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A Chronology of the Conflict - 1974



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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 1974

1974 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sources Notes

1974

January 1974

Tuesday 1 January 1974
Executive Takes Office
item mark The Northern Ireland Executive, which had been announced on 21 November 1973, officially took office. Although certain powers were devolved to the Executive and the Assembly others, including security and certain economic matters, were retained by the British government and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

Thursday 3 January 1974
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Friday 4 January 1974
item mark The Ulster Unionist Council (UUC, the policy making body of the Ulster Unionist Party; UUP) met and voted, by 427 votes to 374, to reject the 'Council of Ireland' as proposed in the Sunningdale Agreement. [Following this vote Brian Faulkner resigned on 7 January 1974 as leader of the UUP.]

Monday 7 January 1974
item mark Brian Faulkner, then Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Executive, resigned as leader of Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) after it rejected the Sunningdale Agreement on 4 January 1974.

Tuesday 8 January 1974
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Thursday 10 January 1974
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Message from Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, to Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). In this note Heath criticised the Irish government for its stance in public on the implications of the Sunningdale Agreement.]

Friday 11 January 1974
item mark Two civilians who worked for the British Army were killed by a bomb attached to their car as they left Ebrington Army base in the Waterside area of Derry.
death button

Monday 14 January 1974
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Wednesday 16 January 1974
item mark Brian Faulkner, then Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Executive, travelled to Dublin for a meeting with Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) following a ruling in the Dublin High Court. The ruling implied that the reunification of Ireland did not require the consent of the majority of people in Northern Ireland.
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Thursday 17 January 1974
item mark Hugh Logue, then a Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Assemblyman, gave a speech at Trinity College Dublin in which he said that the Council of Ireland was "the vehicle that would trundle Unionists into a united Ireland".
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Friday 18 January 1974
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Tuesday 22 January 1974
item mark Eighteen Loyalist protestors were forcefully removed from the front benches of the Assembly. It took eight Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers to carry Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to steps outside the Assembly building. Harry West succeeded Brian Faulkner as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

Wednesday 30 January 1974
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike; Law Order. ]

Thursday 31 January 1974
item mark Two Catholic civilians were shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a covername used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), as they worked in Rush Park, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.
death button       [ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike; Law Order. ]

[ nai on cain NAI Records – January 1974. ]

February 1974

Friday 1 February 1974
item mark Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), and seven of his ministers flew to Hillsborough, County Down, for a meeting with members of the Northern Ireland Executive. The meeting agreed to establish working groups consisting of civil servants from North and South which would consider which 'executive functions' would be given to the Council of Ireland. [The report from the civil servants recommended that only tourism, conservation, and 'aspects of animal health', should come under the control of the Council of Ireland.]
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Monday 4 February 1974
'M62 Coach Bomb'
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted a bomb (estimated at between 20 and 25 pounds) on a coach carrying British soldiers and their families. The bomb exploded shortly after midnight as the coach travelled along the M62 in England and 11 people were killed at the scene and one other person died a few days later. Many of the passengers were injured in the blast. [This bomb was the first of many attacks in Britain during 1974. Judith Ward was later convicted of causing the explosion and given a sentence of 30 years. It wasn't until 1992 that her convictions were quashed and she was released.]
item mark A Catholic civilian was shot dead by Loyalists in Belfast.
death button

Wednesday 6 February 1974
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Thursday 7 February 1974
item mark Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, calls a general election for 28 February 1974. Francis Pym, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, tried to argue for a later election date because of his worry that the Executive would not survive the outcome.

Saturday 9 February 1974
item mark Two Catholic civilians were shot dead at O'Kane's Bar, Grosvenor Road, Belfast, by Loyalist paramilitaries.
death button

Monday 11 February 1974
item mark Two Catholic civilians were shot (one died immediately, one died on 18 February 1974) as they arrived for work in Glenville Road, Newtownabbey, County Antrim. They were killed by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a covername used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).
death button

Tuesday 12 February 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb at the National Defence College at Latimer, Buckinghamshire, England. The bomb (estimated at 20 pounds) injured 10 people but there were no deaths.

Sunday 17 February 1974
item mark The British Army shot three members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in riots on the Newtownards Road, Belfast. One man died immediately and another died nine days later.
death button

Tuesday 19 February 1974
item mark A Catholic civilian and a Protestant civilian were killed in a bomb attack on Trainor's public house, near Loughgall, County Armagh.
death button

Saturday 23 February 1974
item mark In the Shankill Road area of Belfast taxi drivers hijacked buses and sealed off roads in a protest against alleged army harassment.

Monday 25 February 1974
item mark There are further riots in Protestant areas of east Belfast. There was a bomb explosion at the Belfast headquarters of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI).

Thursday 28 February 1974
General Election
item mark A general election was held in the United Kingdom. In Northern Ireland 30,000 members of the security forces were on duty during the day however there were a number of shooting and bombing incidents across the region.
item mark The election in Northern Ireland was in effect a referendum on power-sharing, and the Council of Ireland as proposed in the Sunningdale Agreement. There was no electoral pact between the parties in favour of the Executive. There was however a very successful pact amongst those opposed to the Sunningdale Agreement who joined forces in the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC). The UUUC was formed by three main Loyalist parties: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), (Ulster) Vanguard, and Official Unionists (West). These parties agreed to put forward one candidate in each of the constituencies. The Campaign slogan of the UUUC was, 'Dublin is just a Sunningdale away'. Candidates standing on behalf of the UUUC won 11 of the 12 Northern Ireland seats, gaining 51.1 per cent of the valid votes. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) held West Belfast. [While the election did not mean an immediate end to the power-sharing Executive, it did provide those opposed to the Sunningdale Agreement with a powerful mandate to continue their opposition to it.]
item mark [In Britain the Labour Party won the general election by a narrow margin. Harold Wilson, then leader of the Labour Party, became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Merlyn Rees was appointed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 5 March 1974.]

[ nai on cain NAI Records – February 1974. ]

March 1974

Monday 4 March 1974
item mark Those Unionists who were in favour of the Assembly and the Executive decided that the Sunningdale Agreement should not be ratified unless Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution were repealed. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) continued to argue that there could be no "watering down" of the Agreement.
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Note of a meeting that took place in Northern Ireland on Monday 4 March 1974. Those attending were Brian Faulkner, then Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Executive, Kenneth Bloomfield, Northern Ireland Civil Servant, and Frank Cooper, then Permanet Secretary at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). The meeting discussed the implications of the result of the Westminster General Election (NI) held on Thursday 28 February 1974.]

Tuesday 5 March 1974
item mark Merlyn Rees was appointed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. [Due to the narrow majority of the Labour government, Rees found that he was tied to Westminster more than he may have wished. ??]
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Saturday 9 March 1974
item mark The United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) organise a protest march to Stormont to call for an end to the Executive.

Sunday 10 March 1974
item mark Two Catholic teenagers were killed by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) booby-trap bomb near Forkhill, County Armagh. The bomb had been intended for a British Army foot patrol.
death button

Wednesday 13 March 1974
item mark Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), made a statement in the Dáil in which he said that the position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom could not be changed except with the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland.

Friday 15 March 1974
item mark Two members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were killed when a bomb they were planting exploded prematurely in Dungannon, County Tyrone.
item mark A Catholic civilian was shot dead by Loyalists in Belfast.
item mark A Protestant civilian was killed in bomb explosion in Magherafelt, County Derry.
death button

Saturday 16 March 1974
item mark Two British soldiers were shot dead by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) near Crossmaglen, County Armagh.
death button

Wednesdy 20 March 1974
item mark Two British soldiers were shot dead by mistake by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) at Mowhan, near Markethill, County Armagh. The soldiers were believed to be part of an undercover operation but this was denied by Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland.
death button

Saturday 23 March 1974 (or 10 May 1974 ?)
item mark The Ulster Workers' Council (UWC), a new Loyalist grouping, issued a statement calling for new elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The UWC threatened civil disobedience unless the Executive was dissolved.

Tuesday 26 March 1974
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Friday 29 March 1974
item mark Two Catholic civilians were killed in a bomb attack on Conway's public house, Greencastle, near Belfast. The bomb was planted by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).
death button

Saturday 30 March 1974
item mark Two Protestant civilians were killed in a bomb attack on the Crescent Bar, Sandy Row, Belfast. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
death button

[ nai on cain NAI Records – March 1974. ]

April 1974

Tuesday 2 April 1974
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike; Internment. ]

Thursday 4 April 1974
item mark Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, announces that he will de-proscribe (remove the illegal status from) the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Sinn Féin (SF), and also phase out Internment.

Monday 8 April 1974
item mark Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, held a meeting with representatives of the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC). The meeting did not produce any agreement. [At this time the UWC was not consider a serious threat to the future of the Executive mainly because of the failure of previous stoppages by the Loyalist Association of Workers (LAW) and because of apparently low support during demonstrations against the Sunningdale Agreement.]

Wednesday 10 April 1974
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Minutes of a meeting held by the British Cabinet on Wednesday 10 April 1974 at 6.00pm. This part of the minutes deals with the security situation in Northern Ireland.]

Thursday 18 April 1974
item mark Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, paid a visit to Northern Ireland and said that there was no alternative to the Sunningdale Agreement.
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Note of the meeting between Harold Wilson and the Northern Ireland Executive which was held in Stormont Castle on 18 April 1974.]
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Tuesday 23 April 1974
item mark The United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) held a three-day conference in Portrush, County Antrim. The conference was attended by representatives of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and also by Enoch Powell. The main focus of the conference is to agree a strategy for bringing about the end of the Executive. At the end of the conference (26 April 1974) the UUUC called for a Northern Ireland regional parliament in a federal United Kingdom (UK).

[ nai on cain NAI Records – April 1974. ]

May 1974

Thursday 2 May 1974
item mark The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) exploded a bomb at the Rose and Crown public house on the Ormeau Road, Belfast, killing six Catholic civilians and injuring a further 18.
item mark A woman member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during a gun and rocket attack on the UDR base in Clogher, County Tyrone.
death button
item mark The Irish government brought a case of torture against the British government to the European Commission on Human Rights. The case related to the treatment of Internees held in Northern Ireland.

Sunday 5 May 1974
item mark Pro-Assembly Unionists meeting in Portstewart, County Derry, announced the reformation of their group which was to use the name the Unionist Party.

Tuesday 7 May 1974
item mark Two Catholic civilians, James Devlin and his wife Gertrude, were shot dead by members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) as they drove into the driveway of their home, Congo, near Donaghmore, County Tyrone.
item mark A Catholic civilian and a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were killed at their place of work, a building site, Carnmoney, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, when Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a gun attack on the workers' hut.
death button       [ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Wednesday 8 May 1974
item mark The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) issued a statement condemning the security situation in Northern Ireland and gave its support to the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) and the policy of opposing the Sunningdale Agreement.

Friday 10 May 1974
item mark Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in an attack on Finaghy Road North, Finaghy, Belfast.
death button
item mark The Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) issues a statement calling for new elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Monday 13 May 1974
item mark Two members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were killed in a premature explosion as they were planting a bomb at a petrol station near Dungannon, County Tyrone.
death button      [ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Tuesday 14 May 1974
Beginning of the Ulster Workers Council Strike
item mark There was a debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly on a motion condemning power-sharing and the Council of Ireland. The motion was defeated by 44 votes to 28. At 6.00pm, following the conclusion of the Assembly debate, Harry Murray announced to a group of journalists that a general strike was to start the following day. The organisation named as being responsible for calling the strike was the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC). The action was to become known as the UWC Strike.
item mark The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Sinn Féin (SF) were declared legal following the passing of legislation at Westminster.

Wednesday 15 May 1974
Day 1 of the UWC strike
item mark The initial response to the strike was poor with many workers going to work. However, following meetings held at a number of workplaces, people began to leave work during lunch-time and early afternoon. By the end of the day the port of Larne, County Antrim, was effectively sealed off. A number of roads had been blocked by hijacked vehicles. Some buses were hijacked in Belfast. Electricity supplies were also disrupted with rotating four-hourly power cuts occurring across the region. The power cuts forced some factories to close and send workers home. The Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) issued a statement [PDF; 8KB] saying that it would ensure that essential services would continue.
item mark During the evening there was a meeting at Stormont Castle between Stanley Orme, then Minister of Sate at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), and three Northern Ireland politicians, three members of the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC), and three members of Loyalist paramilitary organisations who were present as 'observers'. (The three paramilitary members took guns with them into this meeting.)
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Note of the meeting between the Stanley Orme and those representing the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC).]
item mark Shortly after they were captured two members of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) were shot dead by British soldiers. The OIRA members were in the process of planing a landmine near Newry, County Down. (Sutton; 1994)
death button     [ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Thursday 16 May 1974
Day 2 of the UWC strike
item mark Maureen Moore (21), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by a Loyalist paramilitary gunman as she stood at the corner of Stratheden Street and Edlingham Street, New Lodge, Belfast.
death button
item mark The effect of the strike deepened with the engineering sector of the economy being the hardest hit. item mark The use of intimidation (or 'persuasion' as the Loyalist paramilitaries preferred to call it) had a significant impact on the number of people who managed to get to work. The strike began to have a number of effects on the farming sector with uncollected, or unprocessed, milk having to be dumped and fresh food not reaching shops. The Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) issued a list of 'essential services' which were to be allowed to operate as normal and also issued a telephone number for anyone engaged in such work. The UWC also ordered public houses to close. There was an outbreak of sectarian rioting.
item mark The strike was the main subject of Northern Ireland 'question time' in the House of Commons at Westminster. Paddy Devlin, a then member of the Executive, threatens to resign on the issue of Interment. Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of State, met with Loyalist leaders in Stormont. Mr Rees said that he would not negotiate with the UWC.
item mark [One thing that became clear was that the timing of the removal of barricades by the police was tactically wrong. In many instances barricades were not removed until people had made an initial attempt to get to work. Having been turned back first thing in the morning few people were attempting to travel mid-morning or mid-afternoon when a number of roads would have been reopened. There were complaints about a lack of action, particularly to clear obstructions on roads, on the part of the British Army.]

Friday 17 May 1974
Dublin and Monaghan Bombings; 33 People Killed
Day 3 of the UWC strike
item mark 33 civilians and an unborn child were killed in the Republic of Ireland as a result of a series of explosions when four car bombs were planted by Loyalist paramilitaries in Dublin and Monaghan. Approximately 258 people were also injured in the explosions. The death toll from the bombings was the largest in any single day of the conflict. No one was ever arrested or convicted of causing the explosions. item mark [On 15 July 1993 the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) claimed sole responsibility for carrying out the bomb attacks.] item mark In Dublin three car bombs exploded, almost simultaneously at approximately 5.30pm, in Parnell Street, Talbot Street, and South Leinster Street. 23 men, women and children died in these explosions and 3 others died as a result of injuries over the following few days. item mark Another car bomb exploded at approximately 7.00pm in North Road, Monaghan, killing 5 people initially with another 2 dying in the following weeks. item mark The first of the three Dublin bombs went off at approximately 5.28pm in Parnell Street. Eleven people died as a result of this explosion. The second of the Dublin bombs went off at approximately 5.30pm in Parnell Street. Fourteen people died in this explosion. The third bomb went off at approximately 5.32pm in South Leinster Street. Two people were killed in this explosion.
death button
item mark News of car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan raised tensions in Northern Ireland. Sammy Smyth, then press officer of both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) Strike Committee, said, "I am very happy about the bombings in Dublin. There is a war with the Free State and now we are laughing at them."
item mark In Northern Ireland reductions in the supply of electricity continued to have serious consequences for industry, commerce, and the domestic sector. In addition to problems in maintaining petrol distribution, a lack of electricity also meant that pumps did not operate for substantial periods of each day. Postal delivery services came to a halt following intimidation of Royal Mail employees. There were continuing problems in farming and in the distribution of food supplies. Special arrangements were made by the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure that payments of welfare benefits would be delivered to claimants. William Craig, then leader of (Ulster) Vanguard, criticised Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, for not negotiating with the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC).
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Letter from F.E.R. Butler, then in the Ministry of Defence, discussing the 'Provision of Electric Power to Belfast'.]
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Saturday 18 May 1974
Day 4 of the UWC strike
item mark The Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) issued a statement calling for an all-out stoppage to begin at midnight on Sunday 19 May 1974. The UWC criticised Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, for not meeting with leaders of the strike. Members of the Northern Ireland Executive were told that the Army could not run the power stations on their own. There were attempts at negotiation by the Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP).
item mark [At this stage some people believed that there were grounds for thinking that the strike might not succeed. Many middle-class Protestants were against the strike, as were managers, technicians in power stations, doctors, lawyers, teachers and small shopkeepers.]
item mark Joseph Shaw (22), a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), was shot dead by a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) during a fracas in North Star Bar, North Queen Street, Belfast. The killing was part of a feud between the UDA and the UVF.

Sunday 19 May 1974
Day 5 of the UWC strike
item mark Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, announced a State of Emergency (Section 40, Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973). Rees flew to Chequers, the country home of the Prime Minister, for talks. The United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) met and agreed to support the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC). The UWC withdrew its call for a total stoppage as of midnight. Some shops reported panic buying. A memorandum was submitted by the Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP) to the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

Monday 20 May 1974
Day 6 of the UWC strike
item mark Michael Mallon (20), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) a covername for the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), and left by the side of the road at Shaw's Bridge, Belfast.
item mark Many roads in Northern Ireland were closed because of barricades. Electricity generation dropped to about one-third of normal levels. People were asked only to use telephones in an emergency. Five hundred additional troops arrived in Northern Ireland. An advertisement in the News Letter (a Belfast newspaper), which had been placed by Unionist politicians, called for support of the strike. Stanley Orme, then Minister of Sate at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), repeated the government's position of not negotiating with the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) Strike Committee.
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Note of a statement made by Stanley Orme, then Minister of Sate at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), to the House of Commons. The statement sought to explain the circumstances surrounding the decision by Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, to announce a State of Emergency (Section 40, Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973) on 19 May 1974.]
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Tuesday 21 May 1974
Day 7 of the UWC strike
item mark Len Murray, then General Secretary of the Trades Union Council (TUC), led a 'back-to-work' march which turned out to be a fiasco. The march was supported by leading local Trade Union officials and attempted to lead workers back to the Belfast shipyard and factories in east Belfast. Only about 200 people joined the march. The march was flanked by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and British troops but a hostile crowd still managed to assault some of those marching. An updated list [PDF; 78KB] of those services which were to be allowed through roadblocks and the opening times permitted for shops was issued by the 'Ulster Army Council'. At Westminster Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, attacked the strike saying that it was a "sectarian strike" and was "being done for sectarian purposes having no relation to this century but only to the seventeenth century".
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Wednesday 22 May 1974
Day 8 of the UWC strike
item mark In an attempt to resolve the strike the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to postpone certain sections of the Sunningdale Agreement until 1977 and to reduce the size of the 'Council of Ireland'. These proposals were rejected by leaders of the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) and other Loyalist leaders. The British government repeated their stance on not negotiating with the UWC. John Hume, then Minister of Commerce, worked on a 'fuel oil plan'.
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Thursday 23 May 1974
Day 9 of the UWC strike
item mark Across Northern Ireland security forces removed barricades only to find that they had been replaced soon after. Workers in Derry were prevented from going to the Maydown Industrial Estate. Although many schools managed to operate during the strike it was reported that some GCE examinations were affected. Gerry Fitt, then Deputy Chief Executive, called on the British Government to send troops to the power stations and the oil refineries. Northern Ireland question time at Westminster again dealt with the strike. Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, informed Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, that British Troops would have to be used to implement the 'fuel oil plan' being prepared by John Hume, then Minister of Commerce.
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Friday 24 May 1974
Day 10 of the UWC strike
item mark Two brothers, Sean Byrne (54) and Brendan Byrne (45), both Catholic publicans, were shot dead at their public house The Wayside Halt, Tannaghmore, near Ballymena, County Antrim. They had been shot by Loyalist paramilitaries.
death button
item mark Talks were held at Chequers, the country home of the British Prime Minister, involving: Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister; Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner, then Chief Executive; Gerry Fitt, then Deputy Chief Executive; and Oliver Napier, then Legal Minister and Head of the Office of Law Reform. A statement was issued after the talks which stated that there would be no negotiations with those who operated outside constitutional politics.
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Note of the meeting held at Chequers, England.]
item mark The British Government Cabinet held a special meeting later in the day. [Although the Cabinet agreed to allow Rees to put troops into power stations if he wished there was little support for such a course of action on the part of senior ranks in the British Army in Northern Ireland.]
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Saturday 25 May 1974
Day 11 of the UWC strike
item mark Alfred Stilges (52), a Catholic civilian, was beaten to death by Loyalist paramilitaries in Forthriver Road, Glencairn, Belfast.
death button
item mark Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, made a broadcast [text of speech] on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television and radio at 10.15pm. [The speech proved to be totally counter-productive. At one point in the speech Wilson referred to 'spongers' - meaning the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) and its supporters. However most Protestants took the reference as a slight on them. Indeed some Protestants took to wearing small sponges in their lapels the following day as a gesture of support for the strike.]
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Fax sent on behalf of Harold Wilson to Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). The fax contained the text of a statement that Wilson was due to give on British television later that day.]
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Sunday 26 May 1974
Day 12 of the UWC strike
item mark The leaders of the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) strike claimed that support was continuing to grow. The UWC also claimed that its system of permits was working well in maintaining 'essential services', particularly the supply of petrol. The British Army arrested more than 30 men in raids on Protestant areas of Belfast. Gerry Fitt, then Deputy Chief Executive, attended a meeting at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) met at 1pm. A meeting of Brian Faulkner's Unionist ministers also took place.

Monday 27 May 1974
Day 13 of the UWC strike
item mark Gas supplies to Belfast and other outlying districts were affected by a drop in pressure and a warning was issued that consumers should switch off their supply at the mains. The British Army took charge of 21 petrol stations throughout Northern Ireland. These petrol stations were to supply petrol to essential users who could obtain a permit from the Ministry of Commerce. The Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) retaliated following the take over of the petrol stations. The UWC announced that the British Army would have to undertake the supply of all essential services including basics such as bread and milk. There was a call issued for workers to stop their assistance in the provision of essential services. The UWC also stated that the Ballylumford power station, County Antrim, would close at midnight.
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Memo from Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, to Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister. In the memo Rees sets out 'The Short-term Possibilities' for Northern Ireland and the Executive.]
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Tuesday 28 May 1974
Executive Collapsed, Direct Rule Resumed
Day 14 of the UWC strike
item mark The crisis came to a head. Brian Faulkner resigned as Chief Executive following a refusal by Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to meet with representatives from the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC). Faulkner's Unionist colleagues also resigned. This effectively marked the end of the Northern Ireland Executive. A large demonstration of farmers in tractors blocked the entrance to the Stormont parliament buildings and also much of the Upper Newtownards Road. News of the collapse of the Northern Ireland Executive spread to the protestors. Celebrations took place in Protestant areas across the region.
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Telegram from General Idi Amin Dada, then President of the Republic of Uganda, to Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister. Amin offers to host a conference in Uganda where representives of the conflict in Northern Ireland could meet.]
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Wednesday 29 May 1974
item mark A return to work began across Northern Ireland. The leaders of the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) officially called off the strike.
[ proni on cain Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Thursday 30 May 1974
item mark The Northern Ireland Assembly was prorogued for a period of four months.
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Memo written by Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, in which he considers what might be done if there was a resumption of the strike.]

Friday 31 May 1974
item mark Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) strike had demonstrated a rise in 'Ulster Nationalism' which would have to be taken into account by the Westminster government.

[ nai on cain NAI Records – May 1974. ]

June 1974

Monday 3 June 1974
item mark Michael Gaughan, a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) who had been on hunger strike in Parkhurst Prison, England, died after refusing food for 64 days.
item mark A Catholic civilian was found shot dead in Belfast; Loyalists were responsible for the killing.
death button

Saturday 8 June 1974
item mark The Price sisters ended their hunger strike in Brixton Prison, England. The hunger strike had lasted six months because of a policy of force-feeding by the prison authorities.

Wednesday 12 June 1974
[ proni on cain Constitutional Convention. ]

Monday 17 June 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb at Westminster Hall in London, 11 people were injured in the explosion.

Tuesday 18 June 1974
[ proni on cain Constitutional Convention. ]

Wednesday 19 June 1974
item mark Representatives of Loyalist paramilitaries held a 'conference' which announced their support for the negotiated independence of Northern Ireland.

Thursday 20 June 1974
Assembly By-Election
item mark There was a Northern Ireland Assembly by-election in the constituency of North Antrim. Clifford Smyth was elected. [See detailed results.]
[ proni on cain Hunger Strike. ]

Saturday 22 June 1974
item mark A Catholic civilian was shot dead by a British soldier following an altercation in Olympic Drive, Strabane, County Tyrone. [The following day the soldier involved in the shooting was charged with murder. This was the first British soldier to be charged with murder during the conflict.]
item mark A Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast.
item mark A British soldier was shot dead by the IRA in Belfast.
death button

Monday 24 June 1974
item mark Two members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were killed in a premature explosion while planting a bomb at a shop on Greenhaw Road, Shantallow, Derry.
death button

[ nai on cain NAI Records – June 1974. ]

July 1974

Wednesday 3 July 1974
item mark Máire Drumm, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), said that SF was ready to talk with representatives of the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC). This statement followed an offer by Andy Tyrie, then leader of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), to be involved in negotiations with the Irish Republican Army (IRA). [At this time there were a number of areas of common interest between Loyalist and Republican paramilitary groups including the issues of Internment and prisoners.]
[ proni on cain Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Thursday 4 July 1974
item mark The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) published a White Paper, The Northern Ireland Constitution (Cmnd. 5675), which set out government plans to hold elections to a Constitutional Convention which would look for an agreed political settlement to the Northern Ireland conflict. [Many elements of previous attempts at a settlement were present in the document including that of power-sharing and the recognition that there should be an Irish dimension. The Act of Parliament which gave effect to the proposals was passed on 17 July 1974.]

Saturday 6 July 1974
item mark Members of the failed Executive, together with a number of Northern Ireland Office (NIO) ministers, held a meeting in Oxford with Harry Murray, then the chairman of the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC).

Sunday 7 July 1974
item mark A report on the Monaghan bombing investigation was completed by the Garda Síochána (the Irish police).

Tuesday 9 July 1974
Announcement of End to Internment
item mark Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, announced at Westminster that Internment would be gradually phased out.
item mark [The Barron Report (published on 15 December 2003) revealed that the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) Chief Superintendent in charge of the investigation into the Dublin bombings on 17 May 1974 had written a memo (on 9 July 1974) which noted that "the investigation unit have returned to their stations". Over the years the Garda Síochána investigation of the bombings has been heavily criticised.]

Sunday 14 July 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out bomb attacks in Manchester and Birmingham.

Monday 15 July 1974
[ proni on cain Young People. ]

Tuesday 16 July 1974
item mark Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), voted, as a matter of conscience, against his own government's contraception Bill which was defeated by 75 votes to 61. [Unionists in Northern Ireland often pointed to the Republic's position on issues such as contraception and divorce as an indication that the country was dominated by the Catholic church and was not a modern pluralistic society.]

Wednesday 17 July 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb at the Tower of London which killed one person and injured a further 41 others.
death button
item mark The Westminster Parliament passed the Northern Ireland Act 1974 which contained provisions for the election of a Constitutional Convention on the future government of Northern Ireland. The Convention would elect 78 members by Proportional Representation (PR) (using the STV system) from the 12 Westminster constituencies. [The election was held on 1 May 1975.]

Friday 19 July 1974
[ proni on cain Constitutional Convention; Sunningdale. ]

Saturday 20 July 1974
item mark The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) stepped down as a member of the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) and the Ulster Loyalist Central Co-ordinating Committee. The UDA also issued an invitation to representatives of the Catholic community to hold talks with them. [On 1 August 1974 representatives of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) held talks with the UDA.]

Wednesday 24 July 1974
item mark Patrick Kelly (33), a Nationalist councillor, disappeared after leaving Trillick, County Tyrone, to travel home. Later in the day bloodstains, and cartridge cases were found on the roadside about one mile outside of Trillick. [Kelly's body was discovered on 10 August 1974 in Lough Eyes, near Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh. He had been shot a number of times and his body had been weighted down and dumped in the lake. Nationalists claimed that there had been security force involvement or collusion in his killing. Allegations were made that Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) members had taken part in the attack. On 29 July 2003 it was announced that a new inquiry into the killing would be undertaken by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).]
death button

[ nai on cain NAI Records – July 1974. ]

August 1974

Thursday 1 August 1974
item mark Representatives of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) held a meeting with representatives of the Loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Friday 9 August 1974
item mark A report on the Dublin bombings investigation was completed by the Garda Síochána (the Irish police). [A number of further inquiries were carried out by the Garda Síochána between 1974 and 1976 but nothing of consequence resulted.]

Saturday 10 August 1974
item mark The body of Patrick Kelly (33), a Nationalist councillor, was discovered in Lough Eyes, near Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh. Kelly had disappeared on 24 July 1974 after leaving Trillick, County Tyrone, to travel home.
death button

Tuesday 13 August 1974
item mark Two British soldiers were killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in a remote controlled bomb attack near Crossmaglen, County Armagh.
death button

[ nai on cain NAI Records – August 1974. ]

September 1974

Tuesday 3 September 1974
item mark Enoch Powell receives the endorsement of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in South Down to stand as the official UUP candidate in forthcoming elections.

Wednesday 4 September 1974
item mark Brian Faulkner and a group of his supporters launched the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (UPNI).

Thursday 12 September 1974
item mark Demonstrations were held in Belfast by Loyalists and Republicans in support of prisoners who were protesting about parole and food.

Monday 16 September 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) shot and killed a Judge, Rory Conaghan, and a Resident Magistrate, Martin McBirney, in separate incidents in Belfast.
item mark A Catholic civilian was killed by a booby trap bomb planted by Loyalists in Pomeroy, County Tyrone.
death button
item mark [Public Records 1974 - Released 1 January 2005: Memo from Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, to Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister. The memo is entitled 'Northern Ireland: Extremist Groups'. The memo begins by mentioning the efforts of the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) to promote contacts between Loyalist and Republican paramilitary groups.]

[ nai on cain NAI Records – September 1974. ]

October 1974

Wednesday 2 October 1974
[ proni on cain Constitutional Convention. ]

Saturday 5 October 1974
Guildford Bombs
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted bombs in two public houses in Guildford, Surrey, England, which killed five people and injured a further 54. The pubs, the Horse and Groom and the Seven Stars, were targeted because they were frequented by off-duty British soldiers. [On 22 October 1975 Patrick Armstrong, Gerard Conlon, Paul Hill, and Carole Richardson (who became known as the 'Guildford Four') were found guilty at the Old Bailey of causing explosions in London in October 1974. The four were sentenced to life imprisonment. Following an appeal the four were released on 19 October 1989. The court of appeal decided that the 'confessions' had been fabricated by the police. In a linked case, members of the Maguire family, the 'Maguire Seven', were convicted on 3 March 1976 of possession of explosives (even though no explosives were found) and some served 10 years in prison before the convictions were overturned.]
item mark Two people were killed in separate incidents in Derry and County Armagh.
death button

Thursday 10 October 1974
General Election
item mark A general election was held across the United Kingdom (UK). The United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) won 10 of the 12 seats in Northern Ireland. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) held the seat in West Belfast and an independent Nationalist unseated Harry West, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), in Fermanagh / South Tyrone. Enoch Powell was returned for South Down. [See detailed results.]

Friday 11 October 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out two bomb attacks on clubs in London. At 10.30pm a hand-thrown bomb with a short fuse was thrown through a basement window of the Victory, an ex-servicemen's club in Seymour Street near Marble Arch. A short time later an identical bomb was thrown into the ground floor bar at the Army and Navy Club in St. James's Square. Only one person was injured in these two attacks.

Tuesday 15 October 1974
item mark A number of huts in the Maze Prison were destroyed by fires which had been started by Republican prisoners. British troops were called into the prison to re-establish control. [The estimated cost of damage to the Maze Prison, during disturbances on 15 October 1974, was put at £1.5m.]

Wednesday 16 October 1974
item mark Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, announced that nine Republican prisoners from the Maze Prison had been hospitalised following disturbances at the prison the previous day. Fifteen prison officers and 16 soldiers were also hurt during the disturbances. item mark The unrest spread to Magilligan Prison where a number of huts were destroyed. [Damage at Magilligan Prison on 16 October 1974 was estimated at £200,000.] item mark In Armagh Women's Prison the governor and three women prison officers were held captive before being released following mediation by clergymen.

Monday 21 October 1974
item mark Two Catholic civilians, Michael Loughran (18) and Edward Morgan (27), were shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at the junction of Falls Road and Northumberland Street in Belfast. [Billy Hutchinson was later convicted for his part in these killings. Hutchinson was to become a leading spokesman for the Progressive Unionist Party and helped negotiate the 'Good Friday' Peace Agreement on 10 April 1998.]
item mark A member of the Territorial Army (TA) was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast.
death button
item mark John Hume, then deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said that his party had lost confidence in Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland.

Tuesday 22 October 1974
item mark Members of Parliament (MPs) who were part of the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) elected James Molyneaux as their leader.
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack on the Brooks club, in St James's Square in London. Although the bomb was thrown into an empty dining room, two members of the kitchen staff were severly injured in the blast.

Thursday 24 October 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack on a cottage in the grounds of Harrow School in north-west London. No one was injured in the explosion. The time bomb, estimated to have contained 5lbs of explosives, exploded shortly before midnight just outside the cottage which had until just before this date been occupied by the head of the school's Combined Cadet Force. At 11.30pm a telephone warning about the bomb had been given to the Press Association.

Monday 28 October 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed two British soldiers in a bomb attack outside Ballykinlar British Army base, County Down.
death button

[ nai on cain NAI Records – October 1974. ]

November 1974

Friday 1 November 1974
[ proni on cain Hunger Strike. ]

Wednesday 6 November 1974
item mark 33 Republican Prisoners escaped from the Maze Prison through a tunnel. Hugh Coney (24) was shot dead by a sentry during the escape. 32 of the prisoners were captured by the end of the day.
item mark Two British soldiers were shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Crossmaglen, County Armagh.
death button

Thursday 7 November 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed two British soldiers with a booby-trap bomb near Stewartstown, County Tyrone.
item mark At 10.17pm the IRA threw a bomb through the window of the King's Arms public house in Woolwich, London, and killed one off-duty British soldier and one civilian. The explosion also injured a further 28 people.
death button

Friday 8 November 1974
item mark The Protestant Action Group (PAG), which was a covername for the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), claimed responsibility for the killing of a Catholic in Belfast.
item mark A member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was shot dead by the British Army in Belfast.
death button

Saturday 9 November 1974
item mark There were a number of attacks by Loyalist paramilitaries on Catholic civilians. Two Catholic civilians were shot dead at their workplace near Templepatrick, Country Antrim, by the Protestant Action Group (PAG), which was a covername for the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).
death button
item mark In addition Billy Hull, a former leader of the Loyalist Association of Workers (LAW), and Jim Anderson, a former Ulster Defence Association (UDA) leader, were shot and wounded in attacks by Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark The Ministry of Defence in London stated that the names of British soldiers killed during the conflict in Northern Ireland would not be added to war memorials. The reason given was that the conflict in Northern Ireland was not classified as a war.

Monday 11 November 1974
item mark Allan Quartermaine, a London insurance broker, was shot and mortally wounded in his chauffeur-driven car at traffic-lights in King's Road, Chelsea, London. Quartermaine died a week later. It is believed that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was responsible for the shooting. At the time police thought the shooting was a case of mistaken identity (McKee & Franey, 1988; p.84).

Tuesday 12 November 1974
item mark Two Protestant civilians who had been employed by the British Army were shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and left on Sheriffs Road, near Derry.
item mark Three other people were killed in separate incidents in Belfast and County Derry.
death button

Thursday 14 November 1974
item mark James McDade, then a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was killed when the bomb he was planting exploded prematurely in Coventry, England.
death button

Monday 18 November 1974
item mark It was announced that a new high-security prison would be built at Maghaberry, County Antrim at a cost of £30m.

Thursday 21 November 1974
Birmingham Pub Bombs
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted bombs in two public houses, the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town in Birmingham and killed a total of 21 civilians (two of whom died in the weeks following the explosions). [There was widespread outrage amongst the general public and the British government came under pressure to be seen to be acting against the threat of further bombs. On 29 November 1974 the Prevention of Terrorism Act was passed. Six Irish men, the 'Birmingham Six', were arrested and convicted of causing the explosions and served 16 years in prison before being freed on appeal on 14 March 1991.]
item mark A Protestant civilian was found shot dead in Belfast. It was not clear who was responsible for the killing.
death button

Friday 22 November 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) denied responsibility for the bombs in Birmingham on 21 November 1974.

Saturday 23 November 1974
item mark A Catholic civilian and a Protestant civilian were shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries at Clifton Street, Belfast.
item mark Loyalists also shot dead a Catholic civilian on the Hightown Road, near Belfast.
item mark Two Protestant civilians were killed at their workplace on Crumlin Road, Belfast, by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
death button

Monday 25 November 1974
item mark Roy Jenkins, then British Home Secretary, announced that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was to be proscribed (declared illegal) in the United Kingdom and further emergency powers would be introduced through legislation.
item mark The IRA carried out three bomb attacks in the centre of London. In each case a small bomb with a timer was placed inside a post office pillar-box. The first bomb exploded at 5.50pm in King's Cross and injured two people. The second bomb exploded at 6.00pm in a pillar-box in Piccadilly Circus injuring 16 people. The final bomb exploded at 6.50pm outside Victoria Station and two people were injured.

Wednesday 27 November 1974
item mark Roy Jenkins, then British Home Secretary, introduced the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill into the House of Commons, Westminster. One of the provisions of the Bill provided the police with powers to arrest and detain suspected terroristts for up to 48 hours in the first instance, and for up to seven days if the police applied to the Home Secretary for additional time. The provision also allowed for exclusion orders to be made against people suspected of involvement in terrorism. Jenkins described the provisions in the Bill as "draconian measures unprecedented in peacetime". [The Bill became law on 29 November 1974.]
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out two bomb attacks near an Army museum in Tite Street, Chelsea, London. Initially a small bomb exploded in a post office pillar-box at 8.30pm. Approximately 20 minutes later a second, larger bomb, exploded behind a hedge just a short distance away from the first explosion. Twenty people were injured in the second explosion including an explosives officer, six policmen and two ambulancemen. [The tactic of the 'come-on' bomb was one which the IRA used on many occasions in Northern Ireland.]

Thursday 28 November 1974
item mark The Irish government introduced legislation which would allow people to be tried for offences committed outside the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ireland.
item mark Paul Hill was arrested in Southhampton and taken to Guildford for questioning about the bombings on 5 October 1974. [On 29 November 1974 Hill signed a statement admitting his involvement in the Guildford bombing. Hill became the first of the 'Guildford Four' to be charged with the bombing.]

Friday 29 November 1974
Prevention of Terrorism Act
item mark The Labour government rushed through the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill. The new Act gave the police powers to detain people for up to seven days without any charge being brought against them. The Act also allowed the authorities to 'exclude' people from entering Britain. [Although it was initially viewed as a temporary measure, the Prevention of Terrorism Act was to be renewed each year and made permanent by a Conservative government in 1988. Many critics of the Act claimed that it was mainly being used as a means of monitoring the movements of innocent Irish people. Indeed many thousands of, mainly Catholic, Irish people were screened under provisions in the act although never charged with any offences.]

Saturday 30 November 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack on the Talbot Arms public house in Little Chester Street, Belgravia, London. Two small bombs, each with a short fuse, were thrown at the window of the pub. One bomb went through the window but failed to explode, the second rebounded off the window frame and landed in the street but the explosion injured five customers inside the pub.

[ nai on cain NAI Records – November 1974. ]

December 1974

Tuesday 3 December 1974
item mark Members of the Maguire family, who later became known as the 'Maguire Seven', were arrested at their home in London. They were held on suspicion of making the bombs used in the explosions in Guildford on 5 October 1974. [The 'Maguire Seven' were convicted on 3 March 1976 of possession of explosives (although none were found) and some served 10 years in prison before the convictions were overturned.]

Thursday 5 December 1974
item mark The Prevention of Terrorism Act, introduced in Britain on 29 November 1974, was extended to Northern Ireland.

Sunday 8 December 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) was formed following a split within the Official Sinn Féin (OSF). Among its leading members were Séamus Costello, leader of the IRSP, and Bernadette McAliskey, a former Member of Parliament (MP). [The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) was formed in 1975 and many people viewed it as the military wing of the IRSP.]

Monday 9 December 1974
[ proni on cain Constitutional Convention. ]

Tuesday 10 December 1974
Feakle Talks
item mark [Senior representatives of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) held secret talks with a group of eight Protestant clergymen from Northern Ireland at Smyth's Village Hotel in Feakle, County Clare, Republic of Ireland. The IRA was represented by Ruairi O'Bradaigh, Daithi O'Conaill, Maire Drumm and three others. Among the group of clergymen were: Dr Arthur Butler, Dr Jack Weir, Revd Ralph Baxter and Revd William Arlow. The clergymen presented the IRA with a policy document that had been cleared with the British government (Coogan, 1995; p.217). The meeting ended abruptly went the IRA representatives got a tip-off that the officers in the Irish Special Branch were on their way to arrest them. The talks at Feakle set in train a process that was to lead to a meeting between the clergymen and the Secretary of State on 18 December 1974 and to an IRA ceasefire that began on 22 December 1974.]

Wednesday 11 December 1974
item mark A debate on the reintroduction of capital punishment for acts of terrorism was held in the House of Commons, London. The specific motion came in the form of an amendment which was proposed by a Conservative MP. Following a five-hour debate the amendment was defeated by a free vote of 369 to 217.
item mark While the debate was taking place the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack on the Long Bar of the Naval and Military Club in Piccadilly, London. At 6.30pm IRA members threw a small bomb through the window of the bar; no one was injured. As two IRA members were leaving the scene they were followed by a taxi cab and they fired two shots at the driver; the driver was not injured. Almost at the same time a second group of IRA members carried out a gun attack on the Cavalry Club; again there were no injuries.

Saturday 14 December 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a gun attack on a joint British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) foot patrol near Forkhill, County Armagh. An RUC officer died at the scene and a soldier died on 30 December 1974 from injuries received.
death button
item mark The IRA carried out a gun attack on the Churchill Hotel in Portman Square, London. Three people were slightly injured by flying glass.

Tuesday 17 December 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) placed three time bombs at telephone exchanges in London. In one of the explosions George Arthur (34), a post office telephonist, was killed.

Wednesday 18 December 1974
item mark Protestant clergymen met with Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, to report on their meeting with representatives of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on 10 December 1974. (See: 30 December 1974)

Thursday 19 December 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack on Selfridge's department store in Oxford Street, London. A time bomb had been placed in a car which was then parked outside the store. Three telephone warnings were given and the area was evacuated. [The explosion was later estimated to have caused £1.5 million pounds worth of damage.]

Friday 20 December 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced that a ceasefire would take place between midnight on 22 December 1974 and midnight on 2 January 1975.
item mark A bomb left by the IRA on a platform of the railway station in Aldershot, England, was defused by explosives officers.

Saturday 21 December 1974
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) left a bomb inside Harrods department store in London. The bomb caused damage and started a fire but there were no injuries. An unexploded bomb was discovered and defused at the King's Arms public house in Warminster, Wiltshire.

Sunday 22 December 1974
Irish Republican Army (IRA) Ceasefire
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) observed a ceasefire between midnight on 22 December 1974 to midnight on 2 January 1975. The ceasefire was called to allow the British government to respond to proposals put by the IRA to Protestant clergymen on 10 December 1974. [The IRA initially extended this ceasefire, then called it off on 17 January 1975, and then renewed it from 10 February 1975. Government officials also held talks with Sinn Féin (SF) until 17 January 1975. Many commentators felt that an announcement of British withdrawal from Northern Ireland was a possibility at this time.]
item mark The IRA carried out a bomb attack on the home of Edward Heath, a former British Prime Minister, in Wilton Street, Belgravia, London. A small bomb with a short fuse was thrown onto the first-floor balcony of Heath's flat. The bomb caused extensive damage but Heath was not present and there were no injuries. [Attacks in London ended for the period of the IRA ceasefire but began again on 19 January 1975.]

Monday 23 December 1974
item mark Edward Heath, then leader of the Conservative Party, paid a visit to Northern Ireland. He said that he believed there was sufficient consensus within the region on power-sharing.

Sunday 29 December 1974
item mark Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners at Portlaoise Prison in the Republic of Ireland held a number of prison officers hostage and caused considerable damage in protests for better conditions. Troops were used to regain control and the prison officers were freed unharmed.

Monday 30 December 1974
item mark [Public Records 1975 - Released 1 January 2006: Note of a meeting between the Permanent Under-Secretary (PUS), on behalf of the British government, and Mr Stanley Worrall and Dr Jack Weir. The meeting took place at a house known as Laneside, in Hollywood, County Down. Worral and Weir had been part of a group of Protestant clergymen who had meet with senior members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at Feakle, County Clare, on 10 December 1974].

Tuesday 31 December 1974
item mark Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, said that the Government would respond positively if a "genuine and sustained cessation of violence" occurred.

[ nai on cain NAI Records – December 1974. ]

 


Sources
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 list of deaths for 1974.
  • Various newspapers
  • 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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