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A Chronology of the Conflict - 1971



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

A Chronology of the Conflict - 1968 to the Present 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003            

The following is a draft chronology of the conflict for the year 1971

1971 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sources Notes

1971

January 1971

Sunday 10 January 1971
item mark Members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out an early form of 'punishment attack' by tarring and feathering four men who were accused of criminal activities in Catholic areas of Belfast. ['Punishment beatings', and 'punishment shootings' (were people were shot in the knee or elsewhere on the body with intent to wound but not kill) were to become a continuous feature of the conflict in Northern Ireland and were used by both Republican and Loyalist paramilitary groups.]

Wednesday 13 January 1971
item mark Riots began in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast.

Friday 15 January 1971
item mark Riots broke out in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.

Sunday 17 January 1971
item mark At an Ard Fheis (party conference) in Dublin the Official Sinn Féin ended the 65 year abstentionist policy and agreed that any elected representative could take their seat at the Dáil, Stormont or Westminster parliaments. It was this issue that caused the split between the Official and Provisional movement in Republicanism.

Monday 18 January 1971
item mark James Chichester-Clark, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, attended a meeting in London with Reginald Maudling, then British Home Secretary.

Wednesday 20 January 1971
item mark It was announced that an independent commissioner would decide on the boundaries of the new district council areas.

Saturday 23 January 1971
item mark There were riots in the Shankill Road area of Belfast.

Monday 25 January 1971
item mark The 170 delegates of the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) called for the resignation of James Chichester-Clark, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister.

Wednesday 27 January 1971
item mark The body of a man who had been shot dead was found in Belfast.
death button

[ nai on cain NAI Records – January 1971. ]

February 1971

Wednesday 3 February 1971
item mark There were a series of house searches by the British Army (BA) in Catholic areas of Belfast. Serious rioting and gun battles took place during the searches.

Thursday 4 February 1971
item mark Vernon Erskine-Crum, a Lieutenant-General, became General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the British Army (BA) in Northern Ireland.
[ proni on cain Law Order. ]

Saturday 6 February 1971
First Soldier Killed
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) shot and killed Gunner Robert Curtis, the first British soldier to die during the current conflict.
item mark Bernard Watt (28), a Catholic civilian, was shot and killed by the British Army (BA) during street disturbances in Ardoyne, Belfast.
item mark James Saunders (22), a member of the IRA, was shot and killed by the British Army during a gun battle near the Oldpark Road, Belfast.
death button

Tuesday 9 February 1971
item mark Five men, two of them British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) engineers, the others construction workers, were killed near a BBC transmitter on Brougher Mountain, County Tyrone in a landmine attack carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). [It was believed that a British Army (BA) mobile patrol, which had been visiting the site, was the intended target.]
death button

Saturday 13 February 1971
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Monday 15 February 1971
item mark A British soldier died seven days after being mortally wounded in an Irish Republican Army (IRA) attack.
death button

hursday 25 February 1971
item mark The Housing Executive (Northern Ireland) Act became law. The Act provided for the establishment for a central authority for public sector housing in Northern Ireland and to also oversee the provision of grants for improvement to the private sector.
item mark James Chichester-Clark, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, held a meeting with William Conway, then Catholic Cardinal of Ireland; the first such meeting between men holding these offices since 1921.

Friday 26 February 1971
item mark Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers, Cecil Patterson (45) and Robert Buckley (30), were shot and killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) while on a mobile patrol in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.
death button

Sunday 28 February 1971
item mark A British soldier died in Derry as a result of inhaling chemicals from fire extinguisers that were used to put out a fire inside the vehicle he was travelling in. The vehicle had been attacked with petrol bombs.
death button

[ nai on cain NAI Records – February 1971. ]

March 1971

Tuesday 2 March 1971
item mark Harry Tuzo, then a Lieutenant-General, replaced Vernon Erskine-Crum who had been appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the British Army (BA) in Northern Ireland on 4 February 1971, but who had suffered a heart attack. [Erskine-Crum died on 17 March 1971.]

Thursday 4 March 1971
item mark The first meeting of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive was held at Stormont. [The headquarters and regional offices of the NIHE were to be the target of paramilitary attacks on many occasions during 'the Troubles'.]

Saturday 6 March 1971
item mark A Catholic man was shot dead by British soldiers in Belfast.
death button

Monday 8 March 1971
item mark Members of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) engaged in a gun battle with members of the Provisional IRA (PIRA). One man was killed. The feud between the two wings of the IRA had been developing ever since the Republic movement split on 11 January 1970.
death button

Wednesday 10 March 1971
item mark Dougald McCaughey (23), Joseph McCaig (18) and John McCaig (17), all three members of the Royal Highland Fusiliers (a regiment of the British Army; BA), were killed by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The soldiers were off-duty and lured from a pub where they had been drinking. Their bodies were found at Squire's Hill, in the Ligoniel area of Belfast. [There was widespread condemnation of the killings and increased pressure on Chichester-Clark, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, to take a tougher line on security in the region.]
death button

Friday 12 March 1971
item mark Thousands of Belfast shipyard workers took part in a march demanding the introduction of Internment for members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Tuesday 16 March 1971
item mark James Chichester-Clark, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, went to London for a meeting with Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, about the security situation in Northern Ireland. [An additional 1,300 troops were later sent to the region, a response which was considered inadequate by Unionists. On 20 March 1971 Chichester-Clark resigned partly because of the lack of a British response.]
[ proni on cain Law Order, Internment. ]

Wednesday 17 March 1971
item mark Vernon Erskine-Crum, who had been appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the British Army in Northern Ireland on 4 February 1971, died as a result of heart disease.

Saturday 20 March 1971
item mark James Chichester-Clark resigned as Northern Ireland Prime Minister in protest at what he viewed as a limited security response by the British government.

Tuesday 23 March 1971
Faulkner Became Prime Minister
item mark Brian Faulkner succeeds as Northern Ireland Prime Minister after defeating William Craig in a Unionist Party leadership election. [Faulkner's tenure of office was to prove very short.]
The Local Government Boundaries (Northern Ireland) Act became law. The Act provided for the appointment of a Boundaries Commissioner to recommend the boundaries and names of district council and ward areas.

Thursday 25 March 1971
item mark James Callaghan, then shadow Home Secretary, spoke at a rally of the Northern Ireland labour movement but rejected calls for the Labour Party to open membership to those living in Northern Ireland.

Saturday 27 March 1971
item mark The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) held its first Annual Conference in the Ulster Hall in Belfast. The APNI was launched on 21 April 1970.

[ nai on cain NAI Records – March 1971. ]

April 1971

Tuesday 6 April 1971
item mark During a debate at Westminster on Northern Ireland, Harold Wilson, then leader of the Labour Party, claimed that a draft Bill for the imposition of direct rule existed.

Saturday 10 April 1971
item mark The Republican commemorations held in Belfast of the Easter Rising (in 1916 in Dublin) provided an opportunity to gauge public support for the two wings of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The march organised by the Official movement appeared only to attract half the level of support as that organised by the Provisionals.

Sunday 25 April 1971
Cenus
item mark The Northern Ireland census was held. [Various reports based on the census were published over the next few years. The total population was enumerated at 1,519,640. A large number of people (142,500) refused to state their religious denomination. This meant that the percentage of Catholics recorded as 31.4% (477,921) was a minimum figure. Statistical estimates of the probable size of the Catholic population put the figure at 36.8% (559,800), (see Compton and Power, 1986).]

[ nai on cain NAI Records – April 1971. ]

May 1971

Saturday 8 May 1971
item mark A woman was killed in an incident in Belfast.
death button

Wednesday 12 May 1971
[ proni on cain Law Order; Political Developments. ]

Thursday 13 May 1971
item mark The decision to appoint a Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland was announced.

Saturday 15 May 1971
item mark William 'Billy' Reid, an IRA member, was shot dead by British soldiers in Belfast. [According to 'Lost Lives' Reid was the person who fired the shot which killed Robert Curtis, the first British soldier to be killed in 'the Troubles', on 6 February 1971. Reid is reported as having been killed on Curtis Street near the centre of Belfast.]
death button

Saturday 22 May 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed by members of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) in Belfast.
death button

Tuesday 25 May 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed in an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb attack on the joint Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) / British Army (BA) base on the Springfield Road in Belfast.
death button

Monday 24 May 1971
item mark There was more violence in Belfast which was to continue sporadically throughout the summer.

[ nai on cain NAI Records – May 1971. ]

June 1971

Friday 4 June 1971
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Tuesday 8 June 1971
item mark Harry Tuzo, then General Officer Commanding the British Army (BA), said that a permanent military solution to the conflict could not be achieved.

Friday 11 June 1971
[ proni on cain Law Order. ]

Sunday 13 June 1971
item mark In defiance of a government ban, members of the Orange Order attempted to march through the mainly Catholic town of Dungiven, County Londonderry. There was a riot between the marchers and members of the British Army (BA) and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Friday 18 June 1971
item mark Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and Nationalist Members of Parliament (MPs) refuse to attend the state opening of Stormont.

Wednesday 22 June 1971
item mark A system of committees to oversee control of key government departments was proposed by Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister. This system was seen as a way of providing a role for opposition parties at Stormont. [The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) initially welcomed the proposal but events were to result in the withdrawal of the SDLP from Stormont.]
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Friday 25 June 1971
[ proni on cain Law Order. ]

[ nai on cain NAI Records – June 1971. ]

July 1971

Tuesday 6 July 1971
A member of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) was killed in a premature explosion in County Tipperary, Republic of Ireland.
death button

Thursday 8 July 1971
Two Men Killed by British Soldiers
item mark Seamus Cusack (28), a Catholic civilian, was shot and mortally wounded by a British soldier during street disturbances at Abbey Park, in the Bogside area of Derry. The shooting happened at approximately 1.00am and Cusack died in Letterkenny Hospital at approximately 1.40am. [The British Army later claimed that Cusack had been armed with a rifle but local witnesses denied this.] item mark The death of Cusack led to further disturbances in the Bogside and at approximately 3.15pm Desmond Beattie (19), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by British soldiers at Lecky Road. Again the circumstances of the shooting were disputed.
[The British Army later claimed that Beattie was about to throw a nail bomb when he was shot; local people insisted he was unarmed at the time of his killing.]
item mark The rioting in Derry intensified following the two deaths.
[The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) withdrew from Stormont on 16 July 1971 because no official inquiry was announced into the killings. An unofficial Inquiry was chaired by Lord Gifford (QC), an English barrister, and assisted by Paul O'Dwyer, an American lawyer, and Albie Sachs, a South African lawyer. The Inquiry was held at the Guildhall, Derry, but the British Army (BA) and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) refused to participate. The Report of the Inquiry was published in August 1971.]
death button

Sunday 11 July 1971
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a number of bombs in the centre of Belfast injuring a number of people. [A number of commentators saw these bombs as an attempt to increase tension and confrontations between the two main communities.]

Monday 12 July 1971
item mark A British soldier was shot dead in Belfast. item mark The main Orange Order parades across Northern Ireland passed off relatively peacefully.
death button

Wednesday 14 July 1971
item mark A British soldier was shot dead in Belfast.
death button

Thursday 15 July 1971
[ proni on cain Internment. ]

Friday 16 July 1971
item mark The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) withdrew from Stormont because no inquiry had been announced into the shooting dead of Seamus Cusack and Desmond Beattie in Derry on 8 July 1971.
[ proni on cain Political Developments; Law Order; Victims. ]

Wednesday 21 July 1971
[ proni on cain Internment. ]

Friday 23 July 1971
item mark The British Army (BA) carried out early morning raids across Northern Ireland and arrested 48 people.

Saturday 24 July 1971
[ proni on cain Victims. ]

[ nai on cain NAI Records – July 1971. ]

August 1971

Tuesday 3 August 1971
item mark Official Sinn Féin (OSF) was registered as a political part in Dublin.
[ proni on cain Law Order; Policing. ]

Wednesday 4 August 1971
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Thursday 5 August 1971
item mark There was a debate at Westminster on the situation in Northern Ireland. Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, met with Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, and Harry Tuzo, then General Officer Commanding the British Army (BA), in London to discuss the security situation.
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Saturday 7 August 1971
item mark A Catholic man was shot dead by a British soldier in Belfast.
death button

Sunday 8 August 1971
item mark A British soldier was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast.
death button

Monday 9 August 1971
Internment, 17 People Killed
item mark In a series of raids across Northern Ireland, 342 people were arrested and taken to makeshift camps as Internment was re-introduced in Northern Ireland. There was an immediate upsurge of violence and 17 people were killed during the next 48 hours. Of these 10 were Catholic civilians who were shot dead by the British Army (BA).
item mark Hugh Mullan (38) was the first Catholic priest to be killed in the conflict when he was shot dead by the British Army as he was giving the last rites to a wounded man.
item mark Winston Donnell (22) became the first Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) solider to die in 'the Troubles' when he was shot by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) near Clady, County Tyrone.
[There were more arrests in the following days and months. Internment was to continue until 5 December 1975. During that time 1,981 people were detained; 1,874 were Catholic / Republican, while 107 were Protestant / Loyalist. Internment had been proposed by Unionist politicians as the solution to the security situation in Northern Ireland but was to lead to a very high level of violence over the next few years and to increased support for the IRA. Even members of the security forces remarked on the drawbacks of internment.]
death button       [ proni on cain Internment. ]

Tuesday 10 August 1971
item mark During the 9 August 1971 and the early hours of the 10 August Northern Ireland experienced the worst violence since August 1969. [Over the following days thousands of people (estimated at 7,000), the majority of them Catholics, were forced to flee their homes. Many Catholic 'refugees' moved to the Republic of Ireland, and have never returned to Northern Ireland.]
death button

Wednesday 11 August 1971
item mark Four people were shot dead in separate incidents in Belfast, three of them by the British Army (BA), as violence continued following the introduction of Internment.
death button

Thursday 12 August 1971
item mark A Protestant man died two days after being shot by a British soldier.
death button

Friday 13 August 1971
item mark A Catholic man was shot dead by the British Army in Derry.
death button

Saturday 14 August 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed by the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) in Belfast.
death button

Sunday 15 August 1971
Campaign of Civil Disobedience
item mark The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) announced that it was starting a campaign of civil disobedience in response to the introduction of Internment. The SDLP also withdrew their representatives from a number of public bodies.

Monday 16 August 1971
item mark Over 8,000 workers went on strike in Derry in protest at Internment. Joe Cahill, then Chief of Staff of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), held a press conference during which he claimed that only 30 IRA men had been interned.

Wednesday 18 August 1971
item mark Eamon Lafferty (20), a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was shot dead by the British Army (BA) during a gun battle in the Creggan area of Derry.
item mark Eamon McDevitt (24), a Catholic civilian who was deaf and dumb, was shot dead by the British Army in Strabane, County Tyrone.
death button       [ proni on cain Internment. ]

Thursday 19 August 1971
item mark The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was accused of political bias by the then British Minister of Defence, Lord Carrington. [This was the first of many direct and indirect attempts by successive British governments to influence the way the media reported the conflict in Northern Ireland.]
[ proni on cain Political Developments; Internment. ]

Friday 20 August 1971
item mark The Northern Ireland Government published a white paper entitled 'A Record of Constructive Change', (Cmd. 558). [The Command Paper set out the Northern Ireland Government's reponse to criticism that it had failed to meet its commitments under the 'Downing Street Declaration' of 19 August 1969.] item mark A man died nine days after being mortally wounded in Belfast.
death button       [ proni on cain Internment. ]

Sunday 22 August 1971
item mark Approximately 130 non-Unionist councillors announced their withdrawal from participation on district councils across Northern Ireland in protest against Internment.

Monday 23 August 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast.
death button       [ proni on cain Internment. ]

Wednesday 25 August 1971
item mark Henry Beggs (23), a Protestant civilian, was killed when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted a bomb at the Northern Ireland Electricity Service office on the Malone Road in Belfast.
item mark Gerry Fitt, then Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held a meeting with representatives of the United Nations at which he presented a number of allegations of brutality by the security forces in Northern Ireland.
death button

Thursday 26 August 1971
[ proni on cain Internment. ]

Friday 27 August 1971
item mark A British soldier was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in south Armagh.
death button

Sunday 29 August 1971
item mark A Catholic man died 16 days after being shot by the British Army in Belfast.
death button

Tuesday 31 August 1971
item mark An inquiry into allegations of brutality by the security forces against those interned without trial was announced. [The report of the inquiry, the Compton Report was published on 16 November 1971.] item mark A British soldier died one day after being mortally wounded in Belfast.
death button

n.d. August 1971
[ proni on cain Internment. ]

[ nai on cain NAI Records – August 1971. ]

September 1971

(?) September 1971
item mark A number of Loyalist Defence Associations came together and formed the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). [The UDA was to quickly become the largest of the Loyalist paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland. The smaller Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), which was responsible for many sectarian killings, was considered a cover name for the UDA. Indeed the UDA was a legal organisation between 1971 and 11 August 1992 when it was finally proscribed.]

Wednesday 1 September 1971
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a series of bombs across Northern Ireland injuring a number of people.

Thursday 2 September 1971
item mark There were further Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombs across the region including one in Belfast which wrecked the headquarters of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). The explosions resulted in further injuries to a number of people.
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Friday 3 September 1971
item mark A baby girl and an Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldier were killed in separate shooting incidents.
death button       [ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Saturday 4 September 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed by members of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) in Newry.
death button

Sunday 5 September 1971
item mark The Army Council of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) proposed the idea of a nine county Ulster Assembly (Dáil Uladh) in a set of constitutional proposals which were reported in Republican News on 11 September 1971. The Assembly was to be one of four regional Assemblies covering the whole of any future united Ireland. The fact that the Ulster Assembly would have a Unionist majority was considered as meeting Unionist concerns over being "swamped" in any new Republic.

Monday 6 September 1971
photograph of mural item mark A 14 year old girl was shot dead by a British soldier in Derry.
death button
item mark Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, met with Jack Lynch, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), at Chequers in England to discuss the situation in Northern Ireland.
item mark William Craig and Ian Paisley spoke at a rally at Victoria Park in Belfast before a crowd of approximately 20,000 people. They called for the establishment of a 'third force' to defend 'Ulster'. [This was taken to mean the establishment of a paramilitary force in addition to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and British Army.]

Tuesday 7 September 1971
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Wednesday 8 September 1971
item mark Harold Wilson, then leader of the Labour Party, announced details of a plan for a united Ireland.

Wednesday 9 September 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed trying to defuse a bomb near Lisburn.
death button

Sunday 12 September 1971
item mark A statement on Internment, violence and the ill-treatment of detainees was released by the William Conway, then Catholic Cardinal of Ireland, and six Bishops. In a statement Cardinal Conway asked, 'Who wanted to bomb one million Protestants into a United Ireland?'

Monday 13 September 1971
item mark Two Loyalists, James Finlay (31) and John Thompson (21), were mortally injured when the bomb they were preparing exploded prematurely in a house in Bann Street, Belfast. Finlay died on 21 September 1971, and Thompson died on 12 October 1971.
Details of victim; death button

Tuesday 14 September 1971
item mark Two British soldiers, Martin Carroll (23) and John Rudman (21) were killed in separate shooting incidents in Derry and Edendork, near Coalisland, County Tyrone. Another soldier was seriously injured during the incident in Derry which took place at the Army base in the old Essex factory. [A Catholic civilian was shot dead in the early hours of the next morning from the same Army base.]
death button

Wednesday 15 September 1971
item mark A Catholic civilian, William McGreanery (43), was shot dead by a British soldier in the early hours of the morning as he made his way home. McGreanery was at the junction of Westland Street and Lone Moor Road when he was shot by a soldier in a sanger in the Army base in the old Essex factory. The soldier who shot him made a statement at the time stating he had fired at a man aiming a rifle at his post. Friends and eyewitnesses said that Mr. McGreanery was unarmed when he was shot.
[On 20 June 2010 a Historical Enquires Team (HET) report into the shooting concluded that: "It is the view of the HET that he was not pointing a rifle at the soldier at the time. He was not involved with any paramilitary organisation, he was not carrying a firearm of any description, and he posed no threat to the soldiers at the observation post." What was also revealed during the HET investigation was that the soldier shot dead on 14 September 1971 had two close relatives also serving in Derry at that time. One of them was in the same Army base in the old Essex factory and the other in Drumahoe just outside the city.]
item mark A British soldier died one day after being shot in Belfast.
death button

Thursday 16 September 1971
item mark A number of Unionists resigned over the proposed tripartite talks involving Northern Ireland, Britain, and the Republic of Ireland.
item mark The body of a man was found in Belfast; he had been shot.
death button

Friday 17 September 1971
item mark A British soldier was shot dead in Belfast.
death button

Saturday 18 September 1971
item mark A Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer was shot dead in Strabane, County Tyrone.
death button

Thursday 23 September 1971
item mark Two members of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) were killed in a premature bomb explosion.
death button [ proni on cain Law Order. ]

Sunday 26 September 1971
item mark David Bleakley resigned as Minister of Community Relations in protest over the introduction of Internment and the lack of any new political initiatives by the Northern Ireland government.
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Monday 27 September 1971
item mark There was a series of tripartite talks, over two days, involving the prime ministers of Northern Ireland, Britain, and the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland, which took place at Chequers, England.
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Tuesday 28 September 1971
item mark Tripartite talks continued at Chequers, England.
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Wednesday 29 September 1971
item mark Two Protestant civilians, Alexander Andrews (60) and Ernest Bates (38), were killed in an explosion at the Four Step Inn on the Shankill Road in Belfast, no group claimed responsibility but it was believed to be the responsibility of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).
death button       [ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Thursday 30 September 1971
item mark Ian Paisley and Desmond Boal launched the [Ulster] Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

[ nai on cain NAI Records – September 1971. ]

October 1971

Friday 1 October 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed in Belfast.
death button

Saturday 2 October 1971
item mark A member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was killed in a premature bomb explosion.
death button

Sunday 3 October 1971
item mark A man was shot dead during an attack by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on a British Army (BA) foot patrol.
death button

Monday 4 October 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed when the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) carried out a bomb attack on a British Army (BA) observation post in Belfast..
death button

Tuesday 5 October 1971
item mark A new sitting of the Northern Ireland parliament at Stormont began. However the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was absent due to its continuing protest against Internment. The SDLP met in an alternative assembly at Strabane town hall.

Thursday 7 October 1971
item mark Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, met with Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, and the British Cabinet. The meeting was held in London. An additional 1,500 British Army troops were sent to Northern Ireland.

Saturday 9 October 1971
item mark A woman was killed when Loyalist paramilitaries planted a bomb in a pub in Belfast.
death button

Monday 11 October 1971
item mark A British soldier died two weeks after being shot by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Derry.
death button       [ proni on cain Internment. ]

Friday 15 October 1971
item mark Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast.
death button

Saturday 16 October 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Derry.
death button

Sunday 17 October 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast. Another soldier died two days after he was mortally wounded. A Catholic man was shot dead by the British Army in Belfast.
death button
item mark It was estimated that approximately 16,000 households were withholding rent and rates for council houses as part of the campaign of civil disobedience organised by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The campaign was in protest against Internment and had begun on 15 August 1971.

Tuesday 19 October 1971
item mark A group of five Northern Ireland Members of Parliament (MPs) began a 48 hour hunger strike against Internment. The protest took place near to 10 Downing Street in London. Among those taking part were John Hume, Austin Currie, and Bernadette Devlin.

Wednesday 20 October 1971
item mark Edward Kennedy, then a Senator in the United States Congress, called for a withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland and all-party negotiations to establish a United Ireland.

Monday 22 October 1971
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Saturday 23 October 1971
item mark Two female members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Maura Meehan (30) and Dorothy Maguire (19), were shot dead by the British Army (BA) in the Lower Falls area of Belfast. The two women had been travelling the area warning people of British Army raids on houses. [The two women were the first members of Cumann na mBan to die in the conflict.]
item mark Three Catholic civilians, Sean Ruddy (28), James McLaughlin (26) and Robert Anderson (26), were shot dead by the British Army during an attempted robbery in Newry, County Down.
death button

Sunday 24 October 1971
item mark A member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was shot dead by undercover Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers during a bomb attack in Belfast.
death button
item mark Ruairi O'Brady, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), addressed a SF Ard Fheis in Dublin and said that the North of Ireland must be made ungovernable as first step in achieving a united Ireland.

Monday 25 October 1971
item mark A man died two days after being shot during an Irish Republican Army (IRA) attack on the British Army (BA) in Belfast.
death button

Tuesday 26 October 1971
item mark A man was found shot dead in Belfast.
death button
item mark An Assembly, attended only by Nationalist politicians, and acting as an alternative to Stormont, met in Dungiven Castle. [The Assembly only ever met on two occasions.]

Wednesday 27 October 1971
item mark David Tilbury (29) and Angus Stevens (18), both members of the British Army (BA), were killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during an attack on their observation post in Rosemount, Derry.
item mark Ronald Dodds (34), a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer, was shot dead by the IRA near Toome, County Antrim.
item mark David Powell (22), a member of the British Army, was killed by a landmine planted by the IRA at Kinawley, County Fermanagh.
item mark A man was found shot dead in Dublin in an apparent internal Saor Eire dispute.
death button
item mark Gerard Newe, was appointed as Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Department at Stormont. He was the first Catholic to serve in any Northern Ireland government since 1920 and was appointed by Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister. Newe was appointed to try to improve community relations.

Thursday 28 October 1971
item mark A man was shot and mortally wounded, as he stood at the front door of his house, by a British soldier.
death button

Friday 29 October 1971
item mark A Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer was killed in a bomb attack in Belfast.
death button

Saturday 30 October 1971
item mark A British soldier was killed in a bomb attack in Belfast.
death button

Sunday 31 October 1971
item mark A man died two days after being mortally wounded by a British soldier
item mark A British soldier died three days after being mortally wounded by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast.
item mark A man was found shot dead in Belfast.
death button
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb at the Post Office Tower in London. [At the time part of the tower was open to members of the public and was a London tourist attraction. The public area was closed following the attack and did not reopen.]

n.d. October 1971
[ proni on cain Internment. ]

n.d. October 1971
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

[ nai on cain NAI Records – October 1971. ]

November 1971

Monday 1 November 1971
item mark Stanley Corry (28) and William Russell (31), both members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), were shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the Andersonstown area of Belfast.
death button

Tuesday 2 November 1971
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded two bombs on the Ormeau Road in Belfast, one at a drapery shop and the other at the Red Lion bar, and killed three Protestant civilians; John Cochrane (67), Mary gemmell (55) and William Jordan (31).
death button

Thursday 4 November 1971
item mark British soldiers shot dead a man in Belfast.
item mark A British soldier died seven weeks after being mortally wounded in Belfast.
death button
item mark Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, went to London for a meeting with Harold Wilson, then leader of the Labour Party, and James Callaghan, then shadow British Home Secretary.

Saturday 6 November 1971
item mark Kathleen Thompson (47) was shot dead by British soldiers as she stood in garden in the Creggan area of Derry.
death button

Sunday 7 November 1971
item mark An off duty British soldier was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in an attack in Lurgan, County Armagh. Another soldier was injured in the same attack.
death button

Tuesday 9 November 1971
item mark A British soldier was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Derry.
death button

Thursday 11 November 1971
item mark Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast. [One of the officers was a Catholic and was the first Catholic member of the RUC to be killed during the conflict.]
death button

Friday 12 November 1971
item mark A Dutch seaman was shot dead by Republican paramilitaries in Belfast.
death button
item mark It was announced that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was to be given automatic weapons to protect police stations.

Tuesday 16 November 1971
Compton Report Published
item mark The report of the Compton inquiry was published. Report of the enquiry into allegations against the security forces of physical brutality in Northern Ireland arising out of events on the 9th August, 1971. (November 1971; Cmnd. 4832). The report acknowledged that there had been ill-treatment of internees (what was termed 'in-depth interrogation') but rejected claims of systematic brutality or torture.

Thursday 18 November 1971
item mark A British soldier was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast.
death button

Monday 22 November 1971
item mark A member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was killed in a premature bomb explosion in Lurgan, County Armagh.
death button

Monday 24 November 1971
item mark A woman was killed when members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out an attack on British soldiers in Strabane, County Tyrone.
item mark A British Army (BA) bomb-disposal specialist was killed by a bomb in Lurgan, County Armagh.
death button

Thursday 25 November 1971
item mark Harold Wilson, then leader of the Labour Party, proposed that Britain should work towards a withdraw from Northern Ireland, with the consent of Protestants, after a period of 15 years. As part of the proposal the Republic of Ireland would rejoin the British Commonwealth.
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Friday 26 November 1971
[ proni on cain Political Developments. ]

Saturday 27 November 1971
item mark Two Customs officials, Ian Hankin (27) a Protestant and James O'Neill (39) a Catholic, were shot by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) sniper who fired upon a British Army (BA) patrol investigating a bomb attack on a Customs Post near Newry, County Armagh.
item mark A British soldier was shot dead in Belfast.
death button

Monday 29 November 1971
item mark An off duty British soldier was found shot dead in County Armagh.
death button

Tuesday 30 November 1971
item mark The government of the Republic of Ireland stated that it would take the allegations of brutality against the security forces in Northern Ireland to the European Court of Human Rights.

n.d. November 1971
[ proni on cain Law Order; Political Developments. ]

[ nai on cain NAI Records – November 1971. ]

December 1971

Thursday 2 December 1971
item mark A teenage girl died four days after being shot during a gun attack on members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).
death button

Saturday 4 December 1971
McGurk's Pub Bombing
item mark Fifteen Catholic civilians were killed when Loyalist paramilitaries exploded a bomb at The Tramore Bar, better known as McGurk's bar, in North Queen Street, north Belfast. The bomb had been planted by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). Four of those killed were women (including the owner's wife and 14 year old daughter). [This attack was one of the worst single incidents during the Northern Ireland conflict. Only one of the bombers, the driver of the getaway car, was ever convicted. Immediately after the bombing, and for some time later, the security forces and various official sources maintained that the bomb had gone off inside the bar, implying that it was being prepared by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and thus represented an 'own goal'.]
death button

Monday 6 December 1971
item mark A woman died trying to salvage property from the Salvation Army Citadel in Belfast when a wall fell on her. Earlier there had been a bomb which started a large fire in an ajoining building.
death button
item mark Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, met with Reginald Maudling, then British Home Secretary, in London.

Tuesday 7 December 1971
item mark An off duty member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was shot dead by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in County Tyrone.
death button

Wednesday 8 December 1971
item mark Sean Russell (30), an off duty member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), was shot dead by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in his home in Ballymurphy, Belfast. [Russell was the first Catholic member of the UDR to be killed in the conflict.]
item mark A British soldier died found days after being shot in Belfast.
death button

Friday 10 December 1971
item mark Kenneth Smyth (28), a Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) member, and Daniel McCormick (29), a former UDR member, were killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) near Strabane, County Tyrone.
item mark A man was shot dead by British soldiers in Belfast.
death button

Saturday 11 December 1971
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed four Protestant civilians in a bomb attack on a furniture shop on the Shankill Road in Belfast. Two of those who were killed in the explosion were children. The dead were: Hugh Bruce (70), Harold King (29), Tracey Munn (2) and Colin Nicholl (1).
death button

Sunday 12 December 1971
item mark John (Jack) Barnhill, then a Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) member of the Northern Ireland Senate, was shot dead by the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) at his home in Strabane. He was the first politician to be killed in the conflict.
death button

Monday 13 December 1971
[ proni on cain Internment; Law Order; Political Developments. ]

Tuesday 14 December 1971
item mark A boy aged 16 was shot dead by British soldiers in Coalisland, County Tyrone.
death button       [ proni on cain Law Order; Political Developments. ]

Wednesday 15 December 1971
[ proni on cain Law Order; Political Developments. ]

Thursday 16 December 1971
item mark A British soldier was shot dead in Belfast.
death button

Saturday 18 December 1971
item mark Three members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), James Sheridan (20), John Bateson (19) and Martin Lee (19), were killed when the bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely in King Street, Magherafelt, County Derry.
item mark A man was killed in a bomb attack in Belfast.
death button

Monday 20 December 1971
item mark A woman was shot dead during a gun attack on British soldiers.
death button

Tuesday 21 December 1971
item mark A man was shot dead by British soldiers in Belfast.
item mark A publican was killed as he tried to remove a bomb from his pub.
death button       [ proni on cain Internment; Law Order; Political Developments. ]

Thursday 23 December 1971
item mark Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, visited Northern Ireland and expressed his determination to end the violence.

Wednesday 29 December 1971
item mark A British soldier was shot dead in Derry.
death button

Thursday 30 December 1971
item mark A member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was killed in a premature bomb explosion in Santry, Dublin.
death button

Friday 31 December 1971
item mark Edmund Compton, then Northern Ireland Ombudsman, was replaced by John Benn.

[ nai on cain NAI Records – December 1971. ]

 


Sources
This chronology has been compiled from a number of sources:

See Also:

  • Material listed in the CAIN Bibliography which was published during 1971.
  • For a full list of, and links to, on-line sources see the Guide to the Internet.

Notes

  • Each entry contains information, where relevant, on the following topic areas:
    • Major security incidents
    • Political developments
    • Policy initiatives
    • Economic matters
    • 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.

 


A Chronology of the Conflict - 1968 to the Present 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003            

CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within the University of Ulster.


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