15th May – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

15th May

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Saturday 15 May 1971

William ‘Billy’ Reid, an IRA member, was shot dead by British soldiers in Belfast.

[According to ‘Lost Lives’ Reid was the person who fired the shot which killed Robert Curtis, the first British soldier to be killed in ‘the Troubles’, on 6 February 1971.

Reid is reported as having been killed on Curtis Street near the centre of Belfast.]

See 6th February

Tuesday 15 May 1973

The British government introduced the ‘Northern Ireland Constitution Bill’ in parliament in Westminster.

[The bill received its Royal Assent on 18 July 1973.]

Wednesday 15 May 1974

Day 1 of the UWC strike

The initial response to the strike was poor with many workers going to work. However, following meetings held at a number of workplaces, people began to leave work during lunch-time and early afternoon.

By the end of the day the port of Larne, County Antrim, was effectively sealed off. A number of roads had been blocked by hijacked vehicles. Some buses were hijacked in Belfast. Electricity supplies were also disrupted with rotating four-hourly power cuts occurring across the region.

The power cuts forced some factories to close and send workers home.

The Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC) issued a statement [PDF; 8KB] saying that it would ensure that essential services would continue. During the evening there was a meeting at Stormont Castle between Stanley Orme, then Minister of Sate at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), and three Northern Ireland politicians, three members of the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC), and three members of Loyalist paramilitary organisations who were present as ‘observers’. (The three paramilitary members took guns with them into this meeting.)

[Public Records 1974 – Released 1 January 2005: Note of the meeting between the Stanley Orme and those representing the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC).]

 

Colman Rowntree & Martin McAlinden

Shortly after they were captured two members of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) were shot dead by British soldiers. The OIRA members were in the process of planing a landmine near Newry, County Down. (Sutton; 1994)

  Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike.

Saturday 15 May 1976

Five Catholic civilians were killed in two separate bomb attacks carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

One bomb killed two people at the Avenue Bar, Union Street, Belfast.

The second bomb was at Clancey’s Bar, Charlemont, County Armagh. Many other Catholic

ans were inj

ured in the explosions.

Three Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were killed in a landmine attack near Belcoo RUC station, County Fermanagh, carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Another RUC officer was killed in a gun attack at Warrenpoint, County Down.

Wednesday 15 May 1985

District Council Elections

District Council elections were held across Northern Ireland. [When the votes were counted and seats allocated Sinn Féin (SF) had secured 11.8 per cent of the vote and 59 seats in its first local government election in Northern Ireland.]

Thursday 15 May 1986

There was a series of protests and demonstrations to mark the six-month anniversary of the imposition of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

One demonstration took place in Hillsborough, County Down, where the AIA had been signed. In Belfast members of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) occupied the switchboard of the parliament buildings at Stormont. There was also a brief strike by power workers at Ballylumford, County Antrim.

Sunday 15 May 1988

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) killed three Catholic civilians and injured nine others in a machine-gun attack on the Avenue Bar, Union Street, in the centre of Belfast.

Tuesday 15 May 1990

The funeral of Tomás Ó Fiaich, who had been a Cardinal and Catholic Primate of All Ireland, took place in Armagh. The presence of Gerry Adams, the President of Sinn Féin (SF), and Martin McGuinness, the Vice-President of SF, at the funeral caused some controversy.

Wednesday 15 May 1991

The leaders of the main Unionist parties refused to accept the deadline imposed in the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) and instead travelled to London for a meeting with John Major, then British Prime Minister.

Unionist representatives spoke to Major about the issue of the venue and nominations for the role of independent chairman of the talks. In particular they voiced their objection to the nominee of the British government, Lord Carrington, as the independent chair for the Strand Two negotiations, because of comments he had made concerning Northern Ireland politicians in his memoirs.

Monday 15 May 1995

Bertie Ahern, then leader of Fianna Fáil (FF), held a meeting in Belfast with representatives of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) and the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP). Seamus Mallon, then deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held discussions with Gary McMichael, then leader of the UDP. The International Relations Committee in the United States of America (USA) ruled that the MacBride Principles must be applied to the $30 million given to the International Fund for Ireland (IFI).

Friday 15 May 1998

LVF Ceasefire

The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) announced an “unequivocal ceasefire” which the organisation hoped would encourage people to vote against the Good Friday Agreement. [The LVF was formed in 1996 from disaffected ‘maverick’ members of the mid-Ulster brigade of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

The organisation first came to prominence when it killed Michael McGoldrick (31), a Catholic civilian, who was shot dead outside Lurgan on 8 July 1996.]

Despite attempts by Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), to win over Jeffrey Donaldson, then UUP Member of Parliament (MP), Donaldson confirmed that he would be voting ‘No’ in the forthcoming referendum on the Good Friday Agreement.

The decision by Donaldson was seen as giving a significant boost to the ‘No’ campaign. Another poll confirmed that the main reason people were planning to vote ‘No’ was the planned release of paramilitary prisoners under the Agreement.

The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) held a ‘Yes’ rally in the Ulster Hall in Belfast. [Michael Stone, then a Loyalist prisoner serving a sentence for the murder of three people, was released from the Maze Prison to attend the rally. As in the case of the Sinn Féin (SF) Ard Fheis on 9 May 1998, the scene of celebration that greeted the appearance of Stone resulted in fresh controversy about the policy of releasing prisoners to appear at rallies.]

Saturday 15 May 1999

There was an arson attack on an Orange Hall in Donaghmore, County Tyrone. The hall was damaged as a result of the attack

 

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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.

17  People lost their lives on the 15th  between 1971 – 1994

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15 May 1971


William Reid  (32)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during gun battle, Academy Street, Belfast.

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15 May 1974


Colman Rowntree  (24)

Catholic
Status: Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot shortly after being captured while preparing land mine, Ballyholland, near Newry, County Down.

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15 May 1974


Martin McAlinden   (23)

Catholic
Status: Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot shortly after being captured while preparing land mine, Ballyholland, near Newry, County Down

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15 May 1976


Henry Keys  (29)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) foot patrol searching field, adjoining Belcoo Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, County Fermanagh

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15 May 1976


 Francis Kettyles  (39)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) foot patrol searching field, adjoining Belcoo Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, County Fermanagh

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15 May 1976


Harry Evans   (33)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) foot patrol searching field, adjoining Belcoo Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, County Fermanagh.

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15 May 1976
Francis Heaney  (46)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Killed in bomb attack on Avenue Bar, Union Street, Belfast.

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15 May 1976


Henry McMahon   (39)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Killed in bomb attack on Avenue Bar, Union Street, Belfast.

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15 May 1976


Felix Clancey  (54)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Killed in bomb attack on Clancey’s Bar, Charlemont, County Armagh.

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15 May 1976


Sean O’Hagan  (22)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Killed in bomb attack on Clancey’s Bar, Charlemont, County Armagh.

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15 May 1976


Robert McCullough   (41)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Killed in bomb attack on Clancey’s Bar, Charlemont, County Armagh.

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15 May 1976


James Hunter  (33)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot during sniper attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol, Warrenpoint, County Down.

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15 May 1986


Herbert McConville  (61)

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

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while delivering meat, Kilmorey Street, Newry, County Down.

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15 May 1988


Stephen McGahon   (27)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot during gun attack on Avenue Bar, Union Street, Belfast

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15 May 1988


Damian Devlin   (24)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot during gun attack on Avenue Bar, Union Street, Belfast.

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15 May 1988


Paul McBride   (27)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot during gun attack on Avenue Bar, Union Street, Belfast.

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15 May 1989


Malachy Trainor  (34)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot while renovating house, Clonmore Green, Rathcoole, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

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