23rd July – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

23rd July

Thursday 23 July 1970

A ban on parades and public processions until January 1971 was announced by the Stormont government

Friday 23 July 1971

The British Army (BA) carried out early morning raids across Northern Ireland and arrested 48 people.

Thursday 23 July 1981

The leader of the delegation from the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that the situation with regard to the hunger strike was deadlocked and in such circumstances they had no role to play.

Friday 23 July 1982

The ‘Northern Ireland Act 1982‘, which established the rules for the proposed Assembly, became law.

Saturday 23 July 1988

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) ‘mistakenly’ killed a married couple and their six-year old son in a bomb attack at Killeen, County Armagh.

Monday 23 July 1990

A report in The Times (a London based newspaper) detailed further disagreements between some of the Northern Ireland parties over the proposed political talks.

Whilst Unionists declared that they would only enter negotiations with the Irish government as part of a United Kingdom delegation, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) outlined their opposition to any use of the term ‘United Kingdom’ and as an alternative argued for the use of ‘Britain’ and ‘Ireland’.

Following a reshuffle of ministerial posts at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Peter Bottomley was dropped.

Tuesday 23 July 1991

Announcement of Merger of UDR and RIR

A White Paper, outlining plans for changes to British Defence policy, was published. The plans included the news that the Royal Irish Rangers (RIR) and the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) would merge to form a new regiment to be called the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR).

[The British government denied Unionist claims of political interference in the decision. The UDR had been the subject of sustained criticism by Nationalists since the regiment was first formed.

In particular it was claimed that there was collusion between members of the UDR and Loyalist paramilitary groups.

A British Army spokesperson said that while the UDR was 96 per cent Protestant the RIR was 30 per cent Catholic and many of its members were drawn from the Republic of Ireland.

Later the Army admitted there was an error in the figures and only 6 per cent of members of the RIR were Catholic. David Trimble, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP, said that only 83 of the 1,413 members of the RIR were form the Republic of Ireland.]

Friday 23 July 1993

John Major, then British Prime Minister, told the House of Commons that there was no truth in the rumour that he had entered into a deal with the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in return for support during the debate on the ‘Social Chapter’ of the Maastricht Treaty.

[Martin Smyth (Rev), then a UUP Member of Parliament (MP), stated that he expected a Select Committee on Northern Ireland to be established in the near future.]

Sunday 23 July 1995

Three Loyalists were arrested in Scotland under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). A number of weapons were also discovered. [One of those held was Lindsay Robb, a member of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), who had met Michael Ancram, then Political Development Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), on 22 March 1995.]

Wednesday 23 July 1997

A document containing proposals on decommissioning that had been prepared by the British and Irish governments was rejected by the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) during a meeting at Stormont.

Despite this outcome the two governments insisted that substantive negotiations would begin at Stormont on 15 September 1997.

Dublin and Monaghan bombings victim

In the European Parliament, MEPs from many countries supported a call for the release of files related to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in the Republic of Ireland on 17 May 1974 which resulted in the deaths of 33 people.

The relatives of those killed claimed that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) had hampered the investigations of the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) .

[Although the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) admitted responsibility for the bombs many commentators claimed that there had also been British Intelligence involvement.]

See Dublin and Monaghan bombings

Thursday 23 July 1998

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) estimated that the disturbances surrounding the Drumcree parade had resulted in damage to property of £3 million.

[The estimate for 1997 was £10 million and 1996 £20 million.]

There was a demonstration in London as part of the campaign to secure the release of two Scots Guardsmen who had been sentenced for the murder of Peter McBride (18), a Catholic civilian, in Belfast on 4 September 1992.

Among those taking part in the demonstration were Martin Bell, then Member of Parliament (MP), and Lord Tebbit, former Conservative Party cabinet member.

Friday 23 July 1999

The owners of The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper), Trinity Holdings, were informed by Stephen Byers, then Trade and Industry Minister, that the group’s planned acquisition of Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) would not be allowed to proceed as it would mean two of Belfast’s three daily newspapers would then be under single control.

 

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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.

7 People lost their lives on the 23rd  July between 1969 – 2015

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23 July 1972

Robert McComb  (22)

Protestant

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Off duty. Found shot, Kerrera Street, Ardoyne, Belfast.

Abducted by republicans as he walked home after an evening out with his girlfriend in Belfast. His body was found five hours later, His hair had turned grey, he had been tortured. He was single and off duty at the time of his abduction and murder

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23 July 1974

John Conley  (43)

Protestant

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Killed when car bomb exploded while evacuating area, Bridge Street, Garvagh, County Derry. Inadequate warning given.

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23 July 1987

William Megrath  (46)

Catholic

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Off duty. Shot while driving home from work, Stewartstown Road, Twinbrook, Belfast

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23 July 1988

Robin Hanna (44)

Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Killed together with his wife and son in land mine attack on his Shogun jeep, Killeen, County Armagh. Mistaken for vehicle carrying Judge Higgins.

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23 July 1988

Maureen Hanna  (44)

Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Killed together with her husband and son in land mine attack while travelling in Shogun jeep, Killeen, County Armagh. Mistaken for vehicle carrying Judge Higgins.

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23 July 1988

David Hanna  (6)

Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Killed together with his parents in land mine attack while travelling in Shogun jeep, Killeen, County Armagh. Mistaken for vehicle carrying Judge Higgins.

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23 July 1989

John Devine  (37)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY) Shot at his home, Fallswater Street, Falls, Belfast.

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