Turn to Peace
“Are we not supposed to learn from our past……”
I would be really grateful if you read all of the following, it is long but it is an eye opener to the current riots in Belfast, it is important as I would never normally write such a long piece:
21 May 1966
A group calling itself the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) issued a statement declaring war on the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Effectively the current ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland are born.
5 Oct 1968
A civil rights march in Derry was banned by the Northern Irish government, who let an Apprentice Boys march take place instead. Residents defied the ban, and were dispersed by the RUC, leading to three days of rioting. This has been considered by some as the beginning of the Troubles.
14 July 1969
A 67-year-old Catholic civilian died after being attacked by RUC officers in Dungiven. Many consider this the first death of the Troubles.
12–14 Aug 1969
14–17 Aug 1969
Northern Ireland riots of August 1969 – in response to events in Derry, Irish nationalists held protests throughout Northern Ireland. Some of these became violent. In Belfast, loyalists responded by attacking nationalist districts. Rioting also erupted in Newry, Armagh, Crossmaglen, Dungannon, Coalisland and Dungiven. Eight people were shot dead and at least 133 were treated for gunshot wounds. Scores of houses and businesses were burnt-out, most of them owned by Catholics. Thousands of families, mostly Catholics, were forced to flee their homes and refugee camps were set up in the Republic. The British Army was deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland, which marked the beginning of Operation Banner.
11 Oct 1969
Three people were shot dead during street disturbances in the Shankill area of Belfast. Two were civilians shot by the British Army and one was an RUC officer shot by suspected loyalists. He was the first RUC officer to die in the Troubles.
The UVF detonated bombs in the Republic of Ireland.
31 Mar 1970
Following an Orange Order parade, intense riots erupted on the Springfield Road in Belfast. Violence lasted for three days, and the British Army used CS gas for the first time in large quantities. About 38 soldiers and dozens of civilians were injured.
27 Jun 1970
Following the arrest of Bernadette Devlin, intense riots erupted in Derry and Belfast. During the evening, loyalist paramilitaries made incursions into republican areas of Belfast. This led to a prolonged gun battle between republicans and loyalists. Seven people were killed.
3–5 Jul 1970
Falls Curfew – for three days the British Army imposed a curfew on the Falls Road area of Belfast as they searched for weapons. During the operation they came under attack from the Official IRA (OIRA) and republican rioters. Five civilians were killed, sixty were injured and three hundred were arrested by the British Army. Fifteen soldiers were shot by the OIRA.
2 Aug 1970
Rubber bullets were used for the first time.
Leading Nationalist party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was formed.
6 Feb 1971
Robert Curtis became the first British soldier to die in the Troubles when he was shot by the PIRA on New Lodge Road, Belfast.
9 Mar 1971
25 May 1971
The PIRA threw a time bomb into Springfield Road British Army/RUC base in Belfast, killing British Army Sergeant Michael Willetts and wounding seven RUC officers, two British soldiers and eighteen civilians.
8 Jul 1971
During street disturbances, British soldiers shot dead two Catholic civilians in Free Derry. As a result, riots erupted in the city and the SDLP withdrew from Stormont in protest.
Operation Demetrius (or Internment) was introduced in Northern Ireland. The security forces arrested 342 people suspected of supporting paramilitaries. During 9–11 August, fourteen civilians were shot dead by the British Army, and three security forces personnel were shot dead by republicans. In the following days, an estimated 7000 people fled their homes. The vast majority of the dead, imprisoned and refugees were nationalists and Catholics.
Loyalists formed the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The group would quickly become the largest loyalist group in Northern Ireland.
4 Dec 1971
McGurk’s Bar bombing – the UVF exploded a bomb at a Catholic-owned pub in Belfast, killing fifteen Catholic civilians and wounding seventeen others. This was the highest death toll from a single incident in Belfast during the Troubles.
11 Dec 1971
Balmoral Furniture Company bombing – a bomb exploded outside a furniture showroom on the mainly-Protestant and loyalist Shankill Road, Belfast. Four civilians (including two babies) were killed and nineteen wounded. The IRA was blamed.
30 Jan 1972
Bloody Sunday – 27 unarmed civilians were shot (of whom 14 were killed) by the British Army during a civil rights march in Derry. This was the highest death toll from a single shooting incident during the Troubles.
2 Feb 1972
Funerals of eleven of those killed on Bloody Sunday. Prayer services held across Ireland. In Dublin, over 30,000 marched to the British Embassy, carrying thirteen replica coffins and black flags. They attacked the Embassy with stones and bottles, then petrol bombs. The building was eventually burnt to the ground.
22 Feb 1972
Aldershot bombing – seven people were killed by an Official IRA car bomb at Aldershot Barracks in England. It was thought to be in retaliation for Bloody Sunday. Six of those killed were female ancillary workers and the seventh was a Roman Catholic British Army chaplain.
4 Mar 1972
Abercorn Restaurant bombing – a bomb exploded in a crowded restaurant in Belfast, killing two civilians and wounding 130. Many were badly maimed.
20 Mar 1972
Donegall Street bombing – the PIRA detonated its first car bomb, on Donegall Street in Belfast. Allegedly due to inadequate warnings, four civilians, two RUC officers and a UDR soldier were killed while 148 people were wounded.
30 Mar 1972
14 Apr 1972
The PIRA exploded twenty-four bombs in towns and cities across Northern Ireland. There were also fourteen shootouts between the PIRA and security forces.
13–14 May 1972
Battle at Springmartin – following a loyalist car bombing of a Catholic-owned pub in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast, clashes erupted between the PIRA, UVF and British Army. Seven people were killed: five civilians (four Catholics, one Protestant), a British soldier and a member of the PIRA youth wing.
28 May 1972
Four PIRA volunteers and four civilians were killed when a bomb they were preparing exploded prematurely at a house on Anderson Street, Belfast.
29 May 1972
The Official IRA announced a ceasefire. This marked the end of the Official IRA’s military campaign.
9 Jul 1972
Springhill Massacre – British snipers shot dead five Catholic civilians and wounded two others in Springhill, Belfast.
13 Jul 1972
There was a series of gun-battles and shootings across Belfast. The PIRA shot dead three British Army soldiers, and the British Army shot dead two civilians and a PIRA volunteer.
14 Jul 1972
There was a series of gun-battles and shootings across Belfast. The PIRA shot dead three British Army soldiers, the British Army shot dead a PIRA volunteer and an OIRA volunteer, while a civilian was shot dead in crossfire.
21 Jul 1972
Bloody Friday – within the space of seventy-five minutes, the PIRA exploded twenty-two bombs in Belfast. Six civilians, two British Army soldiers and one UDA volunteer were killed, while 130 were injured.
31 Jul 1972
Operation Motorman – the British Army used 12,000 soldiers supported by tanks and bulldozers to re-take the “no-go areas” controlled by the PIRA.
31 Jul 1972
20 Dec 1972
Five civilians (four Catholics, one Protestant) were killed in gun attack on the Top of the Hill Bar in Derry.
4 Feb 1973
British Army snipers shot dead a PIRA volunteer and three civilians at the junction of Edlingham Street and New Lodge Road, Belfast.
7 Feb 1973
The United Loyalist Council held a one-day strike to “re-establish some sort of Protestant or loyalist control over the affairs of the province”. Loyalist paramilitaries forcibly tried to stop many people going to work and to close any businesses that had opened. There were eight bombings and thirty-five arsons. Three loyalist paramilitaries and one civilian were killed.
8 Mar 1973
The PIRA undertook its first operation in Great Britain, when it planted four car bombs in London.
17 May 1973
Five British Army soldiers were killed by a PIRA booby-trap bomb in Omagh, County Tyrone.
12 Jun 1973
28 Jun 1973
Northern Ireland Assembly elections took place.
The Sunningdale Agreement was signed.
4 Feb 1974
M62 coach bombing – nine British Army soldiers and three civilians were killed when a PIRA bomb exploded on a bus as it was travelling along the M62 motorway in West Yorkshire, England. It was carrying British Army soldiers and some of their family members.
20 Apr 1974
The Troubles claimed its 1000th victim.
2 May 1974
Six Catholic civilians were killed and eighteen wounded when the UVF exploded a bomb at Rose & Crown Bar on Ormeau Road, Belfast.
17 May 17974
Dublin and Monaghan bombings – the UVF exploded four bombs (three in Dublin, one in Monaghan) in the Republic of Ireland. They killed thirty-three civilians and wounded a further 300. The UVF did not claim responsibility until 15 July 1993.
28 May 1974
The Northern Ireland Executive collapsed. As a result, direct rule was re-introduced.
5 Oct 1974
21 Nov 1974
Birmingham pub bombings – twenty-one civilians were killed when bombs exploded at two pubs in Birmingham, England. This was the deadliest attack in England during the Troubles. The “Birmingham Six” would be tried for this and convicted. Many years later, after new evidence of police fabrication and suppression of evidence, their convictions would be quashed and they would be released.
10 Dec 1974
22 Dec 1974
The PIRA announced a Christmas ceasefire.
10 Feb 1975
The PIRA agreed to a truce and ceasefire with the British government and the Northern Ireland Office.
20 Feb 1975
A feud began between the Official IRA (OIRA) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). The two groups assassinated a number of each other’s volunteers until the feud ended in June 1975.
A feud began between the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA), resulting in a number of assassinations.
12 Apr 1975
Six Catholic civilians were killed in a UVF gun and grenade attack on Strand Bar in Belfast.
22 Jun 1975
The UVF tried to derail a train by planting a bomb on the railway line near Straffan, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland. A civilian tried to stop the UVF volunteers, and was stabbed-to-death. However, his actions delayed the explosion enough to let the train pass safely.
17 Jul 1975
Four British soldiers were killed by a PIRA remote-controlled bomb near Forkill, County Armagh. The attack was the first major breach of the February truce.
31 Jul 1975
Miami Showband massacre – UVF volunteers (some of whom were also UDR soldiers) shot dead three members of an Irish showband at Buskhill, County Down. The gunmen staged a bogus military checkpoint, stopped the showband’s minibus and ordered the musicians out. Two gunmen then hid a time bomb in the bus, but it exploded and they were killed. The other gunmen then opened fire on the musicians and fled.
13 Aug 1975
Bayardo Bar attack – PIRA volunteers carried out a gun and bomb attack on a pub in Belfast frequented by UVF commanders. Four Protestant civilians and one UVF member were killed.
1 Sep 1975
2 Oct 1975
The UVF killed seven civilians in a series of attacks across Northern Ireland. Six were Catholic civilians and one was a Protestant civilian. Four UVF volutneers were also killed when their bomb prematurely exploded as they drove along a road in Farrenlester, near Coleraine.
22 Nov 1975
Drummuckavall Ambush – three British Army soldiers were killed and one captured when the PIRA attacked a watchtower in South Armagh.
25 Nov 1975
A loyalist gang nicknamed the “Shankill Butchers” undertook its first “cut-throat killing”. The gang was named for its late-night kidnapping, torture and murder (by throat slashing) of random Catholic civilians in Belfast.
5 Dec 1975
End of internment.
19 Dec 1975
The Red Hand Commandos exploded a no-warning car bomb in Dundalk, killing two civilians and wounding twenty. Shortly after, the same group launched a gun and bomb attack across the border in Silverbridge. Two Catholic civilians and an English civilian were killed in that attack, while six others were wounded.
4–5 Jan 1976
Reavey and O’Dowd killings – the UVF shot dead six Catholic civilians in two co-ordinated attacks in County Armagh. An officer in the RUC Special Patrol Group took part in the killings, which have been linked to the “Glenanne gang“. Kingsmill massacre – in retaliation, the South Armagh Republican Action Force shot dead ten Protestant civilians after stopping their minibus at Kingsmill, County Armagh.
23 Jan 1976
The PIRA truce of February 1975 was officially brought to an end.
End of Special Category Status for prisoners convicted of terrorist crimes.
17 Mar 1976
Four Catholic civilians (including two children) were killed and twelve wounded when the UVF exploded a car bomb at Hillcrest Bar, Dungannon. The attack has been linked to the “Glenanne gang”.
15 May 1976
The UVF launched gun and bomb attacks on two pubs in Charlemont, County Armagh, killing four Catholic civilians and wounding many more. A British Army UDR soldier was later convicted for taking part in the attacks.
The PIRA killed three RUC officers in County Fermanagh and one RUC officer in County Down.
5 Jun 1976
Nine civilians were killed during separate attacks in and around Belfast. After a suspected republican bombing killed two Protestant civilians in a pub, the UVF killed five civilians in a gun and bomb attack at the Chlorane Bar. The UDA/UFF also assassinated a member of Sinn Féin.
2 Jul 1976
21 Jul 1976
Christopher Ewart Biggs (the British Ambassador to Ireland) and his secretary Judith Cook were assassinated by a bomb planted in Mr Biggs’ car in Dublin.
30 Jul 1976
Four Protestant civilians were shot dead at a pub off Milltown Road, Belfast. The attack was claimed by the Republican Action Force.
10 Aug 1976
A PIRA volunteer was shot dead by the British Army as he drove along a road in Belfast. His car then went out of control and killed three children. This incident sparked a series of “peace rallies” throughout the month. The group that organised the rallies became known as Peace People, and was led by Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams. Their rallies were the first (since the conflict began) where large numbers of Protestants and Catholics joined forces to campaign for peace.
17 Feb 1978
La Mon restaurant bombing – eleven civilians and an RUC officer were killed and thirty wounded by a PIRA incendiary bomb at the La Mon Restaurant near Belfast.
17 Jun 1978
The PIRA killed an RUC officer and kidnapped another near Crossmaglen, County Armagh. The following day, loyalist paramilitaries kidnapped a Catholic priest and vowed to hold him hostage until the RUC officer was freed. However, they released the priest shortly thereafter. In December 1978 the kidnappers were charged both for the kidnapping and for the murder of a Catholic shopkeeper.
21 Jun 1978
The British Army shot dead three PIRA volunteers and a passing UVF volunteer at a postal depot on Ballysillan Road, Belfast. It is claimed that the PIRA volunteers were about to launch a bomb attack.
14–19 Nov 1978
The PIRA exploded over fifty bombs in towns across Northern Ireland, injuring thirty-seven people.
20 Feb 1979
Eleven loyalists known as the “Shankill Butchers” were sentenced to life in prison for nineteen murders.
22 Mar 1979
30 Mar 1979
17 Apr 1979
Four RUC officers were killed by a PIRA van bomb in Bessbrook, County Armagh.
27 Aug 1979
Warrenpoint ambush – eighteen British Army soldiers were killed when the PIRA exploded two roadside bombs as a British convoy passed Narrow Water Castle near Warrenpoint. There was a brief exchange of fire, and the British Army shot dead a civilian. On the same day, four people (including the Queen’s cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten) were killed by a PIRA bomb on board a boat near the coast of County Sligo.
16 Dec 1979
Four British Army soldiers were killed by a PIRA landmine near Dungannon, County Tyrone. Another British Army soldier was killed by a PIRA landmine near Forkill, County Armagh.
17 Jan 1980
Dunmurry train explosion – a PIRA bomb prematurely detonated on a passenger train near Belfast, killing three and injuring five (including the bombers).
Republican prisoners in the Maze began a hunger strike in protest against the end of special category status.
Republican hunger strike called off.
21 Jan 1981
1 Mar 1981
Republican prisoners in the Maze began a second hunger strike.
9 Apr 1981
5 May 1981
After 66 days on hunger strike, 26 year old Bobby Sands MP died in the Maze. Nine further hunger strikers died in the following 3 months.
19 May 1981
17 Jul 1981
Glasdrumman ambush – the PIRA attacked a British Army post in South Armagh, killing one soldier and injuring another.
3 Oct 1981
Republican hunger strike ended.
20 Apr 1982
20 Jul 1982
Hyde Park and Regent’s Park bombings – eleven British soldiers and seven military horses died in PIRA bomb attacks
during military ceremonies in Regent’s Park and Hyde Park, London. Many spectators were badly injured.
6 Dec 1982
13 Jul 1983
17 Dec 1983
Harrods bombing – a PIRA car bomb killed six and injured ninety outside a department store in London. The PIRA Army Council claimed that it had not authorised the attack.
21 Feb 1984
Two PIRA volunteers and a British soldier were killed during a shootout in Dunloy, County Antrim.
18 May 1984
12 Oct 1984
Brighton hotel bombing – the PIRA carried out a bomb attack on the Grand Hotel, Brighton, which was being used as a base for the Conservative Party Conference. Five people, including MP Sir Anthony Berry, were killed. Margaret and Denis Thatcher narrowly escaped injury.
28 Feb 1985
20 May 1985
Four RUC officers were killed by a PIRA remote-controlled bomb near Killeen, County Armagh.
15 Nov 1985
All fifteen Unionist MPs at Westminster resigned in protest against the Anglo-Irish agreement.
7 Dec 1985
Attack on Ballygawley barracks – the PIRA launched an assault on the RUC barracks in Ballygawley, County Tyrone. Two RUC officers were killed and the barracks was completely destroyed by the subsequent bomb explosion.
2 Nov 1986
During the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis (party conference) in Dublin, a majority of delegates voted to end the party’s policy of abstentionism – refusing to take seats in Dáil Éireann (Irish parliament). This led to a split and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Dáithí Ó Conaill and approximately 100 people staged a walk-out. The two men would form a new party called Republican Sinn Féin.
8 May 1987
Loughgall Ambush – eight PIRA volunteers and one civilian were killed by the Special Air Service (SAS) in Loughall, County Armagh. The eight-strong PIRA unit had just exploded a bomb at the RUC base when it was ambushed by the 24-strong SAS unit.
8 Nov 1987
Remembrance Day bombing – eleven civilians and an RUC officer were killed and sixty-three others were wounded by a PIRA bomb during a Remembrance Day service in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. One of those killed was Marie Wilson. In an emotional BBC interview, her father Gordon Wilson (who was injured in the attack) expressed forgiveness towards his daughter’s killer, and asked Loyalists not to seek revenge. He became a leading peace campaigner and was later elected to the Irish Senate. He died in 1995.
6 Mar 1988
16 Mar 1988
Milltown Cemetery attack – at the funeral of those killed in Gibraltar, Loyalist Michael Stone (using pistols and grenades) attacked the mourners, killing one PIRA volunteer and two civilians. Over sixty others were wounded. Most of the attack was filmed by television news crews.
19 Mar 1988
Corporals killings – at the funeral of Michael Brady (killed in the Milltown Cemetery attack) two non-uniformed British Army corporals were attacked by civilians and then executed by the PIRA, after being mistaken for Loyalist gunmen.
15 Jun 1988
Lisburn van bombing – six off-duty British Army soldiers were killed by a PIRA bomb attached to their van in Lisburn. The bomb was made in such a way so as to ensure it exploded upwards, lowering the risk of collateral damage.
20 Aug 1988
12 Feb 1989
Prominent Republican solicitor Pat Finucane was assassinated by the “Ulster Freedom Fighters” (UFF), a covername used by the UDA.
22 Sep 1989
13 Dec 1989
Attack on Derryard checkpoint – using machine guns, grenades and a flamethrower, the PIRA launched an assault on a British Army checkpoint near Rosslea, County Fermanagh. Two British soldiers were killed and two wounded.
9 Apr 1990
Four British Army (Ulster Defence Regiment) soldiers were killed when the PIRA exploded a landmine under their patrol vehicle in Downpatrick, County Down. The blast was so powerful that the vehicle was hurled into a nearby field.
6 May 1990
Operation Conservation – the British Army attempted to ambush a PIRA unit in South Armagh, but were counter-ambushed and one British soldier was killed.
20 Jul 1990
The PIRA bombed the London Stock Exchange.
20 Jul 1990
A PIRA landmine attack on an RUC patrol vehicle in Armagh killed three RUC officers and a civilian.
30 Jul 1990
30 Sep 1990
Two Catholic civilians were killed by British Army soldiers in Belfast.
24 Oct 1990
Proxy bomb attacks – the PIRA launched three “proxy bombs” or “human bombs” at British Army checkpoints. Three men (who were or had been working with the British Army) were tied into cars loaded with explosives and ordered to drive to each checkpoint. Each bomb was detonated by remote control. The first exploded at a checkpoint in Coshquin, killing the driver and five soldiers. The second exploded at a checkpoint in Killeen; the driver narrowly escaped but one soldier was killed. The third failed to detonate.
7 Feb 1991
The PIRA launched three mortar shells at 10 Downing Street while the British Cabinet were holding a meeting.
3 Mar 1991
Cappagh killings – three PIRA volunteers and a Catholic civilian were shot dead by the UVF at Boyle’s Bar in Cappagh, County Tyrone. The volunteers arrived in a car as a UVF gang was about to attack the pub. The UVF fired at the car (killing the volunteers) then fired into the pub (killing the civilian). According to nationalist sources, UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade commander Billy Wright was involved.
29 Apr 1991
The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) (acting on behalf of all loyalist paramilitaries) announced a ceasefire lasting until 4 July. This was to coincide with political talks between the four main parties (the Brooke-Mayhew talks).
31 May 1991
Glenanne barracks bombing – the PIRA launched a large truck bomb attack on a British Army (Ulster Defence Regiment) base in County Armagh. Three soldiers were killed, whilst ten soldiers and four civilians were wounded.
3 Jun 1991
17 Jan 1992
4 Feb 1992
Allen Moore, an RUC officer, walked into a Belfast Sinn Féin office and shot dead three Catholic civilians. Moore drove away from the scene and later shot himself.
5 Feb 1992
Sean Graham bookmakers’ shooting – the UDA, using the covername “Ulster Freedom Fighters” (UFF), claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a bookmaker’s shop on Lower Ormeau Road, Belfast. Five Catholic civilians were killed and three wounded. In November 1992, the UDA carried out another attack on a betting shop in Belfast, killing three Catholic civilians and wounding thirteen.
16 Feb 1992
Clonoe ambush – a PIRA unit attacked Coalisland RUC base in County Tyrone using a heavy machine gun mounted on the back of a stolen lorry. Following the attack, the British Army ambushed the unit in a graveyard. Four PIRA volunteers were killed and two were wounded but escaped.
10 Apr 1992
The PIRA exploded a truck bomb at the Baltic Exchange in London. Despite a telephoned warning, three civilians were killed. The bomb caused £800 million worth of damage.
1 May 1992
Attack on Cloghoge checkpoint – the PIRA, using a van modified to run on railway tracks, launched an elaborate bomb attack on a British Army checkpoint in South Armagh. The checkpoint was obliterated. One soldier was killed and 23 wounded.
17 May 1992
Coalisland riots – after a PIRA bomb attack on a British Army patrol near Cappagh, in which a soldier lost his legs, British soldiers raided two public houses in Coalisland and caused considerable damage. This led to a fist-fight between the soldiers and locals. Shortly thereafter, another group of British soldiers arrived and fired on a crowd of civilians, wounding seven.
28 Aug 1992
The PIRA’s “South Armagh snipers” undertook their first successful operation, when a British Army soldier was shot dead on patrol in Crossmaglen, County Armagh.
23 Sep 1992
The PIRA exploded a 2000 lb bomb at the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory in South Belfast. The laboratory was obliterated, seven hundred houses were damaged, and 20 people were injured.
20 Mar 1993
Warrington bomb attacks – after a telephoned warning, the PIRA exploded two bombs in Warrington, Cheshire, England. Two children were killed and fifty-six people were wounded. There were widespread protests in Britain and Ireland following the deaths.
25 Mar 1993
Castlerock killings – the UDA, using the covername “Ulster Freedom Fighters” (UFF), claimed responsibility for shooting dead four Catholic civilians and a PIRA volunteer at a building site in Castlerock, County Londonderry. Later in the day it claimed responsibility for shooting dead another Catholic civilian in Belfast.
24 Apr 1993
23 Oct 1993
Shankill Road bombing – eight civilians, one UDA volunteer and one PIRA volunteer were killed when a PIRA bomb prematurely exploded at a fish shop on Shankill Road, Belfast. The PIRA’s intended target was a meeting of loyalist paramilitary leaders, which was scheduled to take place in a room above the shop. However, unbeknownst to the PIRA, the meeting had been re-scheduled.
30 Oct 1993
Greysteel massacre – the UDA, using the covername “Ulster Freedom Fighters” (UFF), claimed responsibility for a gun attack on the Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel, County Londonderry. Eight civilians (six Catholic, two Protestant) were killed and twelve wounded.
The PIRA carried out a mortar attack on Heathrow Airport, London. Further attacks were carried out later in the month, but on each occasion the mortars failed to explode.
2 Jun 1994
Twenty-nine people, including ten senior RUC officers, died during the 1994 Scotland RAF Chinook crash at Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. They were travelling from Belfast to a security conference in Inverness.
16 Jun 1994
The INLA shot dead three UVF volunteers in a gun attack on Shankill Road, Belfast.
18 Jun 1994
31 Aug 1994
The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) issued a statement which announced a complete cessation of military activities. This ceasefire was broken less than two years later.
13 Oct 1994
The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) issued a statement which announced a ceasefire on behalf of all loyalist paramilitaries. The statement noted that “The permanence of our cease-fire will be completely dependent upon the continued cessation of all nationalist/republican violence”.
A delegation from Sinn Féin met with officials from the Northern Ireland Office.
The British and Irish governments released the Joint Framework document.
9 Feb 1996
10 Jun 1996
Political talks at Stormont began without Sinn Féin.
15 Jun 1996
Drumcree conflict – the RUC decided to block the annual Orange Order march through the nationalist Garvaghy area of Portadown. In response, loyalist protestors attacked the RUC and blocked hundreds of roads across Northern Ireland. Eventually, the RUC allowed the march to continue, leading to serious rioting by nationalists across Northern Ireland.
7 Oct 1996
12 Feb 1997
The PIRA’s “South Armagh snipers” shot dead a British soldier manning a checkpoint in Bessbrook, County Armagh.
16 Jun 1997
The PIRA shot dead two RUC officers on patrol in Lurgan, County Armagh. They were the last RUC officers to be killed before the signing of the Belfast Agreement (see below).
6–9 Jul 1997
Drumcree conflict – to ensure the Orange Order march could continue, the security forces sealed-off the nationalist Garvaghy area of Portadown. This sparked serious rioting in Portadown and across nationalist areas in Northern Ireland. After four days, the RUC released figures which showed that there had been 60 RUC officers injured; 56 civilians injured; 117 people arrested; 2,500 plastic bullets fired; 815 attacks on the security forces; 1,506 petrol bombs thrown; and 402 hijackings. This was the last time that the Orange Order’s parade through nationalist areas around Drumcree was permitted by the authorities.
20 Jul 1997
The PIRA renewed its ceasefire.
Sinn Féin signed the Mitchell Principles. Multi-party talks resumed.
27 Dec 1997
INLA prisoners shot dead Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) leader and fellow prisoner Billy Wright inside the maximum-security Maze Prison. The LVF launched a number of revenge attacks over the following weeks.
10 Apr 1998
15 May 1998
The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) declared an “unequivocal ceasefire”. The group hoped this would encourage people to vote against the Belfast Agreement.
22 May 1998
Two referendums were held on the Belfast Agreement, one in Northern Ireland and one in the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland the vote was 71.2% in favour, in the Republic of Ireland the vote was 94.39% in favour.
25 Jun 1998
5–12 Jul 1998
Drumcree conflict – the annual Orange Order march was prevented from marching through the nationalist Garvaghy area of Portadown. Security forces and about 10,000 loyalists began a standoff at Drumcree church. During this time, loyalists launched 550 attacks on the security forces and numerous attacks on Catholic civilians. On 12 July, three children were burnt to death in a loyalist petrol bomb attack. This incident brought an end to the standoff.
15 Aug 1998
Omagh bombing – a dissident republican group calling itself the Real IRA exploded a bomb in Omagh, County Tyrone. It killed twenty-nine civilians, making it the worst single bombing of the Troubles, in terms of civilian life lost.
22 Aug 1998
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) declared a ceasefire.
Considered by many as the end of the troubles. Violence nonetheless continues on a small-scale basis.
27 Jan 1999
15 Mar 1999
Solicitor Rosemary Nelson, who had represented the Garvaghy residents in the Drumcree dispute, was assassinated by a booby trapped car bomb in Lurgan, County Armagh. A loyalist group, Red Hand Defenders, claimed responsibility.
8 Aug 1999
The INLA and its political wing the IRSP stated that “There is no political or moral argument to justify a resumption of the campaign”.
1 Dec 1999
Direct rule officially ended as power was handed over to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
11 Feb 2000
29 May 2000
Devolution was restored to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
2–12 July 2000
Drumcree conflict – the annual Orange Order parade was banned from marching through the nationalist Garvaghy area of Portadown. The security forces erected large barricades to prevent loyalists from entering the area. About 2,000 British soldiers were deployed to keep order. During the standoff at Drumcree Church, loyalists continually launched missiles at the security forces.
28 Jul 2000
The final prisoners were released from the Maze Prison, under the conditions of the Good Friday Agreement.
21 Sep 2000
4 Mar 2001
19 Jun 2001
Holy Cross dispute – RUC officers had to protect pupils and parents at Holy Cross Catholic Girls’ School in Belfast, following attacks from loyalist protesters. The attacks resumed in September, following the school summer holidays, before subsiding in January 2002.
11–13 Jul 2001
The worst rioting for several years took place in Belfast.
3 Aug 2001
23 Oct 2001
The Provisional IRA began decommissioning of its weaponry.
4 Nov 2001
The RUC was replaced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Recruits were recruited on the basis of 50% Catholic, 50% Protestant.
12 Jul 2005
28 Jul 2005
The PIRA issued a statement declaring it has ended its armed campaign and will verifiably put its weapons beyond use.
26 Sep 2005
International weapons inspectors issue a statement confirming the full decommissioning of the PIRA’s weaponry.
11–12 Sep 2005
Following the rerouting of a controversial Orange Order Parade, rioting broke out in Belfast on a scale not seen for many years.
30 Oct 2005
The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) instructed its forces to “stand down”.
25 Feb 2006
24 Nov 2006
7 Mar 2007
Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly took place.
26 Mar 2007
DUP leader, Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams meet face-to-face for the first time, and the two come to an agreement regarding the return of the power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland.
3 May 2007
The UVF and RHC issued a statement declaring an end to its armed campaign. The statement noted that they would retain their weapons but put them “beyond reach”.
8 May 2007
31 Jul 2007
The British military’s campaign in Northern Ireland (codenamed Operation Banner) officially ends.
11 Nov 2007
The UDA issued a statement declaring an end to its armed campaign. The statement noted that they would retain their weapons but put them “beyond use”.
16 Aug 2008
25 Aug 2008
Riots erupted in Craigavon, during which a number of vehicles were hijacked and shots were fired. The Independent Monitoring Commission blamed the CIRA for orchestrating the violence.
7 Mar 2009
Two British Army soldiers were shot dead and two more seriously injured during a gun attack at Massereene Barracks in County Antrim. The Real IRA claimed responsibility. These were the first British military fatalities in Northern Ireland since 1997.
9 Mar 2009
A police officer was shot dead in Craigavon, County Armagh. The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility. This was the first police fatality in Northern Ireland since 1998. Police were petrol bombed when arrests were made. In the following week there was sporadic attacks on police by youths.
27 Jun 2009
11 Oct 2009
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) formally vow to pursue its aims through peaceful political means, saying their “armed struggle is over”.
6 Jan 2010
It was announced that the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) had decommissioned its weapons in front of independent witnesses.
6 Feb 2010
It was announced that the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) had decommissioned its weapons in front of independent witnesses.
9 Feb 2010
The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning stood down.
22 Feb 2010
The RIRA were blamed for detonating a car bomb outside a courthouse in Newry, heavily damaging the guard hut. This was the first successful car bomb attack in Northern Ireland since 2000.
12 Apr 2010
23 Apr 2010
A car bomb exploded outside a PSNI station in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.
28 May 2010
The UVF were blamed for shooting dead former Red Hand Commando member Bobby Moffett in broad daylight on Shankill Road, Belfast. The killing put the UVF’s claims of weapons decommissioning and commitment to peace under serious scrutiny.
3 Aug 2010
Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for detonating a 200lb car bomb outside Strand Road PSNI station in Derry.
4 Oct 2010
The RIRA claimed responsibility for detonating a car bomb near the Ulster Bank on Culmore Road, Derry.
6 Nov 2010
Three PSNI officers were injured after a grenade was thrown at them on Shaw’s Road, Belfast. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.
2 April 2011
Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old Catholic PSNI officer, was killed after a bomb exploded under his car in Omagh, County Tyrone. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.
17–20 May 2011
27 Jun 2012
Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with Sinn Féin MLA and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.
12 Jul 2012
North Belfast riots – there was rioting in the Ardoyne area of Belfast following the Orange Order’s Twelfth marches. Up to 20 PSNI officers were injured and a number of shots were fired by republicans.
26 Jul 2012
The Real IRA announced that it was merging with Republican Action Against Drugs and other independent dissident republican groups.
2–4 Sep 2012
North Belfast riots – loyalists attacked a republican parade organized by Republican Network for Unity in north Belfast, sparking three nights of rioting between nationalists and loyalists in the area of Carlisle Circus. More than 60 PSNI officers were injured.
1 Nov 2012
A Prison Officer was shot dead on the M1 motorway near Craigavon while driving to work. The shots were fired from another car, which drove alongside. The Real IRA claimed responsibility. He was the first Prison Officer to be killed since 1993.
4 Dec 2012
2012–2013 Northern Ireland protests: Belfast City Council votes to only fly the Union Jack from Belfast City Hall on designated days. Since 1906, it had been flown every day of the year. This sparked protests by loyalists, some of which became violent. The protests and rioting continued into January 2013.
I had tears in my eyes to revist all the above, being a child of the 1960’s I grew up with it, lived through it, having an Irish Father I was ashamed and shocked, then and those feels come flooding back with the riots of Belfast yet again. I feel ASHAMED!
It is estimated, figures vary, that approximately 3,500 people died in the ‘troubles’, died before peace was established, 44 years equals 16,000 days of death, violence and social decay – ISN’T THAT ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Of course I understand that the history of Irish independence, so intertwined with Northern Ireland, goes back so much further than 1969. Some would say it goes further back than the time of Elizabeth the 1st, but the so called ‘recent’ troubles have been going on for some 44 years. When planning this blog I had so many points to make, but to see in the news over 40 days or rioting, in just 24hrs 29 police injured, shops smashed and blazing cars as barricades, it crystallised what I wanted to say.
This is not the majority voice, these thugs, these mindless moronic rioters who claim to defend the Union Jack, a flag whose days are numbered anyway with the independence of Scotland looming. These idiots that would use any excuse for violence have done nothing but undo all the work done to rebrand Northern Ireland as a new economic zone. These slime-bags that claim to fight for the ‘Jack’ have no comprehension of the damage they are doing to their own future and the UK they associate themselves with. To me these are the actions of people who have intellect measured in single figures, and have set the country of Northern Ireland back 44 years.
People that use violence to forward an aim, to intimidate and spread hatred, not that I think the rioters need a reason to destroy all they see, will never be listened too, even the IRA realised this and turn to a political process in the end. Everyone wearing a Union Jack and being violent or destructive should be arrested and imprisoned for at least 10 years as they only represent evil and are no better than a virus sucking the life out of a host, 10 years minimum. Who will invest in Northern Ireland now, who will transfer their company to these shores, who would have the courage to set up an organisation there? Over 40 days of violence just beckons back to the 1970’s & 80’s has been broadcasted around the world, and those responsible do not deserve to live in this ravaged community anymore.
It takes mindless scum to find a reason to destroy; it takes men and women of integrity to find peace and accept nothing less than peace. I pray peace is found quickly, but I fear the recovery of the reputation of Belfast will take years compared to the quick clean-up of the streets.
THESE RIOTERS SHAME BRITAIN!
Smiling Cat Ventures and Innovations Group
Smiling Cat Ventures Ltd (www.smilingcatventures.org)
Innovative Minds At Work Ltd (www.innovativemindsatwork.org)
Moments in Time Ltd (www.momentsinmind.org)
Innovative Business Consultancy Ltd (www.ibcv.org.uk)
Systems of Equality Ltd
Passport to Care Ltd (Social Enterprise – Not For Profit)
Spiritual Inclusion (Social Enterprise – Not For Profit)
Disability In Business Centre (in development)
Additional Information can be found at: