Brian Smyth, 

  (32) Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by British Army (BA) sniper while standing with group of men, Etna Drive, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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17 April 1976
Rachel Hyams,  (79)

nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died three weeks after being injured in bomb attack on Ideal Home Exhibition, Olympia, London.

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17 April 1977


Trevor McKibben,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by British Army (BA) sniper while carrying rifle, Flax Street, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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17 April 1979


Paul Gray, (25)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked van, detonated when Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol drove past, Bessbrook, County Armagh.

See Bessbrook Van Bomb

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17 April 1979


Robert Lockhart,  (44)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked van, detonated when Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol drove past, Bessbrook, County Armagh

See Bessbrook Van Bomb

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17 April 1979


Richard Baird,  (28)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked van, detonated when Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol drove past, Bessbrook, County Armagh

See Bessbrook Van Bomb

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17 April 1979


Noel Webb,  (30)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked van, detonated when Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol drove past, Bessbrook, County Armagh

See Bessbrook Van Bomb

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17 April 1980


Victor Morrow,  (61)

Protestant
Status: ex-Ulster Defence Regiment (xUDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot near to his home, Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh.

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17 April 1982
William Morrison,  (42)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot at his farm, Kilturbid Road, Middletown, County Armagh.

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17 April 1991


John O’Hara,  (41)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Taxi driver. Shot when lured to bogus call, Dunluce Avenue, off Lisburn Road, Belfast

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17 April 1998


Mark McNeill,  (32)

Catholic
Status: ex-Irish National Liberation Army (xINLA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Taxi driver. Shot while getting out of his car, outside taxi depot, Shaws Road, Anderstown, Belfast.

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