11th July – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

11th July


Sunday 11 July 1971

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a number of bombs in the centre of Belfast injuring a number of people.

[A number of commentators saw these bombs as an attempt to increase tension and confrontations between the two main communities.]

Friday 11 July 1975

During the trial of the ‘Birmingham Six’ the prosecution admitted that the men were physically assaulted while in custody.

Tuesday 11 July 1978

John Boyle (16), a Catholic teenager, was shot dead by undercover members of the British Army near an Irish Republican Army (IRA) arms dump in Dunloy, County Antrim. Boyle had earlier found the dump and his family had reported the matter to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

[The RUC, together with the British Army, took the decision to monitor the dump in the hope that members of the IRA would return to it. Boyle’s curiosity must have taken him back unsuspectingly to the dump.]

Friday 11 July 1986

The Orange Order agreed to accept an alternative route through Portadown, County Armagh, to avoid the mainly Catholic Obins Street area.

[The route suggested by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) caused resentment among Nationalists in the town as it took the parade along the mainly Catholic Garvaghy Road. Trouble over the new route broke out again in 1995.]

During the evening the RUC fired plastic bullets at Loyalists following disturbances at the traditional bonfire celebrations. There was rioting in Protestant areas of Belfast and Portadown and the disturbances continued for most of the week.

Sunday 11 July 1993

James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), claimed that the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) had presented the Irish Republican Army (IRA) with peace proposals at the end of 1992.

Monday 11 July 1994

Raymond Smallwoods (44), a member of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) outside his home, Donard Drive, Tonagh, Lisburn, County Antrim.

[Smallwoods had been a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).] The Belfast High Court ruled that the Coroner investigating the events surrounding the alleged ‘shoot to kill’ incidents in November and December 1982 could not have access to the contents of the Stalker report.

Tuesday 11 July 1995

drumcree church at night

A comprise was reached which allowed the Drumcree parade to proceed down the Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

Approximately 500 Orange Order members were allowed by the police to walk down the Garvaghy Road without, however, any Loyalist bands. The parade was accompanied by Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and David Trimble, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP. Nationalists mounted a quiet protest but did not interfere with the parade.

When the parade reached the centre of Portadown, Paisley and Trimble clasped hands and held their arms in the air in what appeared to be a gesture of triumph.

[This led to considerable ill-feeling among the Nationalist residents of the Garvaghy Road and was to result in stronger protests in the following years.]

See Drumcree

Thursday 11 July 1996

Hugh Annesley, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), reversed his decision and ordered his officers to allow the Orange march to pass along the Garvaghy Road in Portadown. 1,200 Orangemen were allowed to proceed down the Garvaghy Road. Protesting residents were forced off the road.

Rioting broke out in the Catholic housing estate and was followed by serious rioting in other nationalist areas including Armagh, Belfast, Derry and Lurgan.

Three RUC officers were injured by gunfire in north Belfast.

There was widespread condemnation of the decision in nationalist circles with many political and community leaders claiming there had been a surrender to the threat of physical force.

Friday 11 July 1997

Following discussions with local residents, Orangemen agreed to reroute a parade in Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh.

[The village is roughly 80 per cent Catholic. The decision by the Orange Order to hold discussions with local residents differed from other areas where Orangemen refused to hold face-to-face discussions with resident groups.]

Saturday 11 July 1998

Proximity (indirect) talks were held in Armagh between representatives of the Orange Order and the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC). Jonathen Powell, then Chief of Staff at Downing Street, acted as the mediator between the two groups.

The Orange Order maintained its position that it would not engage in face-to-face talks with the GRRC; there was no agreement between the two sides.

The Tour de France began in Dublin. The tour was brought to Ireland because of the French link in the 1798 Rising by the United Irishmen. It represented the largest sporting event ever staged in Ireland.

Sunday 11 July 1999

Four Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were injured when trouble flared at a Loyalist bonfire site in Derry. Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, tried to reassure Unionists by stating that ‘failsafe’ legislation would be introduced in the House of Commons which would safeguard the Unionist position.

An article by David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), was published in The Sunday Times (a London based Newspaper) in which he stated that the UUP would reject ‘The Way Forward’ proposals unless there was a guarantee regarding the position of Sinn Féin (SF) in the event of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) not decommissioning its weapons.

Trimble called for a guarantee from John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), that he would help to expel Sinn Féin from the proposed Executive if the IRA defaulted. Hume said that the SDLP would not sit in an Executive with any party that supported violence.

The Sunday Tribune (a Dublin based newspaper) stated that it would fully support Ed Moloney, then Northern Editor of the newspaper. Moloney had been served with a court order requesting him to provide the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) with notes of an interview with William Stobie.


On 24 June 1999 Stobie was charged with the killing of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane who had been shot dead on 12 February 1989. The interview had been conducted in 1990 and this formed the basis of an article that appeared in The Sunday Tribune on 27 June 1999.

See William Stobie

Tuesday 11 July 2000

Loyalists attempted to block roads across Northern Ireland as Orangemen at Drumcree continued their protest about not being able to parade through the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown, County Armagh.

Wednesday 11 July 2001

11th bone guy with flute cropped and trimmed.jpg

There was widespread violence in a number of areas of Belfast on the eve of the ‘Twelfth’ of July Orange Order parades. Violence also flared at a Loyalist bonfire in Portadown in the late evening and early hours of the ‘Twelfth’.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) said that 21 of its officers were injured during the rioting and water canon had to be used to disperse crowds of Loyalists.

Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), decided to arrange a resumption of the Weston Park Talks following a break for the ‘Twelfth’.

[The decision raised hopes that an agreement could be found.]


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.

6 People lost their lives on the 11 July between 1972 – 1994


11 July 1972

Gerard Gibson   (16)

Status: Official Irish Republican Army Youth Section (OIRAF),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while in house, Carrigart Avenue, Suffolk, Belfast


11 July 1972
Charles Watson   (21)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Found shot off Carlisle Circus, Belfast.


11 July 1972
Terence Jones   (23)

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Great James Street, Derry.


11 July 1976

Thomas McKenzie   (45)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Found stabbed to death, on waste ground, Divis Flats, Belfast


11 July 1978

John Boyle  (16)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, while in the vicinity of an arms cache, in cemetery, Dunloy, near Ballymoney, County Antrim. Assumed to be an Irish Republican Army (IRA) member


11 July 1994

Raymond Smallwoods  (44)

Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Also Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) member. Shot outside his home, Donard Drive, Tonagh, Lisburn, County Antrim.



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