CAIN Web Service
A Chronology of the Conflict - 1982
Text and Research: Martin Melaugh
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change
The following is a draft chronology of the conflict for the year 1982
1982 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Wednesday 13 January 1982
Lord Gowrie, then an Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Minister,
said that Direct Rule was "very unBritish" and indicated
that he personally preferred a form dual citizenship, with Britain
and the Republic of Ireland being responsible for the administration
of those who considered themselves to be Irish.
Monday 15 January 1982
James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,
announced the setting up of a Committee of Inquiry into the sexual
abuse of children who lived in the Kincora Boys Home in Belfast.
[The Kincora Scandal first broke on 3 April 1980 when three staff
members of the Kincora Boys Home, Belfast, were charged with acts
of gross indecency. Allegations continued to be made that elements
of the security service, civil servants and a number of Loyalists
had been involved in the abuse of young boys at Kincora. One of
those sentenced was William McGrath who was the leader of a Loyalist
paramilitary group called Tara.]
Tuesday 19 January 1982
The first meeting of Anglo-Irish Inter-government Council
Thursday 21 January 1982
Owen Carron and Danny Morrison, then both members of Sinn
Féin (SF), were arrested when they tried to illegally enter
the United States of America (USA) from Canada. Both men were
later deported back to Canada.
James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held
a meeting with John DeLorean, then head of the DeLorean Motor
Company, to discuss the financial problems that the company was
Saturday 23 January 1982
Two members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a father and son, were shot dead in their home by other UDA members in an internal dispute.
Wednesday 27 January 1982
The coalition government of Fine Gael (FG) and the Irish Labour Party in the Republic of Ireland collapsed when independent Teachta Dála (TDs; members of Irish Parliament) voted against proposed tax increases on items such as petrol, alcohol, and tobacco.
Thursday 28 January 1982
James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,
said that the DeLorean Motor Company would not be offered any
further public funding. He also announced that Kenneth Cork would
be appointed to examine the whole DeLorean affair.
Friday 29 January 1982
John McKeague, who had been a prominent Loyalist activist,
was shot dead by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in
his shop, Albertbridge Road, Belfast.
Monday 1 February 1982
Representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) held a
meeting with James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern
Ireland, and they told him that they were opposed to his policy
of 'rolling devolution'. Michael Foot, then leader of the Labour
Party, began a three day visit to Northern Ireland.
Sunday 7 February 1982
Martin Kyles (19), a Catholic civilian, died two days after
being shot by British Soldiers as he travelled ('joy riding') in a stolen car
in the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Falls Road, Belfast.
Friday 12 February 1982
Three of the five members of the Committee of Inquiry set
up to investigate the Kincora Scandal resigned. They claimed that
the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) had not dealt with all the
major criminal matters surrounding the case.
The DeLorean Motor Company laid off 1,100 of its 2,600 workers.
[This was a major blow to the economically deprived area of west
Monday 15 February 1982
The shipyard Harland and Wolff in Belfast announced that it
would lay off 1,000 workers from its workforce of 7,000.
Thursday 18 February 1982
James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that a full public inquiry would take place into the matters surrounding the Kincora Scandal. [Three members of the private inquiry resigned on 12 February 1982.]
There was a General Election in the Republic of Ireland. [When the count of the votes was completed the ruling coalition government of Fine Gael (FG) and Irish Labour Party lost the election and a minority Fianna Fáil (FF) government was returned. Charles Haughey became the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). Sinn Féin (SF) had seven candidates in the election but none were returned.]
[ Political Developments; Employment.]
Friday 19 February 1982
The DeLorean Motor Company was put into receivership. [The
remaining jobs were lost when the factory in west Belfast closed
in May 1982. The government had provided public funds of £80
million, most of these were lost with the collapse of the company.]
Saturday 20 February 1982
Patrick Reynolds (24), then an Officer in the Garda Síochána
(the Irish police), was shot dead by the Irish National Liberation
Army (INLA) when he went to a house in Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght,
Tuesday 23 Februay 1982
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) sunk a British coal boat,
the St Bedan, in Lough Foyle.
Wednesday 24 February 1982
The British government indicated that it would amend laws
in Northern Ireland relating to homosexual acts to bring them
into line with laws in Britain. [On 22 October 1981 the European
Court ruled that Britain was discriminating against homosexuals
by treating homosexuality as a crime in Northern Ireland.]
Monday 1 March 1982
The British Enkalon company announced that it would close
its factory in Antrim with the loss of 850 jobs.
Tuesday 2 March 1982
Lord Lowry, then Northern Ireland Lord Chief Justice, was
attacked by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as he paid a visit
to the Queen's University of Belfast. The IRA fired several shots
at Lowry who was not injured but a lecturer at the university
was wounded by the gunfire.
Thursday 4 March 1982
By-Election in South Belfast
Following the killing of Robert Bradford on 14
November 1981 there was a by-election in the constituency of South
Belfast to fill the vacant Westminster seat. Martin Smyth, then
head of the Orange Order, won the election as a Ulster Unionist
Party (UUP) candidate. [The election campaign was marked by antagonism
between the UUP and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who both
Gerard Tuite, formerly a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA),
was arrested in the Republic of Ireland following a period 'on
the run'. [Tuite became the first person to be charged in the
Republic for offences committed in Britain. He had escaped from
Brixton Prison in London on 16 December 1980 where he had been
serving a sentence for bombing offences in London in 1978. He
was sentenced in July 1982 to 10 years imprisonment.]
Friday 5 March 1982
Seamus Morgan (24), a member of the Irish Republican Army
(IRA), was shot dead by fellow members of the IRA who alleged
that he was an informer. His body was found near to Forkhill,
Sunday 14 March 1982
John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour
Party (SDLP), said that the plans for 'rolling devolution' were
Monday 15 March 1982
Alan McCrum (11), a Protestant boy, was killed and 34 people injured
when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb in Bridge
Street, Banbridge, County Down. An inadequate warning had been
Wednesday 17 March 1982
Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), paid
a visit to the United States of America (USA) as part of St Patrick
day celebrations. During the visit he called on the US government
to put more pressure on Britain to consider the possibility of
Thursday 25 March 1982
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed three British Soldiers
during a gun attack on Crocus Street, off the Springfield Road
in west Belfast. Five other people were injured in the attack.
[It was believed that an M-60 machine gun was used in the attack.]
Friday 26 March 1982
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) said that it would grant an
'amnesty' to any informers who retracted evidence given to the
Thursday 1 April 1982
Two undercover members of the British Army were shot dead
by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as they drove a civilian type
van from the joint Army / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base
in Rosemount, Derry.
Friday 2 April 1982
Following the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentina,
the issue of Northern Ireland fell further down the British political
agenda. [The Falklands War was ended when British Forces retook
the territory on 15 June 1982.]
Monday 5 April 1982
White Paper Published
The British government published its White Paper, 'Northern Ireland: A Framework for Devolution' (Cmnd 8541). The paper set out proposals for the establishment of an elected 78 member Assembly at Stormont. The Assembly would then be asked to reach agreement on how any powers devolved to it from Westminster would be administered. The proposals indicated that it would need the agreement of 70 per cent of Assembly members before powers would be devolved. It was also envisaged that power would be passed to particular Northern Ireland Departments one at a time; because of this the scheme became known as 'rolling devolution'. [The ideas contained in the White Paper had been discussed for some time prior to its publication and most of the political parties had expressed opposition to it.]
Wednesday 14 April 1982
The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) carried out a raid on
the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) headquarters in Belfast.
The raid uncovered ammunition and gun parts. Four leading members
of the UDA were arrested. [At this time the UDA was not a 'proscribed'
organisation. It was only declared illegal on 10 August 1992.]
Friday 16 April 1982
Stephen McConomy, an 11 year old Catholic boy, was struck in
the head by a plastic bullet in Derry. [McConomy died on 19 April
1982 from the injuries he received.]
James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said
that he had no plans to proscribe the Ulster Defence Association
Saturday 17 April 1982
A British soldier driving an armoured personnel carrier rammed
the vehicle into the gable wall that formed 'Free Derry Corner'.
The soldier was later taken into military custody.
Monday 19 April 1982
Stephen McConomy, an 11 year old Catholic boy, died as a result
of the injuries he received when he was hit on the head by a plastic
bullet in Fahan Street, Derry. [His death lead to calls for the
weapon to banned. On 13 May 1982 the European Parliament called
on member states not to use plastic bullets.]
Tuesday 20 April 1982
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a series of attacks
in Northern Ireland. Wilbert Kennedy (36) and Noel McCulloch (32),
both Protestant civilians, were killed in a bomb blast at the
Diamond, Magherafelt, County Derry. An inadequate warning had
been given. A further 12 people were injured in the attacks. Bombs
exploded in Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Bessbroke, Derry, and
Magherafelt, and caused an estimated £1 million pounds in
Thursday 22 April 1982
Sinn Féin (SF) the Workers' Party denied media claims
that the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) was still active.
Sunday 25 April 1982
Sinn Féin (SF) the Workers' Party changed its name
to the Workers' Party.
Monday 3 May 1982
Paddy Power, then Irish Defence Minister, criticised Britain
over the sinking of the Argentinean ship the Belgrano during
the Falklands War.
Wednesday 5 May 1982
Maureen McCann (64), a Protestant civilian, was stabbed and
shot by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a covername used by
the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), during an armed robbery
at her post office in Killinchy, County Down.
Saturday 8 May 1982
Nicholas Budgen, then an Assistant Government Whip, resigned
his post because of his opposition to the Northern Ireland Bill
which would introduce a new Assembly.
Monday 10 May 1982
In a Commons debate on the Northern Ireland Bill, which set
out proposals for a new Assembly at Stormont, James Prior, then
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said: "A policy
of continuing with Direct Rule does not offer a long-term answer.
We either move to a position of total integration ... or we seek
a gradual devolution of power ...".
Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), appointed
Seamus Mallon, then Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and
Labour Party (SDLP), to the Irish Senate. He also appointed John
Robb of the New Ireland Group to the Senate.
Thursday 13 May 1982
The European Parliament called on member states to ban the
use of plastic bullets.
Monday 24 May 1982
It was announced that the DeLorean car factory would close
with the loss of 1,500 jobs.
Tuesday 25 May 1982
[ Political Developments; Employment.]
Saturday 29 May 1982
A United States of America (USA) Congress group called Friends
of Ireland paid a fact-finding visit to Northern Ireland.
Tuesday 1 June 1982
Robert Richardson, then a Lieutenant-General, succeeded Richard
Lawson as General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the British Army
in Northern Ireland.
Friday 4 June 1982
James Flynn (37), believed to be a member of the Official
Irish Republican Army (OIRA), was shot dead by the Irish National
Liberation Army (INLA) in North Strand Road, Dublin. [The INLA
later claimed that Flynn was responsible for the killing of Seamus
Costello, who had been leader of the Irish Republican Socialist
Party (IRSP), on 5 October 1977 in Dublin.]
Tuesday 15 June 1982
The Falkland Islands were recaptured by British forces. [This
brought an end to the Falkands War.]
Friday 18 June 1982
Lord Gowrie, then a Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Minister,
was quoted as saying: "Northern Ireland is extremely expensive
on the British taxpayer ... if the people of Northern Ireland
wished to join with the South of Ireland, no British government
would resist it for twenty minutes."
Monday 21 June 1982
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested four men
in New York who they claimed were trying to buy surface-to-air
missiles on behalf of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Thursday 1 July 1982
The Garda Síochána (the Irish police) found
a large cache of bombs at Castlefin, County Donegal.
Wednesday 14 July 1982
James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that elections to the new Assembly at Stormont would be held on 20 October 1982.
Friday 16 July 1982
Colm Carey (28), a Catholic civilian, died from loss of blood
following a 'punishment' shooting carried out by the Irish Republican
Army (IRA) at his home on Strabane Old Road, Gobnascale, Derry.
Carey had been shot in the knee. Lenny Murphy, who had been leader
of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang known as the 'Shankill
Butchers', was released from prison.
Saturday 17 July 1982
Norman Maxwell (33), a Protestant civilian, was severely beaten
and then killed when a car was driven over him several times.
The attack was carried out by members of the Ulster Volunteer
Force (UVF) gang known as the 'Shankill Butchers' at the rear
of Rumford Street Loyalist Club. Maxwell's body was later dumped
in Alliance Parade off the Old Park Road, Belfast. [It is believed
that Lenny Murphy, who had been the leader of the 'Shankill Butchers'
was responsible for the killing with the attack
happening one day after Murphy's release from prison (Dillon,
Monday 19 July 1982
James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,
paid a visit to the United States of America (USA) to explain
his 'rolling devolution' plans.
Tuesday 20 July 1982
Hyde Park and Regent's Park Bombs
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded two bombs in London, one at South Carriage Drive, close to Hyde Park and the other at the Bandstand in Regent's Park, resulting in the deaths of 11 British Soldiers. The first bomb exploded shortly before 11.00am when soldiers of the Blues and Royals were travelling on horseback
to change the guard at Horseguards Parade. Three soldiers were killed instantly and a fourth died of his injuries on 23 July 1982. A number of civilians who had been watching the parade were also injured. One horse was killed in the explosion but a further six had to be shot due to their injuries. The bomb had been left in a car parked along the side of the road and is believed to have been detonated by a member of the IRA who was watching from within Hyde Park.
The second bomb, which exploded at lunch time, had been planted under the bandstand in Regent's Park. The explosion killed 7 bandsmen of the Royal Green Jackets as they were performing a concert at the open-air bandstand. Approximately two dozen civilians who had been listening to the performance were injured in the explosion. It is thought that the bomb had been triggered by a timing device and may have been planted some time in advance of the concert.
[British public opinion was outraged by the carnage caused by the IRA attacks. In 1987 a man was sentenced to 25 years for conspiracy to cause explosions; the charges were linked to the Hyde Park bomb. He was released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. In December 1998 he sucessfully appealed against his conviction which was quashed.]
Friday 23 July 1982
The 'Northern Ireland Act 1982', which established the rules for the proposed Assembly, became law.
Thursday 29 July 1982
Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, stated that,
"no commitment exists for Her Majesty's government to consult
the Irish government on matters affecting Northern Ireland".
Sunday 8 August 1982
At an Internment anniversary rally in west Belfast representatives
of Noraid and the People's Liberation Organisation (PLO) addressed
Sunday 15 August 1982
During a visit to the United States of America (USA) Martin
Smyth, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament (MP),
alleged that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was involved
in Northern Ireland.
Wednesday 25 August 1982
The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) announced that it would contest the forthcoming Northern Ireland Assembly elections but those elected would not take their seats. [Following this decision Sinn Féin (SF) confirmed that it would oppose the SDLP in a number of constituencies. SF made clear that its preference would have been to support a complete boycott of the poll by all shades of northern nationalism, however it stated that under no circumstances would any of its successful candidates sit in the new assembly. Instead the party’s decision to take part in the poll was "... to give the nationalist electorate (in Northern Ireland) an opportunity to reject the uncontested monopoly in leadership which the SDLP has had ...". [In the end SF decided to field 12 candidates in 6 of the 12 Northern Ireland constituencies.]
Saturday 28 August 1982
The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) found one and a half tons
of commercial explosive hidden in a lorry near Banbridge, County
Down. The Garda Síochána (the Irish police) found
10,000 rounds of ammunition and commercial explosives at Glencree,
Wednesday 1 September 1982
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) shot and wounded
Billy Dickson, then a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) member of
Belfast City Council.
A new Department of Economic Development
was formed when the merger took place between the Departments
of Commerce and Manpower.
[During September unemployment in Northern Ireland increased to
22.3 per cent of the workforce. (?)]
Sunday 5 September 1982
Brian Smyth (30), who had been a member of the Ulster Volunteer
Force (UVF) until 1978, was shot dead by members of the UVF in
Crimea Street, Shankill, Belfast. [This killing was reported as
an internal feud but was a personal grudge between Lenny Murphy,
who had been leader of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang known
as the 'Shankill Butchers', and Smyth to whom Murphy owed money (Dillon,
Thursday 16 September 1982
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) carried out a booby-trap
bomb attack on a British Army patrol in the Divis Flats in Belfast
and killed two Catholic children, Stephen Bennett (14) and Kevin
Valliday (12), and one soldier, Kevin Waller (20).
Thursday 23 September 1982
John Hermon, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary
(RUC), said that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Irish
National Liberation Army (INLA) were both "reeling"
from the evidence given by informers (called 'supergrass' by the
media) and the subsequent arrests.
Friday 1 October 1982
A motion was passed at the Labour Party conference which called
for a ban on the use of plastic bullets in the whole of the United
Wednesday 6 October 1982
Des O'Malley, the Irish Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism,
resigned for the government in the Republic of Ireland. O'Malley
resigned because of disagreements with Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach
(Irish Prime Minister), on matters related to Northern Ireland
and the Republic's economy. [O'Malley later formed a new political
party in the Republic called the Progressive Democrats.]
Thursday 7 October 1982
A member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and a Prison Officer were killed in a connected incident in Kilmore, County Armagh.
Tuesday 19 October 1982
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) carried out a bomb
attack on the headquarters of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
in Glengall Street, Belfast. The building was badly damaged by
Wednesday 20 October 1982
Elections to the new 78 seat Northern Ireland Assembly took place across Northern Ireland. This was the first election in Northern Ireland since the beginning of 'the Troubles' to be contested by Sinn Féin (SF) which won 10.1 per cent of the first preference votes and secured 5 of the seats. The Social Democratic and Labour Party's (SDLP) performance was relatively poor and it obtained 18.8 per cent of the vote and 14 seats. Both the SDLP and SF had adopted a policy of abstentionism and therefore refused to take their seats. The largest vote went to the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP); 29.7 per cent and 26 seats. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) obtained 23.0 per cent and 21 seats. The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) obtained 9.3 per cent of the vote, which was less than SF, but got 10 seats, double that of SF. [The emergence of SF as a political force in Northern Ireland was to cause almost panic in British establishment circles. Many commentators speculated that SF would replace the SDLP as the main voice of Nationalists in Northern Ireland. It was to counter the rise of SF that the British government went on to sign the Anglo-Irish Agreement on 15 November 1985.]
Sunday 24 October 1982
Joseph Donegan (48), a Catholic civilian, was abducted, tortured,
and beaten to death by members of a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
gang in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the 'Shankill Butchers'.
[Lenny Murphy, who had been leader of the 'Shankill Butchers',
was one of the gang who abducted and killed Donegan (Dillon, 1990).]
Wednesday 27 October 1982
Three Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers where killed
when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated a land mine as
the RUC patrol passed near Oxford Island, near Lurgan, County
Tuesday 2 November 1982
Representatives of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
(SDLP) held a meeting with James Prior, then Secretary of State
for Northern Ireland, and told him that the party would continue
its boycott of the Assembly.
Thursday 4 November 1982
The Irish coalition government was defeated in a vote of confidence
in the Dáil.
Friday 5 November 1982
In the United States of America (USA) a court acquitted five
men of charges of conspiring to ship arms to the Irish Republican
Army (IRA) during 1981. The men used the defence that the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) had approved the shipment of arms although
this was denied.
Tuesday 9 November 1982
Garry Ewing (31), an Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer,
and Helen Woodhouse (29), a Protestant civilian, were killed by
a booby trap bomb attacked to Ewing's car by the Irish Republican
Army (IRA) at the Lakeland Forum Leisure Centre in Enniskillen,
Thursday 11 November 1982
'Shoot to Kill' Allegation
Sean Burns (21), Gervaise McKerr (31), and Eugene
Toman (21), all members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), were
shot dead by members of an undercover unit of Royal Ulster Constabulary
(RUC) at a police check point on Tullygalley Road, Craigavon,
County Armagh. None of the three men were armed at the time of
the shooting. [This shooting incident, together with other similar
incidents where unarmed Republican paramilitaries were shot dead
led to claims that the security forces were engaged in a 'shoot
to kill' policy. This claim was officially denied. The RUC claimed
that the three men had driven through a Vehicle Check Point. There
were similar incidents on 24 November 1982 and 12 December 1982.
Eventually the British government set up the Stalker inquiry (later
taken over by Sampson) into the incidents.]
The first sitting of the new Northern Ireland Assembly took place
at Stormont, Belfast. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
and Sinn Féin (SF) did not take up their seats.
Tuesday 16 November 1982
Lenny Murphy (29), who had been leader of the Ulster Volunteer
Force (UVF) gang the 'Shankill Butchers', was shot dead by Irish
Republican Army (IRA) at Forthriver Park, Glencairn, Belfast.
[It was later claimed that Loyalist paramilitaries had colluded
with the IRA in having Murphy shot because no group was able to
control him. Murphy's gang had been responsible for a series of
particularly brutal murders of Catholic civilians. Many of those
killed were first abducted, then beaten and tortured with butcher
knives and hatchets before being killed and their bodies dumped.]
A Catholic civilian was shot dead by Loyalists in Mount Merrion
Avenue, Rosetta, Belfast. Two reserve members of the Royal Ulster
Constabulary (RUC) were shot dead by the Irish National Liberation
Army (INLA) at a security barrier in Markethill, County Armagh.
Thursday 18 November 1982
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) kidnapped Patrick Gilmour
in Derry. Patrick Gilmour was the father of Raymond Gilmour who
had been a member of the IRA and an Royal Ulster Constabulary
(RUC) informer and who had gone into protective custody to become
a 'supergrass'. [The IRA later said that Patrick Gilmour would
not be released until his son retracted his evidence.]
Wednesday 24 November 1982
'Shoot to Kill' Allegation
Michael Tighe (17), a Catholic civilian, was shot
dead by an undercover Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) unit at
a farm in Derrymacash, near Lurgan, County Armagh. Martin McCauley,
a Catholic civilian, was shot and seriously injured in the same incident.
Police officers said the two men were armed and they issued a warning before opening fire. McCauley denied that he and Tighe had been armed and said the police opened fire without warning. The police fired 47 shots but none were fired at them.
[The hayshed where the shooting occurred was being used by the
Irish Republican Army (IRA) to store weapons and it was believed
that the young men had discovered the arms by accident. This shooting,
following on from the shooting on 11 November 1982, convinced many
Nationalists that the security forces were operating a 'shoot
to kill' policy.]
[Three years after the incident McCauley was convicted of the possession of three rifles found inside the shed. On 20 May 2014 the Court of Appeal ruled that the conviction was unsafe and was therefore quashed.]
There was a General Election in the Republic of Ireland. [When
the count was finished a new coalition government of Fine Gael
(FG) and the Irish Labour party was elected. Garret FitzGerald
became the new Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister).]
Tuesday 30 November 1982
James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,
addressed the Northern Ireland Assembly and announced that the
strength of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) would be increased
by 500 officers and the RUC Reserve by 300.
Monday 6 December 1982
'Droppin Well' Bomb
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) exploded
a bomb at the Droppin' Well Bar and Disco in Ballykelly, County
Derry, and killed 17 people (one of whom died ten days after the incident). The dead included 11 British soldiers and 6 civilians.
Approximately 30 people were also injured in the blast some of them seriously. The soldiers, mainly members of the Cheshire Regiment, regularly socialised in the pub which was close to
the British Army base in Ballykelly. [Tomás Ó Fiaich,
then Catholic Primate of Ireland, called the killings "gruesome
slaughter". Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister,
said: "This is one of the most horrifying crimes in Ulster's
tragic history. The slaughter of innocent people is the product
of evil and depraved minds, and the act of callous and brutal
men." Although the bomb was small, believed to be 5lbs or 10lbs of commercial (Frangex) explosives, it had been placed next to a support pillar in the bar and when it exploded the blast brought down the roof. Many of those killed and injured were crushed by fallen masonry. In June 1986 four people recieved life sentences for the attack and a fifth person received a ten year sentence.] (See also: Sutton Index of Deaths )
Tuesday 7 December 1982
The Irish Supreme Court made a ruling which opened up the
possibility of extradition between the Republic and the United
Kingdom (UK). The court rejected the claim that paramilitary offences
were politically motivated.
Wednesday 8 December 1982
William Whitelaw, then British Home Secretary, imposed a banning
order on Gerry Adams, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin
(SF), and Danny Morrison, then a leading member of SF. The order
was imposed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and meant
that Adams and Morrison could not enter Britain. The two men had
received an invitation from the Greater London Council (GLC) to
go to London for a series of meetings.
Sunday 12 December 1982
'Shoot to Kill' Allegation
Rodney Carroll (22) and Seamus Grew (31), both
members of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), were shot
dead by an undercover unit of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
at a Vehicle Check Point (VCP) in Mullacreavie, County Armagh.
[This became the third incident where allegations were made that
the security forces were operating a 'shoot to kill' policy.]
Tuesday 14 December 1982
The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) announced that party members
would not take their seats on the Northern Ireland Assembly scrutiny
committees until the powers of the Speaker were clarified. [This
boycott continued until February 1983.]
Thursday 16 December 1982
Seamus Mallon, then Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic
and Labour Party (SDLP), is removed from his Northern Ireland
Assembly seat by an Election Petition Court. The reason given
was that Mallon was a member of the Irish Senate at the time of
Friday 17 December 1982
The Michelin company announced that it was to close its factory
at Mallusk, County Antrim, with the loss of over 2,000 jobs.
Monday 20 December 1982
The British Parliament approved the increase in the number
of Members of Parliament (MPs) representing Northern Ireland at
the House of Commons from 12 to 17. [This figure was increased
in 1997 to 18.] Parliament also decided that the number of members
of any future Northern Ireland Assembly would be increased from
78 to 85, which represented five members per constituency.
Thursday 23 December 1982
Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, paid a one
day visit to Northern Ireland. She mainly spent the time visiting
members of the security forces.
Monday 27 December 1982
Patrick Elliott (19), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by
British soldiers as he ran from a fish and chip shop which he
had robbed on the Andersonstown Road, Belfast.
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 1982.
For a full list of, and links to, on-line sources see the Guide to the Internet.
Notes Major security incidents
Each entry contains information, where relevant, on the following topic areas:
Other relevant items
Information contained within square brackets [ ] may contain commentary or information that only became publicly available at a later date. Any piece of information which is followed by a question mark in parenthesis (?) is a best estimate while awaiting an update.