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Violence - Significant Violent Incidents During the Conflict



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Text and Research: Fionnuala McKenna and Martin Melaugh
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change

List of Significant Violent Incidents

Introduction
This web page provides brief details on significant violent incidents that occurred during the period of the Northern Ireland conflict. There is some dispute about one or two of the incidents, for example the first person to die as a result of the current troubles, but the basic facts as outlined below are agreed by most commentators on ‘the Troubles’. [See also chronological list]

Sources
The following information is based on Sutton (1994) An Index of Deaths from the Conflict in Ireland 1969-1993, Bew and Gillespie (1993) Northern Ireland A Chronology of the Troubles 1968-1993, and other sources.

Section headings:
List of ‘First’ Violent Incidents
List of Major Incidents
Other ‘Landmark’ Incidents


List of ‘First’ Violent Incidents

First Catholic Civilian Killed
Sunday 14 July 1968

Francis McCloskey (aged 67) died one day after being hit on the head with a baton by a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) during street disturbances in Dungiven, County Derry.

First Shooting Incident
Thursday 14 August 1969
John Gallagher, a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Special Constabulary (‘B-Specials’) during street disturbances on the Cathedral Road in Armagh. John Gallagher is recorded, by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), as the first 'official' victim of 'the Troubles'.

First Protestant Civilian Killed
Friday 15 August 1969
David Linton (aged 48) died after being shot by a Republican group during street disturbances in North Belfast.

First Members of Irish Republican Army (IRA) Killed
Friday 15 August 1969
Gerald McAuley (aged 15), a member of Fianna Éireann, the youth section of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was shot dead by Loyalists during street disturbances in the Lower Falls area of Belfast.
Friday 26 June 1970
Thomas McCool (aged 40) died when an incendiary device exploded prematurely in his own home in the Creggan area of Derry. 4 other people - 2 Catholic civilians and 2 members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) - died in the explosion.

First Explosions
30 March 1969
Explosion at an electricity substation near Belfast which was carried out by a Loyalist group possibly the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) or Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). This incident was initially blamed on the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
21 April 1969
Explosion at Silent Valley reservoir in County Down which was carried out by a Loyalist group possibly the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) or Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). This incident was initially blamed on the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Thursday 21 October 1969
Thomas McDowell, member of the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) (or the Ulster Volunteer Force, UVF), died when a bomb he was handling exploded prematurely at a power station near Ballyshannon in County Donegal.

First Member of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Killed
Saturday 11 October 1969
Victor Arbuckle (aged 29) was shot dead by Loyalists during street disturbances on the Shankill Road in Belfast.

First Member of the British Army Killed
Saturday 6 February 1971
Robert Curtis (aged 20) was shot dead by a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) while he was on foot patrol on the New Lodge Road in North Belfast.


List of Major Incidents

Most Civilians Killed in a Single Explosion
Saturday 15 August 1998
29 civilians were killed in a bomb attack in the centre of Omagh, County Tyrone. This attack was believed to be the work of a Republican splinter group calling itself the "real" IRA.
4 December 1971
Prior to the Omagh bomb the previous worst explosion was when 15 civilians were killed in a Bomb Attack on McGurk’s Bar in North Queen Street, Belfast. The attack was carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Most People Killed in a Single Shooting Incident
Sunday 30 January 1972
‘Bloody Sunday’: 14 Catholic civilians were shot dead by members of the British Army during a civil rights march in the Bogside area of Derry.

Most British Army Soldiers Killed in a Single Incident
Monday 27 August 1979
18 British soldiers were killed when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded two remote-controlled bombs near Warrenpoint in County Down.

Most British Army Soldiers Killed in a Single Incident in England
Monday 4 February 1974
9 British Soldiers (and 3 civilians) were killed in a bomb attack on a British Army coach while it was travelling along the M62 in Yorkshire, England. The attack was carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Most Civilians Killed in the Republic of Ireland in a Single Day
Friday 17 May 1974
26 civilians were killed when three bombs exploded in Dublin city centre, in Parnell Street, Talbot Street, and South Leinster Street. Loyalist paramilitaries were believed to be responsible for the attacks. On the same day, a further 7 civilians were killed in a car bomb explosion in Monaghan, also believed to be the work of Loyalist paramilitaries. The final death toll of 33 represents the greatest loss of life in a single day during the course of the conflict.

Most Civilians Killed in England in a Single Day
Thursday 21 November 1974
21 civilians were killed in bomb attacks on two public houses in Birmingham. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) was responsible for the bombings.

Most Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Officers Killed in a Single Incident
Thursday 28 February 1985
9 Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) members were killed in a mortar bomb attack on an RUC base in Newry, County Down. The attack was carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).


Other ‘Landmark’ Incidents

Worst Year of Violence
In 1972, 472 people died as a result of the violence in Northern Ireland, marking this the worst year of violence since the onset of ‘the Troubles’ in 1969. The majority of these people (321) were civilians.

Youngest Victim of ‘the Troubles’
Andrew Maguire, aged 6 weeks, was killed on 10 August 1976. He was hit by a car which went out of control and mounted the pavement, after the driver, a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had been shot by a British Army (BA) patrol, Finaghy Road North, Belfast.

Oldest Victims of the ‘Troubles’
Martha Smilie aged 91 years was killed on 14 September 1972 when the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) exploded a car bomb outside the Imperial Hotel, Cliftonville Road, Belfast.
Barney Green aged 87 years was killed on 18 June 1994 when Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gunmen attacked a bar in Loughinisland. Five other civilians also died in the attack.

The Shankill Butchers
Between 1975-1977, a series of brutal killings were carried out in Belfast, by a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang known as the 'Shankill Butchers'. During these three years, the 11-man gang killed at least 19 people.


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