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Emmanuel Sitnikov
Emmanuel Sitnikov

Seventeen 127 February 1986


Wednesday 1 January 1986 Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were killed while on foot patrol in Thomas Street in Armagh. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a remote controlled bomb that had been hidden in a litter bin.




Seventeen 127 February 1986


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Friday 3 January 1986 Pascal O'Hare, then a Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Assembly Member, resigned from the party because he believed the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) secured the union with Britain and reduced the chance of a united Ireland.


Tuesday 14 January 1986 Tom King, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that the forthcoming Westminster by-elections, brought about in protest to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA), would not change the government's support for the Agreement.


Thursday 16 January 1986 Security forces in Holland raided a flat in Amsterdam and arrested two Republicans, Brendan McFarlane and Gerard Kelly, who had escaped from the Maze prison on 25 September 1983. [The two men were extradited to the United Kingdom (UK) on 3 December 1986.]


Thursday 23 January 1986Westminster By-Elections Fifteen Westminster by-elections were held across Northern Ireland. The by-elections were caused when Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) resigned their seats in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). Unionists fought the election under the slogan 'Ulster Says No' and wanted the elections to act as a referendum on the AIA. The SDLP decided not to nominate candidates in safe Unionists seats but instead fought in four marginal constituencies. [When counting of the votes was completed it became clear that Unionists had increased their vote on the 1983 general election. The vote for Sinn Féin (SF) was down by 5 per cent on the 1985 local government election. Seamus Mallon of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) won the Newry and Armagh seat from Jim Nicholson of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). As most of the constituencies were uncontested by Nationalist candidates, Unionists put up dummy candidates called 'Peter Barry' in four seats. Peter Barry was at the time Irish Foreign Minister.] Brian Mawhinney, then Member of Parliament (MP) for Peterborough, was appointed as a junior minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). Mawhinney was originally from Northern Ireland.


Thursday 30 January 1986 Fianna Fáil (FF) said that it welcomed the comments of Harold McCusker, then deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), who had suggested a conference of British, Irish, and Northern Ireland politicians to discuss the 'totality of relationships'.


Wednesday 5 February 1986 John Hermon, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), instructed leaders of the Northern Ireland Police Federation (NIPF), the main union for RUC officers, not to give interviews to the media without receiving clearance from RUC headquarters. The chairman of the Federation later stated that the Police Act (1970) protected the organisation's freedom of speech.


Friday 7 February 1986 The High Court in Belfast ordered that Belfast City Council should end the on-going adjournment of council business in protest to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). The court also instructed the council to remove the large 'Belfast Says No' banner from the front of the City Hall. The court action had been brought by the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI).


Sunday 11 February 1986 An off-duty RUC officer and a Catholic civilian were killed in an Irish Republican Army (IRA) gun attack on the Talk of the Town bar in Maguiresbridge, County Fermanagh.


Sunday 18 February 1986 Francis Bradley (20), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by undercover British soldiers at the back of a farmhouse, near Toome, County Derry. The government in the Republic of Ireland announced its intention to sign the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. [The Republic signed the Convention on 24 February 1986.]


Tuesday 25 February 1986 James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), travelled to Downing Street, London, for a meeting with Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, to discuss the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). Following the meeting the two Unionist leaders said that they welcomed Thatcher's promise to consider their proposals for talks on devolution for Northern Ireland. [When Moylneaux and Paisley returned to Northern Ireland and held talks with other Unionist representatives in the region, including the leaders of workers in the power stations and the shipyard, they decided that they would hold no further discussions with the Prime Minister until the AIA was overturned.] Belfast City Council voted to refuse to set a 'rate' (local government tax) in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). [In seventeen other councils across Northern Ireland, where Unionists were in a majority, a similar decision was taken.]


Monday 3 March 1986Unionist 'Day of Action' There was a widespread general strike, or 'Day of Action', in Northern Ireland in support of Unionist demands for the ending of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). Most aspects of life across the region were disrupted as factories and shops closed. Public transport including air travel was also affected. [While many Protestants supported the strike and voluntarily stayed at home there was also a high level of intimidation with masked Loyalists setting up barricades. There were riots in Loyalist areas during the evening and night and shots were fired at the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). Later RUC figures showed that there had been 237 reported cases of intimidation, 57 people arrested, and 47 RUC officers injured. The government and the security forces were later criticised for not keeping the main roads open and for not trying to end the intimidation.]


Tuesday 4 March 1986 James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), issued a joint statement which condemned the violence and the intimidation during the 'Day of Action' (3 March 1986). Tom King, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, speaking in the House of Commons said that Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) had made common cause with men in paramilitary uniforms.


Sunday 9 March 1986 John Hermon, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), defended the action of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) during the 'Day of Action' on 3 March 1986. [The RUC had been criticised for not dealing with the high level of intimidation and for not keeping main roads open.]


Tuesday 11 March 1986 The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) arrested three Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Assembly Members when they tried to enter Stormont Castle where the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference was in session. [The DUP members were attempting to cut through a wire fence when they were arrested.] The House of Representatives in the United States of America (USA) unanimously voted to approve a $250 million aid package, over a five year period, to Northern Ireland to support the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).


Wednesday 12 March 1986 Evelyn Glenhomes, then wanted by British police on suspicion of involvement in the Brighton bombing on 12 October 1984, was arrested in Ireland. [The British authorities began a process to extradite Glenhomes. However, on 24 March 1986 Glenhomes was released from custody due to administrative errors in the extradition warrant.]


Thursday 13 March 1986 It was announced that additional British Army soldiers would be sent to Northern Ireland to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). The move was the result of Unionist protests against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). In the High Court in Glasgow, Scotland, two men were sentenced to eight years' imprisonment for attempting to acquire arms for the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).


Monday 17 March 1986 Garret FitzGerald, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), was in Washington for the St Partick's Day celebrations and to meet with Ronald Reagan, then President of the United States of America (USA).


Wednesday 19 March 1986 Richard Needham, then a Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Minsiter, announced that the Department of the Environment would take over the function of setting the 'rates' (local government tax) in the 18 district councils that were refusing to do so. The councils were protesting against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).


Monday 24 March 1986 Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, wrote a letter to Unionist leaders in which she rejected a demand for a suspension of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) to allow talks on devolution to begin.


Monday 31 March 1986 The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) announced a ban on a planned Apprentice Boys of Derry march in Portadown, County Armagh. The decision sparked serious rioting between Loyalists and the police that was to continue off and on over the following weeks. Loyalist gangs carried out petrol bomb attacks on 11 Catholic homes in Lisburn, County Antrim. RUC officers were also the subject of intimidation from Loyalists.


Tuesday 1 April 1986 There were further periods of rioting in Portadown, County Armagh. During the riots Keith White (20), a Protestant civilian, was fatally wounded by a plastic baton round fired by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). [White died on 14 April 1986 and was the first Protestant to be killed by a plastic bullet. Police figures released later showed that there were: 38 civilians injured; 39 RUC officers injured; 147 plastic baton rounds fired; 38 cases of damage to property; and 33 arrests. These figures were to increase over the following weeks.]


Thursday 3 April 1986 John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), praised the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) for its even-handed approach to the disturbances in Portadown, County Armagh. 041b061a72


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