Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles
Wednesday 20 October 1971
Edward Kennedy, then a Senator in the United States Congress, called for a withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland and all-party negotiations to establish a United Ireland.
Thursday 20 October 1977
Roy Jenkins, then the European Commission President, paid a visit to Belfast and confirmed the (then) European Community (EC) would open a Northern Ireland information office.
Wednesday 20 October 1982
Elections to the new 78 seat Northern Ireland Assembly took place across Northern Ireland. This was the first election in Northern Ireland since the beginning of ‘the Troubles’ to be contested by Sinn Féin (SF) which won 10.1 per cent of the first preference votes and secured 5 of the seats.
The Social Democratic and Labour Party’s (SDLP) performance was relatively poor and it obtained 18.8 per cent of the vote and 14 seats. Both the SDLP and SF had adopted a policy of abstentionism and therefore refused to take their seats. The largest vote went to the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP); 29.7 per cent and 26 seats. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) obtained 23.0 per cent and 21 seats. The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) obtained 9.3 per cent of the vote, which was less than SF, but got 10 seats, double that of SF.
[The emergence of SF as a political force in Northern Ireland was to cause almost panic in British establishment circles. Many commentators speculated that SF would replace the SDLP as the main voice of Nationalists in Northern Ireland. It was to counter the rise of SF that the British government went on to sign the Anglo-Irish Agreement on 15 November 1985.]
Tuesday 20 October 1987
Unionist councillors in Belfast City Council agreed to pay the fine imposed on 23 February 1987 for action taken as part of their protest against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).
Thursday 20 October 1988
Tom King, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced the introduction of legislation that had the effect of allowing a court to draw an inference from an accused person’s decision to remain silent when questioned by the police. The announcement caused controversy.
Tuesday 20 October 1992
Robert Irvine (43), then a member of the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR), was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at his home in Rasharkin, County Antrim. Irvine was the first member of the newly formed RIR to be killed.
Wednesday 20 October 1993
John Alderdice, then leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), said that the Hume-Adams Initiative had cast a shadow over efforts to get political talks going again. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published a report that advocated shared, or joint, authority as a political solution to the conflict.
Thursday 20 October 1994
Tim Smith, then a Northern Ireland Office (NIO) minister, resigned following a controversy surrounding payments to MPs by political lobbyists (‘payment for questions’). It was announced that Malcolm Moss would replace Smith at the NIO. The Labour Party announced that Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam would replace Kevin McNamara as the party’s spokesperson on Northern Ireland.
Monday 20 October 1997
There were disturbances during an inquest at the Coroners Court in Derry into the killing on 12 November 1990 of Alex Patterson (31), then a member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), by members of an undercover British Army unit.
[It was believed that the soldiers responsible were members of the Special Air Service (SAS).]
The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) were called to clear the court and the police used their batons during scuffles. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) walked out of the talks at Stormont, Belfast, in protest at the refusal of the Irish government to change Articles Two and Three of the Irish Constitution.
Tuesday 20 October 1998
Three members of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) were given life sentences for the murder of Billy Wright, who had been the leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), in the Maze Prison on 27 December 1997. Robert Eames, then Church of Ireland Primate, called upon Portadown Orangemen to honour three pledges, relating to respecting the law and the church, before they would be welcomed at Sunday service in Drumcree in July 1999.
See Billy Wright
Wednesday 20 October 1999
Jack Lynch, a former Taoiseach, died at the age of 82 in Cork following a long illness. After an early career marked by distinction in hurling and Gaelic football, he later become known as “the real Taoiseach” in his native Cork, regardless of whether or not his party was in government. He joined Fianna Fáil (FF) in 1948 and led the party from 1966 through the early days of violence in Northern Ireland, the arms crisis and entry to the EEC in 1973. He resigned from politics in 1979.
[Described as a modest, self deprecating man of integrity and kindness, he was widely acclaimed as the most popular leader in the history of Fianna Fáil.]
Garda Síochána (the Irish police) arrested 10 men in Herbertstown, County Meath. The men were accused of being at a “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA) training camp. Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), left the Mitchell Review talks in London to speak at a fund-raising event for SF.
Saturday 20 October 2001
A gunman fired two shots at two men in Mountcrescent, Downpatrick, County Down. The attack happened at approximately 9.30am (0930BST). There were no injuries. The gunman ran off and escaped in a waiting vehicle. There was rioting on the Ardoyne Road, north Belfast, at approximately 2.00pm (1400BST). A number of civilians and three Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were injured during sectarian clashes.
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.
3 People lost their lives on the 20th October between 1989 – 1992
20 October 1989
Michael Marshall, (25)
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot during gun attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) armoured patrol car, Belleek, near Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.
20 October 1990
David Pollock, (30)
Status: ex-Ulster Defence Regiment (xUDR),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper, while driving his car along Melmount Road, Strabane, County Tyrone.
20 October 1992
Robert Irvine, (43)
Status: Royal Irish Regiment (RIR),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his temporary home, Tamlaght Road, Rasharkin, County Antrim.
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