CAIN Web Service
A Draft Chronology of the Conflict - 2002
Text and Research: Martin Melaugh
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change
The following is a draft chronology of the conflict for the year 2002. For additional material on the peace process see the list of source documents.
2002 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Tuesday 1 January 2002
The Euro, the new European currency, was introduced in the Republic of Ireland along with 11 other European countries. The UK had taken the decision not to join the Euro so Northern Ireland remained with the Sterling as its single legal currency. The Irish Punt will operate alongside the Euro in the Republic of Ireland until 9 February 2002. Many businesses in the border areas of Northern Ireland had made arrangements to allow customers to conduct transactions in Euro.
Wednesday 2 January 2002
A Loyalist gang attacked and seriously injured a Catholic man (43) in Newington Street, north Belfast, at 4.30am (0430GMT). The Loyalists from the Tiger's Bay area had entered the Catholic Limestone Road and tried to break into a block of flats before attacking a car parked on the street. The Catholic owner of the car was stabbed and beaten when he went to investigate the disturbance. [Nationalists in the area blamed Loyalist paramilitaries for the attack. A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) patrol had withdrawn from the area shortly before the attack. Despite numerous attacks on Catholics in the area the police rejected calls for a permanent security presence.] A man (32) was shot in the leg in south Belfast in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack. The shooting happened at approximately 6.00pm (1800GMT) at Drumart Square on the Belvoir estate. In another attack a man (40s) suffered leg injuries follow a paramilitary 'punishment' attack at approximately 9.00pm (2100GMT). This attack happened in North Queen Street, north Belfast.
Government cabinet papers for 1971 were released under the 'thirty year' rule. The papers revealed that the Unionist government at Stormont had been advised against introducing Interment by the British Army. The papers also revealed that the failure of Internment to improve the security situation resulted in some members of the Unionist government considering a very limited form of power-sharing where 'constitutional Nationalists' would have been offered places on three proposed government committees. In the event the decision was taken that the time was not right for such a move.
Thursday 3 January 2002
Loyalist Paramilitary Killed
William Campbell (19), a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was killed when a pipe-bomb exploded close to a derelict house in Winston Way in the Heights area of Coleraine, County Derry, at approximately 11.30pm (2330GMT). [Police were investigating the theory that the derelict house may have been used by Loyalist paramilitaries as a store for explosives. It was believed that Campbell was handling the device when it exploded prematurely. There was speculation that the pipe-bomb may have been fitted with a timing device. There have been numerous pipe-bomb attacks on Catholic homes in Coleraine since 11 September 2000. Nationalists claimed that there had been over 100 attacks on Catholic families in the previous two years.] Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a pipe-bomb attack on a Catholic family in north Belfast at approximately 9.30pm (2130GMT). A mother and her four children escaped injury when a "substantial explosive device" filled with shrapnel was thrown through the window of the living room. The explosion caused extensive damage to the house. The family were upstairs at the time of the attack. [Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the attack may have been sectarian. Nationalists claimed the attack had been carried out by the UDA. The family said they would move from there home.] A pipe-bomb was defused outside the house of a PSNI officer in Annalong, County Down. The house had also been attacked on 27 April 2001. A man (39) was shot in the leg in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack in Newtownards, County Down. He was found lying in a laneway in the Scrabo estate. Police discovered 500 empty bottles in the Loyalist Tiger's Bay area of north Belfast. Police officers said they believe the bottles would have been used to make petrol bombs. [There have been numerous attacks since the middle of 2001 from Tiger's Bay into the mainly Catholic Limestone Road area.] Loyalists attacked the home of Danny O’Connor, then a Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) councillor, in Larne, County Antrim. O'Connor's car, and that of his father, were also damaged in the attack. [O'Connor's home has been attacked by Loyalists approximately 20 times in the past four years.]
The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) welcomed the proposals in the planned Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. Alex Attwood, then SDLP chairman and justice spokesman, said that the proposals were "an opportunity for all and a threat to none". He also said that the British government should not adopt a "minimalist" approach to the proposed Bill.
Friday 4 January 2002
A report based on a survey of 4,800 households in 12 neighbouring estates beside 'peace lines' in west Belfast has provided evidence that segregation between Catholic and Protestants has increased in the past 10 years. The report also showed an increase in violence in the areas. 68 per cent of people aged 18 to 25 years said that they had never had a meaningful conversation with anyone from the other community. The report was prepared by Peter Shirlow (Dr), then a lecturer at the University of Ulster, who presented his findings to the Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers conference in Belfast on Saturday 5 January 2002.
The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) / Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) issued a statement calling for an end to trouble in north Belfast. Nationalist politicians were very sceptical about the impact of the statement but said they were willing to meet with Loyalist paramilitaries. The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) issued a statement claiming that attacks on Nationalists was putting an "impossible" strain on the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) ceasefire. The IRSP said it "viewed with increasing concern the escalating attacks on the Nationalist working-class by hate-filled Loyalism" and warned that a "Republican response is inevitable".
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) released figures for the number of paramilitary 'punishment' attacks during 2001. Overall there were 331 such attacks in 2001; an increase of over 25 per cent on the 2000 figure. Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for 121 shootings and 91 beatings while Republicans were responsible for 66 shootings and 53 beatings. The Irish Times (a Dublin based newspaper) reported that 19 people had been killed in Northern Ireland during 2001 as a result of sectarian or paramilitary activity. Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for 13 deaths, while Republicans killed 4 people, it was not reported who was responsible for the two other deaths.
Saturday 5 January 2002
Garda Síochána (the Irish police) arrested seven suspected dissident Republicans in County Louth, Republic of Ireland, at approximately 9.00pm (2100GMT). The men were arrested following the search of a house in Dundalk during which a number of weapons were discovered. The men, aged between 20 and 50, were being questioned under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. [It was believed that two of the men were members of the "real" Irish Republican Army (rIRA). On Tuesday 8 January 2002 six of the men appeared before the Special Criminal Court in Dublin charged with membership of an illegal paramilitary organisation.]
Sunday 6 January 2002
Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a pipe-bomb attack on the home of a prison officer in Westway Park, Ballygomartin, Belfast, at approximately 10.00pm (2200GMT). The officer's wife and four year old daughter needed hospital treatment for shrapnel wounds, cuts, and shock. The bomb had been thrown through the living room window of the house. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) said it was responsible for the attack. [The RHD is a cover name that has been used in the past by members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF).] The RHD said the attack was in response to alleged harassment of Loyalist prisoners including Johnny Adair and Gary Smyth in Magheraberry jail, County Antrim.
Monday 7 January 2002
Figures released by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) showed that there had been a 50 per cent increase in armed robberies in one year. There were 927 armed robberies in 2000 / 2001 compared with 682 in 1999 / 2000. Hijackings had almost doubled with 182 in 2000 / 2001 compared with 91 in 1999 / 2000.
Tuesday 8 January 2002
A delegation of Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and councillors held a meeting with Jane Kennedy, then Security Minister, to discuss attacks by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) on Catholic homes in north Belfast. In particular the SDLP claimed that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) had not shown "sufficient vigour in the prosecution of those directing these attacks given the fact that UDA is not on ceasefire and its commanders are well known". Kennedy undertook to raise the matter with Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the PSNI. The SDLP also called for more support in the re-housing of those intimidated from their homes.
Wednesday 9 January 2002
Violence Outside Holy Cross School
There were confrontations outside the Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Ardoyne, north Belfast, during the early afternoon. Disturbances and rioting quickly spread to other surrounding areas and there was serious rioting in Ardoyne during the evening and into the night. Catholic parents and Protestant residents of the Glenbryn estate each claimed that the other side started the trouble. Catholic parents said that they had faced increased verbal abuse since Monday during their walks to and from the Holy Cross school and they were attacked while coming from school in the early afternoon. A Catholic mother claimed she was punched in the face as she walked home from the school with her child. Some Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers said they arrived at a confrontation between a Protestant woman and a Catholic woman close to the school. The police moved to make an arrest but the person was protected by other residents. There was a report that some Loyalists had driven a car at the school gates in an attempt to enter the school. Police officers said they had to draw their weapons. Some school children had to be taken home through another school while a bus carrying other children was attacked on its way down the Ardoyne Road.. Protestant residents claimed the trouble started when Catholics removed a wreath from a lamppost. Disturbances continued later in the afternoon: Loyalist youths petrol-bombed and destroyed a police vehicle; 4 Catholic youths were taken to hospital when they were hit by pellets from a shotgun at Hesketh Park; a number of Catholic homes were attacked in the upper Crumlin Road; Catholic youths petrol-bombed a car; a Catholic woman was knocked down by a car at the nearby Twaddell Avenue; a 13-year-old Protestant schoolboy was injured when a bus taking him home through the area was attacked, a Catholic man was struck by a police vehicle. During the evening the rioting became more serious and was mainly centred on the Nationalist end of the Ardoyne. The police fired 8 plastic baton rounds and three Catholics were injured. Three people were arrested. As the trouble further escalated, 200 police officers, backed by 200 soldiers, were drafted on to the streets. At least 14 police officers were injured during the evening. Up to 500 nationalists and loyalists were involved in the disturbances on the Ardoyne Road, Crumlin Road and Brompton Park areas and 130 petrol-bombs, acid-bombs, and fireworks were thrown. [A Loyalist blockade of the school had first begun on 19 June 2001 and continued until the end of term on Friday 29 June 2001. The protest resumed after the summer break on Monday 3 September 2001 but was 'suspended' on 23 November 2001. The protest at the school lasted for 14 weeks during 2001.]
The Northern Ireland Arms Decommissioning (Amendment) Bill was given a third reading in the House of Commons, London. The Bill was introduced to extend the time allowed for Decommissioning of paramilitary weapons by one year, with possible annual extensions up to a maximum of five years. The Bill was opposed by Unionists and Conservatives who objected to the extra time and they forced a vote which was won by the Labour government by 357 votes to 142. During the debate David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), warned that if the government did not apply pressure on the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for continued decommissioning then he would. The current legislation only extends the work of the Independent International Decommissioning Commission (IIDC) to 26 February 2002.
Thursday 10 January 2002
Further Violence in north Belfast
The rioting on the Ardoyne Road continued into the early hours of the night with petrol-bombs still being thrown at approximately 2.00am (0200GMT).
A Loyalist gang entered a Catholic girls' school in north Belfast at approximately 11.00am (1100GMT) and attacked and damaged 17 cars. Six men, two of them believed to be armed with a gun and a rifle, entered the grounds of Our Lady of Mercy Girls' Secondary School. While one man stood guard at the school's entrance the other members of the gang attacked the cars of teachers. Some parents later took their children home early from the school. Loyalists threw fireworks at the Catholic Mercy Convent Primary School on the Crumlin Road. A Protestant woman was assaulted as she walked past a Nationalist crowd at the Ardoyne shops. Police intervened and injured one Catholic man in the head with a baton. Protestant pupils at the Boys' Model and Girls' Model Secondary schools were driven home in police Land Rovers when buses were withdrawn because of the on-going violence. Police officers decided it would be unsafe for the pupils to walk past the large crowd of Nationalists gathered at the Ardoyne shops. There was rioting between Loyalists and Nationalists in the Ardoyne Road during the afternoon. Later in the day and into the evening there was widespread rioting in north Belfast. Nationalists petrol-bombed police in Brompton Park, Ardoyne, and also hijacked and burnt several cars. Police fired 7 plastic bullets at the crowds, and 11 arrests were made. Two blast bombs exploded among police as they confronted the crowds in the Ardoyne area. Army bomb disposal experts made safe 3 devices which failed to explode. Loyalists attacked security forces on Twaddell Avenue, off Crumlin Road, and injured a British soldier with an acid bomb.
Loyalist and Nationalist rioters also clashed in the Whitewell area, north Belfast.
Petrol bombs were thrown at homes on both sides of the peaceline between White City and Serpentine Gardens. Police said that 31 officers and 3 soldiers had been injured in the rioting during the evening.
The Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Ardoyne, north Belfast, was closed for the day following the disturbances the previous day. Catholic parents and Protestant residents of Glenbryn estate held separate meetings to discuss the situation. Some other schools in the area closed early following fears about the safety of pupils.
David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Mark Durkan (SDLP), then Deputy First Minister, condemned the disturbances as "disgraceful" and called for restraint. Officials had been asked to arrange an urgent meeting between community activists and local Northern Ireland Assembly members to try to facilitate cross-community dialogue.
Representatives of teachers said they would consider taking strike action in protest at the sectarian attacks on schools in north Belfast. Frank Bunting, then a representative of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), said he had asked the Department of Education to sanction strike action over the ''intolerable situation''.
Friday 11 January 2002
The Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a cover name previously used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), issued a death threat against all Catholic teachers and all other staff working in Catholics schools in north Belfast. Catholic parents took their children to the Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Ardoyne, north Belfast. There was no Loyalist protest outside the school and there was no serious violence. There were isolated minor scuffles. Following two days of serious violence north Belfast was mainly quiet. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) announced that permanent Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras would be installed on the Ardoyne Road, north Belfast. A temporary system was to be put in place while waiting for the permanent installation.
Saturday 12 January 2002
Loyalists Kill Catholic Man
Daniel McColgan (20), a Catholic civilian, was shot and mortally wounded by Loyalist paramilitaries as he arrived for work at a postal sorting depot at Rathcoole, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, at approximately 4.45am (0445GMT). McColgan was shot several times after he got out of a car outside the postal depot. He was taken to the Mater Hospital where he died a short time later. A car used by the gunmen was found burnt out a short distance from the scene of the killing. Initially the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a cover name previously used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), claimed responsibility for the killing. However the UDA later admitted that it had killed McColgan. McColgan was from Longlands Court, Newtownabbey. He was the father of one year old girl; his partner called for no retaliation for his killing. Postal workers walked out of work in protest at the killing. [Later, as a mark of respect the Royal Mail suspended services in the Northern Ireland on Sunday and Monday.] The police arrested two men in connection with the killing of McColgan. [The two were released without charge on Monday 14 January 2002. Another two men were arrested on 14 January 2002 but released without charge on 15 January 2002.] The UDA issued a statement (using the covername RHD) saying that all Catholic postal workers were now considered "legitimate targets". [This was in addition to the death threats against all Catholic teachers and all other staff working in Catholics schools in north Belfast issued by the UDA on 11 January 2002.] Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), condemned the killing of McColgan and called on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to take tougher action against Loyalist paramilitaries. He said two-thirds of the recent attacks in north Belfast had been carried out by loyalist groups, but only a small number of arrests had been made.
PSNI officers discovered explosives and weapons during the search of a house in a Nationalist area of north Belfast. The haul included 4 blast bombs, an anti-personnel mine containing high explosive, two detonators, a sub-machine gun, ammunition, and a shotgun. A man was arrested following the search. Alan McQuillan, then Assistant Chief Constable, said he believed the weapons belonged to the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). PSNI officers found a man who had been shot in one leg and who had cuts to his head on the Falls Road, west Belfast, at 3.00am (0300GMT). The man was found outside a public house and a crowd of people ran off as the police arrived. A man was shot in both ankles in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack in the Nationalist New Lodge area of north Belfast.
Sunday 13 January 2002
There were two separate shooting attacks on the homes of prison officers in County Armagh. Both attacks happened shortly after 10.30pm (2230GMT) one on the Mourne Road in Lurgan and the second on Drumanphy Road in Portadown. No one was injured. Robin Halward, then Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, said he was appalled by the attacks. A man (20) was shot in both ankles and elbows in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack at approximately 10.00pm (2200GMT) in the Turf Lodge area of Belfast. Loyalists carried out arson attacks on two Catholic schools in Lisburn and Belfast. In the first attack a fire was started shortly before 10.00pm (2200GMT) in a mobile classroom at St Patrick's High School on the Ballinderry Road, Lisburn, County Antrim. The classroom was extensively damaged. In the second attack a fire was started at approximately 10.25pm (2225GMT) at St Bride's Primary School in Derryvolgie Avenue, south Belfast. The fire damaged a classroom and an adjoining corridor. Nearby walls and four cars were also daubed with Loyalist slogans. A pipe-bomb was thrown across a peace line in north Belfast. There were no injuries in the explosion.
Monday 14 January 2002
Increased security measures were put in place in north Belfast by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the British Army (BA). The move followed death threats made by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) against Catholic teachers, and other Catholic employees of all schools, which was made on Friday 11 January 2002. The threat was extended to include Catholic postal workers following the killing of Danny McColgan on 12 January 2002. Frank Bunting, then northern Secretary of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) and Chairman of the Teachers' Council, was interviewed on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio Ulster and called for the immediate lifting of the threats. The PSNI arrested two men in connection with the killing of McColgan (12 January 2002). [The two were released without charge on Tuesday 15 January 2002.]
Martin McGuinness (SF), then Education Minister, held a meeting with representatives of teaching unions and education officials to discuss what he called the "unacceptable" threat against Catholic teachers and school staff. David Cargo, then Chief Executive of the Belfast Education and Library Board, and Donal Flanagan, then Chief Executive of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, also attended the meeting. David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Mark Durkan (SDLP), then Deputy First Minister, called for a lifting of the threats against Catholic teachers and Catholic postal workers. The two ministers described the killing of Daniel McColgan as horrific and said it had disgusted all right-thinking people. During a debate at the Northern Ireland Assembly a minute's silence was observed by then Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). Postal deliveries throughout Northern Ireland were suspended as a mark of respect to McColgan. Postal workers in Derry took part in a silent march into the city centre to protest at the killing. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), called for a general half-day stoppage on Friday 18 January 2002 in protest at continuing attacks on workers. It also asked workers to observe a two-minute silence at midday on Tuesday 15 January 2002 to coincide with McColgan's funeral. The union said the silence would be in memory of all workers and security force members murdered during the past 30 years.
Tuesday 15 January 2002
Daniel McColgan (20), who was killed by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) on Saturday 12 January 2002, was buried in Carnmoney cemetery after a service at the Star of the Sea Church in nearby Whitehouse. There was a large attendance at his funeral. Postal services in Northern Ireland were disrupted as many postal workers attended the funeral. Patrick Walsh, the Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor, said, "Daniel was singled out for murder for one reason and one reason only - that he was a Catholic." Walsh went on to say that he had been killed by, "an organisation that is driven by a single agenda of sectarian hatred of Catholics". During the evening the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name used by the UDA issued a statement saying that it "unreservedly" condemned the death threats issued against Catholic teachers and Catholic postal workers. The statement further said that it was ordering the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), also a cover name used by the UDA, to stand down within 14 days. [On Wednesday 16 January 2002 the RHD issued a statement to say it would stand down its members. Nationalists reacted sceptically to the two statements.]
It was revealed during a court case that British police investigating the Manchester bombing in 1996 agreed to a secret request from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) not to arrest and interview a prime suspect. As a result there was a 16 month delay in sending a file to the Crown Prosecution Service. The claim was made by a former head of Greater Manchester Police Special Branch who also said that a "cover story" was invented to account for the fact that no arrest had been made.
Wednesday 16 January 2002
Postal deliveries throughout Northern Ireland were again suspended as the Communication Workers Union, together with other trade unions, continued efforts to have Ulster Defence Association (UDA) death threats lifted. Alan McQuillan, then Assistant Chief Constable of PSNI, met leaders of the Communication Workers Union in Belfast and give them an "honest assessment" of the threat issued by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD). Following the meeting the Belfast postal workers said they would return to work beginning with the first shifts on Thursday 17 January 2002.
The body of Stephen McCullough (39) was found at the bottom of Cavehill in north Belfast. It appeared that he had fallen from the top of a cliff. Initially the police said a crime was not suspected. [Later (on 21 January 2002) it was revealed that McCullough was a member of the UDA. It was also revealed that hours before his death McCullough had told Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) soldiers and some police officers that he had information about the killing of Daniel McColgan (12 January 2002). Nuala O'Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), began an investigation into the death of McCullough.]
Richard Haass, then a special advisor to the US President, travelled to Belfast for talks with John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and also met members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB). Haass also met representatives of Unionist political parties. Haass urged Sinn Féin (SF) to join the Policing Board saying it was in the party's own interests to serve alongside the other political parties. [Haass met with other groups on 17 January 2002.]
The High Court in Belfast ruled that David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Seamus Mallon (SDLP), former Deputy First Minister, were wrong to withhold Executive papers, relating to free public transport, from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). [The two DUP ministers had refused to serve on the Executive.]
Pat Cox (49), a Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Republic of Ireland, won the election to become the President of the European Parliament.
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).
Friday 18 January 2002
Rallies were held across Northern Ireland at 1.00pm (1300GMT) to protest against Loyalist paramilitary death threats to postal workers and school staff and to call for an end to all paramilitary activity. The rallies took place in Belfast, Cookstown, Derry, Enniskillen, Newry, Omagh, and Strabane, and were attended by an estimated 25,000 people. Representatives of all major trade unions as well as ordinary men and women took part in the demonstrations. Part of a resolution read out at the rallies stated: "we call on all those engaged in acts of sectarianism or paramilitary activity to stop". [The rallies were organised following the killing by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) of Catholic postman Daniel McColgan (20) on Saturday 12 January 2002.]
Sunday 20 January 2002
There were disturbances in the Serpentine Gardens and White City areas of north Belfast. Catholic homes in the Serpentine Gardens area were petrol-bombed between midnight and approximately 1.30am (0130GMT). The devices were thrown from the Loyalist White City area. In follow-up searches in White City the police found a crate of petrol-bombs - some with fireworks inside. At approximately 4.30am (0430GMT) the home of a Protestant family in White City was attacked with petrol-bombs. There was scorch damage to the house but no injuries. The petrol-bombs were thrown from the Nationalist Serpentine Gardens. The family of six said they would leave the area. There was also rioting in the nearby Shore Road and the Whitewell Road areas of north Belfast. Nationalists threw a petrol-bomb into a Protestant house on the Whitewell Road. The house was empty at the time and there were no injuries. There were then further disturbances involving Loyalists and Nationalists. Nationalists crowds throwing petrol-bombs, stones, and blast-bombs attacked police and fire officers who were dealing with burning barricades.
Nigel Dodds (DUP), then Member of Parliament (MP) for north Belfast, held a meeting with Alan McQuillan, then Assistant Chief Constable, to ask for 24-hour police patrols.
Independent Television (ITV) in the United Kingdom (UK) broadcast a film entitled 'Bloody Sunday' that portrayed the events in Derry on 30 January 1972. [Prior to broadcast the film had been criticised by some Unionists in Northern Ireland and by some members of the Conservative party in Britain. The film was also given a limited cinema release.]
Monday 21 January 2002
The four Sinn Féin (SF) Members of Parliament (MPs) travelled to Westminster, London, to take their offices at the House of Commons. Previously SF had been banned from using parliamentary facilities; the ban was lifted in December 2001. The four MPs still refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Queen and said they would not be taking their seats in the debating chamber. Allowances and office expenses for the four MPs are expected to total over £400.000. Prior to going to Westminster the four MPs had a meeting at Downing Street with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, about the security response to Loyalist violence in Northern Ireland. Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), claimed that there had been collusion between the security services and Loyalist paramilitary groups. He also claimed that the British government had failed to deal adequately with recent Loyalist violence.
A man who had served 13 years in prison for murder had his appeal upheld by the Court of Appeal in Belfast. Thomas Green, a Protestant from the Ballysillan area of north Belfast, was convicted of the sectarian murder of John O'Neill, a Catholic, in 1985. Green lost an earlier appeal and was then freed in 1999 under the Good Friday Agreement. Green's latest appeal was based on medical evidence which indicated that he may have been unaware of what he was doing when he signed the confession.
The Northern Ireland Assembly debated a motion tabled by Monica McWilliams, then member of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC), and supported by the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI). The motion called on the British government to provide security documents on the Loyalist bombings in Dublin and Monaghan (on 17 May 1974) to the Commission of Inquiry taking place in the Republic of Ireland. The NIWC had been approached by the organisation Justice For the Forgotten seeking aid to secure the documents given an alleged slow response by the British government. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) opposed the motion but it was passed in a vote. [33 people were killed in the bombs in Dublin and Monaghan. A letter dated 26 February 2002 was sent by John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to the Commission of Inquiry.]
John Hume, former leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), gave evidence to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. Hume was asked why he had not supported the anti-Internment march on 30 January 2002.
[Two shots were fired from a shotgun into the ceiling of a public house in Quay Street in Ardglass, County Down. The attack was carried out by a man wearing a balaclava. The motive for the incident was unclear.]
Tuesday 22 January 2002
Two packages, each containing a single bullet, which were addressed to representatives of Nationalist resident groups were intercepted by postal workers at Mallusk, County Antrim. The parcels were addressed to Gerard Rice, then representative of the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community in Belfast, and Breandan Mac Cionnaith, then representative of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition in Portadown, County Armagh. Both men were prominent in protests against Loyal Order parades in their areas. A suspected pipe-bomb was found outside the home of Alex Maskey (SF), then Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). The device was later declared an "elaborate hoax".
Colm Murphy (49) was found guilty at the Special Criminal Court (three judges sitting without a jury) in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, of conspiracy to cause an explosion. He was the first person to be convicted in relation to the Omagh Bombing on 15 August 1998. Murphy was originally from south Armagh but had a home in County Louth, Republic of Ireland. [Murphy was sentenced on Friday 25 January 2002 to 14 years in prison.]
It was announced that the British Army's Ebrington Barracks in Derry would close, as would a watchtower near the border in south Armagh. Although the Army stated that troop numbers would not be reduced it was announced that 500 soldiers based at Ebrington would return to England where they would be put on stand-by.
David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), travelled to Downing Street, London, for a meeting with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister. Trimble warned that the peace process was in danger of being undermined. He claimed that the government had "bent the rules" to allow Sinn Féin (SF) Members of Parliament (MPs) office facilities at Westminster. Trimble also advised Blair against amnesties for Irish Republican Army (IRA) members who were 'on the run'.
Wednesday 23 January 2002
The Bloody Sunday Inquiry announced that it would temporarily move to a location in Britain in order to hear the testimony of British Army paratroopers who fired the fatal shots in Derry on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972). The 36 soldiers had won court cases that supported their wish not to have to travel to Derry to give evidence. [The soldiers will also retain their anonymity during the proceedings. Initially Lord Saville suggested that the soldiers' evidence could be taken by a video link from Britain. However both the soldiers and the families of those killed and injured objected to this solution.]
Thursday 24 January 2002
Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), travelled to Omagh, County Tyrone, to present his response to the earlier report by Nuala O'Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), on the investigation into the Omagh Bombing (15 August 1998). The summary of O'Loan's report was published on 12 December 2001 and it was critical of some aspects of the investigation into the bombing. In his (unpublished) report Flanagan stated that he dealt with each of the points raised by O'Loan. With regard to O'Loan's recommendations, some were accepted but a key one was changed. This was the recommendation by O'Loan that a police officer from outside Northern Ireland should be appointed to takeover the Omagh investigation. Flanagan announced that a senior detective from Merseyside would be appointed to 'advise' the investigation. Flanagan met the relatives of the victims of the bombing and later gave a press conference. Some of the relatives said they were not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting. Some relatives revealed that they were close to withdrawing support for the police investigation.
Friday 25 January 2002
The security forces made an arms find in west Belfast. A man (54) was arrested and charged with having firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life. There were three sectarian attacks on houses in Larne, County Antrim. The living room window of a house in Cairngorm Walk was broken. Two windows of a house at Ballycraigy Ring were broken and a car parked outside also had its windscreen smashed in the attack. In the third attack, the door window of a property in Torr Gardens was also broken.
Lembit Opik, then Liberal Democrats' Northern Ireland spokesperson, travelled to the region to meet community groups in north and east Belfast.
Saturday 26 January 2002
Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), said that he agreed in principle that the Omagh bombers should be brought to justice. However he stated that the real issue was how the police had dealt with the information already in its possession. Adams said that people would make their own judgement on whether information should be passed to the police and that many would see it as "a moral issue" (BBC, 'Inside Politics').
Sunday 27 January 2002
There was a petrol bomb attack on the home of a Catholic family in the Serpentine area of north Belfast. The family escaped injury. The householder claimed that there had been over 20 attacks on the house in the previous 18 months. He stated that the attacks were because the family were Catholic and also because he was a trade union representative.
There was a ceremony in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, to remember the victims of the Holocaust. The event was attended by David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Mark Durkan (SDLP), then Deputy First Minister. The ceremony marked the 57th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.
Monday 28 January 2002
The Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) held a meeting with relatives of the victims of the Omagh Bombing (15 August 1998). The meeting followed the report (12 December 2001) of Nuala O'Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), into the police handling of the investigation and the response (24 January 2002) by Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). [The NIPB was expected to have private meetings with Flanagan and O'Loan on 5 February 2002.]
A new court building opened in Belfast. The building houses 16 Crown and County courtrooms. The £30m building was built under a public-private partnership scheme and will be operated by the company Consul Services (NI) Ltd., under a 25 year agreement.
The Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) called on the British government to launch a formal review of the Good Friday Agreement. The UPRG said the initiative was required due to the declining support among many Protestants for the Agreement.
Tuesday 29 January 2002
[There was a petrol-bomb attack on flats in Ormeau Road, south Belfast, at approximately 9.50pm (2150GMT). The device caused scorch damage to the building but there were no injuries. It was not clear if the attack was sectarian.]
A Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) delegation travelled to Downing Street, London, for a meeting with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister. The meeting discussed the controversy over the investigation of the Omagh bombing and also reforms to the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.
There were media reports that members of the security forces would soon lose the right not to have to give evidence at inquests. British Army soldiers and police officers are currently exempt from being compelled to attend inquests when they have been involved in fatal shootings. The change was expected to be introduced by the British government sometime in February 2002.
Solectron, an American company with a factory in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, announced that it was entering a 90-day consultation with its workforce over the future of the plant. It was reported that 200 jobs would be lost. The job losses are a direct result of the problems facing the telecommunications company Nortel - which have resulted in the loss of more than 1,000 jobs in Northern Ireland.
Wednesday 30 January 2002
Relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972), together with some of the surviving injured, and about 2,000 other people, gathered in the Bogside in Derry to mark the 30th anniversary of the killings. A minute's silence was held at the time when the first shots were fired. Dr Edward Daly, the former Bishop of Derry, rededicated the memorial to the dead. In his address he said he prayed "for victims everywhere - here, in Afghanistan, the Middle East and New York". He added: "We identify with all people who have suffered, of whatever race or religion or nation". The Bloody Sunday Inquiry was adjourned until Monday - the Inquiry does not sit on the anniversary of the killings. [The Inquiry will resume on Monday when the first Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) witnesses are expected to begin giving evidence. It is anticipated that one of the police witnesses will give evidence from behind a screen.]
David Ford, then leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), travelled to Downing Street, London, for a meeting with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister. Ford was there to discuss potential reforms of the voting system used in the Northern Ireland Assembly. David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Mark Durkan (SDLP), then Deputy First Minister, travelled to Brussels for a two day visit. During their first day they opened a new Northern Ireland Executive office in the city which was established to lobby on behalf of Northern Ireland within the European Parliament. The cost of the office, which was higher than envisaged, came in for criticism. The set up cost was £300,000 and the annual running cost is estimated at £500,000.
The Irish National Liberation Army denied that it had threatened Protestant community workers in Glenbryn, north Belfast. The denial was issued through the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP). It described the threats as bogus.
Thursday 31 January 2002
Barrie Bradbury, a Loyalist from Lurgan, County Armagh, was told he could join a personal protection scheme. Bradbury had survived several attempts on his life that were believed to have been carried out by the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF). Bradbury had initially been told by the Secretary of State that he would not receive protective measures. Bradbury undertook a judicial review in Belfast High Court but the case was adjourned once the court was informed of the reversal of the earlier decision.
Mark Durkan, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), led a delegation of his party to Dublin, Republic of Ireland, for a meeting with Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). One of the items discussed was the disagreements between Nuala O'Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), and Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), over the handling of the Investigation of the Omagh bombing (15 August 1998).
Friday 1 February 2002
Loyalist paramilitaries attached a bomb to the bottom of a car belonging to a Catholic family who live near Dungannon, County Tyrone. The family moved from their home when the bomb was discovered following suspicious activity around their home. The police said the bomb would have "caused death or serious injury" if it had exploded. The British Army discovered guns and ammunition in north Belfast. The weapons were found during a search of an area of wasteland at the back of Braehill Crescent, near Ballysillen Avenue. The weapons included sawn-off shotguns, a rifle and magazines, and 400 rounds of assorted ammunition.
John Hume, former leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was presented with the Gandhi Peace Prize, India's premier prize, at a ceremony in the president's residence in Delhi. A jury chaired by Atal Behari Vajpayee, then Indian Prime Minister, unanimously decided to confer the award. Hume was described as a man who had been "instrumental in heralding a new era of justice, peace and reconciliation in Ireland".
Saturday 2 February 2002
David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Mark Durkan (SDLP), then Deputy First Minister, travelled to the United States of America (USA) at the beginning of a week long visit. [During their stay the two men attended the World Economic Forum in New York on 3 February 2002. They also opened, on 6 February 2002, the Northern Ireland Bureau which was established to promote Northern Ireland in the USA. There was some criticism at home of the cost of the office.]
In a pre-recorded interview for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), denied that he had fired the first shot during Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972). He described the allegations as a "Plan B" on the part of the British Military Establishment: "Everybody knows that every single person shot on that day was an innocent marcher. So they now move to plan B, and plan B is - if you can't blame the people who were killed on the day try to blame Martin McGuinness." [McGuinness had given a written statement to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry stating that he was second in command of the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army (IRA) at the time of Bloody Sunday.]
[A man (32) was abducted from west Belfast and taken with a hood over his head to an unknown location where he was was stripped, threatened and questioned. He was released at 5.00am on Sunday 3 February 2002, but his car was burnt and destroyed. It was assumed that he had been abducted by Republican paramilitaries. Details of the incident were released by police on 7 February 2002.]
Sunday 3 February 2002
The was a 'Bloody Sunday' commemoration march in Derry to mark the 30th anniversary of the events in the city on 30 January 1972. British Army paratroopers shot dead 13 people and injured another 14 during a civil rights march in what became known as Bloody Sunday. An estimated 30,000 people took part in the march through the Creggan and the Bogside areas of the city to a rally at 'Free Derry Corner'. There were representatives from the main nationalist political parties, and people had travelled from throughout Ireland, Britain, and America to take part. Up to 400 members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) from different cities in the United States of America (USA) also took part in the march.
Representatives from political parties in Northern Ireland were present at the World Economic Forum in New York, USA. During a discussion session Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), said that he did not want to force Unionists into a united Ireland without their consent.
Monday 4 February 2002
Postal deliveries were disrupted in Derry following a threat made against a Catholic postman who worked in the Waterside area of the city. The threat was made to the Samaritans on Sunday 3 February 2002 and the threat was made about a named individual. The police advised the man to stay away from the Waterside. [The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) later issued a statement denying that it had made the threat.]
The Bloody Sunday Inquiry recommenced following an adjournment for the 30th anniversary of the killings (30 January 1972). William George Hunter became the first police witness to give evidence to the inquiry. The former Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer, who had been a member of Special Branch, was screened from the public and the press as he gave his evidence. The Inquiry had earlier ruled that he faced a "special danger" which overrode the public duty to conduct an open inquiry. Hunter told the inquiry that he heard nail-bombs and a sub-machine gun prior to the shooting by the paratroopers. Hunter was positioned at Barrier 14 in William Street on Bloody Sunday. The afternoon session of the inquiry was adjourned when it became clear that other former RUC officers had expressed a desire to given evidence from behind screens.
The Belfast Education and Library Board published a report showing that literacy levels in Belfast were the lowest of any are in Northern Ireland. The report was based on a survey that tested nearly 3,000 15 year olds in a cross-section of schools throughout the region. It was part of the Programme for International Student Assessment, which was carried out in 32 countries by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report made 70 recommendations for improvement.
Peter Robinson (DUP), then Minister for Regional Development, announced plans to try to secure an additional £950 million over 10 years for spending on roads and public transport services in the region. [Two thirds of the money is planned to be spent on roads and some lobby groups suggested that a greater percentage should have been allocated for public transport.]
A man (19) was shot three times in the leg in north Belfast during a Loyalist paramilitary 'punishment' attack. The incident happened at approximately 9.00pm (2100GMT) after three men broke into the victim's home in Mount Vernon Drive, off the Shore Road.
Tuesday 5 February 2002
Jane Kennedy, then Security Minister, announced new security measures and new peace lines at a number of interface areas in Northern Ireland. The schemes mainly involved extensions to existing peace lines and the cost was estimated at £670,000. [The following details, of the schemes involved, were published. North Belfast - 250 metre fence at Newington Avenue / Halliday's Road (completed); 250 metre extension of a fence at Alliance Avenue / Glenbryn Park; security fencing at Wyndham Street. West Belfast - extension to the existing fence at Ainsworth Avenue / Springfield Road to Kirk Street / Workman Avenue; extension to the existing fence at Bombay Street. East Belfast - closure of the road and construction of a security structure at Madrid Street. Portadown - series of security measures in the Corcrain Road area. Derry - modification of the fence at Harding Street.]
The Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) held separate private meetings with Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and Nuala O'Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI). The meetings were to allow the NIPB to hear reports on the investigation of the Omagh bombing (15 August 1998) and also to see if it could come to a decision on the public disagreement between O'Loan and Flanagan. [However it was clear that the NIPB was deeply divided on the issue with one Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) member calling, prior to the meeting, for the resignation of O'Loan.]
It was revealed that the Department of Health and Social Services had spend £180,000 implementing the bilingual policy adopted by Bairbre de Brún (SF) then Minister of Health. The policy means that all public notices, documents, and advertising campaigns, are available in both English and Irish. The total also includes translations into other languages including Chinese, Punjabi, and Ulster Scots.
Two men who admitted being members of the "real" Irish Republican Army (rIRA) were jailed for 18 months each by the Special Criminal Court (three judges but no jury) in Dublin. A special branch officer testified that the men had played only a peripheral part in the organisation.
Wednesday 6 February 2002
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers arrested a man (33) under the Terrorism Act. He was arrested at the request of Metropolitan Police and was taken to a central London police station. It was believed that he was questioned about bombs in Birmingham, Ealing, and west London, during 2001.
The Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) appointed a four man committee to continue the work began on Tuesday 5 February 2002 on the reports of the investigation into the Omagh bombing (15 August 1998).
Some of the relatives of those killed in the Omagh bomb called for an outside police officer to take charge of a fresh investigation. [This was one recommendation of Nuala O'Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), but was opposed by the Chief Constable.]
David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Mark Durkan (SDLP), then Deputy First Minister, opened the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, United States of America (USA). The office was established to promote Northern Ireland in the USA. [There was some criticism of the cost of the new office. A Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who visited the office criticised the lack of a Union flag in the office.]
A man was shot in the leg in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack in Dundonald, east Belfast.
Allied Irish Banks announced that it had been the victim of a $750m (£529m) fraud at its US subsidiary.
Thursday 7 February 2002
The full Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) met for the second time in three days to continue discussions on the investigation of the Omagh bomb (15 August 1998). The NIPB had met with Nuala O'Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), and Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), on Tuesday 5 February 2002. The NIPB decided to appoint a senior police officer from England to oversee the investigation. It was planned that this new officer would have equal status to the current senior investigating officer. [This was seen as a compromise between the recommendation of O'Loan and the position adopted by Flanaghan.]
The Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday granted permission to police officer to give their evidence from behind screens. [Many of the 20 former and serving officers had applied to be screened from the public gallery. It was also believed that 2 officers would ask to given their evidence in Britain.]
The Prince of Wales travelled to Northern Ireland for a series of engagements during a two day visit.
Friday 8 February 2002
A man (48) employed as a civilian worker by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) was seriously injured in an explosion at approximately 12.00pm (1200GMT) at a British Army training ground near Magilligan Prison, County Londonderry. [It was thought that he had disturbed a booby-trap bomb near the perimeter fence of the training centre. Dissident Republican paramilitaries were thought to be responsible for planting the device.]
Representatives of the Police Association said that they intended to apply to the High Court for a judicial review of the recent report by Nuala O'Loan, then Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI). The report was into the investigation of the Omagh bombing (15 August 1998). The Police Association claimed that the report was inaccurate and unfair.
Saturday 9 February 2002
An estimated 80 people were involved in rioting in the Whitewell Road area of north Belfast. The disturbances broke out in the Arthur Bridge, Longlands estate, and Gunnell Hill areas along the Whitewell Road and eight petrol bombs were thrown. One man was arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour. [There were further disturbances in the area on Sunday evening (10 February 2002) and again on Monday morning (11 February 2002).] A gun was found close to Coronation Park, Aughnacloy, County Tyrone. The main Aughnacloy to Monaghan road was closed for a while on both sides of the Northern Ireland border while the security alert was on-going.
The Executive committee of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) held a meeting at which it was decided to seek an increase in affiliation fees from the Orange Order. It was believed that the UUP would be seeking £12,000 per annum. The Orange Order has 120 of the 860 seats on the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) which is the policy making body of the UUP.
Sunday 10 February 2002
There was stone throwing in the Arthur Bridge area of the Whitewell Road, north Belfast. The disturbances happened during the evening and followed on from rioting on Saturday (9 February 2002).
Pupils from the Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Ardoyne, north Belfast, travelled to County Galway to begin a holiday as guests of Peacock's Hotel. The management of the hotel had made the offer of the holiday following incidents during 2001 when the school was blockaded by Loyalist protesters.
Monday 11 February 2002
There were disturbances in the Arthur Bridge area of the Whitewell Road, north Belfast, at approximately 7.00am (0700GMT). The trouble began following reports of fireworks being thrown from the Loyalist White City area towards the Nationalist Longlands estate. Police arrested a man and a boy from the Longlands estate. [There had been rioting in the same area on Saturday evening (9 February 2002) and Sunday evening (10 February 2002).] A man (26) was shot in both ankles in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack in Kilrea, County Derry. A gang of four men broke into the victim's house and beat him with iron bars before shooting him. The attack took place in front of the man's wife and two young daughters.
Solicitors representing most of the families of those killed on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972) lodged an application in the High Court in Belfast to challenge the decision of the Inquiry to allow police witnesses to be screened when giving evidence.
Geraldine Finucane the widow of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989, criticised the British government for a delay in considering her appeal for an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of her husband. In November 2001 John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that an international judge would be appointed to decide if an independent public inquiry into her husband's death was necessary. [However this decision was criticised as a delaying tactic by the government.]
John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, travelled to Washington, United States of America (USA), for meetings with members of the Bush administration. During a media briefing he called on Sinn Féin (SF) to take up its seats in the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB): "The whole community has to take its part and its responsibilities in supporting that police service - and that includes Republicans."
Tuesday 12 February 2002
The High Court in Belfast heard an appeal by lawyers representing the Bloody Sunday Inquiry for the court to postpone a court action brought (on 11 February 2002) by the families of those killed. The action surrounded the Inquiry's decision to allow police witnesses to give evidence from behind screens. The action was allowed to proceed and the Inquiry's appeal was dismissed. [On Wednesday 13 February 2002 the judge announced he would make a final decision on the families' action during the following week.]
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) put forward a motion in the Northern Ireland Assembly that all primary school pupils should receive souvenir medals to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee. The motion was passed by 26 votes to 11 votes. Martin McGuinness (SF), then Minister for Education, said that his department would not pay for the medals.
David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Mark Durkan (SDLP), then Deputy First Minister, announced that they would begin a consultation process on a comprehensive review of public administration in Northern Ireland. Among the matters for review are: local government structures (the 26 district councils); the five education and library boards; the four health boards; and the many unelected quangos (committees) that manage many areas of public administration.
The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, a group based in the United States of America (USA), published a report in to the death of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989. The report was entitled: 'Beyond Collusion: The UK Security Forces and the Murder of Pat Finucane' [PDF FILE 324KB]. The report repeated earlier allegations of collusion between security forces and Loyalist paramilitary groups and also claimed to have found new evidence to support the claims.
Wednesday 13 February 2002
Two men were charged in London with bombing offences during 2001. The Metropolitan Police charged one man (33) with causing explosions outside the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on 3 March 2001, in Ealing on 3 August 2001, and in Birmingham on 3 November 2001, and with a number of other offences. The second man (24) was charged with conspiracy to cause an explosion on or before 14 November 2001. [The two men had been arrested separately in Northern Ireland on 6 and 9 February 2002. The men appeared at Belmarsh Magistrate's Court on Thursday 14 February 2002.]
Jane kennedy, then Security Minister, announced in the House of Commons extra funding of £16 million for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The additional funding takes the total figure to £656 million. Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said the extra funding was not enough for policing needs.
Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, called on Sinn Féin (SF) to take note of the plight of 'exiles' - people who had been forced to leave Northern Ireland by paramilitaries. He said that a resolution of the issue was an important part of the peace process. [The issue was debated in the House of Commons on Thursday 14 February 2002.]
Thursday 14 February 2002
Police uncovered a pipe-bomb, and components parts for another two devices, during a search of houses in Ballymena, County Antrim. A sawn-off shotgun and automatic pistol were also found. There were no arrests. During other searches in the Clogh area of County Antrim, shotgun cartridges and other ammunition were found. Again there were no arrests.
A Sinn Féin (SF) spokesperson said that the party's four Members of Parliament (MPs) had already begun to complete the House of Commons register of members' interests before a committee had ruled that the register would have to be completed. The previous rule had only applied to those MPs who were taking their seats at Westminster.
The Police Association, which represents all the members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), launched a legal action in the High Court in Belfast to attempt to quash the report by the Police Ombudsman on the Omagh bomb investigation. The Ombudsman report was critical of the handling of the investigation by the Chief Constable. The Omagh Victims' Group said they welcomed the possibility that Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the PSNI, may retire at the end of February 2002.
Charles, then Prince of Wales, arrived in Dublin on for his second official visit to the Republic. He met with Mary McAleese, then President of the Republic of Ireland, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister).
Friday 15 February 2002
British Army technical officers were called to deal with a pipe-bomb discovered near a hospital in Ballymena, County Antrim. Two controlled explosions were carried out and the remains of the device were removed for forensic examination.
A police officer was slightly injured during a disturbance at 2.00am (0200GMT) in the Dunmurry area south of Belfast. A police patrol had gone to a reported traffic accident. The patrol was attacked by a large crowd throwing petrol bombs, bricks and bottles.
Postal deliveries in Derry were again disrupted after a threatening letter was sent to staff. The letter was signed "Waterside Young Loyalists" and it warned 11 named people not to enter the Waterside area of the city. [The threat had been made almost two weeks previously but details were not made public.]
Kevin Fulton, who had previously acted as a police informer, was granted leave to begin a judicial review of the decision, by the Chief Constable of the police, not to grant him a firearms certificate. Fulton was one of two people who had supplied information about a bomb attack in Northern Ireland prior to the Omagh bombing (15 August 1998). [The police had been accused of "undue delay" in processing his application for a personal protection weapon.]
The National Audit Office published a report that suggested that over half of the petrol stations in Northern Ireland were selling illegal (smuggled) fuel. It was estimated that of the 700 filling stations in the region as many as 450 were dealing in illicit supplies. This illegal trade plus the loss incurred by drivers crossing the border to fill their cars with cheaper fuel resulted in a loss to the Exchequer of £380 million during 2000.
Saturday 16 February 2002
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers carried out a planned search of a house in Holywood, County Down, and discovered an assault rifle and a handgun. A number of other items were also recovered. One man was arrested.
Sunday 17 February 2002
Security forces discovered a grenade launcher and war head during an operation in Coalisland, County Tyrone. Four men were arrested at the scene. Police officers said that they had foiled "an imminent terrorist attack" and blamed dissident Republican paramilitaries. During the eight hour security operation a crowd attacked police with stones and bottles.
Two men were injured after separate shooting incidents in Larne, County Antrim. Both were shot in the leg. The first incident happened on the Kintyre Road at approximately 8.30pm (2030GMT) when a man (30) was shot at the back of derelict house. At 11.50pm (2350GMT) a man was shot while out walking his dog in the Greenland Crescent area.
The film 'Bloody Sunday', directed and written by Paul Greengrass, won the coveted Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. The film shared the prize with a Japanese animated feature film. ['Bloody Sunday' had previously won the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.]
Monday 18 February 2002
Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), travelled to London for talks with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister. [It is believed that the two prime ministers discussed political progress in Northern Ireland and focussed on the issues of demilitarisation, decommissioning and the forthcoming parades season.]
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) members opposed to the Good Friday Agreement warned that they could collapse the peace process if the British government gave an amnesty to Irish Republican Army (IRA) suspects 'on the run'.
Tuesday 19 February 2002
It was announced that Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), would be appointed as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary. [Flanagan had given notice of his resignation from the PSNI in November and was expected to stand down at the end of February.]
The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) undertook a reshuffle of its posts at Stormont. Sam Foster (70), then Environment Minister, was replace by Dermot Nesbitt who had been a junior minister in the Office of the First Minster and Deputy First Minister. Nesbitt's position was filled by James Leslie.
The High Court in Belfast rejected an application to prevent police witnesses from giving evidence to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry from behind screens. The action was taken on behalf of one of the families of those killed was an attempt to change the Inquiry's decision to allow police evidence to be given from behind a screen.
At a meeting of Fermanagh District Council, Sinn Féin (SF) introduced a motion to have all Royal and military symbols removed from the council offices. The motion was rejected and a Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) amendment to establish a sub-committee to consider ways of creating a neutral environment was accepted instead. [SF had argued that the best place for the symbols was the local museum.]
As part of a nation-wide protest students in Northern Ireland gathered at the Northern Ireland Assembly building to protest about the continued poverty of those in third level education. [Student demands included the abolition of tuition fees and the restoration of grants and benefit entitlements.]
Wednesday 20 February 2002
There was traffic disruption when an explosive device (pipe-bomb) was found on the Glenshane Road, County Derry. The device had been left by Loyalist paramilitaries. [This was one of a series of attacks over a four-day period. On Saturday 22 February 2002 the Assistant Chief Constable said he believed the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was responsible for the attacks.]
Four men arrested on Sunday 17 February 2002 appeared at East Tyrone Magistrate's Court in Cookstown on charges of conspiracy to murder members of the security forces and also possession of a grenade launcher and warhead. About 50 people, mainly friends and relations of the four men, were involved in scuffles with the police when the men were brought to the court. The men all denied the charges. The men were remanded in custody until 19 March 2002.
Groups representing those killed in the Omagh bomb (15 August 1998) met in London to launch a fund-raising campaign to obtain the £2 million required to bring a civil action against those believed to be responsible for the bomb attack. The meeting was attended by Bob Geldof, musician and Live Aid founder, Barry McGuigan, a former world boxing champion, and Peter Mandelson, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. [The appeal was launched in August 2000 and had raised £800,000. The deadline for raising the funding is August 2002.]
Relatives of those killed in the Omagh bomb wrote a letter to Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), asking for "an independent senior investigation officer" to lead the police investigation. Flanagan later stated that he had no intention of removing the current investigating officer.
Thursday 21 February 2002
Matthew Burns (26) was shot and killed and his brother Patrick Burns was shot and injured as they sat in a car in Castlewellan, County Down, at approximately 7.00pm (1900GMT). Matthew Burns had survived a bomb attack and a paramilitary punishment attempt within the past two years. [Sinn Féin later denied claims that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had killed Burns over alleged drug-dealing.]
A man was shot in the wrist in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack in north Belfast. The man was taken from his house and driven to an alleyway off the New Lodge Road he was shot.
There was major traffic disruption when an explosive device (pipe-bomb) was found on the Castledawson to Toomebridge Road, County Antrim.
The Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) held a meeting to discuss the appointment of a successor to Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The NIPB was split on the matter of whether Flanagan should be asked to remain on while a successor was found or whether his Deputy should be asked to fill the post in the interim period. It took the casting vote of the Chairman who supported the former option.
Lawyers representing relatives of the victims of Bloody Sunday began an action at the Court of Appeal to challenge a decision by the High Court in Belfast (on Tuesday 19 February 2002) not to prevent police witnesses being screened when giving evidence at the Inquiry. [The families said that they were challenging the ruling because they believed it could be followed by applications by soldiers to also give evidence from behind screens.]
Two Irishmen appeared at the Old Bailey in London charged in relation to "real" Irish Republican Army (rIRA) bomb attacks in London and Birmingham during 2001. [The men were remanded in custody to reappear in court on May 20th. Two other men are in custody charged in connection with the bombs.]
Friday 22 February 2002
Series of Loyalist Pipe-Bomb Attacks
Security forces were called to deal with 10 explosive devices (pipe-bombs) at a number of locations in County Derry. The Glenshane Pass was closed for nearly three hours during the morning while devices were being dealt with. Security forces also closed the road between Garvagh and Maghera, north of Swatragh, to inspect a device found at a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club, and on the Coleraine Road in Maghera.. There was also another device at a GAA club near Castledawson. One pipe bomb was discovered close to Kilrea police station, it was made safe by British Army (BA) bomb experts at 10.30pm (2230GMT). In Magherafelt, the BA dealt with nine pipe bomb type devices - one of which was declared a hoax. [On Saturday 22 February 2002 the Assistant Chief Constable said he believed the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was responsible for the attacks.]
A man (20) was beaten and shot in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack in Newtownabbey, County Antrim. At approximately 8.00pm (2000GMT) a gang of up to seven masked men entered the man’s home and beat him with iron bars and baseball bats and then shot him in one leg.
Saturday 23 February 2002
Police arrested three people in north Belfast following sporadic rioting around the Limestone road. The three are being held charged with riotous behaviour. A police spokesperson said one officer had to draw his firearm as a crowd wielding iron bars and sticks tried to prevent an arrest of a man in the Newington Street area. Gerard Brophy, then a Sinn Féin (SF) councillor, said the trouble started when a crowd of up to 60 loyalists armed with bricks, bottles and baseball bats, attacked Nationalist homes. He said the attack was clearly orchestrated and the crowd included members of the neo-Nazi group Combat 18. These claims were disputed by Loyalist residents.
Twenty children from the Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Ardoyne, north Belfast, met Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), during a short visit to Dublin. Ahern said the trip would show support for the children from the people of the Republic.
Sunday 24 February 2002
Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), gave an interview on Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) in which he stated that SF recognised that the Defence Forces were the only legitimate army in the Republic of Ireland. Adams' statement was prompted by the criticism levelled at SF by Michael McDowell, then Irish Attorney General, when he said that a party with loyalties to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had no place in the Dáil.
Monday 25 February 2002
The Garda Síochána (the Irish police) uncovered a cache of weapons close to the border with Northern Ireland. The arms were found close to the village of Stranorlar, County Donegal. The find included two AK47 assault rifles, a pump-action shotgun, a sub-machinegun, a Prig rocket launcher and detonators. A home-made grenade launcher, and a single grenade were also discovered. The weapons were in poor condition and were believed to have belonged to the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The weapons were believed to have been buried prior to the 1994 ceasefire and had not been touched since.
It was revealed that Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in Northern Ireland had claimed almost £4 million in office and travel expenses during the financial year ending in April 2000. Details for each of the 108 MLAs were published on the Northern Ireland Assembly web site. There were significant differences in the amounts claimed by MLAs. The largest claim was that by Gregory Campbell, then Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MLA, who received more than £47,000 in expenses.
John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced the publication of a Royal Warrant for a Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) Medal. The medal was official recognition of the service of NIPS staff during the conflict. Advertisements were placed in newspapers requesting applications from serving and retired prison officers. [26 serving (or retired) prison officers were killed during the conflict.]
It was reported that applications for enrolment at the Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Ardoyne, north Belfast, had dropped by almost half. The school had been at the centre of a Loyalist protest between 19 June 2001 and 23 November 2001.
Tuesday 26 February 2002
British Army bomb disposal officers defused a pipe-bomb that had been left in the garden of a house in Ballynure, County Antrim. The crude device was discovered at approximately 4.30pm (1630GMT).
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) announced that a £20,000 reward was being offered for information leading to the prosecution of those who had killed Daniel McColgan (20), a Catholic civilian, on 12 January 2002. The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) admitted responsibility for the killing. The reward money had been raised by a number of groups. Alex Maskey, then Sinn Féin (SF) Chief Whip, said that the party had turned down an invitation to discuss a Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) plan with Alan McQuillan, then Assistant Chief Constable. Maskey said the party would play a "full and active" role when there was a new beginning to policing in the North.
Mark Durkan, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), addressed the Oxford University Union. He said that the focus of a new campaign for Nationalism should be to persuade Unionists of the benefits of an integrated agreed Ireland.
McCartney, then leader of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), was expelled from the Northern Ireland Assembly chamber for one day for repeatedly talking to a colleague during a speech by an Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) member.
It was reported that Quentin Davies, then Conservative Party spokesman on Northern Ireland, had attended a meeting in Belfast of the Loyalist Commission at which Loyalist paramilitaries were present.
It was announced that the 26 District Councils in Northern Ireland would undertake a £52m development package to assist their local economies. The funding was provided jointly by the European Union (EU) and the District Councils. The EU funding (£26m) was made available under the Local Economic Development Measure of the Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme.
PricewaterhouseCoopers published its latest 'UK Economic Outlook and Regional Trends' survey in which the economy of Northern Ireland was expected to grow at a rate of just under 2 per cent during 2002.
An independent report published by the General Consumer Council indicated that passenger satisfaction with bus and rail services were at an all-time low. Passenger satisfaction had dropped to 63.2 per cent on Northern Ireland Railways, 62.8 per cent on Citybus, and 71.5 per cent on Ulsterbus.
John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, wrote to the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings providing a response to a letter sent by the Inquiry on 10 November 2000. [The information was provided in the form of a ten-page. An appendix to the letter consisting of six pages gave details concerning the structure and control of intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.]
Wednesday 27 February 2002
Martin McGuinness (SF), then Education Minister, launched a draft action plan to address racism within the education system. The plan was drawn up in conjunction with the Equality Commission. McGuinness also launched a leaflet and poster campaign, produced by the Equality Commission and the Irish National Consultative Committee, on racism and inter-culturalism.
Thursday 28 February 2002
A book entitled 'The Long Road to Peace in Northern Ireland' was launched in Belfast. The book is a collection of essays on the state of the peace process and was compiled by Marianne Elliott (Prof.) of the Institute of Irish Studies in Liverpool. The essays were based on lectures delivered at the university between 1996 and 2000.
Friday 1 March 2002
It was reported that almost 2,000 Catholics had applied to join the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) as part of the latest recruitment drive. Advertisements were placed in a range of outlets during October 2001 as part of the second phase of recruitment to the police service. [Almost 5,000 people applied, of whom 38 per cent were Catholic. Those who meet the basic requirements are then selected under the 50-50 Catholic-Protestant recruitment arrangements. The first pool of recruits who joined in 2001 complete their training on 5 April 2002. The new police badge and uniform will be introduced on the same date.] The section of the Police (NI) Act 2000 which guarantees Catholics 50 per cent of new recruit places for the PSNI was challenged in the High Court in Belfast by a Protestant man (18) whose application was rejected. The section of legislation states: "In making appointments the Chief Constable shall appoint from a pool of qualified applicants an even number of whom one half shall be persons who are treated as Roman Catholic and one half shall be persons who are not so treated." Lawyers will argue that this section is incompatible with Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Article 14.
Martin McGuinness (SF), then Education Minister, asked Unionist politicians to reconsider their views on academic selection at aged 11 years (the '11-plus' exam). McGuinness was addressing the northern conference of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) in Newcastle, County Down. [Most Unionist politicians had expressed opposition to any changes to the current system of selection.]
James Sheehan, then Sinn Féin (SF) director of elections in Kerry North, was released without charge by Garda Síochána (the Irish police) in Killarney. He had been questioned as part of an investigation into an alleged vigilante-style abduction in the area that had taken place before Christmas.
Saturday 2 March 2002
Two 16 year old boys were slightly injured when an explosive device, hidden in a police traffic cone, detonated as they moved it. The device had been left at the Farmacaffley point-to-point races and the boys had moved the traffic cone to allow a car to pass. [Dissident Republican paramilitaries were thought to have been responsible for the attack and it was believed that the intended target was the security forces.]
John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, delivered a speech at the New University of Ireland in Galway in which he called on Nationalists to reassure Unionists that "what matters is a peaceful, just, democratic, and richly diverse island, not an ancient constitutional struggle".
Thomas Shaw, the last veteran in Ireland of the First World War, died at the age of 102. Shaw, who was from Belfast, joined the 16th battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles (RIR) in 1916. He had enlisted earlier at the age of 15 when he lied about his age. However his brother, who was a Military Policeman, met him by accident while in France and had him sent home. He rejoined the RIR at the end of the Battle of the Somme. Shaw saw action at Messines, Ypres, and Passchendaele. He returned to Northern Ireland in April 1919.
Monday 4 March 2002
There was a sectarian attack on a young Catholic man (19) in north Belfast. Four youths stabbed him in the back as he was leaving the Yorkgate Centre. He suffered a collapsed lung and needed 15 stitches to the stab wound. [The Yorkgate complex is on the interface between the Nationalist New Lodge area and the Loyalist Tigers Bay area. The four attackers ran towards Tigers Bay following the incident. Sinn Féin (SF) described the attack as attempted murder.]
A total of 28 windows were broken in a Catholic church in Newcastle, County Down.
The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newsaper) reported on a paper entitled Post Mortem by Michael McKeown. The paper (which was circulated privately) was a study of the motives behind the killings that occurred during the conflict. McKeown used eight general categories, ranging from "counter insurgency" to "economic sabotage", and applied one to each of the more than 3,600 deaths that occurred after 1969. His figures showed that 31.19 per cent of the deaths were attributable to attacks on security forces and most of these were carried out by Republican paramilitaries. 26.91 per cent were the result of sectarian attacks with the majority carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. 18.52 per cent of killings were "punitive" attacks - killings carried out by paramilitaries to intimidate their own communities or protect rackets. " Counter insurgency" killings accounted for 7.15 per cent of the deaths.
Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) criticised the government in the House of Commons for not allowing more time to debate the Bill which is intended to review the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland. [The issue of the use of Royal Crests in courtrooms and the flying of the Union Flag outside the buildings has proved controversial.]
Jeffrey Donaldson and David Burnside, then both Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MPs, had a meeting with Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), to discuss their concerns about the phasing out of the Police Reserve. Following the meeting Donaldson said that he believed that Flanagan would recommend the retention of the reserve force.
Tuesday 5 March 2002
Martin McGuinness (SF), then Education Minister, addressed the Sinn Féin (SF) student group at the Student Union building in the Queen's University, Belfast. A group called Unionist Students Against Intimidation (USAI) staged a protest against the visit and were involved in scuffles and also threw eggs. No one was injured.
It was disclosed that insurance claims by former workers of the Harland and Wolff shipyard could cost the British government up to £190 million. The claims related to illness caused by exposure to asbestos. Reg Empy (Sir), then Enterprise Minister, told the Northern Ireland Assembly that up to 3,000 former employees could become affected.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) lobbied Reg Empy to gain his support for a campaign calling for the closure of all nuclear power plants on the west coast of Britain including Sellafield.
John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, confirmed that he did have face-to-face discussions with the Loyalist Commission, a body which includes representatives from the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), and the Red Hand Commando (RHC).
A plan to display 'Easter lilies' in the main hall of Stormont parliament buildings was rejected by the corporate body of the Assembly. Unionists had objected to the display of flowers which are seen as a Republican symbol. It was suggested that shamrocks should be put on display instead.
At the monthly meeting of Belfast City Council, Sinn Féin (SF) accused the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of being "spoilers" for blocking funding to the St Patrick's Carnival Committee. [The result meant that there would be no officially backed St Patrick's Day event in Belfast.]
The Northern Ireland Yearbook was launched in Dublin by John Hume, former leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The yearbook includes a history of Northern Ireland, and an A-Z guide to government departments and agencies as well as independent organisations, and is described as: "a comprehensive reference guide to political, economic and social life".
Wednesday 6 March 2002
The Northern Ireland Assembly debated a motion proposing the expulsion of Sinn Féin (SF) from the Executive for a period of one year. The motion was tabled by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and other anti-Agreement Unionist parties. David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), had described the timing of the motion as a "stunt". Those requesting the debate had specifically asked for it to be held before 9 March 2002 - the date of the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) annual general meeting. Most pro-Agreement Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) did not attend the debate and the motion was defeated.
Trimble told the House of Commons that he opposed any "amnesty" for paramilitary fugitives (those described as being 'on the run'). He said it would represent the "last straw" for many Unionist supporters of the Agreement.
Thursday 7 March 2002
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) announced that it had received at least 200 names of people 'on the run' (paramilitary fugitives). However, it was also understood that some of the names submitted to the PSNI were ones that were not known to the police. The offences for which people were being sought by the police included firearms offences, bombings and murder. Most of those seeking to return to Northern Ireland have been living in the Republic of Ireland with some in the United States of America (USA), central America, and a number of other countries.
It was reported in the media that relations between Catholic and Protestant workers in the Mater Hospital, north Belfast, were so bad that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) was to bring in Counteract, the union's anti-sectarian unit, to try to ease the situation. Loyalist paramilitaries had issued death threats against Catholic staff 13 months earlier. However, following the protest by Glenbryn residents outside the Holy Cross Girls Primary School relationships had deteriorated to such an extent that staff were refusing to speak to each other. Glenbryn residents and parents of children attend the Holy Cross school were both employed in the hospital.
The family of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989, said they were "insulted" by a British government's offer of compensation of £10,000. The British government had been ordered to pay compensation by the European Court of Human Rights because the government had failed to carry out a proper investigation into his killing. Finucane's widow said her family had not sought compensation but had requested a full independent judicial inquiry.
The number of people on hospital waiting lists in Northern Ireland had reached an all-time high of 58,000. Bairbre de Brún (SF) then Minister of Health, admitted that her department had failed to meet its pledge made last year of reducing the waiting list to 48,000.
There was a referendum in the Republic of Ireland over a change to the constitution that would have had the affect of tightening the rules surrounding abortion. Although Fianna Fáil (FF) had campaigned for a 'yes' vote, and was backed by the Catholic church, there was a slight majority who voted 'no' (50.42% 'No', 49.58% 'Yes'). [Some commentators saw this as evidence of the further liberalisation of society in the Republic.]
Saturday 9 March 2002
Sectarian State Speech by Trimble
David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), gave a (scripted) speech to the annual general meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) during which he referred to the Republic of Ireland as a: "pathetic sectarian, mono-ethnic, mono-cultural state". [The comments provoked widespread criticism from Nationalists in Northern Ireland and in the Republic.] At a press conference following the meeting Trimble defended his comments. He maintained that what he had said was "self-evident" but refused requests from reporters to provide evidence to support his claims. During his speech Trimble also called for a border poll to test whether a majority of people in Northern Ireland would favour a united Ireland. He suggested that the referendum be held on the same day as the next Northern Ireland Assembly election (1 May 2003). [A number of commentators suggested this was a ploy which would have the effect of maximising the UUP vote at the Assembly election.] During his speech Trimble also criticised the work of the two Sinn Féin (SF) ministers Martin McGuinness, then Education Minister, and Bairbre de Brún, then Minister of Health. At the UUC meeting Trimble was re-elected unopposed as leader of the party.
Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), later responded to the criticism by insisting that no one would identify the description "sectarian state" with the Republic which did not have "the Drumcrees or the Garvaghy Roads" of Northern Ireland.
Monday 11 March 2002
There was further reaction to a speech made by David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), on Saturday 9 March 2002. Trimble said that he stood by his description of the Republic of Ireland as "pathetic, sectarian State", and he accused nationalists of over-reacting. Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), described Trimble as "a twit" and said it was not the behaviour expected of a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Walton Empey (Dr), then Archbishop of Dublin, said Trimble's comments were totally uncalled for. Ruairí Quinn, then Labour leader, said the comments were ill-considered and ill-informed.
The Garda Síochána (the Irish police) arrested Martin Ferris, then Sinn Féin (SF) candidate for Kerry North, Republic of Ireland, and questioned him about an alleged vigilante abduction in early December 2001. A total of six SF members had been questioned about the incident.
George Bush, then President of the United States of America (USA), decreed March as Irish-American Heritage Month with a proclamation that paid tribute to the role of the Irish in the history of the US.
Tuesday 12 March 2002
David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Mark Durkan (SDLP), then Deputy First Minister, arrived in Washington, USA, to carry out a series of engagements during a three-day visit. These included meetings with a number of senior representatives of the US administration, among them Colin Powell (Gen.), then Secretary of State. Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), was also in Washington where he attended the annual dinner of the US Ireland Fund, and was presented with an award for his contribution to the peace process.
The Garda Síochána (the Irish police) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) launched their first formal exchange training programme aimed at forging closer ties between the two services.
Wednesday 13 March 2002
There was a series of events in the White House, Washington, USA, to mark the celebrations leading to St Patrick's Day. The leaders of the three main political parties in Northern Ireland attended, however Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), stayed away from the event because he did not wish to be photographed alongside Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF). Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), presented George Bush, then President of the USA, with a bowl of shamrock. Ahern dismissed comments earlier in the day by David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). At a morning debate Trimble had renewed his criticism of the Republic of Ireland. He described the recent abortion referendum as "a sectarian exercise" and a "sectarian vote".
In Northern Ireland the prospect of an agricultural show being held on a Sunday was averted. The Orange Order had threatened "to take every action necessary, regardless of the consequences", to prevent the 102 year old Ballymena Show being extended into the Sabbath for the first time. In the face of such opposition the County Antrim Agricultural Association withdrew the proposal.
Ken Good (49), the Church of Ireland Archdeacon of Dromore, was appointed as Bishop of Derry and Raphoe. He succeeded James Mehaffey, who retired in January.
Thursday 14 March 2002
There was further speculation in some of the media that there would be an imminent move on arms by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Senior security sources were reported as saying that they expected there would be another act of IRA decommissioning "sooner rather than later".
John Taylor, then Ulster Unionist peer (Lord Kilclooney), told the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that he believed in 1972, and still believed, that 13 gunmen were killed by the British army on Bloody Sunday. Later during questioning he partially qualified his assertion and said: "There are those who now say that innocent people were shot. If that is so it is a tragedy, but at that time I believed that all of those who were shot were shot because they were endangering the lives of the security forces, and that they were armed."
Lisburn, in County Antrim, and Newry, in County Down, were granted city status in a competition to mark Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee. The towns were judged on their notable characteristics, historical and royal connections and progressive attitudes. The two new cities join the existing three cities of Armagh, Belfast, and Derry.
There was continued criticism of the remarks made by David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), about the Republic of Ireland on 9 March 2002. Richard Haass, then a special advisor to the US President, said the comments were "regrettable". He said he thought leaders should not talk "in ways that sharpen sectarian conflict". John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, also joined the criticism.
Friday 15 March 2002
The third recruitment drive for Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was started. Figures released showed that during the second campaign a total of 525 out of 3,500 applicants were from the Republic of Ireland. However a Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) member of the Police Board criticised the high numbers of Catholics joining from the Republic and said it masked a reluctance among local Catholics to join the new police service.
John Taylor, then Ulster Unionist peer (Lord Kilclooney), gave evidence for a second day to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. He said that the decision to block the Civil Rights march on Bloody Sunday from reaching the city centre was taken at the highest political level in London. He said the Joint Security Committee (JSC) at Stormont, which he chaired at that time, had recommended the march be stopped but the decision was agreed between the Chief of the General Staff (of the British Army) and Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister.
** TO BE COMPLETED **
This chronology has been compiled from a number of sources:
Bew, P. and Gillespie, G. (1999) Northern Ireland A chronology of the Troubles 1968-1999. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan Ltd.
Elliott, S. and Flackes, W.D. (1999) Northern Ireland A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: The Blackstaff Press.
Fortnight Magazine's monthly chronology of 'the Troubles'.
Sutton, M. (1994) An Index of Deaths from the Conflict
in Ireland 1969-1993. Belfast: Beyond the Pale Publications. The Sutton Index of Deaths 1969-2001 - see in particular the draft list of deaths for 2002.
For a full list of, and links to, on-line sources see the Guide to the Internet.
Notes Major security incidents
Each entry contains information, where relevant, on the following topic areas:
Other relevant items
Information contained within square brackets [ ] may contain commentary or information that only became publicly available at a later date. Any piece of information which is followed by a question mark in parenthesis (?) is a best estimate while awaiting an update.