21st May – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

21st May

Friday 21 June 1968

The annual conference of the Nationalist Party unanimously approved of the protest action by Austin Currie in Caledon, County Tryone on 20 June 1968.

Wednesday 21 May 1969

James Chichester-Clark, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, together with other members of the Northern Ireland government, travelled to London for a meeting with Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, and James Callaghan, then British Home Secretary.

Sunday 21 May 1972

The Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) kidnapped and shot dead William Best (19) who was a member of the Royal Irish Rangers. Best was originally from Derry and was visiting friends when he was picked up by the OIRA. There was outrage amoung local people at the killing.

[The public reaction to this incident was to lead to the OIRA calling a ceasefire on 29 May 1972.]

Tuesday 21 May 1974

Day 7 of the UWC strike

Len Murray, then General Secretary of the Trades Union Council (TUC), led a ‘back-to-work’ march which turned out to be a fiasco. The march was supported by leading local Trade Union officials and attempted to lead workers back to the Belfast shipyard and factories in east Belfast.

Only about 200 people joined the march.

The march was flanked by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and British troops but a hostile crowd still managed to assault some of those marching. An updated list [PDF; 78KB]  of those services which were to be allowed through roadblocks and the opening times permitted for shops was issued by the ‘Ulster Army Council’.

At Westminster Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, attacked the strike saying that it was a “sectarian strike” and was “being done for sectarian purposes having no relation to this century but only to the seventeenth century”. [ Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Wednesday 21 May 1980

Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), travelled to London to attend a meeting with Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister. A communiqué released after the meeting promised greater political co-operation between the two governments on the issue of Northern Ireland and referred to the “unique relationship” between the two countries.

Thursday 21 May 1981

Third and Fourth Hunger Strikers Died

Raymond McCreesh (24), a Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner, and Patsy O’Hara (23), an Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoner, both died having spent 61 days on hunger strike. Tomás Ó Fiaich, then Catholic Primate of Ireland, criticised the British government’s attitude to the hunger strike.

See 1981 Hunger Strike

Thursday 21 May 1987

James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, and Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), issued a joint general election manifesto.

Saturday 21 May 1994

Members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) abducted and then shot dead Reginald McCollum (19), an off-duty member of the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR).

His body was found in a field beside Mullaghcreevie housing estate, Armagh.

Martin Doherty (35), a member of the IRA, was shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) as he attempted to stop a bomb attack on The Widow Scallans Bar, Pearse Street, Dublin, where a Sinn Féin (SF) function was taking place. Another man was seriously wounded in the attack.

Tuesday 21 May 1996

Hugh Annesley, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), announced that he would retire later in the year.

Wednesday 21 May 1997

Local Government Elections

There were elections to the 26 District Councils across Northern Ireland.

[When the counting of the votes was completed (most results were available by Friday 23 May 1997) the share of the first preference votes was: Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) – 27.8 per cent; Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) – 20.7 per cent; Sinn Féin (SF) – 16.9 per cent; Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – 15.6 per cent; Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) – 6.6 per cent; and other parties – 12.5 per cent. The most significant result of the election was that Unionists lost control of Belfast City Council for the first time in its history.

Unionists also lost control of the district councils in Fermanagh, Strabane, and Cookstown. The SDLP lost overall control of Derry City Council because of gains made by SF. SF increased its share of the vote and took 70 seats in total.]

Representatives of SF met with British officials at Stormont, Belfast. This was the first such meeting since the ending of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire on 9 February 1997. Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held meetings with Nationalist residents groups of three areas where Orange Order parades were proving controversial.

The areas visited were, Dunloy village in County Antrim, the lower Ormeau Road of Belfast, and the Garvaghy Road in Portadown, County Antrim. Unionists criticised the meetings on the day of the local government elections. Mowlam also made a comment on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programme Newsnight that, “the [settlement] train might leave the station without Unionists”.

#[She was later forced to retract the comment.]

Friday 21 May 1999

Three men, who had been arrested in July 1998 and later found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions, were sentenced at the Old Bailey in London. Anthony Hyland (26) was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, and Darren Mulholland (20) and Liam Grogan (22) each received a sentence of 22 years.

The three had been accused of being part of a Real Irish Republican Army (rIRA) unit.

Two home-made grenades exploded outside two pubs on the Falls Road, in west Belfast. Three men were slightly injured. Sinn Féin accused the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) of being responsible for the attacks. Seven shots were fired at Frank Petticrew, then a Catholic youth worker, as he escorted a Protestant girl back to her Shankill Road home following a cross-community event.

Petticrew claimed that he had been threatened with assassination by Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers six months earlier. He claimed the officers concerned wanted information on IRA members otherwise he would be shot dead by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD). The RUC denied the allegations.

Sunday 21 May 2000

David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), stated that it was his belief that the offer by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to open its arms dumps to international inspection means that its 30-year war is over.

 

 

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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.

12 People lost their lives on the 21st May between 1972 – 1994

 ——————————————

21 May 1972
Richard Oliver  (40)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Killed by falling telegraph pole which hijacked bus had collided with, during street disturbances, Ballysillan Road, Belfast.

 ——————————————

21 May 1972


William Best   (19)

Catholic
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA)
On leave. Found shot, William Street, Derry.

 ——————————————

21 May 1972
Adrian Barton   (18)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot from passing car shortly after leaving Whitehorse Inn, Springfield Road, Belfast. Assumed to be a Catholic.

 ——————————————

21 May 1976


Roberta Bartholomew   (22)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in bomb attack on Belfast-Portadown train, near Moira, County Down. Inadequate warning given.

 ——————————————

21 May 1977
Christopher Shaw  (63)

Protestant
Status: ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary (xRUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot at his home, Fitzwilliam Street, off Lisburn Road, Belfast.

 ——————————————

21 May 1981


Raymond McCreesh   (24)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Died on the 61st day of hunger strike, Long Kesh / Maze Prison, County Down.

 ——————————————

21 May 1981


Patsy O’Hara   (23)

Catholic
Status: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Died on the 61st day of hunger strike, Long Kesh / Maze Prison, County Down.

See Hungry Strike

 ——————————————

21 May 1987


Ivan Anderson   (47)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while travelling in his car near to his home, Tiroony, near Carrickmore, County Tyrone.

 ——————————————

21 May 1988


Derek Hayes   (28)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb while British Army (BA) patrol were searching field, off Blaney Road, near Crossmaglen, County Armagh.

 ——————————————

21 May 1991
Wallace McVeigh   (45)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot at his workplace, Balmoral Market, Boucher Road, Belfast. Contractor to British Army (BA) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

 ——————————————

21 May 1994

Reginald McCollum   (19)

Protestant
Status: Royal Irish Regiment (RIR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Found shot in field, by Mullaghcreevie housing estate, Armagh.

 ——————————————

21 May 1994


Martin Doherty   (35)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot, attempting to stop bomb attack on The Widow Scallans Bar, Pearse Street, Dublin. Sinn Fein (SF) function at the Bar.

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