6th May – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

6th May


Tuesday 6 May 1969

Chichester-Clark, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, announced an amnesty for all offences associated with demonstrations since 5 October 1968 and this resulted in the release of, among others, Ian Paisley and Ronald Bunting.

Wednesday 6 May 1970

Jack Lynch, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), sacked Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney, then both ministers in the Irish government, over allegations of illegal arms importation. Lynch then survived a vote of confidence in the government.

[On 28 May 1970 Haughey and Blaney appeared in court at the beginning of what became known as the ‘Arms Trial’.]

Saturday 6 May 1972

At approximately 9.00 pm a man aged 18 was shot and injured in the Glen Road area of west Belfast.

[On 1 December 2015 the PSNI listed this shooting as one of nine incidents it was investigating in relation to the activities of the British Army’s Military Reaction Force (MRF).]

military reaction force

See Military Reaction Force

Thursday 6 May 1976

Eight members of the Special Air Service (SAS) were arrested in the Republic of Ireland. The official explanation was that the soldiers had made a map reading error and accidentally crossed the border.

[During the course of the Northern Ireland conflict there were many instances of British Army personnel and vehicles, including aircraft, making illegal crossings of the border. In March 1976 SAS soldiers had crossed the border and grabbed Seán McKenna, then an Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander, from his home before handing him over to a British Army patrol on the northern side of the border.]

Friday 6 May 1977

Day 4 of the UUAC Strike

The United Unionist Action Council (UUAC) was unable to secure the support of the workers at the Ballylumford power station, near Larne, County Antrim. This meant that power would be maintained and factories and commerce could continue to operate.

[The Ballylumford workers had control of a major part of Northern Ireland’s power supply, approximately two-thirds, and thus were crucial to the outcome of the strike.]

The Coachman’s Inn, a hotel situated near Bangor, County Down, was attacked by a mob which set fire to the building. The premises had continued to remain open during the strike.

Roy Mason, then Secretary of State, met a delegation led by Harry West, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). Its members including representatives from the Orange Order, industrialists, farmers, and businessmen.

The delegation pressed Mason to embark on a series of tougher security measures. Contrasting claims continued to be made about the progress of the UUAC strike. While the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) claimed that the business sector was ‘near normal’, leaders of the UUAC argued that support for their action was growing.

In an attempt to increase the pressure the UUAC called for a complete shutdown of Northern Ireland on Monday 9 May 1977. This call was criticised by Harry West who said he had been guaranteed by Roy Mason that a tougher security policy would be implemented.

Sunday 6 May 1979

An undercover member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and an undercover member of the British Army were both shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.

Wednesday 6 May 1981

The British government sent 600 extra British troops into Northern Ireland.

Sunday 6 May 1984

There were riots in Nationalist areas of Belfast and other towns following the third anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands on hunger strike.

Tuesday 6 May 1986

There was a vote at Belfast City Council to resume normal business that had been adjourned in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

The vote was carried by 27 to 23 votes. The vote was taken to avoid a £25,000 court fine, however the council began a policy of deferring business.

Wednesday 6 May 1987

Tom King, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced the recruitment of an extra 500 full-time Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) reservists.

Tuesday 6 May 1997

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) banned a parade planned by Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) for Saturday 10 May 1997. The march was intending to pass through the Nationalist lower Ormeau Road area of Belfast.

The Royal Black Preceptory announced that it had taken the decision not to proceed with its forthcoming march in Dunloy, County Antrim. There was a gala opening of the new Waterfront Hall in Belfast. The Prince of Wales carried out the official opening of the new concert complex.

Wednesday 6 May 1998

The Sinn Féin (SF) leadership confirmed its support for the Good Friday Agreement, recommending that members in both the North and the South should vote ‘Yes’ in the forthcoming referendum.

It had been reported that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had taken the decision to drop the ban on members of the Republican movement taking part in an assembly at Stormont.

Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and John Major, a former British Prime Minister, travelled to Northern Ireland to lend their support to the campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum. Blair welcomed the news that SF had decided to support the Agreement.

A majority of councillors in Ballymena District Council voted to support the Agreement.

[Ballymena has been viewed as a stronghold of Paisleyism and some people had expected that the vote would go against the Agreement.]

Thursday 6 May 1999

Representatives of the British and Irish governments held talks in London with representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Sinn Féin (SF).

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was reported to be anxious to see permanent disarmament because of fears of weapons falling into “criminal hands”.

[The statement marked a shift from saying it might never decommission its weapons.]

Saturday 6 May 2000

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) undertook to open some of its arms dumps for inspection and said it was prepared to “initiate a process that will completely and verifiably put IRA arms beyond use”.

Sunday 6 May 2001

Bomb Explosion in London

There was a bomb explosion at a Post Office delivery depot in north London at 1.53am (0153BST). The explosion happened at the same building where another bomb had exploded on 14 April 2001.

Again there was no warning of the bomb and one man was injured in the explosion. The “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA) was thought to have been responsible for the attack.



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.

 4 People lost their lives on the 6th May  between 1979 – 1988


06 May 1979

Norman Prue  (29)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Undercover British Army (BA) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) patrol. Shot while sitting in stationary civilian type car, outside church, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.


06 May 1979
Robert Maughan   (30)

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Undercover British Army (BA) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) patrol. Shot while sitting in stationary civilian type car, outside church, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.


06 May 1981

Philip Ellis   (33)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) foot patrol, Duncairn Gardens, Belfast.


06 May 1988
Hugh Hehir  (37)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Garda Siochana (GS)
From County Clare. Shot during attempted armed robbery at Caher Post Office, Feakle, County Clare.




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