Tag Archives: Fred Irwin

29th October – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

 29th October


Thursday 29 October 1970

The Electoral Reform Society called for the introduction of Proportional Representation (PR) in elections in Northern Ireland.

Friday 29 October 1971

A Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer was killed in a bomb attack in Belfast.

Wednesday 29 October 1975

The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) shot and killed Robert Elliman (27), then a member of the Official IRA (OIRA), in McKenna’s Bar in the Markets area of Belfast.

[Between 29 October 1975 and 12 November 1975, 11 people were to died in the continuing feud between the two wings of the IRA. Most of those killed were members of the ‘official’ republican movement.] A Catholic civilian was shot dead by Loyalists in Lurgan, County Armagh.

Thursday 29 October 1981

 1981 Hunger Strike

Saturday 31 October 1981

Sinn Féin (SF) held its Ard Fheis (annual conference) in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Danny Morrison, then editor of An Phoblacht, gave a speech in which he addressed the issue of the party taking part in future elections:

“Who here really believes we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in one hand and the Armalite in the other, we take power in Ireland?”

[This statement was subsequently often quoted as: ‘the Armalite in one hand and the Ballot box in the other’.]


Tuesday 29 October 1991

Peter Robinson, then Deputy Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said that Unionists were being ‘edged into a united Ireland’.

Friday 29 October 1993

John Major, then British Prime Minister, and Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), issued a joint statement from a meeting they held in Brussels. The statement contained six points and outlined the governments’ determination that there would be no secret deals with the paramilitary groups. However the statement also made clear that if there were an end to violence then the governments would respond imaginatively. The governments stated that they would not adopt or endorse the proposals contained in the Hume-Adams Initiative.

Tuesday 29 October 1996

Thomas Stewart (32), who had recently been a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) commander, was shot dead in Ballysillan in north Belfast. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) stated that the killing was ‘criminal’ rather that ‘political’.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) celebrated the 25th anniversary of its formation.

Wednesday 29 October 1997

John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), travelled to London for a meeting at Downing Street with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister. Hume said afterwards that he had a “frank discussion” on the multi-party talks.

Four employees of the Coats Viyella shirt factory in Derry wore Armistice Day poppies to work in advance of the agreed dates for the display of the emblems. They refused to remove the poppies and were sent home.

[Gregory Campbell, then a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillor, criticised the company. The workers were reinstated when the agreed date was reached.]

Davy Tweed, then a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillor, was fined at Coleraine magistrates court for assaulting a man in a pub in Ballymoney, County Antrim. A Labour Force Survey in the Republic of Ireland showed that the work force stood at 1.3 million which was the highest level in the history of the state.

Friday 29 October 1999

David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), held a series of meetings at Stormont in an attempt to find a way of establishing the proposed Executive.

Garfield Gilmour was sentenced for the murder, on 12 July 1998, of three Catholic children Richard Quinn (11), Mark Quinn (10), and Jason Quinn (9). Gilmour had been part of a Loyalist gang which petrol bombed the boys’ home in Ballymoney, County Antrim. Gilmour claimed that he had waited in a car and had not thrown the petrol bomb. He had named two other men who he alleged were responsible for throwing the device.

See below  for more details on Quinn brothers’ killings

The Appeal Court in Belfast overturned the murder convictions that had been imposed on Paddy McKinney and Billy Gorman in 1980. McKinney and Gorman had been given life sentences for the killing of Thomas McClinton, then a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), on 2 March 1974. Both McKinney and Gorman claimed that they had been beaten while in police custody. An ESDA test carried out on their confessions and interview notes showed that these had been rewritten by police officers.

David Adams, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner, began an appeal against the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) not to bring charges against those RUC officers who had assaulted him in Castlereagh Holding Centre .

Adams had received £30,000 compensations for injuries, including a broken leg.

[See: 9 August 1999]

Monday 29 October 2001

Catholic Civilian and Protestant Civilian Shot Dead

Colin Foy (27), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead at Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, shortly after midnight. The man was drinking with his brother in the Four Ways Hotel in the town when he was shot dead.

A Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) soldier went to a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) police station in the neighbouring village of Clogher immediately following the incident and gave himself up to police. The RUC stated initially that the shooting was not sectarian.

Sinn Féin (SF) said the killing was “blatently sectarian”.

[The RIR soldier was later charged with murder.]

Charles Folliard (30), a Protestant civilian, was shot and fatally injured in Strabane, County Tyrone, at approximately 11.30pm (2330GMT). Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers initially said that they believed that dissident Republican paramilitaries were responsible for the killing and said that: “a sectarian motive is one of the avenues we are looking at.”

The man was shot as he was leaving the home of his 16 year old Catholic girlfriend.

[Folliard had been involved with Loyalist paramilitaries and was jailed for 14 years in 1991 for conspiracy to murder a Catholic colleague at the quarry where he then worked and also for possessing firearms. Folliard was released in 1997. On 8 November 2001 detectives said that they believed that the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) was responsible for the killing.]

[Another man was shot dead shortly after 1.00am (0100GMT) in Craigavon, County Armagh. Two men have been interviewed in connection with this shooting. Currently this shooting is not thought to be related to the conflict.]

Two men planted a small bomb (estimated at 5kg of explosives) on a bus and ordered the driver to take the bus to Woodburn Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station, Stewartstown Road, west Belfast.

The men claimed to be from the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA). British Army technical officers were in the process of dealing with the device when it exploded around 8.00pm (2000GMT) resulting in damage to the bus but causing no injuries. British Army technical experts were called to deal with a pipe-bomb at Skerrymore Place, Portrush, County Antrim, just before 8.00am (0800GMT).

The device had been left at the home of a Catholic family. The Army also had to deal with a pipe-bomb at Voltaire Gardens in the Whitewell Road area of north Belfast shortly before 3.30pm (1530GMT).

Loyalist paramilitaries were believed to be responsible for both devices.

There was further rioting in north Belfast. Six blast bombs were thrown at RUC officers and British Army soldiers in the Limestone Road area of north Belfast. A number of RUC officers were injured in the disturbances. A number of cars were hijacked and burnt. Two blast bombs were thrown at Catholics houses in the area. Sinn Féin’s (SF) Ard Chomhairle (ruling executive) held a meeting in Navan to discuss the recent decommissioning move by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), and Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), were among the group of 40 people who attended the meeting.

The Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) announced that it may table a motion, in the Northern Ireland Assembly on Friday 2 November 2001, to reduce the 30 days notice required for Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to re-nominate themselves as ‘Unionist’, ‘Nationalist’, or ‘Other’.

[The NIWC plan appears to be to change the community nomination of its two MLAs from ‘Other’ to one ‘Unionist’ and one ‘Nationalist’, and the ‘Unionist’ MLA would vote for David Trimble to be re-elected as First Minister.]

Seamus Heaney, Nobel Laureate, officially opened the Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages at the University of Ulster’s Magee Campus.



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.

  9  People lost their lives on the 29th  October  between 1971 – 1996


29 October 1971

Michael McLarnon,   (22)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Died shortly after being shot, while standing at the front door of his home, Etna Drive, Ardoyne, Belfast.


29 October 1971

Alfred Devlin,   (42)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in bomb attack on Chichester Road Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, off Antrim Road, Belfast.


29 October 1972
Michael Turner,   (16)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot from passing car while walking along Cliftonville Road, Belfast.


29 October 1973

Patrick Campbell, (34)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his home, Cline Walk, Banbridge, County Down.


29 October 1975

Robert Elliman,   (27)

Status: Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while in McKenna’s Bar, Stanfield Street, Markets, Belfast. Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) / Irish Republican Army (IRA) feud.


29 October 1975

James Griffin,  (21)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his home, Hill Street, Lurgan, County Armagh.


29 October 1979

Fred Irwin,  (43)

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while driving to his workplace, Oaks Road, Dungannon, County


29 October 1983


David Nocher,   (26)

Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: Protestant Action Force (PAF)
Workers’ Party member. Shot while cleaning shop window, Mill Road, Greencastle, Belfast.


29 October 1996
Thomas Stewart,   (32)

Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot, near to his home, Benview Avenue, Ballysillan, Belfast. Internal Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) dispute.



Quinn brothers’ killings

Jason, Richard and Mark Quinn were three brothers killed by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in a firebomb attack on their home in Ballymoney, County Antrim, Northern Ireland on 12 July 1998, towards the end of the three-decade period known as “The Troubles


A loyalist mural in Carnany

The Quinn family, consisting of mother Chrissie and sons Richard, Mark and Jason, lived in the Carnany estate in the predominantly Protestant town of Ballymoney. The family was of a mixed religious background. Mother Chrissie was Roman Catholic who herself was from a mixed background and the boys’ father Jim Dillon was Catholic. After separating from her estranged husband, Chrissie reared the boys as Protestant “to avoid the hassle”.[1] Chrissie lived with her Protestant partner Raymond Craig in Carnany which had only a few Catholic residents and was mostly Protestant, reflecting the religious make-up of Ballymoney itself. The boys, aged 9, 10 and 11, attended a local state school and on the evening before their deaths had been helping to build the estate’s Eleventh Night loyalist bonfire.[1] A fourth brother, Lee, was staying with his grandmother in Rasharkin at the time of the attack.

The entrance to Carnany

The killings took place at the height of the stand-off over the Orange Order march at Drumcree, which created a tense atmosphere in various towns across Northern Ireland. In Ballymoney, the previous year, an off duty Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer, Gregory Taylor, was beaten to death by a group of loyalist bandsmen.The killing followed a row about the RUC’s position after loyal order marches had been banned from the nearby nationalist village of Dunloy.[2] In the weeks before the fatal attack the children’s mother Chrissie had expressed fear that she wasn’t welcome in the area and that there was a possibility the family home might be attacked by loyalists.[3] The Ballymoney Times a local newspaper in the town, reported a story the week of the deaths, stating that a resident of the Carnany estate called in and was concerned about tension in the area adding something serious might happen “unless Catholic residents were left alone“.[4] Various members of Chrissie’s family had lived in Carnany but due to several incidents only Chrissie and her sons remained.The family had only been living in the home, which was previously occupied by the boys’ aunt, for six days before the attack.

The attack

The attack occurred at around half past four in the morning as the inhabitants of the house slept. A car containing members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a loyalist paramilitary organisation, arrived at the house and threw a petrol bomb through a window at the rear of the house. The petrol bomb was made from a whiskey bottle.[5] The sounds of the boys’ shouting had woken their mother, who found her bedroom full of smoke. Chrissie Quinn, Raymond Craig and a family friend Christina Archibald escaped the resulting fire with minor injuries. Chrissie had thought the boys had escaped the fire as she couldn’t locate them in the dense smoke before she jumped to safety from a first floor window. Two of the brother’s bodies were found in their mother’s bedroom and the other in another bedroom.[6] Chrissie was taken to hospital and released the next day after receiving minor injuries and shock in the attack. It is believed that the attack was a misunderstanding and that the members of the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) had not known the Quinn brothers’ were inside the house.


The M.P. for the area, Dr. Ian Paisley, visited the site of the attack and described the killings as “diabolical”, “repugnant” and it “stained Protestantism”.[7] However, in an interview with ITN he stated that “The IRA have carried out worse murders than we had in Ballymoney over and over again”.[8]

Then British Prime Minister Tony Blair denounced the attack as “an act of barbarism”.[4]

Reaction from America was also noted as United States President Bill Clinton extended the condolences of the American people to the Quinn family.[9]

Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy condemned the killings and stated “The Orange Order must recognize that its refusal to abide by the decision of the Parades Commission led to the murder of the Quinn boys”.[9]

New York mayor Rudy Giuliani extended sympathy to the family from the city of New York.[9]

Representatives of other groups from all sides of the constitutional issue in Northern Ireland also condemned the killings.[10]

The then Chelsea F.C. chairman, Ken Bates, offered a £100,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for the attackers.[11]

At the brothers’ Requiem Mass, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Down and Connor, Dr. Walsh observed that “For all too long the airwaves and the printed page have been saturated with noises – strident, harsh, discordant noises – carrying words of hatred, of incitement, of recrimination, words not found in the vocabulary of Christianity. But the time for words is over. It’s now time for silence, a silence in which we will hear the voice of God.”

Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern attended a memorial mass in Dublin for the children.[12]

The Progressive Unionist Party, which has political links to the UVF, made no comment that the UVF was implicated in the attack.[13]

Conviction of Garfield Gilmour

Garfield Gilmour, a local loyalist, was found guilty of murder for his part in the attack and sentenced to life imprisonment in October 1999. He had driven the car which had transported the UVF unit containing Johnny McKay, brothers Raymond and Ivan Parke[14] to the Quinn home.[10] Gilmour was described at his trial as a hard working, farm machinery salesman who came from a middle-class background who was unwillingly part of the attack which killed the Quinn brothers. The judge described Gilmour as an “accomplished liar”.[15] Gilmour and his girlfriend Christina Lofthouse alleged that an uncle of the Quinn boys, Colm Quinn, had approached their daughter offering her a sweet, knowing it was a small piece of cannabis. Colm Quinn confirmed that the couple had made allegations against him previously that he was a drug dealer. He then had to flee the Carnany estate. However, returning to his old house three months before the fatal attack on his nephews, Quinn claimed he was confronted by Gilmour again and was warned he was “going to be sorted out”.[5]

The Orange Order released a press statement a year after the attack, stating, “According to today’s judgment the murders were a combination of a sectarian attack by the UVF and a personal grudge between Gilmour and the uncle of the three boys,” and voiced the “Order’s absolute commitment to ensuring that justice is done for their family.”[16]


After being released from hospital Chrissie Quinn returned to her mother’s native Rasharkin to live and decided to have the boys buried there. The boys were buried two days later in St Mary’s cemetery in Rasharkin after requiem Mass. Thousands of both Catholics and Protestants attended the funeral.[7]

A number of loyalist bands defied RUC requests not to play music while marching past the boy’s grandmother’s house in the days after the killings.[8]

In April 1999 the former home of the boys in Carnany Park was demolished and replaced with a children’s play park as a memorial.[8]

An uncle of the boys, Frankie Quinn, appeared in court in 2007 accused of stabbing Garfield Gilmour in Ballymoney. Quinn was successful in an application for bail.[17]