Tag Archives: Nigel McKee

17th January – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

17th January

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Sunday 17 January 1971

At an Ard Fheis (party conference) in Dublin the Official Sinn Féin ended the 65 year abstentionist policy and agreed that any elected representative could take their seat at the Dáil, Stormont or Westminster parliaments. It was this issue that caused the split between the Official and Provisional movement in Republicanism.

Monday 17 January 1972

Seven men who were being held as internees escaped from the prison ship HMS Maidstone in Belfast Lough.

Thursday 17 January 1974

Hugh Logue, then a Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Assemblyman, gave a speech at Trinity College Dublin in which he said that the Council of Ireland was “the vehicle that would trundle Unionists into a united Ireland”.

[ Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Friday 17 January 1975

The Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) ceasefire came to an end. Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that he would not be influenced by arguments supported by the bomb and the bullet.

[Public Records 1975 – Released 1 January 2006: Document entitled ‘Terms for Bi-lateral Truce’ which appears to be a list of 12 terms required by the IRA before a bi-lateral truce would be entered into with the British government. The date of the document is uncertain but may have been delivered to the British government sometime between 17 January 1975 and 10 February 1975.]

Saturday 17 January 1976

 

Two Catholic civilians, Sarah O’Dwyer (47) and James Reid (47), were killed in a bomb attack on Sheridan’s Bar, New Lodge Road, Belfast. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. Seamus O’Brien (25), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) who alleged that he had been an informer. Mark Ashford (19), a British soldier, was shot dead by the IRA at Great James’ Street, Derry.

Thursday 17 January 1980

Three people were killed and two injured when a bomb, being planted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), exploded prematurely on a train at Dunmurray, near Belfast. One of those who died was a member of the IRA and the other two people were civilians. James Kilfedder, then Member of Parliament (MP) for North Down, launched a new political party called the Ulster Progressive Unionist Party (UPUP).

[The UPUP later changed its name to the Ulster Popular Unionist Party; UPUP.]

Tuesday 17 January 1989

Douglas Hogg, then a British Home Office Minister, made a number of comments to the effect that he was critical of a “number of solicitors in Northern Ireland who are unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA”.

[On 12 February 1989 Patrick Finucane, a Belfast solicitor who had represented a number of Republicans, was shot dead by Loyalists.]

Three Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) councillors in North Down joined the ‘Model Conservative Association’.

Thursday 17 January 1991

Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met with representatives of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) at Westminster. The SDLP objected to aspects of the arrangements for proposed talks on the future of Northern Ireland. Specifically the SDLP criticised the fact that Brooke would determine the point in the talks at which representatives of the government in the Republic of Ireland would be invited to attend.

Friday 17 January 1992 Teebane Bombing

teebane2

See Teebane Bombing Page

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb killing eight Protestant civilians who had been travelling in a minibus past Teebane crossroads between Cookstown and Omagh, County Tyrone. The men had been working at a military base in County Tyrone and were travelling home when the attack occurred. Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, appeared on the Late Late Show on Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) and was persuaded to sing ‘My Darling Clementine’. [Unionists accused Brooke of gross insensitivity in agreeing to sing on the show following the Teebane bombing. Brooke later revealed that he had offered his resignation over the matter.]

Monday 17 January 1994

Sinn Féin (SF) issued a document, ‘Setting the Record Straight’, which contracted British government accounts of contacts between SF and representatives of the government. [The British government was later to retract its account of the meetings.(?)]

Wednesday 17 January 1996

The British and Irish Governments met with Sinn Féin (SF) at Stormont. The meeting was for preparatory talks. Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), again said that all-party talks would begin by the end of February 1996

A British television news programme, Channel 4 News, carried a report which presented evidence that soldiers, other than those of the Parachute Regiment, had opened fire on those taking part in the civil rights march on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Derry on 30 January 1972. It was suggested that members of the Royal Anglian Regiment could have been responsible for the deaths of three of the 14 victims. Relatives of the victims renewed their call for a fresh inquiry into the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’.

Wednesday 17 January 2001

A pipe-bomb was thrown at a Catholic-owned public house in Antrim at about 8.30pm. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) said that they were treating the attack as sectarian. Police said that a man wearing a hooded top attempted to throw the device through a window. It failed to explode, and was taken away for examination. No-one was injured. In Ballymoney, County Antrim, a Catholic family targeted in a pipe-bomb attack have said they believed the motive was sectarian. The pipe-bomb was discovered in the garden of their house after a telephoned warning. Both attacks were carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

Thursday 17 January 2002

A man (19) was shot in the leg in a paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack in the Drumreagh area of Rostrevor, County Down, at approximately 6.30pm (1830GMT). Two men broke into a house and shot the man once. A teenage girl (15) was hit on the head with a baton during the attack. A shotgun was used in an attack on a house in Ballygowan, County Down, at approximately 11.00pm (2300GMT). There were no injuries.

Richard Haass, then a special advisor to the US President, held another round of talks with political representatives during his second day in Belfast. He met representatives of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and held talks with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF). Haass said that he and Adams had “agreed to disagree” on the issue of policing. An early day motion was signed by 37 Members of Parliament (MPs) representing all the main political parties asking the government to ensure that Sinn Féin (SF) members sign the parliamentary code of conduct and register of members’ interests. Under current rules those MPs who do not take their seats do not have to declare business interests or sign up to the MP’s code of conduct.

A woman (35) was arrested in north London at approximately 8.30am (0830GMT) by British police officers. She was held under the Terrorism Act (2000).

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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.

18 People   lost their lives on the 17th  January  between  1974 – 1993

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17 January 1974
Robert Jameson,   (22)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while returning home from work, near his home, Trillick, County Tyrone

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17 January 1974
 Daniel Hughes,   (73)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot during gun attack on Boyle’s Bar, Cappagh, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1976
Mark Ashford,  (19)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while at British Army (BA) pedestrian check point, Great James’ Street, Derry

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17 January 1976


Seamus O’Brien,  (25)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot at junction of Glen Road and Glenside Road, Andersonstown, Belfast. Alleged informer.

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17 January 1976


Sarah O’Dwyer,  (47)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Killed in bomb attack on Sheridan’s Bar, New Lodge Road, Belfast.

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17 January 1976


James Reid,   (47)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Killed in bomb attack on Sheridan’s Bar, New Lodge Road, Belfast.

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17 January 1980
Mark Cochrane, (17)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died in premature bomb explosion while travelling on train between Lisburn and Belfast, County Antrim

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17 January 1980
Abayoni Olorunda,   (35)

nfNI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Originally from Nigeria. Died in premature bomb explosion while travelling on train between Lisburn and Belfast, County Antrim.

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17 January 1980
Kevin Delaney,  (26)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died in premature bomb explosion while travelling on train between Lisburn and Belfast, County Antrim.

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17 January 1992


David Harkness,  (23)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


Gary Bleeks,  (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


 Robert Dunseath,   (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992
John McConnell  (38)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


James Caldwell,  (37)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


Nigel McKee,   (22)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


Robert Irons,  (61)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992
Gilchrist Oswald    (44)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Injured in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone. He died 21 January 1992

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17 January 1993


Sharon McKenna,  (27)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by:

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot while visiting friend’s home, Shore Road, Mount Vernon, Belfast.

 

 

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Teebane Bombing -17th January 1992

The Teebane bombing (or Teebane massacre)[1][2] took place on 17 January 1992 at a rural crossroads between Omagh and Cookstown in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. A roadside bomb destroyed a van carrying 14 construction workers who had been repairing a British Army base in Omagh. Eight of the men were killed and the rest were wounded. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) claimed responsibility, saying that the workers were killed because they were “collaborating” with the “forces of occupation”.

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The Victims

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17 January 1992


David Harkness,  (23)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


Gary Bleeks,  (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


 Robert Dunseath,   (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992
John McConnell  (38)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


James Caldwell,  (37)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


Nigel McKee,   (22)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992


Robert Irons,  (61)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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17 January 1992
Oswald Gilchrist,   (44)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Injured in land mine attack on firm’s van, returning home from Lisanelly British Army (BA) base, Omagh, at Teebane Crossroads, near Cookstown, County Tyrone. He died 21 January 1992

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As all of those killed were Ulster Protestants, some Protestants interpreted the bombing as a sectarian attack against their community. On 5 February, the Ulster loyalist Ulster Defence Association (UDA) retaliated by shooting dead five Irish Catholics at a betting shop in an Irish nationalist area of Belfast.

Background

Since the beginning of its campaign in 1970, the Provisional IRA had launched frequent attacks on British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) bases in Northern Ireland. In August 1985 it began targeting civilians who offered services to the security forces, particularly those employed by the security forces to maintain and repair its bases. The first to be killed was a Catholic man who was shot dead for selling portable buildings to the RUC.[3] In October 1990, the IRA launched three “proxy bomb” attacks. Three men, who worked for the security forces, were tied into cars loaded with explosives and ordered to drive to British Army checkpoints while their families were held at gunpoint. The bombs were then remotely detonated. Six soldiers and one of the forced drivers were killed in the first two attacks.[4] A third proxy bomb was driven to Lisanelly British Army base in Omagh, but the main bomb failed to explode.[5] An earlier attack had taken place on this barracks in January, when an IRA bomb damaged the perimeter fence.[6] Between August 1985 and January 1992, the IRA killed 23 people who had been working for (or offering services to) the security forces.[7] The IRA also alleged that some of those targeted had links with Ulster loyalist paramilitaries.[7]

Bombing

On the evening of 17 January 1992, the 14 construction workers left work at Lisanelly British Army base in Omagh. They were employees of Karl Construction, based in Antrim.[7] They travelled eastward in a Ford Transit van towards Cookstown.[7] When the van reached the rural Teebane Crossroads, just after 5PM, IRA volunteers detonated a roadside bomb containing an estimated 600 pounds (270 kg) of home-made explosives in two plastic barrels.[8] Later estimates report a 1,500 pounds (680 kg) device.[9] The blast was heard from at least ten miles away. It ripped through one side of the van, instantly killing the row of passengers seated there. The vehicle’s upper part was torn asunder, and its momentum kept it tumbling along the road for 30 yards.[10] Some of the bodies of the dead and injured were blown into the adjacent field and ditch. IRA volunteers had detonated the bomb from about 100 yards away using a command wire.[11]

Seven of the men were killed outright. They were William Gary Bleeks (25), Cecil James Caldwell (37), Robert Dunseath (25), David Harkness (23), John Richard McConnell (38), Nigel McKee (22) and Robert Irons (61). The van’s driver, Oswald Gilchrist (44), died of his wounds in hospital four days later.[12] Robert Dunseath was a British soldier serving with the Royal Irish Rangers.[13] The other six men were badly injured.[14] It was the highest death toll from one incident in Northern Ireland since 1988.[11]

The IRA’s Tyrone Brigade claimed responsibility for the bombing shortly after.[7] It argued that the men were legitimate targets because they were “collaborators engaged in rebuilding Lisanelly barracks” and vowed that attacks on “collaborators” would continue.[7] The IRA’s statement said:

The IRA reiterates its long-standing call to those who continue to provide services or materials to the forces of occupation to desist immediately. Since 1985 the IRA has adopted a policy of taking military action aimed at ending Britain’s cynical use of non-military personnel for the servicing and maintenance of British Crown Forces’ bases and installations … for our part, we in the IRA will not tolerate a situation where military personnel are freed from essential services and maintenance tasks and then deployed where they can carry out wholesale repression within our community.[15]

Aftermath

Both unionist and Irish nationalist politicians condemned the attack.[7] Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, however, described the bombing as “a horrific reminder of the failure of British policy in Ireland”. He added that it highlighted “the urgent need for an inclusive dialogue which can create a genuine peace process”.[7] British Prime Minister John Major visited Northern Ireland within days and promised more troops, pledging that the IRA would not change government policy.[7]

In his book The Long War, Brendan O’Brien wrote:

In terms of IRA military strategy, the Teebane bomb was a ‘success’. It struck with deadly ferocity and effect and would have been extremely intimidating to others contemplating taking jobs on bombed-out RUC and British Army buildings […] this bomb also served as a warning to loyalist paramilitaries who had carried out a succession of killings in Tyrone.[7]

Less than three weeks later, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) launched a ‘retaliation’ for the bombing. At 2PM on 5 February, two masked men armed with an automatic rifle and revolver entered Sean Graham’s betting shop on Ormeau Road, Belfast.[16] The shop was in an Irish nationalist/republican area and was packed with customers at the time.[16] The men fired indiscriminately at the customers, killing five Irish Catholic civilians, before fleeing to a getaway car.[16] The UDA claimed responsibility using the covername “Ulster Freedom Fighters”, ending its statement with “Remember Teebane”.[17] After the shootings, a cousin of one of those killed at Teebane visited the betting shop. He said: “I just don’t know what to say but I know one thing – this is the best thing that’s happened for the Provos [Provisional IRA] in this area in years. This is the best recruitment campaign they could wish for”.[15]

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) conducted an investigation into the bombing and released its report to the families of the victims. It found that the IRA unit had initially planned to carry out the attack on the morning of 17 January as the workers made their way to work but, due to fog, it was put off until the afternoon. Although suspects were rounded up and there were arrests in the wake of the attack, nobody has ever been charged or convicted of the bombing. Survivor Bobby O’Neill, who received serious injuries in the blast, told the RUC that as he lay injured on the ground, he had seen a “bearded man” appear at the scene of the bombing. The man dispassionately walked through the van’s wreckage, showing no compassion or emotion as he gazed upon each of the bodies of the dead and injured and making no attempt to help the wounded. O’Neill believed this man was one of the bombers and the following month, helped the RUC to compile a photo-fit image of him which was then circulated to all RUC divisions, but never released to the public.[18]

Karl Construction erected a granite memorial at the site of the attack[19] and a memorial service is held there each year. In January 2012, on the 20th anniversary of the attack, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MLA, Trevor Clarke, whose brother-in-law Nigel McKee at age 22 was the youngest person killed in the bombing, demanded that republicans provide the names of the IRA bombers