Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles
Tuesday 7 December 1971
An off duty member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was shot dead by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in County Tyrone.
Friday 7 December 1979
Charles Haughey replaced Jack Lynch as Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). The Fiannia Fáil parliamentary party voted by 44 votes to 38 in favour of Haughey.
Tuesday 7 December 1982
The Irish Supreme Court made a ruling which opened up the possibility of extradition between the Republic and the United Kingdom (UK). The court rejected the claim that paramilitary offences were politically motivated.
Wednesday 7 December 1983
Edgar Graham, then a Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly member, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at the Queen’s University of Belfast. Graham was also a lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the university
Saturday 7 December 1985
Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were shot dead during an attack by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on the RUC base at Ballygawley, County Tyrone.
Wednesday 7 December 1994
The European Commission agreed the funding of a £230 million aid programme for Northern Ireland and also border counties in the Republic of Ireland. The funding was to be spread over the following three years.
Thursday 7 December 1995
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement which said that the British government
“has sought only to frustrate movement into inclusive negotiations … there is no question of the IRA meeting the ludicrous demand for a surrender of IRA weapons”.
Sunday 7 December 1997
At Dunloy, County Antrim, a ‘suspect device’ was found near the Orange Order Hall on the outskirts of the village. The device was made safe. Members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) held a religious service at the Orange Hall but did not attempt to march through the village. Mary McAleese, then President of the Republic of Ireland, broke new ecumenical ground when she took communion at a Church of Ireland service in Christ Church, Dublin.
[The decision caused a debate in the Catholic church with a number of senior figures criticising the President over the coming days and weeks.]
Monday 7 December 1998
There were reports that members of the “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA), which was on ceasefire, were offering assistance to the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) the only Republican paramilitary group not on ceasefire.
Tuesday 7 December 1999
There was a series of walk-outs by pupils at state (Protestant) schools in protest at the appointment of Martin McGuinness as Minister of Education. Protests were held in Carrickergus, Cookstown, Glengormley, Newtownabbey, and the Shankill Road in Belfast.
McGuinness claimed that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was orchestrating the protests. The DUP denied the claim. Gary McMichael, then leader of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), denied that there was a split within the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) over whether or not appoint an interlocutor to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).
Thursday 7 December 2000
There were two pipe-bomb attacks on the homes of Catholic families in Coleraine, County Derry. As a result of these attacks, and earlier ones, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) requested the deployment of British Army (BA) patrols in the town. A 30 year old man was alone in the kitchen of his home on Lilic Avenue when a pipe-bomb exploded in the back garden after bouncing off the kitchen window. The attacks were carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.
Friday 7 December 2001
John Hume, former leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was awarded the Mahatma Ghandi Peace Prize by the India government.
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 7th December between 1971 – 1993
07 December 1971 Denis Wilson, (31)
Protestant Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Off duty. Shot at his home, Curlagh, near Caledon, County Tyrone.
07 December 1972
Ernest Elliott, (28)
Protestant Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA), Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA) Found shot in back of abandoned car, off Donegall Avenue, Village, Belfast. Internal Ulster Defence Association dispute.
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Abducted from her home, St. Judes Walk, Divis, Belfast. Her remains eventually recovered, on general instructions from the IRA, buried at Shelling Hill beach, near Carlingford, Co. Louth, on 27 August 2003.
Finally some good News in what has no doubt been a long and never ending nightmare for the families of the “Missing” those secretly killed and buried in unmarked graves , mainly due to Republican & Loyalist paranoia.
To lose a family member in an act of terrorism is an open wound that never heals and never ends – but to be killed due to paranoia and accused of being a tout or spy or worse – a pawn in political and paramilitary espionage , is a stain that engulfs your entire family and mentally abuses and mocks you daily. The grief of separation is suppressed and the stigma of guilt hangs over you like a dark cloud and the local community whisper and point behind your back.
Such was the life of the families of the Disappeared in the sectarian Badlands of West Belfast & throughout Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Now at least an end for one families misery – who will be given the spiritual healing of closure , a Christian burial and the beginning of a life that can only get better , although grief never leaves us completely .
Sometimes it seems to me The Gods love to ignore the suffering of mortal man and yet we follow them blindly in the hope of a protection that seldom comes.
There are STILL four more ( including Lisa Dorrian ) that remain missing. They are Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Army Capt Robert Nairac.
Columba McVeigh Joe Lynskey
Capt Robert Nairac
Lets hope that soon they can all be returned to their families and laid to rest in eternal peace.
Human remains found in France in search for ‘disappeared’ Seamus Ruddy
Human remains have been found at the site in northern France where a search has been taking place for the body of Seamus Ruddy, one of the Disappeared.
News that human remains had been uncovered came early on Saturday morning.
Investigators from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains have been digging at the site in a forest near Rouen since Monday.
Mr Ruddy was working as a teacher in Paris in 1985.
He was murdered by republican paramilitaries, the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), and secretly buried.
The Disappeared are those who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during Northern Ireland’s Troubles.
1yr anniversary of disappearance of 43 Mexican students. I’ve written to the Ambassador with investigation concerns
Whilst for once I agree with him in that something should be done about these poor Mexican students , what about The Disappeared from Northern Ireland ? – which is a bit closer to home and should be receiving his attention above these unfortunate students.
I’m sure it wouldn’t tax him too much to pick up the phone and ask his best buddies Adam & McGuiness to have a word with their “mates” about the whereabouts of the remains of these innocent victims of Republican paranoia.
But wait , I had almost forgotten that Adam’s & McGuiness are now states men and working for the good of the peace process. In fact they are in such denial that I’m sure they honestly believe that they have nothing to feel guilty about and have no regrets about their dodgy past.
Well in my book these two vile humans being represent the worst of the Troubles and the fact that they are now living comfortable lives and have a say in the running of Northern Ireland disgust me and I’m sure many others in mainland Britain. and Northern Ireland would agree. They are both drenched in the blood of the innocent and no matter what they say or do will never change my attitude towards these two IRA thugs.
But I digress – apologies for that – but my revulsion of these two is all consuming and sometimes I get carried away and go off track. The point I was trying to make is that Corbyn needs to look closer to home and use his influence with SinnFein/IRA to bring some closure to the issue of The Disappeared of Northern Ireland and perhaps in doing so he can give the families a little comfort and a chance to give their loved one’s a Christian Burial.
It is the very least they deserve!
Please see below for an article on The Disappeared –
The Disappeared are those who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during Northern Ireland’s Troubles.
Gerry Adams sparks outrage as he says abduction and murder of Jean McConville is ‘what happens in wars’
Despite extensive and painstaking searches, the bodies have never been found of four out of 16 people listed by the commission set up to locate victims’ remains.
Searches have been carried out by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, established in 1999 by treaty between the British and Irish governments to obtain information in strictest confidence that may lead to where the bodies are buried.
16 people, all Catholics, including one British Army officer, all males, except for Mrs. Jean McConville, are believed to have been kidnapped and killed by republicans during the Troubles. The Provisional IRA admitted to being involved in the forced disappearance of nine of the sixteen – Eamon Molloy, Seamus Wright, Kevin McKee, Jean McConville, Columba McVeigh, Brendan Megraw, John McClory, Brian McKinney, and Danny McIlhone. British Army officer, Robert Nairac, who disappeared from South Armagh, was a Mauritius-born Roman Catholic.
The organisation said they could only accurately locate the body of one of their victims, but gave rough ideas for the remaining eight. As of November 2013 only seven bodies have been found.
Another Catholic victim, Gareth O’Connor, is believed to have been killed by the IRA after the Good Friday Agreement. Lisa Dorrian, a young Catholic woman, is believed to have been killed by Loyalists, taking the total number of ‘Disappeared’ up to eighteen.
Who are they?
Disappeared from his home in Twinbrook, Belfast on 8th April 1978.
Found: His body was recovered on 1st October 2014
Brendan, by his family…
When Brendan disappeared on Saturday 8th April 1978, he was 23 years old. He was 5ft 8in tall and had very dark brown hair, which he wore long as that was the style at the time. He also had sideburns, a thin brown moustache and blue eyes.
Brendan was very much his own man. He didn’t like being told what to do. He was very particular about his appear-ance; always had a shine on his shoes. He had attended St Finians and La Salle schools and he had served on the altar at Clonard. He worked at a number of different jobs—hotel work, in a carpet factory and a sign making com-pany, which he enjoyed but for a variety of reasons were not long-term.
Brendan was happily married for almost a year and he was living for the day of the birth of his daughter and being a dad. Within his own band of friends Brendan would have been talkative with a mischievous sense of humour. At lar-ger gatherings or more formal social occasions, Brendan would have been quieter. He was a friendly person who en-joyed life and just wanted to have a good time.
As his mum always said, “he was motorbike mad”. He enjoyed taking them apart, fixing them, cleaning them and racing them. He went for day trips on the bike with his friends or to the races at Kirkstown/Dundrod. Brendan was al-ways engrossed in cars and kept his MG Midget spotlessly clean. His two pet hates were football and politics.
His friends described him as a good friend who could be relied upon and he was good company.
Eamon disappeared 1st July 1975.
Found: His body located on the 28th May 1999 at Old Faughart Cemetery, four miles outside Dundalk
Eamon, by his family…
“Eamon was of average size. He was 21 years old when he disappeared. He had dark brown hair and brown eyes. Eamon was very thoughtful to others less fortunate than himself. He was a shy young man and was easily embarrassed when he was younger but he grew out of that as he got older”.
“He loved playing snooker and he was learning to play the mandolin at the time of his disappearance”.
“He had so many friends. Some of them still call to see me and they talk about things that happened when they were young and the things that happened in school. They still talk about how they miss him and the fun they all used to have together”.
Brian disappeared 25th May 1978.
Found: His body was located on 29th June 1999 at Colgagh, Iniskeen, Co. Monaghan along with John McClory’s body. John McClory had been kidnapped an hour earlier
Brian, by his family…
“Brian was small and his nickname was “Bru” because of Brian Bru was a giant and he was so small. He had dark brown hair, which he loved, and he kept it well groomed. He was 22 years old when he was taken away from us”.
“Brian was never a well boy. He was in and out of hospital and had bad asthma and eczema. When he was 14 years old he was diagnosed as having the mind of a six year old. It was genetic thing. We were all very protective of Brian. He was very popular in the area with the neighbours and he was always singing and he played a mouth organ and the guitar. In fact, sometimes you had to tell him to be quiet. He was very musical. Brian was funny without even meaning to be, he hadn’t an ounce of sense”.
“He went out to work on Thursday 25th May 1978 and he never came home. I still can’t get him out of my mind especially what he must have felt like in his last moments. I know he would have cried”.
“His friends would tell you how good natured he was. He would have given away his last penny. He would have been very easily led but he wouldn’t have harmed a fly. He is still so much missed by us all”.
John disappeared on the 25th of May 1978.
Found: His body was located on 29th June 1999 at Colgagh, Iniskeen, Co. Monaghan
John, by his family…
“John was very tall with long black hair. He was very tall for his age. He was almost 19 years old when he disappeared. He was a friendly boy and always tried to help the elderly neighbours who lived beside us. He would help them carry their shopping to the house. He was very outgoing, funny and very talkative”.
“John took great pride in his appearance especially his long hair. His hair was his pride and joy!”
“He loved sports but was an armchair fan, rather than actively playing any sports. He was just like any other 18 year old, living life to the full and enjoying himself”.
“His friends and his family miss him very much. I know his friends would have viewed him differently than me. I only had seen him as my brother, although when I talk to some of his friends we have a laugh about what he used to get up to”.
Jean disappeared on the 7th December 1972.
Found: Her body was recovered on 27th August, 2003 at Shillington Beach, Co. Louth.
Jean, by her family…
“Mum was 37 years old and she had dark brown hair and lovely blue eyes. She was small in height and she was a very quiet woman who was gentle and caring”.
“I remember Mum and Dad always together and can remember Mum always wearing an apron like the one in the picture and she always folded her arms like the way she is in the picture Mum and Dad were close and we were a close family. She always came round at night and gave us a good night kiss. After my Daddy died she was just trying to raise her own children by herself and that couldn’t have been easy but she did her best”.
“Mum was always busy and she was rarely out of the house. She was at home all the time in the house clearing and making sure we were all clean and that there was food on the table for us. She had a good sense of humour too and always had time for her family. The one hobby she enjoyed was bingo and other than that she was always with her children”.
“It has been terrible since she was taken. From day one we were put in a home and we had to learn how to survive on our own. You had to learn to survive if you wanted to get on with your life because the home wasn’t easy. It was very strict but being split up from your brothers and sisters was the hardest thing of all”.
Danny disappeared on 1st July 1981.
Found:His body was discovered in 2008 in bogland near the Blessington Lakes in Co. Wicklow.
Disappeared IRA victim Danny McIlhone was shot a number of times before being buried in a secret grave on a remote mountainside, an inquest has heard.
The IRA had admitted taking Mr McIlhone to a “premises” in Ballynultagh for questioning about “certain matters” and that a Provo had shot him a number of times when a struggle broke out between them.
Charlie disappeared on 15th August 1981.
Found: His body was found in County Monaghan in July 2010
Charlie, by his family…
“Charlie was medium in height and roughly 5 ft 4”. He was 54 years old when he disappeared and he had receding brown hair. Charlie was a very pleasant, outgoing man. He was a very talkative person who loved a bit of craic with other people and he could be very funny. His hobbies were mainly around animals. He loved horse racing and backing horses, he also loved dogs and caged birds. He was a football fan and enjoyed gardening, decorating and fishing”.
“Charlie’s friends would describe him as being very obliging, always willing to help neighbours. Nothing was too much for him to do for other people”.
“Charlie was a very good husband and father. He was a very caring person”.
On the day he disappeared, his wife walked with their daughters to Mass, where they had planned to meet him after he drove a friend to it. He did not appear and it was only when they got home that they discovered that he had not met their friend. Initially, it was thought that he had had an accident, so his family and friends searched the area, but there was no sign of him. The next day, a friend phoned the family to tell them that his car had been found outside the Adelphi cinema in Dundalk.
His name did not appear on a list of nine people whose disappearances the Provisional IRA admitted responsibility for in 1999. Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Féin, denied that the IRA was responsible, but journalist Suzanne Breen said that she had been contacted by a member of the IRA who said that it was.
Peter disappeared August 1973.
Found : November 2010
Reports suggest he may have been abducted and murdered by the IRA. His name was added to the list of the Disappeared in 2009 after new information became available.
For four days before he disappeared he lived with an Army unit at their headquarters near his Falls Road home. At the time the Army was accused of using a vulnerable person to gather information on the IRA, but the Army said they wanted him to experience military life.
Gerard Anthony disappeared on his way home to Crossmaglen March 1979. . He was last seen on the roadside out of Castleblaney trying to hitch a lift back home.
Found: His body was found in October 2010.
Gerard, by his family…
“Gerry was 24 years old and 5ft 10”. He had dark brown hair. Gerry was the eldest of five boys and he was a very loving, kind son who was matured for his age. He loved his home and family. He had a lovely personality, quiet and but funny at times. He enjoyed being with his younger brothers, especially Sean who has Down Syndrome. Sean still misses Gerry very much. Gerry’s hobbies were darts and snooker, any kind of sport and a night out with his mates”.
“I think Gerry’s friends would describe him as a good friend and fun to be with. They still miss him and he had no enemies that we know about. Gerry would never have hurt anyone”.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better son”.
Last seen hitch-hiking in County Monaghan in March 1979, no-one has ever admitted responsibility for the 24-year-old’s death. In March 2008, his aunt was given a map claiming to identify the location of his body. Mr Evans’ remains were found at a site in County Louth in October 2010.
His body was discovered by chance in May 1984 in a bog near Dundalk, County Louth.
Eugene, by his family…
“Eugene was fairly tall, about 5ft 11”. He was 26 years old and he had brown hair. He was abducted on New Years Day in 1981”.
“Eugene was a plumber by trade and he was never out of work. He was a very good tradesman. He loved angling, darts and a social night out”.
“He got on well with all he came in to contact with but sadly it was some of his so called friends that set him up for abduction”.
Kevin disappeared on 2nd October 1972.
Found: His body was recovered on June 2015
The 17-year-old was killed in 1972 along with Seamus Wright, 25, by the Provisional IRA in Belfast. The pair were accused of working for a secret undercover British army unit at the time.
Kevin, by his family…
“Kevin was 17 years old and he was very tall. He had dark curly hair. He had beautiful white curly hair as a baby, but as he grew older he didn’t like his curls. Kevin was a very caring young boy. He was the first-born and was always very protective of his younger siblings. He was very much family orientated and fiercely loyal. He was shy but very helpful to elders; he was quiet and spent most of his time at home with his family. He was very close to his mother and would do odd jobs to help support the family. He was very athletic and loved football and sports. He could possibly have been very successful at school. He loved playing football and he loved drawing. He was a very good artist. He would sketch and draw in his spare time. Kevin was outgoing but he was shy too”.
“He has lots of mates both in school and outside of school. He was a typical mischievous youth. His friends described him as a tall likeable gentleman. He had a good sense of humour and he was loved by all who knew him. His disappearance was a tragedy. He had been engaged to a very pretty young girl just before he disappeared”.
The Belfast man was an IRA member, but in 1972 he was interrogated and murdered by his former colleagues who accused him of being a British army agent and a member of its Military Reaction Force. His body was discovered in Coghalstown, Co Meath, in June 2015.
He vanished in 1972 alongside Kevin McKee after the IRA suspected the pair of working as undercover agents for a secret army unity known as the Military Reconnaissance Force, which was carrying out a covert war against the IRA in Belfast during the Troubles’ bloodiest year.
They are believed to have been abducted from their homes in west Belfast, driven across the border, interrogated, shot dead and buried in secret
Gareth disappeared 11th May 2003.
Found: His body was found June 12th 2005 at Victoria Lock, just outside of Newry.
Gareth, by his family…
“Gareth was very tall and well built with short dark brown hair. He was 24 years old when he disappeared”.
“Gareth was a very good-natured person and he was friendly and easy to get on with. He would have been the first person to help you when needed. Gareth was a very outgoing person and was also a practical joker. He was always playing some sort of jokes on people”.
“Gareth’s hobbies were around fixing up old cars and bodybuilding. He would have trained 7 nights a week at a local gym”.
“I think Gareth’s friends would have described him as a very loyal friend and fun to be with. His friends miss him badly. His close friends find it hard to talk about what has happened”.
Gareth O’Connor was not included in the remit and legislation of 1999 for The Independant Commission for The Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR)
O’Connor was a member of the Real IRA who disappeared after driving through Newtownhamilton in 2003. On 11 June 2005, his badly decomposed body was discovered in his car in Newry Canal, County Down. His father, Mark, believes that the Provisional IRA were responsible for the murder, as they had threatened father and son. Mark O’Connor said: “I gave those names [of the killers] to Gerry Kelly (Sinn Féin assembly member). But nothing has been done. Gerry Adams ignores us and ignores all the families of the Disappeared.”
Seamus disappeared in Paris on 9th May 1985.
Still Missing: His body has never been recovered.
It is believed he was killed by members of the INLA. Fresh searches were carried out in 2008 after his family were told his remains were in a forest in Normandy, but they found nothing.
Seamus, by his family…
“Seamus was of average build, about 5ft 6” with dark brown hair. He had a beard, although in springtime he sometimes shaved it off to leave just a moustache. Under his glasses he had the most beautiful blue eyes. He was 33 years old when he disappeared. He was the youngest boy of a family of 9. He had 5 sisters and 3 brothers. He lived in Newry and educated at Newry CBS”.
“You couldn’t say Seamus was one type of person. He was a different person to everyone who knew him; I only discovered that after his disappearance”.
“Seamus was a kind hearted, thoughtful and humorous person. He was wise, caring, a walking encyclopaedia, meticulous and a hard worker at whatever he chose to do. He was always concerned about the welfare and well being of his 34 nephews and nieces. On Christmas morning he visited as many of Santa’s houses as he could to play with the children’s toys!”
“He was a very good listener and he was able to enjoy the craic wherever he went. He enjoyed a good laugh and always looked for the positive side of the situation. His laugh was an infectious one, so when he laughed you laughed too”.
“Seamus really enjoyed all types of music especially The Chieftains, Christy Moore and Planxty. The Flead Cheoils were a part of his life. Otis Reading and Aretha Franklin were also appreciated by him. Rory Gallagher and Thin Lizzy were rated highly too”.
“He was an avid reader especially politics and world affairs and he could discuss the current affairs of any country in the world”.
“Seamus was always there for his friends, no matter who needed help he would come to their aid. He even played hurley once for Newry Shamrocks because they were a man short and he was co-opted on to the team”.
“He definitely was not athletic but still played to help the team out. Seamus always fulfilled his promises. It was not in his vocabulary to let anyone down. I think friends would describe him as dependable, kind and trustworthy”.
The 29-year-old was abducted when he visited a pub at Dromintee, south Armagh. He had been in the pub singing rebel songs. He was seized during a struggle in the pub’s car park and taken across the border to a field at Ravensdale, County Louth, and later shot dead.
A former Cistercian monk from the Beechmount area of west Belfast, he later joined the IRA. Mr Lynskey went missing in 1972, and republicans have claimed Mr Lynskey was “executed and buried” by the IRA.
The 19-year-old from Donaghmore, County Tyrone was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1975 after allegedly confessing to being a British army agent with instructions to infiltrate the IRA.
Extensive searches for his body were carried out in 2003 at a bog in Emyvale, County Monaghan, but nothing was found. His mother, Vera, was a tireless campaigner for the return of his remains – she died in 2007. Mother of Disappeared victim dies
A specialist forensic team spent five months in 2013 digging in a bog in County Monaghan for Mr McVeigh’s remains, but found nothing.
Columba, by his family…
“Columba was the third of four precious children born to Paddy and Vera McVeigh.He grew up in the rural setting of Castlecaulfield in Co Tyrone where life was sometimes hard making the security of a loving family very special. Columba grew up to be a fine big tall and handsome fella with curly golden hair”.
“He enjoyed being outdoors, riding his bike, playing football, often returning home covered in muck from head to toe. He had a great sense of humour and enjoyed playing a trick on family and friends. He worked hard and went to Dublin to take up a job. It was from there that Columba disappeared 29 years ago at the age of 17”.
Lisa went missing on 28th February 2005
Still Missing: Her body has never been found
It is widely believed she was abducted and murdered by member of the Loyalist Volunteer Force.
Lisa Dorrian was not included in the remit and legislation of 1999 for The Independent Commission for The Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR)
“It is 4 years since we last saw our beautiful daughter Lisa. They have been two long and hard years, which have taken their toll on all our family. We were never given the chance to say goodbye to Lisa. “Lisa’s youngest sister Ciara, who was only eight years old when Lisa disappeared, has panic attacks at night, screaming and crying for her Lisa. We, as parents, should be able to alleviate her fears, but we can’t because we don’t have the answers.
“We are appealing to anyone who knows anything to please tell the police, no matter how trivial it may seem. It may help us as a family to grieve and try to accept that Lisa is never coming back. They say time is a great healer, but for us it just gets worse.”