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A Chronology of the Conflict - 1999



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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 1999. For additional material on the peace process see the list of source documents.

1999 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sources Notes

1999

January 1999

Saturday 2 January 1999
item mark The Orange Order organised two rallies in Portadown, County Armagh, in support of the Orange demonstrators at Drumcreee. An estimated 5,000 Orangemen took part in the rallies. Sinn Féin (SF) accused David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), of encouraging the Orange Order.

Sunday 3 January 1999
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), said there should be a speedy resolution of the problems surrounding decommissioning.
item mark Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) detectives were reported as saying that they knew the identity of the people responsible for the Omagh Bombing but did not have enough evidence to bright them before a court.
item mark The Irish group 'Boyzone' held a concert in Omagh to help raise money for the fund established to help victims of the bombing. After the concert the band-members met with survivors of the bombing. The concert raised £20,000 for the victims' fund.

Monday 4 January 1999
item mark There was an attempted armed robbery of £500,000 from a Brinks-Allied van in Dalkey, County Dublin. The raiders almost got away with the money stolen from the van when they rammed it with a truck. The getaway car stalled and was abandoned along with the money as the gang escaped. A man was injured when the raiders shot at him while hijacking his car.
item mark Mary Harney, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister), said that there was no distinction between Sinn Féin (SF) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and called on the IRA to decommission its weapons.

Tuesday 5 January 1999
item mark Two men were injured in paramilitary 'punishment' attacks carried out by Loyalists.
item mark Four of the five Assembly members for the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), who had left the party on 14 December 1998, announced that they were forming the Northern Ireland Unionist Party (NIUP). The members who formed the NIUP were Patrick Roche, Cedric Wilson, Roger Hutchinson, and Norman Boyd. This left Robert (Bob) McCartney, then leader of the UKUP, as the only Assembly member from that party. McCartney described the defection as "a day of political infamy and fraud". The split and formation of a new party followed a number of disagreements within the UKUP. [The NIUP became the sixth Unionist party within the Northern Ireland Assembly.]
item mark Canon Cecil Cooper, then editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette, defended his criticism of Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), for having his partner, Celia Larkin, accompany him on official occasions.

Wednesday 6 January 1999
item mark A man was injured in Magherafelt, County Derry, in a blast-bomb attack carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. item mark A man was injured in a Loyalist gun attack in Bangor, County Down.
item mark The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) argued over the implementation of the pre-Christmas arrangement on government departments and North-South bodies. The UUP wanted the Northern Ireland Assembly to "take note" of the agreement, whereas the SDLP wanted the two parties to approve and accept it.
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) published a New Year Message in ‘An Phoblacht / Republican News’ in which they said that the Good Friday Agreement had failed to deliver meaningful change and that Unionists were pursuing conditions that had contributed to the breakdown of the 1994 ceasefire. [Unionists regarded the statement as a threat by the IRA to end its ceasefire.]

Thursday 7 January 1999
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) warned that the failure of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to decommission its weapons could result in the re-negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Friday 8 January 1999
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) announced that it would close its office at the Castle Court shopping centre in Belfast. Republican supporters had held a number of protests when the office opened.

Sunday 10 January 1999
item mark Billy Hutchinson, then spokesman for the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), said that David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), was risking the peace process by insisting on prior decommissioning of weapons by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) before Sinn Féin (SF) could take its seats in the Executive.

Monday 11 January 1999
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, stated that the key challenge during 1999 was to show that the Good Friday Agreement was working in all its aspects.
item mark At the Special Criminal Court in Dublin four men went on trial accused of the capital murder of Jerry McCabe who was a Detective in the Garda Síochána (the Irish police). McCabe was shot dead during an aborted post office van robbery at Adare, County Limerick on 7 June 1996. The accused were Pearse McCauley, Jeremiah Sheehy, Michael O'Neill, and Kevin Walsh, who were all members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
item mark There were reports in the press that the number of Catholics applying to join the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) had reached a record high.
item mark The Belfast born novelist Brian Moore (77), who wrote 20 novels including 'The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne', died at his home in Malibu, California.

Tuesday 12 January 1999
item mark Seamus Mallon, then Deputy First Minister designate, dismissed criticism against him from John Taylor, then deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), who had said that Mallon was "pretending" to be an honest broker between the UUP and Sinn Féin (SF).

Wednesday 13 January 1999
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said the government was prepared to implement devolution to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 10 March 1999 if the political parties could agree on the way forward.
item mark Sinn Féin (SF) called for a public enquiry into killings carried out by the security forces.
item mark Derek Hill, a well known artist, was conferred with honorary Irish citizenship in a ceremony at Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin. Mary McAleese, then President of the Republic of Ireland, said the award was an expression of the deep gratitude and admiration for Derek Hill. Hill was born in Southampton, England, in 1916. (Hill died in 2000.)

Thursday 14 January 1999
item mark Shots were fired at an Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station in west Belfast. Four men were arrested in a follow-up operation. The attack was believed to have been carried out by the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA).
item mark Three Russian-manufactured heavy machine guns were found on farmland at Blackstaff, five miles from Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, Republic of Ireland, and were believed to be part of the Irish Republican Army's (IRA) arsenal.

Friday 15 January 1999
item mark The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) warned that paramilitary prisoners who had been released on licence as part of the Good Friday Agreement could become involved in crime if they were unable to find employment.

Saturday 16 January 1999
item mark It was announced that a commission involving the Orange Order and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) would be established to consider formal links between the two organisations.

Monday 18 January 1999
item mark The Northern Ireland Assembly debated the proposed structures of government and the arrangements for the North-South bodies. Peter Weir, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), voted against his own party line on the issue of the new structures for government. [Weir was a member of the pressure group 'Union First' and opposed to the Good Friday Agreement. He was deprived of the UUP whip on 19 January 1999.]
item mark Representatives of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition (GRRC) had a meeting with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, at Downing Street, London. Blair called for renewed efforts to find a compromise to the Drumcree issue.
item mark Brice Dickson, then a Professor at the University of Ulster, was appointed as the head of the new Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC). [Some people complained of a lack of Unionist representation on the Commission.]

Tuesday 19 January 1999
item mark A man was injured in the arm and leg when the Orange Volunteers (OV) threw a pipe-bomb thrown at his home in Loughinisland, County Down. [The OV were a Loyalist paramilitary group opposed to the Good Friday Agreement.] item mark David Ervine, then leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), claimed on BBC Radio Ulster that the OV was largely made up of Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) members and was a combination of Protestant fundamentalists and drug dealers.
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) published a report claiming that only 29 per cent of killings carried out by Republicans had been 'solved' compared to 50 per cent of Loyalist killings.
item mark Andrew Hunter, then a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP), said that he would use Parliamentary privilege to name those he believed were responsible for the Omagh Bombing. He also said he would name those involved in carrying out paramilitary 'punishment' attacks. [Later the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), and others, persuaded him to postpone his statement on the grounds that it might prejudice any future trial.]

Wednesday 20 January 1999
item mark Kenny McClinton, then acting as Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) representative to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), said that the LVF was considering a second round of decommissioning. [To date this second act of decommissioning had not taken place.]
item mark Patrick Harty, a farmer from Toomevara, County Tipperary, refused to give evidence as a prosecution witness in the trial of the four men accused of the killing of Jerry McCabe, who was a Detective in the Garda Síochána (the Irish police). Harty said he could not give a reason for his refusal to give evidence and was jailed for 18 months.

Thursday 21 January 1999
item mark Billy Hutchinson, then a spokesman for the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), said that if the Good Friday Agreement failed and was replaced by a new Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) then Loyalist paramilitaries could target tourists in the Republic of Ireland.
item mark William Hague, then leader of the Conservative Party, called on the government to halt the release of paramilitary prisoners until such time as decommissioning had begun.

Friday 22 January 1999
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) announced that seven security bases along the County Fermanagh border would be closed.
item mark Lindsay Robb, then a Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) prisoner and former member of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) team that engaged in talks leading to the Good Friday Agreement, was the first LVF prisoner to be given early release.

Saturday 23 January 1999
item mark Loyalist paramilitaries carried out two 'pipe bomb' attacks on the homes of Catholic families living in Larne, County Antrim. [The attacks appeared to be part of systematic intimidation campaign against Catholics living in east Antrim that began in early 1997. The first use of 'pipe-bombs' by Loyalist paramilitaries was recorded on 19 May 1998.]
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) announced that seven police bases along the County Fermanagh border would be closed in the coming weeks.

Sunday 24 January 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), stated that the political process could be "parked" if decommissioning of paramilitary weapons did not take place.

Monday 25 January 1999
item mark Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a bomb attack on the home of a Catholic man and his elderly mother in Greenisland, County Antrim.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), and Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of SF, did not attend a meeting with Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, about the upsurge in paramilitary 'punishment' attacks. Bairbre de Brún and Alex Maskey attended on behalf of SF.
item mark Adam Ingram, then Security Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), held a meeting with relatives of Irish Republican Army (IRA) members killed at Loughgall, County Antrim, in 1987. The meeting was criticised by relatives of those killed by the IRA in the same area.
item mark Proinsias De Rossa, formerly leader of Democratic Left (DL), replaced Dick Spring, formerly leader of the Irish Labour Party, as foreign affairs spokesman in the Irish government. Three party colleagues of De Rossa were also given high-profile positions in government.

Tuesday 26 January 1999
item mark A Catholic family who have lived for 42 years on a mainly Protestant estate near Carrickfergus, County Antrim, discovered a pipe-bomb beside their car. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) later claimed responsibility. The family said they were shocked at the attack. [In 2001 it became apparent that RHD was a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).]
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, published draft legislation that defined the departmental structures in the Northern Ireland Assembly. John McFall, then Education Minister, announced a school building programme of over £67 million.

Wednesday 27 January 1999
Eamon Collins Killed
item mark Eamon Collins, a former member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was found dead near his home on the outskirts of Newry, County Down. [Due to his injuries it was initially thought that he had been the victim of a traffic accident, however it was later confirmed that he had been beaten and stabbed to death. Collins had acted as an informer on behalf of the security forces. He was also the author of a book entitled 'Killing Rage' that described his involvement with the IRA. No group admitted responsibility for the killing although Republican paramilitaries were thought to have been involved.]
death button
item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), used the protection of parliamentary privilege to name 20 people he claimed were involved in the Kingsmills killings on 5 January 1976. Paisley claimed that the people were named in internal Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) documents of the time. [The RUC later denied that the information came from a police dossier.] item mark The Conservative Party introduced a motion in the House of Commons calling for an end to the early release of paramilitary prisoners until 'punishment' attacks had stopped. The motion was defeated.

Thursday 28 January 1999
item mark There was a pipe-bomb attack on the home of a Catholic family in Dungannon, County Tyrone. The family had a narrow escape when the bomb was thrown through the kitchen window. [The attack was later claimed by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD). In 2001 it became apparent that RHD was a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).]
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) announced that it would hold an inquiry into the alleged file used by Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), in the House of Commons on 27 January 1999.

Saturday 30 January 1999
item mark Loyalist paramilitaries carried out seven 'punishment' beatings against people in Newtownabbey, County Antrim. Republican paramilitaries carried out a 'punishment' shooting on a man in Cookstown, County Tyrone. [January had the highest level of paramilitary 'punishment' attacks during any month in the past 10 years.]

Sunday 31 January 1999
item mark Paddy Fox, a former Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner and a critic of the Sinn Féin leadership's involvement in the Good Friday Agreement, was abducted early on Sunday morning from outside a hotel in Monaghan, Republic of Ireland. Fox was beaten before being released later the same day.
item mark The Ulster rugby team won a decisive victory over the French team, Colomiers, in the European Cup. The game was played in Lansdowne Road in Dublin and an estimated 30,000 Ulster supporters travelled south for the match.

February 1999

Monday 1 February 1999
item mark An explosive device was discovered at a Catholic church in Antrim. The device was made safe by British Army technical officers.
item mark Unionists on Belfast City Council voted to withdraw funding of £50,000 that was to given to the organising committee of the Saint Patrick's Day parade on 17 March 1999.
item mark John Kelly, a Christian Brother, was jailed for eight years after pleading guilty to more than 100 charges of sexual assault on 11 boys over a period of 12 years. The assaults took place in Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Wicklow, Kildare and Tipperary.

Tuesday 2 February 1999
item mark John Lockington (Dr) was elected as the new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church. Lockington was a long-standing member of the Orange Order and he said that he would not participate in joint worship with Catholics.

Wednesday 3 February 1999
item mark There were disturbances in Prortadown, County Armagh, when approximately two hundred loyalists clashed with Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers.
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) contained a report that the North Ulster Unit of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) had brought new weapons into Northern Ireland. The report also claimed that the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) had also obtained new weapons.
item mark At the trial of four men for the murder of Jerry McCabe, who was a Detective in the Garda Síochána (the Irish police), the charges were changed from capital murder to manslaughter, to which the four men pleaded guilty. There was widespread criticism at the development from politicians, Gardaí, and members of the public. Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), said the men would not benefit from early release under the Good Friday Agreement.

Thursday 4 February 1999
item mark Nicholas Mullen, the last of the Republican prisoners to be held at a jail in England, was released by the Court of Appeal in London.
item mark A unit of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) announced that it was rearming. The claim was welcomed by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD).
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, rejected criticism from Patrick Mayhew, the former Secretary of State, that the Labour government was in a state of "paralysis" over paramilitary violence.
item mark It was reported that during negotiations on the Good Friday Agreement the Irish Government came under pressure from Sinn Féin to include on the list of people eligible for early release those charged with the killing of Jerry McCabe, who was a Detective in the Garda Síochána (the Irish police).
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement claiming that some of its weapons had been stolen by Republicans opposed to the peace process.

Friday 5 February 1999
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), warned against any attempt to "park" (to suspend) the Good Friday Agreement.

Saturday 6 February 1999
item mark Concern was expressed for the future of the peace process with Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, conceding that the deadline for the devolution of powers could be missed.
item mark Roberty McCartney, then Leader of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), warned that North-South bodies could remain in place even if the Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed.
item mark The Association of Garda Síochána (the Irish police) Superintendents announced that it was planning to meet the Minister for Justice to discuss the decision of the prosecution to accept a manslaughter plea in the Jerry McCabe case.

Monday 8 February 1999
item mark A grenade exploded at a Catholic-owned bar near Toomebridge, County Antrim. The attack was claimed by the Orange Volunteers (OV) a Loyalist paramilitary group.
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) published the results of a survey of opinion. The poll showed that, of those questioned, 84 per cent wanted Republican and Loyalist paramilitary groups to immediately begin decommissioning their weapons (the breakdown of the figures were 93 per cent of Protestants and 68 per cent of Catholics).
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), said that he considered those who had killed Jerry McCabe, who was a Detective in the Garda Síochána (the Irish police), were entitle to early release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Gardaí said they would investigate allegations of witness intimidation in the McCabe case.
item mark The Irish-born novelist, Iris Murdoch (79), died from Alzheimer's Disease.

Tuesday 9 February 1999
item mark The Orange Volunteers (OV) admitted carrying out an attack on a Catholic owned public house in Castledawson, County Derry.
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) published the results of an opinion poll. The poll showed that, of those questioned, 50 per cent believed that the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) should join Sinn Féin (SF) in a power-sharing Executive even without prior decommissioning.

Tuesday 9 February 1999
item mark A middle-aged man discovered an unexploded pipe-bomb outside a public house in Crumlin, County Antrim. The Loyalist paramilitary group the Orange Volunteers (OV) claimed they had targeted the bar.

Wednesday 10 February 1999
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) published the results of an opinion poll. The poll showed that, of Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) supporters questioned, 63 per cent approved of David Trimble, then leader of the UUP.

Thursday 11 February 1999
item mark A new report on the death of Patrick Finucane, a Belfast solicitor who had represented a number of Republicans, claimed that there was collusion between Loyalist paramilitaries and British security forces in his death on 12 February 1989. More than 1,100 lawyers signed a petition calling for a independent judicial inquiry into the killing. The appeal for the inquiry was also supported by Amnesty International.

Friday 12 February 1999
item mark The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) denied that it was involved in recent attacks on Catholic homes and businesses.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), gave an interview to the Press Association in which he said that Northern Ireland would be moving into a united Ireland in 15 years' time. [Reference may have been to the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916?]

Saturday 13 February 1999
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) released figures on the number of paramilitary 'punishment' attacks carried out by Republicans. There had been 18 attacks from 1 January 1999 to 2 February 1999 but no attacks since that date.

Sunday 14 February 1999
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), was involved in controversy after making apparently contradictory statements about the decommissioning of IRA arms. In an interview with The Sunday Times (a London based newspaper) Ahern indicated that the Northern Ireland Executive could not be established without a start to decommissioning. Later, he said Sinn Féin (SF) should not be barred from the Executive in the absence of decommissioning.
item mark The President, Mrs McAleese, met the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, for the first time in Rome.

Sunday 14 February 1999
item mark A pipe-bomb was thrown at a house, Graymount, north Belfast.

Tuesday 16 February 1999
item mark A report containing proposals for structures of government was put before the Northern Ireland Assembly by David Trimble, then First Minister Designate, and Seamus Mallon, then Deputy First Minister Designate. The report was endorsed by 77 votes to 29 votes (29 Unionists voted in favour of the report and 29 voted against). The structures included the establishment of new government departments and the North-South bodies. [10 March 1999 was set as the deadline to establish the proposed Executive. This was later postponed to 2 April 1999 (Good Friday).]
item mark It was reported by security sources that detonators, which were part of an arms cache uncovered in west Belfast, had been acquired by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) following the second ceasefire in 1997. Sinn Féin (SF) spokespersons claimed that the RUC was pursuing a political agenda.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), held a meeting with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, in London.

Wednesday 17 February 1999
item mark Leaders of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Sinn Féin (SF) met for talks at Stormont.

Thursday 18 February 1999
item mark It was revealed that the cost of policing the dispute over the Orange Order Drumcree parade was £10,000 per day.
item mark In the Republic of Ireland the Independent Radio and Television Commission banned an advertisement for the Irish Catholic newspaper from being broadcast on two local radio stations.

Friday 19 February 1999
item mark A rally in support of the Orange Order's stand on the Drumcree parade was held in Portadown, County Armagh. Following the rally approximately 100 young people attacked Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers.
item mark The Northern Ireland Bar Council stated that it supported a United Nations call for a judicial inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane on 12 February 1989.

Sunday 21 February 1999
item mark Seven people were arrested in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in connection with the Omagh bombing. [One man was later charged on 24 February with offences related to the bombing but most of those arrested were released without charge by 25 February 1999.]

Monday 22 February 1999
item mark The Northern Ireland Assembly agreed to set its annual running cost at £36.8 million.

Tuesday 23 February 1999
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), was confronted by the family of a victim of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as he continued his eight-day visit to Australia. Roy Melrose, the father of Stephen Melrose, a Brisbane lawyer who was mistaken by gunmen for an off-duty British soldier in the Netherlands on 27 May 1990, criticised the way Adams was being feted at a civic champagne reception.

Wednesday 24 February 1999
item mark British Army officers made safe an explosive device in north Belfast. John McFall, then Education Minister, announced that £51 million would be made available for childcare in Northern Ireland.
item mark Colm Murphy (48), from County Armagh, was charged at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin in connection with the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. He was also charged with membership of an unlawful organisation.

Wednesday 24 February 1999
item mark The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) admitted a pipe-bomb attack on a house in Rosapenna Street near a peaceline in north Belfast. Residents living beside the peaceline expressed fears that Loyalist attacks were escalating. The device was discovered at around 8.45am in a back garden in Rosapenna Street off the Oldpark Road. [In 2001 it became apparent that RHD was a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).]

Thursday 25 February 1999
item mark Confidential government papers were leaked that indicated that the North-South bodies could survive even if the Northern Ireland Assembly were to collapse. Some Unionists reacted angrily to the revelations.
item mark Mitchel McLaughlin, then Sinn Féin (SF) chairman, said that the leadership of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) would be destabilised if it forced to decommission IRA weapons.

Friday 26 February 1999
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), held discussions on decommissioning and the transfer of powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The discussions took place during a meeting of European Union heads of government in Germany.

Saturday 27 February 1999
item mark David Trimble, First Minster Designate, warned Republicans that he intended to press for the transfer of powers to a new Executive, even without Sinn Féin (SF) participation.
item mark The man that Garda Síochána (the Irish police) believed had directed the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998 was reported to have disappeared from his home in the Border area and to have fled the country. Three other people were arrested in the Republic of Ireland in connection with the bombing.

Sunday 28 February 1999
item mark Sinn Féin (SF) held a rally outside the City Hall in Belfast. Mitchel McLaughlin, then a senior member of SF, demanded that the deadline of 10 March 1999 for the formation of the Executive should be met. The rally was attended by thousands of SF supporters.

March 1999

Monday 1 March 1999
item mark A chocolate box containing a bomb was left on the windowsill of a Catholic house in Coalisland, County Tyrone. The owner of the house said the bomb was in a large Roses tin and was first spotted as she returned home by taxi after 10.00pm. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. item mark A pipe-bomb was found in Derriaghy, south of Belfast.
item mark The new Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) was established and replaced the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR). The first Chief Commissioner of the NIHRC was Professor Brice Dickson of the University of Ulster. Unionists criticised the balance of the new Commission.

Wednesday 3 March 1999
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, signalled her willingness to delay the triggering of devolution until the end of March, although she warned against excessive delay in creating an Executive. Her comments came as Séamus Mallon, then Deputy First Minister Designate, called on the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to make a statement indicating that its campaign of violence was over. He suggested that this would help to break the logjam over the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons.
item mark The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) and the Orange Volunteers (OV), two groups which had claimed responsibility for attacks in recent months including two killings, were banned by the Secretary of State. [In 2001 it became apparent that RHD was a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).] Mowlam also announced that she has accepted the INLA's six-month ceasefire as complete and unequivocal.
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) published the results of an opinion poll it had commissioned. The poll showed that, of those who responded, 93 per cent of people wanted the Good Friday Agreement to work - this included 70 per cent of Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) supporters [the DUP opposed the Agreement].

Thursday 4 March 1999
item mark Final details of four new British-Irish treaties were agreed between the Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), and David Trimble, then First Minister Designate. The treaties provide for the establishment, in principle, of North-South bodies and other institutions in the Good Friday Agreement. The principal treaty would establish the six North-South implementation bodies that had been agreed before Christmas. The other one-page treaties allowed for the setting up of the North-South ministerial council, the British-Irish council and the new British-Irish inter-governmental conference. [The treaties were signed by the two governments on 8 March 1999.]
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, called on the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to begin handing over its weapons before Sinn Féin (SF) joined an Executive Committee.
item mark An opinion poll commissioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Price Waterhouse Coopers indicated that, of those asked, only 41 per cent of Unionists now supported the Good Friday Agreement.

Friday 5 March 1999
item mark Arson attacks were carried out by Loyalists on the homes of two Catholic families in north Belfast.
item mark Bobby Philpott, formerly a leader in the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), said that when active in the organisation he had received so many leaked security documents from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and the British Army (BA) that he had difficulty in storing them. The claim was made in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programme.

Saturday 6 March 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), called for a face-to-face 'summit' between himself, John Taylor, then Deputy Leader of the UUP, Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), and Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF). The summit would try to break the deadlock surrounding the appointment of an Executive Committee. However, senior UUP figures said there was no secret deal that would let Sinn Féin (SF) into the power-sharing Executive without prior decommissioning by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Monday 8 March 1999
Treaties Signed
item mark The British and Irish governments signed four international treaties providing the legal framework for the establishment of the associated institutions of devolved government in Northern Ireland. The treaties covered: the six North-South implementation bodies; the North-South Ministerial Council; the British-Irish Council; and the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference.
item mark David Trimble, then First Minister Designate, reacted angrily to Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam's, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announcement extending the deadline for the creation of the Northern Ireland Executive until Easter week (2 April 1999). Sinn Féin (SF) also criticised the delay. Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), met with Gerry Adams, then President of SF, in Government Buildings in Dublin.
item mark Loyalists carried out a 'pipe-bomb' attack on the home of a family in Portadown, County Armagh.
item mark It was disclosed that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) had advised Gerry Adams of a threat to his life from dissident Republicans.
item mark On International Women's Day, the President, Mrs McAleese, said "skewed, twisted and unhealthy" thinking and teaching about the role of women over generations had left an obstacle course of impediments to their equal treatment. A special debate in Parliament Buildings, Stormont, was among many events to mark the day on both sides of the Border.

Tuesday 9 March 1999
item mark There was a pipe-bomb attack in Portadown, County Armagh. Nine families had to be evacuated from houses nearby while the device was made safe.
item mark Representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Sinn Féin (SF) met at Stormont for talks.
item mark Paul Murphy, then Political Development Minister, introduced the Implementation Bodies (Northern Ireland) Order in the House of Commons.

Wednesday 10 March 1999
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) issued a statement on the present state of the peace process and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Thursday 11 March 1999
item mark Lee Clegg, then a soldier in the Parachute Regiment, was cleared in a Belfast court of murdering teenager Karen Reilly during an incident involving a stolen car in west Belfast on 30 September 1990. Justice Kerr ruled that it was not certain that Clegg had fired the fatal shot. The judge upheld Clegg's conviction for attempting to wound Martin Peake with intent. The judge described Clegg's version of events as "untruthful and incapable of belief". [Clegg had been released from prison in 1995.]

Friday 12 March 1999
item mark A man was shot in the leg during a paramilitary 'punishment' attack in Newry, County Armagh. Republican paramilitaries were believed to have been responsible.

Sunday 14 March 1999
item mark The Parades Commission banned a Loyalist parade from passing through the mainly Catholic Garvaghy Road in Portadown, County Armagh.

Monday 15 March 1999
Rosemary Nelson Killed
item mark Rosemary Nelson, a Lurgan solicitor, was killed by a booby trap car bomb in Lurgan, County Armagh. Nelson had been driving away from her home in her BMW car at lunchtime when the explosion happened. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) claimed responsibility for the murder. [The fact that commercial explosives had been used in the bomb led some commentators to speculate that one of the mainstream Loyalist groups was involved in the killing. In the following years it became clear that the name RHD was being used as a cover name by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF). Nelson, who had represented Nationalist clients in several high-profile cases had complained of Loyalist paramilitary and RUC threats against her. Nationalists called for an independent international inquiry into the events surround the killing. Paul Murphy, then Secretary of State, announced a public Inquiry into the killing on 16 November 2004. The Inquiry opened on 19 April 2005.]
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item mark Loyalists carried out a petrol-bomb attack on the home of a ‘mixed-marriage’ family in Larne, County Antrim. There were no injuries as a result of the attack.

Tuesday 16 March 1999
item mark Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), announced that David Phillips, then Chief Constable of Kent, had been asked to oversee the investigation into the murder of Rosemary Nelson. He also invited the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist. [Both these moves were viewed as an attempt to try to counter calls by Nationalists for an independent international inquiry into the events surrounding the death of Nelson. Although the FBI initially became involved in the case it later withdrew.]
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), who was in Washington, said the relationship between Irish Republican Army (IRA) decommissioning and the setting up of the Northern Executive was the one remaining difficulty. He indicated to the leader of the political parties in Northern Ireland that he expected them to meet the 2 April 1998 deadline for the implementation of institutions set out in the Good Friday Agreement.

Wednesday 17 March 1999
item mark Frankie Curry, a prominent former member of the Red Hand Commando (RHC), was shot dead in a street off the Shankill Road. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) blamed the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) for the killing. [The shooting raised fears of a potential feud amongst Loyalist paramilitaries. In an interview published in the Sunday Life (a Belfast based newspaper) after his death Curry admitted killing 16 people but he denied that he was a member of the RHD. In 2001 it became apparent that the RHD was a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the UVF.]
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item mark There were violent confrontations in Portadown, County Armagh, with 40 Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers being injured.
item mark Vigils were held across Northern Ireland in protest at the killing of Rosemary Nelson on 15 March 1999.
item mark Bill Clinton, then President of the USA, urged political leaders in Northern Ireland to lift their sights above short-term difficulties when he was presented with shamrock by Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), at the White House. David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), held a 30 minute meeting in the White House with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF).
item mark While St Patrick's Day events took place in over 500 cities all over the world there was no official parade in Belfast. The Unionist controlled Belfast City Council had withdrawn funds for the parade.

Thursday 18 March 1999
item mark There was rioting in Portadown and Lurgan, County Armagh.
item mark The funeral of Rosemary Nelson took place in Lurgan, it was attended by thousands of mourners. Nelson had been killed in a Loyalist attack on 15 March 1999. Father Kieran McPartlan called for an independent inquiry to be set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding her killing.
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bill Clinton, then President of the USA, issued a tripartite statement. They urged the leaders of political parties in Northern Ireland to meet the deadline set for all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.

Friday 19 March 1999
item mark Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), asked John Stevens, then Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner, to examine a report written by British-Irish Rights Watch, a human rights group based in London, on the 1989 killing of Pat Finucane. The report claimed to contain new evidence about the killing.

Saturday 20 March 1999
item mark A 13 year-old boy was badly injured in a Loyalist paramilitary 'punishment' attack by a gang of masked men in Newtownards, County Down. The boy who received a broken arm and broken fingers was ordered to leave the area by the gang. [The boy was one of the youngest people to be the subject of a 'punishment' attack.]
item mark In a speech to the Annual General Meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC), David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), assured delegates that there would be Irish Republican Army (IRA) decommissioning. Trimble was heckled during his speech. His supporters dominated the election to the vice presidents' positions, but three of the four honorary secretaries elected were supporters of the dissident Union First group. Jim Nicholson, then UUP MEP, narrowly won the backing of delegates to continue as the UUP vice-president. Nicholson had earlier admitted that he had had an extra-marital affair.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), was also guardedly optimistic, saying that SF would try to find "some accommodation".
item mark The funeral procession of Frankie Curry, a prominent dissident member of the Red Hand Commando (RHC) who had been shot dead on 17 March 1999, passed down the Shankill Road in Belfast and was watched by hundreds of people.

Tuesday 23 March 1999
item mark A man was injured by a bobby-trap bomb (grenade) as he worked at a scrapyard in Castlewellan, County Down. The attack was carried out by the Orange Volunteers (OV) a dissident Loyalist paramilitary group.
item mark The husband of Rosemary Nelson called for an inquiry into her death, but one that was independent of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). This call followed a report by the Independent Commission on Police Complaints (ICPC), which had been investigating allegations of death threats against Rosemary Nelson made by members of the RUC. Although the report was not then published it was reported that the inquiry had run into various difficulties, including some from the chief inspector who, "appeared to have difficulties in co-operating productively" with the barrister in charge of the inquiry. [Later Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), said that he would publish as much as was possible of the report. The report had been prepared by Niall Mulvihill, then Commander of the Metropolitan Police in London, and had been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. A 'review' based on the report was issued on 30 March 1999.]
item mark Jack Straw, then British Home Secretary, challenged the release of three Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners arrested and convicted in England. [This action failed but was widely criticised and put additional pressure on the peace process.]

Wednesday 24 March 1999
item mark The Orange Volunteers (OV) carried out a grenade attack on a bar outside of Lurgan, County Armagh.
item mark Talks involving pro-Agreement parties took place at Stormont. There were efforts to find common ground between the positions of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Sinn Féin (SF). The possibility of Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), and Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, travelling to Belfast was also discussed. [The two men took part in talks at Hillsborough Castle beginning on 29 March 1999.] Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated that she would trigger the d'Hondt mechanism on 2 April 1999. [D'Hondt was the system for allocating seats in the proposed Executive.]

Thursday 25 March 1999
item mark The judge hearing the case against a man charged with murdering Robert Hamill in Portadown, County Armagh on 27 April 1997, described some of the actions of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers on that night as "unfortunate". The man was cleared of murder but sentenced to 4 years for causing an affray.
item mark The Solicitor's Criminal Bar Association (SCBA) called for the RUC to be removed from the investigation into the murder of Rosemary Nelson who was the solicitor for the Hamill family. Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the RUC, rejected these and other similar calls.

Friday 26 March 1999
item mark A man in the Creggan area of Derry was shot in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack.
item mark The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) warned that there would be a great strain on its ceasefire if the Irish Republican Army (IRA) did not begin decommissioning.
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), donated all of his £286,000 Nobel Peace Prize cash to victims of violence and poverty in Northern Ireland.

Saturday 27 March 1999
item mark The Orange Order held a meeting in Belfast at which it was decided that the Order would hold a single Twelfth of July demonstration at Drumcree, County Armagh, if the dispute over the parade was not resolved. The meeting was read a statement by Jonathan Powell, then the Prime Minister's chief of staff, which indicated Tony Blair's high esteem for the Order and his belief that it could play "and important and constructive part in the future of Northern Ireland".

Sunday 28 March 1999
item mark In an article in The Observer (a London based newspaper) Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), appealed for the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. John Taylor, then Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said that David Trimble, then leader of UUP, might have to resign as First Minister if the d'Hondt mechanism was triggered to allocate positions on the Executive.
item mark A young couple who had suffered severe burns in the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998 were married in the town.

Monday 29 March 1999
Talks at Hillsborough
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), met at Hillsborough Castle for the opening round of meetings on decommissioning of paramilitary weapons.
item mark Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a bomb attack on the home of James McCarry, then a Sinn Féin (SF) councillor on Moyle District Council; no one was injured in the attack.
item mark There were clashes between Republicans and Loyalists outside the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, where the Orange Order was holding a 'cultural evening’.
item mark The IRA announced it had identified the location of the bodies of nine people killed by the organisation between 1972 and 1981 and buried in secret. The British and Irish governments said they were willing to facilitate the exhumation of the remains of the ‘missing’ by ensuring that any new evidence uncovered would not be used in subsequent criminal proceedings.
item mark The Parades Commission announced that the planned Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) parade would be re-routed away from the lower Ormeau Road area of Belfast.
item mark Colin Part, then Deputy Chief Constable for Norfolk, was appointed to take over control of the investigation into the killing of Rosemary Nelson.

Tuesday 30 March 1999
item mark Talks between Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), continued at Hillsborough Castle in County Down. Efforts were being made to incorporate guarantees from Seamus Mallon, then Deputy First Minister Designate, that the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) would co-operate in excluding Sinn Féin (SF) from government if decommissioning failed to take place by a specific date. Seven hours of talks adjourned at midnight without agreement.
item mark There were protests by Republicans and anti-Agreement Loyalists at Stormont, Belfast.
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) together with the Independent Commission on Police Complaints (ICPC) issued a 'review' of a report based on an inquiry into the killing of Rosemary Nelson on 15 March 1999 and the allegations of death threats against Nelson made by members of the RUC. The report had been prepared by Niall Mulvihill, then Commander of the Metropolitan Police in London, and had been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Nationalists criticised the 'review' and claimed it was an "exercise in damage limitation".

Wednesday 31 March 1999
item mark A Catholic businessman from Dungannon, County Tyrone, discovered a pipe-bomb attached to his car. The device failed to explode. item mark Another pipe-bomb was found in north Belfast. Army technical officers dealt with the device. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) claimed responsibility for both bombs. [In 2001 it became apparent that RHD was a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).]
item mark Participants in the talks at Hillsborough Castle reported some progress following the issuing of the Irish Republican Army's (IRA) Easter statement which read: "we wholeheartedly support efforts to secure a lasting resolution to the conflict". item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), accused David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), of taking part in "surrender negotiations". A group of anti-Agreement Loyalists staged a protest outside Hillsborough Castle.
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued an Easter statement.
item mark Visitors to the Republic of Ireland were discovering "an atmosphere which is almost rude, brusque and indifferent", a senior tourism executive warned.

April 1999

Thursday 1 April 1999
Hillsborough Declaration
item mark The multi-party talks at Hillsborough came to an end with a call for the proposed Executive to be established within three weeks. Talks were adjourned until 13 April 1999. The Hillsborough Declaration was agreed by Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). The Declaration set out a framework for progress towards establishing the Executive. It also stated that: "At a date to be proposed by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning [IICD] but not later than [one month after nomination date] a collective act of reconciliation will take place. This will see some arms put beyond use on a voluntary basis, in a manner which will be verified by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, and further moves on normalisation and demilitarisation in recognition of the changed situation on security." [The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) had been insisting that there should be decommissioning of arms by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) before Sinn Féin (SF) could sit on an Executive. SF said that it could not deliver decommissioning before the Executive was formed. Those Unionists who were against the Good Friday Agreement also came out strongly against the Declaration.]

Friday 2 April 1999
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) issued a statement in response to the Hillsborough Declaration.

Saturday 3 April 1999
item mark Brian Keenan, then a leading Belfast Republican, addressed a rally in Inishkeen, County Monaghan, Republic of Ireland. Keenan said that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) would not be forced into a 'surrender' in the form of decommissioning.
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) decided to await clarification on certain points of the Hillsborough Declaration on 1 April 1999 before making its final decision on the establishment of the Executive.

Sunday 4 April 1999
item mark In his Easter Sunday address Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), praised the IRA's "commitment" to searching for a peaceful settlement. He said the Hillsborough Declaration of the previous week "may have merit, but it may also be counterproductive if it amounts to an ultimatum to armed groups."

Tuesday 6 April 1999
item mark Members of the Orange Order in Ballynafeight, Belfast, accepted calls to enter proximity talks with the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community Group. [This did not involve face-to-face discussions between the Orangemen and the residents.]

Wednesday 7 April 1999
item mark Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), said the Irish Republican Army (IRA) would not accept decommissioning as a precondition to his party's entry into a power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland. item mark Billy Armstrong, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly member, described the Hillsborough Declaration as unacceptable. item mark Sources in the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) were reported as saying that the organisation would not decommission its weapons "to get Sinn Féin into government".

Thursday 8 April 1999
item mark Loyalists in Portadown, County Armagh, said they intended to mount a "Harryville-style" picket on the St John the Baptist Catholic Church at the top of the town's Garvaghy Road.
item mark Pauline Armitage, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly member, expressed her opposition to the Hillsborough Declaration.

Friday 9 April 1999
item mark Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a pipe-bomb attack on a public house in County Antrim. One man was injured in the attack.
item mark The Irish government announced that six Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners would be granted early release. Among the prisoners named were them members of the Balcombe Street seige gang. [The move was seen as an attempt to influence Sinn Féin (SF) into accepting the Hillsborough declaration.]
item mark Mitchel McLaughlin, then Sinn Féin (SF) chairman, said that the two governments should defend the Good Friday Agreement and stated that his party would be adopting that approach in the coming week. item mark Despite the fact that several Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly members had expressed reservations about the Hillsborough Declaration the UUP Assembly team later accepted the declaration as a basis for negotiation.

Saturday 10 April 1999
item mark The Orange Volunteers (OV) claimed responsibility for an attack in which a pipe-bomb was exploded at a public house near Templepatrick, County Antrim. One man was injured in the attack. item mark There was an arson attack in north Belfast. (??)
item mark Loyalists resumed their picket outside the Catholic church of Our Lady in Harryville, Ballymena, County Antrim. The picket was held, for the first time since spring 1998, at the church during Saturday evening's Mass. Protesters said they would return the following weekend. [The picket had been maintained for a 20 month period between 1997 and 1998.]
item mark Seven men were killed in road accidents during the weekend, four in the Republic of Ireland, and three in Northern Ireland.

Monday 12 April 1999
UN Report on RUC
item mark Param Cumaraswamy, then United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur, published a report that criticised Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), over the alleged harassment of defence solicitors. Cumaraswamy also called for an independent inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane because there was evidence of collusion between members of the security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries. Flanagan rejected an accusation of indifference over the matter. Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said she would have talks with Cumaraswamy, about his report.
item mark A man was shot and injured in the Ardoyne area of Belfast by Republicans during a paramilitary 'punishment' attack.

Tuesday 13 April 1999
Politcal Talks Resumed
item mark Efforts to break the deadlock over decommissioning resumed at Stormont with a series of meetings, including a round table session involving all the parties supporting the Good Friday Agreement. item mark Prior to the resumption of talks, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, issued a statement. item mark Mitchel McLaughlin, then Sinn Féin (SF) chairman, also issued a statement claiming that the Hillsborough Declaration (1 April 1999) moved away from the Good Friday Agreement and as such, was formally rejected by SF. item mark The Declaration was also rejected by the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP).
item mark The Northern Ireland Police Authority (NIPA) strongly defended Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), against allegations of "indifference" made in the report by the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on 12 April 1999.
item mark The total number of prisoners released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement was reported as being 257. 131 were Republican, 118 Loyalist, and eight had no classification.

Wednesday 14 April 1999
item mark Liz O'Donnell, then Irish Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, acknowledged that the Hillsborough Declaration would not be the basis for resolving the decommissioning impasse.

Thursday 15 April 1999
item mark Pipe-bombs were pushed through the letter boxes of two Catholic homes in Randalstown, County Antrim. Neither device exploded. The attacks were carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) graffiti had appeared near one of the houses prior to the attack.
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), held talks in London on the peace process. They announced a series of bilateral talks in London for 19 April 1999 aimed at breaking the deadlock over decommissioning.
item mark The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) accused the Irish government of double standards after it was disclosed that those convicted of killing Jerry McCabe, who was a Detective in the Garda Síochána (the Irish police), would not be included in the early release scheme.

Saturday 17 April 1999
item mark Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), announced that John Stevens would conduct a fresh inquire into the killing of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989.

Monday 19 April 1999
item mark A pipe-bomb was found on the side of Catholic home in Serpentine Park, Belfast. A hoax device was found in Newtownabbey, Belfast. Several families had to be evacuated from their homes. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) admitted responsibility. Gerry Kelly, then a senior member of Sinn Féin (SF), said that the latest attack was part of a Loyalist attempt at "ethnic cleansing" in the area. [In 2001 it became apparent that RHD was a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).]
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), held an intensive round of negotiations in Downing Street with the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Sinn Féin (SF), and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The talks failed to achieve a breakthrough on decommissioning and the implementation of the Executive. The British government ruled out any suggestion of 'parking' the political negotiations.
item mark A campaign for an independent international investigation and a judicial inquiry into the killing of the Rosemary Nelson was opened in Belfast.

Tuesday 20 April 1999
item mark The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) released figures that showed that the annual cost of running the Northern Ireland Assembly was £10.7 million.
item mark The US Congress called for the ending of the financing of joint initiatives by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) because of allegations of intimidation and harassment of lawyers by the RUC.

Wednesday 21 April 1999
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) carried a report which claimed that Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) sources believed that Éamon Collins had been killed by Irish Republican Army (IRA) members from south Armagh. The RUC sources said that it was unclear if the killing had been sanctioned by the leadership of the IRA.

Thursday 22 April 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), visited John Paul II in the Vatican as part of a meeting of Nobel laureates with the Pope. This was the first meeting between a leader of the UUP and a pope (and possibly also the first meeting between an Orangeman and a pope). Trimble described the visit as a courtesy call.
item mark Talks between the main political parties resumed at Stormont in Belfast.
item mark The Department of Justice agreed to grant a pension to, and clear the name of, a 100-year-old former Garda superintendent who was dismissed from the force 71 years ago. William Geary was sacked for allegedly accepting a £100 bribe from the IRA.

Friday 23 April 1999
item mark A 'Support Drumcree' rally was held in Newtownards, County Down, and was attended by several hundred people.
item mark Adam Ingram, then Security Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), announced that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) team investigating the killing of Rosemary Nelson was to get more assistance in the form of detectives from outside Northern Ireland.

Sunday 25 April 1999
item mark Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a grenade attack on a house in the Legoniel area of Belfast. The Orange Volunteers (OV) claimed responsibility for the attack.
item mark Newly-ordained Tridentine priest Sinéad O'Connor said she would live the rest of her life in Lourdes. The singer said she wished to be known as Mother Bernadette Mary O'Connor. She rejected criticism of her ordination from Tridentine Bishop Pat Buckley, who said he was concerned the singer might have committed simony - the act of paying for a sacrament - by donating £150,000 to, and agreeing to fund a hernia operation for, Bishop Michael Cox who ordained her.

Monday 26 April 1999
item mark It was revealed that David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Dennis Rogan, then Chairman of the UUP, were both facing expulsion from the Orange Order because they had attended the funeral mass of three of the victims of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. [The 'Qualifications of an Orangeman' expressly state that he should: "strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act of ceremony of Popish worship".]
item mark The results of an Ulster Marketing Surveys (UMS) opinion poll conducted for The Irish Times (a Dublin based newspaper) and Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) were published. The results suggested that the Good Friday Agreement would receive a slightly higher level of support, 73 per cent, among voters in Northern Ireland in the event of a second referendum. However, only half of those questioned in Northern Ireland felt that the Agreement would survive another year. Of those questioned a majority in Northern Ireland were also in favour of forming an Executive only after paramilitary weapons were decommissioned.

Tuesday 27 April 1999
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, travelled to Dublin to sign a new British-Irish agreement which dealt with the issue of the recovery of the bodies of the 'disappeared'. The agreement established a three-member commission to receive information about the burial sites of the victims of paramilitary killings.

Wednesday 28 April 1999
item mark A pipe-bomb exploded in the car park of the Ramble Inn, situated on the main Antrim to Ballymena Road. Several cars damaged, but there were no injuries. The Loyalist paramilitary group the Orange Volunteers (OV) claimed responsibility for the attack.
item mark John Stevens, then Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, stated that during one of his earlier investigations of collusion between Loyalists paramilitaries and the security forces had found a connection to the killing of Pat Finucane that had caused him "concern".
item mark The Northern Ireland (Location of Victims' Remains) Bill was presented to the House of Commons at Westminster. [The Bill became law in late May 1999. The first body was recovered on 28 May 1999.]

Thursday 29 April 1999
item mark A survey on behalf of the Parades Commission showed that of those questioned 82 per cent wanted the Orange Order to engage in talks with the Commission about the issue of contentious parades.

Friday 30 April 1999
item mark Johnny Adair, then a leader of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), received a slight wound to his head during a pop concert in Belfast. Adair had been on weekend leave from prison when the incident happened. [Adair claimed that he had been shot in a gun attack by Republicans. Most commentators expressed the view that other Loyalists were responsible. There was a pipe-bomb attack on Adair on 15 August 2000 and Adair again blamed Republicans even though only Loyalists had previously used pipe-bombs.]

May 1999

Sunday 2 May 1999
item mark A 16 year-old Catholic boy was attacked and badly beaten by a group of approximately 20 Loyalists in north Belfast. His arm was broken and he was left unconscious. The assailants also attacked the boy's girlfriend.

Monday 3 May 1999
item mark A 27 year-old Catholic man was badly beaten in a sectarian attack carried out by a crowd of Loyalists in Lurgan, County Armagh. item mark A 24 year-old Catholic man was beaten in a separate sectarian attack in Lurgan.
item mark It was reported in the media that David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), had been involved with secret talks with senior members of the Orange Order from Portadown about the Drumcree parade dispute.
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), rejected Northern Ireland Office (NIO) proposals to establish a 'transitional' Executive without a transfer of powers until decommissioning had begun.

Tuesday 4 May 1999
item mark Nine shots were fired at Lisnaskea Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station in County Fermanagh. [The Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) was thought to have been responsible for the attack.]
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that there would be a new police investigation into allegations of collusion between the security services and Loyalist paramilitaries in the killing of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor, on 12 February 1989. item mark The Independent (a London based newspaper) published details of an Irish government document that alleged collusion in the killing of Finucane.
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), held talks elected representatives from the Portadown area in an effort to find a resolution to the Drumcree parade dispute. Among those invited were Brendán Mac Cionnaith, then spokesperson of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition and also independent councillor in Portadown. There was a protest meeting outside by anti-Agreement Loyalists.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), called for an inquiry into the shooting dead of five people on 9 July 1972 by the security forces.

Wednesday 5 May 1999
item mark There was an attempted Loyalist gun attack in north Belfast. A gunman attempted to fire shots at two boys standing outside a shop but they escaped when the gun jammed. [The attack was later claimed by a group calling itself the 'Protestant Liberation Force'. Some commentators believed that this was a cover name for members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).] item mark A pipe-bomb, that had been packed with nails, blew a hole in the wall of the home of a Catholic couple living in a Loyalist area of south Belfast. Although the woman escaped unharmed, her husband received minor leg injuries. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark Relatives of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989, held a meeting at Stormont with Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. They pressed their case for a public inquiry into his death rather than the police investigation favoured by the British government.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), stated in an article in The Irish Post (a London based newspaper) that if the Executive proved to be successful it could make the Irish Republican Army (IRA) "irrelevant".

Thursday 6 May 1999
item mark Representatives of the British and Irish governments held talks in London with representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Sinn Féin (SF).
item mark The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was reported to be anxious to see permanent disarmament because of fears of weapons falling into "criminal hands". [The statement marked a shift from saying it might never decommission its weapons.]

Friday 7 May 1999
item mark A 19 year old man was shot in both ankles in a paramilitary 'punishment' attack in Andersonstown, west Belfast.
item mark The Bloody Sunday Inquiry ruled that British Army soldier who had fired their weapons on 30 January 1972 would not be allowed to remain anonymous. [The soldiers later managed to have the decision reversed in the Court of Appeal.]

Sunday 9 May 1999
item mark Brendan 'Speedy' Fegan (24), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead in a public house in Newry, County Down. [There were allegations that Fegan had been a drug dealer. There were also reports that Fegan had previously been threatened by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). It was not clear at the time if the IRA was responsible for the killing.]
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item mark Houses belonging to Catholic families in Antrim and Armagh were attacked with petrol-bombs. The attacks were carried out by Loyalists.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), gave an address to the party's Ard Fheis and stressed his organisation's aims as emancipation, empowerment and economic liberation.

Monday 10 May 1999
item mark John Hermon (Sir), former Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), was quoted in The Daily Telegraph (a London based newspaper) as saying that Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989, was "associated with the IRA". [Hermon's remarks were criticised by Nationalists and human rights groups.]

Tuesday 11 May 1999
item mark At a special meeting of the Law Society members voted to overturn an earlier decision of its ruling council and instead supported a call for independent inquiries into the killings of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989, and Rosemary Nelson, a Lurgan solicitor killed on 15 March 1999.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), and Martin McGuinness, the Vice-President of SF, travelled to Downing Street, London, for a meeting with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister.
item mark The Irish government apologised to children who suffered institutional abuse. Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), said: "On behalf of the State and all citizens of the State the Government wishes to make a sincere and long overdue apology to the victims of childhood abuse for our failure to intervene, to detect their pain, to come to their rescue." The Government also announced that the victims would have an opportunity to have their experiences officially heard in September under a commission to be set up to inquire into the scandal.

Wednesday 12 May 1999
item mark A Catholic man, who was working on a building site in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, was seriously injured in a Loyalist paramilitary shotgun attack. [The attack was later claimed by a group calling itself the 'Protestant Liberation Force'. Some commentators believed that this was a cover name for members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).]
item mark The Orange Order cancelled its plans to hold a single 'Twelfth' rally at Drumcree. However the Order said that individual lodges could go to Drumcree after their main parades.
item mark Hillary Clinton, then First Lady of the US, began a two-day visit to Ireland. An honorary doctorate of laws was conferred on Hillary Clinton at NUI Galway where she praised Irish efforts at peace-making and warned of the "perils of indifference" to the Balkan crisis. Hillary Clinton also became the first woman to receive the freedom of the city of Galway. In the afternoon she flew to Belfast to visit a playground for children hurt during the conflict and then met with 14 female members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
item mark The Loyalist picket at the Catholic church in Harryville, Ballymena, County Antrim, was called off "until further notice". The picket had resumed on 10 April 1999.
item mark Threats from Loyalist paramilitaries forced the Catholic owners of a public house in Dunmurray, close to Belfast, to close.

Thursday 13 May 1999
item mark Hillary Clinton addressed a conference in Belfast on the topic of promoting the role of women in society. She later flew to London where she addressed a conference about children.

Friday 14 May 1999
item mark There were further political talks in London involving the two Prime Ministers and the leaders of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Sinn Féin (SF). item mark Before the meeting Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF) expressed concern about the state of the ceasefires of the main Loyalist paramilitary groups. He claimed that the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) had co-operated with other Loyalist groups in carrying out attacks on Catholic homes. item mark At the meeting Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, announced an "absolute" deadline of 30 June 1999 for the formation of an Executive and the devolution of power to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Proposals put before the parties were thought to have been agreed by, David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Irish Government, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Sinn Féin (SF). [However the UUP Assembly party failed to endorse the proposals. The proposals would have seen the d'Hondt procedure for the appointment of ministers in a power-sharing executive triggered in the coming week, with full devolution achieved by the end of June, following a report on "progress" on decommissioning by Gen. John de Chastelain.]

Saturday 15 May 1999
item mark There was an arson attack on an Orange Hall in Donaghmore, County Tyrone. The hall was damaged as a result of the attack.

Sunday 16 May 1999
item mark Members of Justice for the Forgotten, the campaign group representing families of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings on 17 May 1974, held a wreath-laying ceremony in Dublin. The group called for a full public inquiry into the bombings.
item mark Around 800 residents from the Garvaghy Road area of Portadown, County Armagh, held a meeting at which Brendán Mac Cionnaith, then spokesperson of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition and independent councillor in Portadown, rejected rumours that a deal had been done to resolve the disputed Drumcree parade.

Monday 17 May 1999
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) issued a blunt warning that it would not change its position on decommissioning before, during or after next month's European election. David Trimble, then First Minister designate, challenged Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, to state whether, in the British government's view, devolution could proceed without the start of "actual decommissioning".
item mark In the Republic of Ireland 42 candidates were nominated for the European election on 11 June 1999. Fianna Fáil (FF) put forward eight candidates, Fine Gael seven, Labour five, Sinn Féin four, Natural Law Party four, and the Green Party three. For the first time there was no PD candidate.

Tuesday 18 May 1999
item mark There was a Loyalist rally in Portadown, County Armagh, in support of Drumcree. Six Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers and six civilians were injured in disturbances at the rally.
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), reiterated his party's position on Irish Republican Army (IRA) decommissioning as Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, called the main party leaders back to Downing Street, London. The Prime Minister was hoping to resolve the impasse which threatened the Good Friday Agreement. After the one-hour meeting, UUP party sources indicated that Trimble would propose that potential ministers in an Executive would be "identified", though not "nominated".
item mark There was a meeting of the Church of Ireland General Synod in Dublin. The General Synod voted to urge Drumcree church vestry to withdraw its invitation to the Orange Order to hold services at the church if the Order did not give assurances to respect Church sanctity and property. John Pickering (Rev), then rector of Drumcree, voted against each of the three motions that arose in respect of Drumcree. [On 19 May 1999 Pickering and his vestry decided to defy the Synod's vote and announced that they would go ahead with the service for the Orange Order on 4 July 1999.] The General Synod voted to stop flying the Union flag on churches to avoid giving offence.

Wednesday 19 May 1999
item mark John Pickering (Rev), then rector of Drumcree, together with his vestry, decided to defy the General Synod's vote on 18 May 1999 and announced that they would go ahead with the service for the Orange Order at Drumcree on 4 July 1999.
item mark Talks were held in Downing Street involving the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Sinn Féin (SF). However the parties failed to reach agreement on outstanding issues.
item mark Loyalists clashed with Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers in Portadown, County Armagh.
item mark Eddie Copeland was awarded £27,500 by Belfast High Court in compensation for injuries received when he was shot by a British Army soldier on 26 October 1993. The case was taken against the Ministry of Defence. Copeland had been attending the funeral of Thomas Begley who was killed planting a bomb on the Shankill Road on 23 October 1993.
item mark Garda Síochána (the Irish police) opened an inquiry into the killing of Seamus Ludlow on 2 May 1976 who was found shot in laneway near to his home, Thistlecross, near Dundalk, County Louth. Gardaí initially blamed the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for the killing. [However later it was claimed that Ludlow had been killed by the Red Hand Commando (RHC) / Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). There was also speculation of involvement by the Special Air Service (SAS) and also by the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).]

Thursday 20 May 1999
item mark There were disturbances involving Loyalists and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in Portadown, County Armagh.
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) delegation did not arrive for a second day of talks at Downing Street. The UUP stated that it had not been informed of the continuation of the talks. Sinn Féin (SF) accused the UUP of a deliberate snub of the Prime Minister.
item mark The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC) called for the Parades Commission to re-route the part of the Drumcree parade which passed close to Obins Street and St John’s Catholic Church. Paul Berry, then a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Assemblyman, responded in an interview on Radio Ulster and said Loyalists would not be stopped from getting down the Garvaghy Road, "If it is a matter of taking the law into our own hands then we are going to have to do it. That is a threat." (Reported in ‘Fortnight’ magazine, September 1999, p6). Mr Berry later denied making a threat.
item mark Planners from the Department of the Environment (DOE) in Northern Ireland told a regional planning conference in Dublin that Derry would be developed as the growth hub of the north-west.

Friday 21 May 1999
item mark Three men, who had been arrested in July 1998 and later found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions, were sentenced at the Old Bailey in London. Anthony Hyland (26) was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, and Darren Mulholland (20) and Liam Grogan (22) each received a sentence of 22 years. The three had been accused of being part of a Real Irish Republican Army (rIRA) unit.
item mark Two home-made grenades exploded outside two pubs on the Falls Road, in west Belfast. Three men were slightly injured. Sinn Féin accused the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) of being responsible for the attacks.
item mark Seven shots were fired at Frank Petticrew, then a Catholic youth worker, as he escorted a Protestant girl back to her Shankill Road home following a cross-community event. Petticrew claimed that he had been threatened with assassination by Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers six months earlier. He claimed the officers concerned wanted information on IRA members otherwise he would be shot dead by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD). The RUC denied the allegations.

Saturday 22 May 1999
item mark Loyalists carried out a petrol-bomb attack on the home of a Catholic family in west Belfast.

Sunday 23 May 1999
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, said he intended to invite representatives of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition (GRRC) and members of the Orange Order to intensive proximity-style talks on 3, 4, and 5 June 1999 in an effort to resolve the Drumcree parade dispute.
item mark The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concluded its involvement in the inquiry into the death of Rosemary Nelson, a Lurgan solicitor killed on 15 March 1999, but announced it would continue to be available to assist the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).
item mark The Sunday Times (a London based newspaper) reported that David Trimble, then Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), was suing Amazon.com for distributing the book ‘The Committee’ by Sean McPhilemy.

Monday 24 May 1999
item mark The News Letter (a Belfast based newspaper) denied claims by James Molyneaux, former leader of the UUP, that its editorial on 17 May 1999 had been drafted by Alistair Campbell, then offical spokesman for the Prime Minister.

Wednesday 26 May 1999
item mark The Dáil introduced legislation to extend the deadline for the removal of articles 2 and 3 from the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland.
item mark Catholic Bishops called for a task force to be set up in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to study the legal and social implications of a World Health Organisation (WHO) charter on alcohol. In their pastoral, The Temperate Way, the bishops pointed out that alcohol is the major dependency problem not just in Ireland but also in Europe.

Thursday 27 May 1999
item mark Leaders of the Presbyterian Church criticised the Orange Order in Portadown, County Armagh, for failing to commend the Christian faith during the Drumcree parade dispute.
item mark Legislation was passed at Westminster and the Oireachtas which guaranteed immunity from prosecution for anyone providing information on the location of the bodies of the ‘disappeared’.

Friday 28 May 1999
Body of One of the 'Disappeared' Recovered
item mark The body of Eamon Molloy, one of the 'disappeared' who had been missing since 1975, was found above ground in a new coffin in a cemetery in County Louth, Republic of Ireland. Garda Síochána (the Irish police) went to the site following information given by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR). The IRA passed on information about the location of nine bodies at six sites in four counties in the Republic of Ireland. The ICLVR was established jointly by Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Mr O'Donoghue, then Minister for Justice in the Republic of Ireland. The discovery marked the beginning of digging at a number of locations in Counties Louth, Monaghan, Meath, and Wicklow (all in the Republic of Ireland).
item mark There was a pipe-bomb attack on the home of a Catholic family in Armagh. The device broke a window and caused minor damage to the house; the family escaped unharmed. The attacked was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

Saturday 29 May 1999
item mark A 'Junior' Orange Order parade took place close to the mainly Catholic Garvaghy Road in Portadown, County Armagh. There were disturbances following the parade with 13 Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers and four civilians injured. RUC officers were reported to have fired 50 baton rounds (plastic bullets) during the disturbances.
item mark The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR) was informed that the body of Jean McConville, who had been abducted from her home in Belfast in 1972 by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was buried under a car park at Templetown beach, five miles from Carlingford, County Louth. [After several extensive excavations over a number of weeks nothing was found. McConville’s body was discovered by accident in 2004.]
item mark There was further controversy at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry into the killings on 30 January 1972 when it became clear that George Robertson, then British Secretary for Defence, was supporting 17 members of the Parachute Regiment who were claiming anonymity on the grounds that they would be in danger if their names were revealed.

June 1999

Tuesday 1 June 1999
item mark Marie Moor, then Sinn Féin (SF) councillor, was elected as deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast. This was the first SF member to attain this position. Robert Stoker, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) councillor, was elected as Lord Mayor.
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), appealed for further information on where the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had placed the bodies of the ‘disappeared’. Ahern hoped any information would be passed to the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) and members of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR). He was replying to Mr Quinn, then Labour Party leader, who referred to the "extraordinary agony" which the families were going through.

Wednesday 2 June 1999
item mark The Grand Lodge of the Orange Order announced that it would organise a series of protests in support of Portadown Orangemen during the period leading up to the Drumcree parade on 4 July 1999.

Friday 4 June 1999
item mark Portadown Orangemen began proximity talks with representatives of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition (GRRC) to try to resolve the dispute surrounding the Drumcree parade planned for 4 July 1999. Frank Blair, then of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), acted as mediator.

Saturday 5 June 1999
Woman Killed by Loyalist Paramilitaries
item mark Elizabeth O'Neill (59) was killed when Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a pipe-bomb attack on her home in the Corcrain estate in Portadown, County Armagh. Mrs O'Neill was a Protestant who was married to a Catholic. The bomb was thrown through the window of the O'Neill home and it is believed that Mrs O'Neill was killed as she tried to carry it out of the house. David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), cancelled a planned trip to Israel because of the killing and described it as an attempt to derail efforts to resolve the Drumcree parade crisis. ['Mixed-marriage' (or 'cross-community' / 'mixed religion') couples had been targeted by paramilitaries since the beginning of the conflict. On 8 June 1999 the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) denied responsibility for the pipe-bomb attack.]
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item mark A blast bomb exploded in another Catholic home in Westland Road, Portadown. A woman was inside with her 10-month-old baby and sister, aged 17. No one is injured. item mark A pipe-bomb was made safe after it was discovered at a house in the Catholic Short Strand area of east Belfast. item mark Several families were evacuated from their homes in Twinbrook, west Belfast while the Army dealt with two pipe-bombs. According to residents in the Acacia Avenue flats the devices had been lying for several hours in an area where children play before being discovered just before lunchtime. item mark Pipe-bombs were thrown at Catholic homes in Castlewellan, County Down and in East Belfast. All the attacks were carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark Proximity talks between the Orange Order and representatives of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition (GRRC) stalled as the Orange Order representatives accused Frank Blair, then of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), of "complete bias".

Monday 7 June 1999
item mark Loyalist paramilitaries left a pipe-bomb at a Catholic primary school in Ballymena, County Antrim. The bomb was made safe by British Army technical officers.
item mark John Lockington (Dr), then a member of the Orange Order and the Royal Black Institution, took up office as the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
item mark Figures published by the brokerage firm Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, showed that the Republic of Ireland was the second most expensive place in Europe after Finland to buy a house. A typical urban home costs more than 18 times average annual disposable income in the Republic, compared with just 8.3 times in the USA.

Monday 7 June 1999
item mark A pipe-bomb was found at St. Mary’s primary school in Ballymena, County Antrim. Nearly 120 children up to the age of 12 were evacuated from school grounds. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

Tuesday 8 June 1999
item mark Fourteen pipe-bombs were found by Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers in the Loyalist Mourneview estate in Lurgan, County Armagh. [A man was later charged in relation to the find.]
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), announced a series of intensive talks in a final attempt to break the deadlock in the Northern Ireland talks before the 30 June 1999 deadline.
item mark Les Rodgers, then Chairman of the Police Federation, spoke at the organisation’s annual conference. He claimed that some lawyers, academics and human rights groups were part of "an evil conspiracy to vilify this police force". He also claimed that this attempt was "being coordinated by Sinn Féin".

Wednesday 9 June 1999
item mark Fourteen pipe-bombs, and some ammunition, were uncovered by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in the Loyalist Mourneview housing estate in Lurgan, County Armagh.. The weapons were discovered at the rear of a house on the estate after information was received by the RUC from members of the public. The weapons belonged to Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark The Bloody Sunday Inquiry admitted that during the autumn of 1998, 73 sets of documents presented to the original Widgery Inquiry had been released to interested parties' solicitors which included statements by five ex-Paratroopers who were involved in the events but did not open fire. The statements contained the soldiers' names, ranks, and army serial numbers.
item mark At the annual General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, ministers argued over the issue of the Orange Order and the Drumcree parade dispute.

Thursday 10 June 1999
European Parliament Election
item mark Elections to the European Parliament were held across the United Kingdom (UK). Northern Ireland was treated as a single constituency which returned three Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Turnout for the election was 57 per cent. [When counting was completed on Monday 14 June the three standing candidates were returned. Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), topped the poll for the fifth time, John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was a close second. Jim Nicholson, then Ulster Unionist Party MEP, retained his seat despite a sharp drop in party support, and a strong challenge from Mitchel McLaughlin of Sinn Féin. (See: detailed results.) item mark The Irish Times (a Dublin based newspaper) reported that the deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), John Taylor, had threatened to resign twice in the past two weeks in a dispute over his refusal to endorse the party's candidate, Jim Nicholson, in the European Parliament election.]
item mark Radio Telefis Éireann’s (RTE) ‘Prime Time’ programme claimed that both Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers and Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldiers were involved in a gun and bomb attack on 19 December 1975 at the Silverbridge Inn, County Armagh, in which three people were killed. At the time the attack was claimed by the Red Hand Commando (RHC) .

Friday 11 June 1999
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, intensified discussions to try to resolve the issues preventing the establishment of an Executive in Northern Ireland.
item mark The Police Authority of Northern Ireland warned that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) did not have sufficient funds to meet the additional costs in policing the violence surrounding the Drumcree dispute.

Saturday 12 June 1999
item mark In the Republic of Ireland Sinn Féin made significant gains in the local elections. The party increased its vote from 2.1 per cent in the 1991 local elections to 3.5 per cent and trebled the level of its representation to 21 seats.

Sunday 13 June 1999
item mark Paul "Bull" Downey (37) was shot dead in Newry, County Down. [It was alleged in the media that Downey was a major drugs dealer and there was also speculation that he had been killed by Republican paramilitaries. Unionists blamed the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for the killing.]
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Monday 14 June 1999
item mark Two men escaped injury when shots were fired at then in Sandy Row, south Belfast. The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) later stated that "it is more that likely that UVF personnel carried this [attack] out". [The shooting was believed to be connected to the killing on 11 June 1997 of Robert ‘Basher’ Bates.]
item mark Counting was completed and the result of the European election was announced.
item mark The Methodist Church called for direct talks between the Orange Order and the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition (GRRC).

Tuesday 15 June 1999
item mark In a keynote speech at Stranmillis College in Belfast Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, said the governments would "have to look for another way forward" if the devolution deadline were missed. Blair also invited Portadown Orangemen and representatives of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition (GRRC) to new talks at Stormont in a further attempt to resolve the dispute surrounding the Drumcree parade planned for 4 July 1999.
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), said the Irish and British governments would "set aside" the Good Friday Agreement and seek alternative means of political progress if a breakthrough was not made by 30 June 1999. Ahern told the Dáil the decommissioning issue had now been "debated to death".

Thursday 17 June 1999
item mark Martin McGartland, formerly a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) who turned informer, was shot seven times and seriously injured at his home in Whitley Bay, England. McGartland blamed the IRA for trying to kill him.
item mark The High Court in London passed a ruling (by 2 to 1) that the 17 former soldiers giving evidence to the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday could remain anonymous. The ruling was criticised by relatives of the victims.
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), corrected a statement he had made in the Dáil earlier in the day. In the statement he had said that he believed the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) had given up on some of the sites being searched for the remains of those killed and buried in secret by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). He said he had discussions with officials from the Department of Justice and had been assured that the Garda had not given up on the searches.

Friday 18 June 1999
item mark Lee Clegg, then a soldier in the Parachute Regiment, was sentenced to four years for attempting to wound Martin Peake with intent in west Belfast on 30 September 1990. Clegg was however immediately released because of the time he had already served in prison. [Clegg was originally convicted of the murder of Karen Reilly during the same incident but was cleared on appeal on 11 March 1999.]
item mark Three people from Northern Ireland were appointed as Working Peers by the Labour government. They were John Laird, a former Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Stormont MP; Dennis Rogan, then UUP Chairman; and May Bloody, then a Shankill Road community worker.
item mark James McCarry, then a Sinn Féin Councillor, became the first Republican to obtain a firearms licence following the personal intervention of Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Saturday 19 June 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), invited Jeffrey Donaldson, a critic of the Good Friday Agreement, to rejoin his talks team in preparation for meetings with the British and Irish governments over the 30 June 1999 devolution deadline. [The move seemed to dispel hopes in London and Dublin that the UUP leader might be persuaded to form the Northern Ireland Executive without a hard and fast agreement on IRA decommissioning.]
item mark Ten men were arrested on both sides of the Border in connection with the bombing of Omagh on 15 August 1998. A further two men were arrested on 21 June 1999.

Monday 21 June 1999
item mark The BBC ‘Panorama’ programme alleged that Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), told a UN rapporteur that some lawyers in Ireland "were working for a paramilitary agenda". Flanagan denied the claim. The programme also alleged there had been collusion between RUC officers and Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark The results of a survey sponsored by the Parades Commission were published. Of those people questioned a majority of Protestants and Catholics agreed that the Loyal Orders should enter direct talks with residents groups and also with the Parades Commission. A majority of Protestants questioned disagreed with the rulings reached by the Comission.
item mark Mary Freehill, then member of the Irish Labour party, and Damian Wallace, then a member of Fianna Fáil (FF), were elected Lord Mayor of Dublin and Cork respectively. Fine Gael warned its councillors not to enter any voting pacts with Sinn Féin until there was a resolution of the decommissioning impasse.

Tuesday 22 June 1999
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), said the Northern Ireland Executive must be established before paramilitary weapons were decommissioned. Ahern said it would be possible to persuade paramilitaries to disarm only "in the context of a confidence in functioning democratic institutions".
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), called on Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, to sack Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
item mark Patrick Magee, who had been convicted of taking part in the Brighton bombing on 12 October 1984, was freed under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement after serving 14 years of a 34 year sentence. [Magee was the 277th prisoner to be released on licence under the terms of the early release scheme.]

Wednesday 23 June 1999
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, demanded "an absolute commitment to decommissioning" on the part of paramilitary groups. Blair's comments followed confirmation that the head of the International Commission, Gen John de Chastelain, had been asked to produce a report on the arms issue by Tuesday.

Thursday 24 June 1999
item mark Officers in the Traffic Branch of the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) intercepted 300lb of explosives in a car outside Letterkenny in the Republic of Ireland.
item mark William Stobie (48), of Forthriver Road, Belfast, was charged with the killing of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane on 12 February 1989. Stobie, who had served in the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), was remanded in custody to the Maze Court on 14 July 1999. Stobie was claimed to have been the west Belfast quartermaster for the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). His lawyers claimed that Stobie had been an informer for Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Special Branch at the time of the killing.
item mark The Orange Order began a 10 day ‘Long March’ from Derry to Drumcree. The march was in support of Protestant rights and the Portadown Orangemen who wished to march down the Garvaghy Road on 4 July 1999.

Friday 25 June 1999
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, rejected demands for an Inquiry into the killing of Billy Wright inside the Maze Prison on 27 December 1997.
item mark Tony Blair, the British Prime Minster, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), travelled to Belfast for a series of meetings at Stormont with the political parties. [These meetings were held prior to a week of intensive negotiations, beginning on Monday 28 June. The deadline for overcoming the political impasse had been set for 30 June.]

Sunday 27 June 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), challenged Sinn Féin (SF) to get a pledge from the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to disarm by May 2000. item mark Martin McGuinness, then SF's chief negotiator, said he could not speak on behalf of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). item mark Seamus Mallon, then deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), interpreted Trimble's challenge as indicating an acceptance that the demand for prior disarmament would not be met.
item mark Proximity talks between the Orange Order and representatives of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition (GRRC) failed to reach an agreement over the planned Drumcree Parade on 4 July 1999.

Monday 28 June 1999
item mark A Catholic woman (45) and her six year old son escaped injury when there was a pipe-bomb attack on their south Belfast home. Police say bomb disposal experts called to the scene in Belfast’s Finaghy area found the remnants of a pipe-bomb which had been pushed through the letter box in the front door. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark The Parades Commission issued its decision on the proposed parade by the Portadown District of the Orange Order along the Garvaghy Road, Portadown, on Sunday 4 July 1999. The decision re-routed the Orange Order parade away from the Garvaghy Road and instructed the order to use the outward route when returning from Drumcree. The decision followed the breakdown of talks between Garvaghy Road residents and the Orange Order. The Commission also re-routed the 'Long March' away from Nationalist areas of Lurgan, County Armagh, on Friday 2 July 1999. The press conference at which the decisions were announced was disrupted by a bomb alert, which turned out to be a hoax telephone call.
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), began a "final push" to end the impasse over decommissioning and the formation of the Executive.
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), issued a statement on decommissioning.

Tuesday 29 June 1999
item mark Although the British and Irish governments gave an upbeat assessment, spokespersons for the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Sinn Féin (SF) were cautious about the degree of progress that had been made in the multi-party talks at Stormont. [Official sources suggested substantial progress had been made in the talks. SF was said to have hardened its verbal commitment to the principle of decommissioning and to using its influence to persuade the IRA to dispose of weapons in the context of the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.]
item mark After 30 days of searching, Garda Síochána (the Irish police) uncovered the remains of two of the ‘disappeared’ believed to be those of John McClory (17) and Brian McKinney (22) in a bog in County Monaghan. Both of the men had been abducted on 25 May 1978 and were shot some time later by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for allegedly stealing weapons.

Wednesday 30 June 1999
item mark The "absolute deadline" set by Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, passed without the establishment of the Executive. The Prime Minister agreed to an extension. Sinn Féin published a document entitled ‘Breaking the impasse: A Sinn Féin declaration’.

July 1999

Thursday 1 July 1999
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, claimed that the Stormont talks had brought about a "seismic shift" in the political landscape of Northern Ireland. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) continued to insist that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) should decommission its weapons and explosives in parallel with the creation of the Northern Ireland Executive. Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) sources believed a possible solution was emerging. (Blair’s attendance at the Stormont talks meant that he missed the opening of the Scottish Parliament.)
item mark The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) won a council by-election in Lisburn. Peter Robinson, then Deputy Leader of the DUP, said this victory in a Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) safe seat was a "final warning" to David David, then leader of the UUP.
item mark Those Loyalist paramilitary groups who were then on ceasefire issued a warning to "hooligans and looters" that pro-Drumcree rioting would not be tolerated.
item mark William Whitelaw, who had been appointed as the first Secretary of State for Northern Ireland following the imposition of Direct Rule in 1972, died in London aged 81.

Friday 2 July 1999
item mark After five days of discussions between the British and Irish Governments at Stormont, the two governments issued a document called The Way Forward outlining a way to establish an inclusive Executive, and also to decommission paramilitary arms. [The document envisaged that ministers would be nominated by 15 July 1999 and powers would be devolved to the Executive on 18 July 1999. Shortly after the formation of the Executive decommissioning of paramilitary arms would begin and would be completed by May 2000. "Safeguard" legislation would be introduced to ensure that if any part of the undertaking was broken then all the institutions associated with the Agreement would cease to operate. Later Bill Clinton, the President of the USA, urged all the parties to support the document.] As part of the process the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) issued a report on decommissioning. Sinn Féin (SF) also issued a document that indicated that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) "could" start decommissioning its weapons.
item mark Tony Blair, the British Prime Minster, also had talks with representatives of the Orange Order and the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition (GRRC) in an unsuccessful attempt to find agreement ahead of the Drumcree parade on 4 July 1999.

Saturday 3 July 1999
item mark The Irish Times (a Dublin based newspaper) carried a report on what it termed a "ethno-sectarian" campaign by Loyalist paramilitaries against Catholics and couples in mixed marriages living in towns across Northern Ireland. The report said that the campaign had gone virtually unreported despite the fact that Loyalists had carried out over 200 bomb attacks. Many Catholics had been forced to abandon their homes. The reported highlighted the situation in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, where it was claimed that members of the South East Antrim Ulster Defence Association (UDA) were responsible. [See: chronology of 'pipe-bomb' attacks, July 1997 to 13 February 2001.]

Sunday 4 July 1999
Drumcree Parade - 'Drumcree V'
item mark For the fifth year in a row attention was focused on the Orange Order parade at Drumcree, Portadown, County Armagh. Hundreds of Orangemen from across County Armagh paraded to Drumcree Churce. However, the Orange Order was refused permission in a determination by the Parades Commission to parade down the mainly Nationalist Garvaghy Road. The security forces had erected a steel barricade across the road to halt the march but the subsequent protest passed off relatively quietly compared to previous years. There was only one incident at a security barricade when one baton round (plastic bullet) was fired. [There were clashes between police and Loyalists on 5 July 1999.]
item mark Following 'The Way Forward' joint statement by Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), the two men called on the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to make a statement to ease Unionist fears over decommissioning. item mark Blair published an article in The Sunday Times (a London based newspaper) in which he said that a rejection of the document by the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) would amount to a "tactical own goal".
item mark Reports that Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was to be moved from Belfast to a different cabinet post were dismissed as "bunkum" by British government sources. [Mowlam was replace by Peter Mandelson on 11 October 1999.]

Monday 5 July 1999
item mark Six Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were reported to have been injured in clashes with Loyalists near the mainly Nationalist Garvaghy Road, Portadown, County Armagh. RUC officers had earlier arrested four men from east Belfast after the discovery of pickaxe handles, wire cutters, petrol, and combat clothing in a car in Portadown shortly after 3.00pm (15.00BST).
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, maintained pressure on David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), to accept the proposals in 'The Way Forward' document intended to resolve the problems over the decommissioning of paramilitary arms. Blair also published an article in The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) in which he tried to reassure Unionists.
item mark The IRA leadership was reported to have held a meeting in Dublin to discuss a response to the document. However, there was no indication that the organisation was preparing any move to begin disarming.
item mark The Parades Commission published its decision to re-route the local Ballynafeigh Orange lodge parade away from the nationalist part of the Lower Ormeau Road.

Tuesday 6 July 1999
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) uncovered a cache of petrol bombs in Ballymena, County Antrim. The devices had been prepared by Loyalists.
item mark Republican sources were reported as saying that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had drawn up an inventory of its weapons that it may present to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) chaired by John de Chastelain (Gen.).
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), wrote an article for The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) stating that the Ulster Unionists would not reject 'The Way Forward' document without consideration, but that they would require further reassurances.
item mark Lawyers acting on behalf of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry began an appeal to the High Court in London over the decision to grant anonymity to members of the Parachute Regiment. item mark Derek Wilford, who had commanded Paratroops on Bloody Sunday, was interviewed on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 during which he described the relatives of those killed as "representing the republican organisation". Families of the dead reacted angrily to the remarks.
item mark The Parades commission announced that 27 parades planned for the Twelfth week would be re-routed.

Wednesday 7 July 1999
item mark Supporters of the Loyal Orders were blamed for a series of attacks on Catholic homes and businesses in Belfast, Ballycastle, Carrickfergus, and Woodburn.
item mark Nationalists accused the Orange Order of deliberate provocation after its decision to switch its main 12 July 1999 parade from its 'traditional' rallying point at Edenderry to Ormeau Park, Belfast. The move by the Orange Order was in protest at the Parades Commission's decision to ban the local Ballynafeigh lodge from the nationalist part of the Ormeau Road. It also brought the parade close to the mainly Catholic area of Lower Ormeau Road. The Parades Commission re-routed a total of 27 parades that were planned for the 'Twelfth'.
item mark Following remarks by the actor Liam Neeson that he had been treated "like a second-class citizen" when growing up as a Catholic in Ballymena, Unionist councillors in the town reacted angrily and described his comments as "outlandish".
item mark George Mitchell, former Chairman of the talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement, was in Belfast to launch a new reconciliation fund for Northern Ireland.

Thursday 8 July 1999
item mark Loyalists left a pipe-bomb outside the house of a Sinn Féin (SF) member in Ballycastle, County Antrim. item mark There were two arson attacks on houses in north Belfast which the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) described as sectarian.
item mark Barry Morgan (24) was found guilty of the murder of Cyril Stewart, at the time a retired Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) reservist, in Armagh on March 1998. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) was responsible for the attack.
item mark A disagreement arose between Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), over whether or not Sinn Féin (SF) was now a separate organisation from the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Ahern said on BBC Radio Ulster that they were two separate organisations but senior police sources on both sides of the Border supported Blair's stated view that the two organisations were "inextricably linked".
item mark Orangemen from Portadown, County Armagh, held talks about the Drumcree issue with Tony Blair at Downing Street, London.

Friday 9 July 1999
item mark There was a meeting of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Executive to consider 'The Way Forward' proposals. The 110 member Executive rejected the document as being fundamentally unfair.
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) reported that the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) had indicated that the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) had no intention of decommissioning its weapons.
item mark The News Letter (a Belfast based newspaper) published the results of an opinion poll. Of those questioned 53 per cent of Protestants disapproved of the British government's 'The Way Forward' proposals.

Saturday 10 July 1999
item mark There was an arson attack on a Protestant church hall in north Belfast.
item mark The 'Orange Alert Committee', a Loyalist grouping, organised a parade by hundreds of people to the security barrier at Drumcree, Portadown, County Armagh.
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), held a meeting with David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), at Government Buildings in Dublin. Ahern stated that if the Irish Republican Army (IRA) failed to deliver on decommissioning, the Executive would be suspended and a review would take place. Ahern rejected a UUP demand to expel Sinn Féin (SF) if arms were not given up.
item mark The Parades Commission reversed an earlier decision and ruled that the Orange Order could parade to Ormeau Park. Seven Unionist councillors, including the Lord Mayor, had lobbied on behalf of the Orange Order.
item mark The Irish Times (a Dublin based newspaper) published the results of a survey conducted in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. A total of 65% of those interviewed in Northern Ireland stated their support for the establishment of the proposed Northern Ireland Executive by 18 July 1999. There was however a noticeable difference in opinion between the two communities with the proposal supported by 91% of Nationalists but only 47% of Unionists.

Sunday 11 July 1999
item mark Four Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were injured when trouble flared at a Loyalist bonfire site in Derry.
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, tried to reassure Unionists by stating that 'failsafe' legislation would be introduced in the House of Commons which would safeguard the Unionist position. item mark An article by David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), was published in The Sunday Times (a London based Newspaper) in which he stated that the UUP would reject ‘The Way Forward’ proposals unless there was a guarantee regarding the position of Sinn Féin (SF) in the event of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) not decommissioning its weapons. Trimble called for a guarantee from John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), that he would help to expel Sinn Féin from the proposed Executive if the IRA defaulted. item mark Hume said that the SDLP would not sit in an Executive with any party that supported violence.
item mark The Sunday Tribune (a Dublin based newspaper) stated that it would fully support Ed Moloney, then Northern Editor of the newspaper. Moloney had been served with a court order requesting him to provide the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) with notes of an interview with William Stobie. On 24 June 1999 Stobie was charged with the killing of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane who had been shot dead on 12 February 1989. The interview had been conducted in 1990 and this formed the basis of an article that appeared in The Sunday Tribune on 27 June 1999.

Monday 12 July 1999
item mark Across Northern Ireland the Twelfth parades passed off without incident. The largest Orange parade with around 20,000 marchers proceeded through south Belfast to the Ormeau Park, keeping to a compromise route. Other parades passed off without major incident.
item mark Legislation was put before the Westminster Parliament, designed to act as a safeguard for the decommissioning of arms and the devolution of power in Northern Ireland.
item mark Mary McAleese, then President of the Republic of Ireland, attended a reception to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the Republic's first president, Douglas Hyde (Dr). She said his message was that barriers between differing traditions should not be broken down by threat or stealth.

Tuesday 13 July 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), failed to win any concessions from the British government on its failsafe legislation in the House of Commons. The Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons by 343 votes to 24.

Wednesday 14 July 1999
item mark Following a meeting of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Executive David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, indicated that he would not participate in the d'Hondt procedure to appoint ministers to the North's proposed power-sharing Executive. [The decision to reject the ‘Way Forward’ proposals created another crisis in the peace process. Some commentators said that the move challenged the authority and prestige of Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister.]
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF) published an article in the Irish News (a Belfast based newspaper) stating that his party was against the safeguard legislation introduced on 12 July and that it is unnecessary under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
item mark Security force personnel dismantled barriers between Drumcree Church and the Garvaghy Road in Portadown. The barriers had been erected earlier in the month to prevent the Orange Order from marching through the mainly Nationalist area of Garvaghy Road.

Thursday 15 July 1999
Failed Attempt to Form Executive
item mark The attempt to form the Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed when David Trimble, then First Minister Designate, and the other Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly members failed to attend the sitting. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) also refused to nominate members to the Executive. An Executive of Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) members and Sinn Féin (SF) members was formed for a few moments, but was then disbanded because it did not have cross-community participation. Seamus Mallon then made a statement in which he tendered his resignation from the position of Deputy First Minister designate and called upon David Trimble to also resign. [The political developments meant that the British and Irish governments were forced to begin a review of the Good Friday Agreement. Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, adjourned the Assembly. [Mallon was reinstated on 29 November 1999.]
item mark An article written by David Trimble on Decommissioning was published in The Irish Times (a Dublin based newspaper).]

Saturday 17 July 1999
item mark It was announced that the former Northern Ireland talks chairman, Senator George Mitchell, had been invited to take part in a summit meeting on the peace process between the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister. [There had been earlier speculation that Mitchell would be asked to chair a Review of the Agreement.]

Sunday 18 July 1999
item mark The planned transfer of legislative powers from Westminster to the Northern Ireland Assembly did not take place because of the failure to appoint an Executive.

Monday 19 July 1999
item mark A parcel bomb addressed to a Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) member in Ballymena, County Antrim, was defused by British Army technical officers at a Post Office sorting room in the town. [Dissident Loyalist paramilitaries were thought to have been responsible.]
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), met with Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), in Dublin for talks on the political developments in Northern Ireland. Adams later said that delays in implementing the Good Friday Agreement meant that it would be not be possible to meet the decommissioning deadline.

Tuesday 20 July 1999
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), attempted to mend deteriorating relations with David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), at informal talks in London. item mark A meeting between Ahern and Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, was also arranged to confirm that George Mitchell would chair the review of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, triggered by the failure to establish the Executive. item mark Within an hour of the announcement Mitchell held a meeting with Trimble. Mitchell later stated that the review "would be tightly focused" and aimed at "a speedy conclusion". [The review began on 6 September 1999.]
item mark There was an announcement that the start of the main hearings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry would be delayed by six months from 27 September 1999 to 27 March 2000. The delay was blamed on impending court cases.

Wednesday 21 July 1999
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement rejecting demands for it to decommission its arsenal "in the current political context", but confirmed its "definitive commitment" to the success of the peace process. While it did not rule out the prospect of decommissioning, the IRA declined to confirm whether it supported the Sinn Féin (SF) initiative in signing up to the principle that decommissioning should take place before May 2000.
item mark The 32 County Sovereignty Committee called for "an alternative peace strategy" to the ‘Way Forward’ proposals.
item mark The first of the ‘Disappeared’ to be recovered, Eamonn Molloy, was buried in Belfast seven weeks after his remains were left in a graveyard in County Louth by the IRA. Molloy had been abducted from his home in Ardoyne, Belfast, in 1975. There were accusations that he had been an informer for the security forces.

Thursday 22 July 1999
item mark Sinn Féin (SF) and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) held separate talks with the Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, at Downing Street. Following the meeting Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of SF, said that Blair and David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), had "more influence with the IRA than Gerry Adams or I ever could". He also stated that if the UUP maintained its "rejectionist approach" there there was no chance of IRA decommissioning by May 2000.
item mark The membership of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland was named with Joan Harbison as Chair, Broanagh Hinds as Deputy Chair, and 18 other commissioners.
item mark George Mitchell, former Chairman of the multi-party talks, announced that he would begin his review of the Good Friday Agreement on 6 September 1999.
item mark The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) withheld funding for a drama group called DubbelJoint. The group had intended to perform a play about the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) entitled ‘Forced Upon Us’. The ACNI said that the script for the play "fell below the artistic standards the Council expected". DoubleJoint claimed the decision was politically motivated.

Friday 23 July 1999
item mark The owners of The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper), Trinity Holdings, were informed by Stephen Byers, then Trade and Industry Minister, that the group’s planned acquisition of Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) would not be allowed to proceed as it would mean two of Belfast’s three daily newspapers would then be under single control.

Tuesday 27 July 1999
item mark Garda Síochána (the Irish police) investigating a plot to smuggle handguns from the United States of America arrested a man and two women in Inverin, County Galway, and recovered eight handguns that had arrived in two parcels through the post. Earlier, in the US, the FBI detained two men and a woman in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and a Belfast man in Philadelphia in a transatlantic operation involving British and Irish police. An FBI source was reported as saying that the guns were intended for the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
item mark A Catholic church in Moneymore, County Derry, was attacked with a pipe-bomb. No one was injured in the incident. item mark A woman escaped injury after a bomb was left at her house in Larne, County Antrim. The woman heard a noise around midnight and discovered the device at the front of her house. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) moved the residents living on the street from their homes. Both attacks were carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

Wednesday 28 July 1999
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, retained her position in a British government reshuffle that left all but one member of Tony Blair's cabinet in place. Mowlam had earlier briefed journalists that she wanted to stay in post to complete the Good Friday Agreement. Peter Robinson, then deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), called the decision "a disaster", however, Nationalists welcomed the development.
item mark Relatives of the 14 men shot dead and 13 people wounded by British soldiers in Derry on 30 January 1972 expressed disappointment at an Appeal Court ruling that the soldiers who opened fire would not be named during the proceedings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Thursday 29 July 1999
item mark A man, in his mid-50s and from the USA, was arrested by Garda Síochána (the Irish police) in Clifden, County Galway, in connection with a suspected conspiracy to smuggle arms into the State. Earlier, Gardaí discovered a two handguns and a quantity of ammunition in a parcel at the SDS postal depot on the Naas Road in Dublin. In Fort Lauderdale, three Irish people arrested in connection with the conspiracy were refused bail by a Federal Court judge. A prosecution lawyer for one of the men, Conor Anthony Claxton, said he described himself as "a member of the Irish Republican Army".
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), said the current setback in the peace process was "not a blip but the possible meltdown of the political conditions that led to the Agreement". However it was announced that SF would take part in the Mitchell Review of the Agreement.
item mark ‘Channel 4 News’ and ‘Computer Weekly’ both made claims that there was a "cover up" by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) of the true reasons for the Chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre on 2 June 1994. The crash resulted in the deaths of 29 security force and intelligence personnel. While the MOD insisted that pilot error was to blame it emerged that the computer navigation equipment on the helicopter was at the centre of a legal dispute between the MOD and the suppliers of the equipment and software.

Friday 30 July 1999
Charles Bennett Killed
item mark Charles Bennett (22), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead in Belfast. It was believed that he had been abducted and held for four days before being bound and then shot twice in the head. Bennett was a taxi-driver from New Lodge and his body, which showed evidence of him having been beaten, was found off the Falls Road. [The IRA later admitted responsibility for the killing.]
death button

Saturday 31 July 1999
item mark Security forces carried out further investigations into the killing of Charles Bennett in Belfast on 30 July 1999. There were also ongoing investigations into the attempt to import weapons by post from Florida, USA. Sinn Féin (SF) insisted that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire remained intact.

August 1999

Sunday 1 August 1999
item mark In the aftermath of the killing of Charles Bennett on 30 July 1999, John Bruton, then Leader of Fine Gael, called upon Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), to make "an authoritative statement" on the relationship between Sinn Féin (SF) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). [SF responded to Bruton on 2 August 1999.]

Monday 2 August 1999
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), accused the Fine Gael leader, John Bruton, of "pandering to Unionism" following his comments on 1 August 1999. He claimed Bruton had failed to see "the big picture".

Tuesday 3 August 1999
item mark Security sources confirmed that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was considered responsible for the death of Charles Bennett on 30 July 1999. [Republican sources claimed he was killed to pacify hardliners over decommissioning and the lack of political progress.]

Thursday 5 August 1999
item mark Two pipe-bombs were discovered by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in a hedge in Glengormley, County Antrim. Police made the discovery at 2.45am during a search carried out at the junction between Elmfield Crescent and Elmfield Road in the town.
item mark A report of the Victims' Commission, established by the Irish government, into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings recommended the appointment of a former Supreme Court judge to inquire privately into events surrounding the bombings which killed 33 people and injured over 400. Although it was intended that the findings would eventually be made public, the families of the victims wanted the immediate establishment of a public tribunal of Inquiry. Other recommendations of the report were that a similar Inquiry be established into the killing of Seamus Ludlow on 2 May 1976, and that the Irish government should make a £10,000 payment to the 150 families affected by the bombings.

Friday 6 August 1999
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement in which the organisation denied that it have been behind an attempt to smuggle arms from the USA into Ireland; the IRA "Army Council has not sanctioned any arms importation operation". In relation to the speculation around the killing of Charles Bennett on 30 July 1999 the IRA said "there had been no breaches of the IRA cessation".

Saturday 7 August 1999
item mark 'Justice For The Forgotten', a group which campaigned on behalf of the victims of bombings in the Republic of Ireland, issued a press release.

Sunday 8 August 1999
INLA Stated that War is Over
item mark There was a report in The Sunday Times (a London based newspaper) that the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) had confirmed its view of the futility of continuing the "armed struggle" and had declared that the "war is over". The INLA was the first paramilitary organisation to make this declaration. However, the organisation insisted that it was not about to begin decommissioning its weapons.
item mark A man from Newtownabbey, County Antrim, was shot in a paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack. item mark Two petrol bombs were thrown at the house of a Catholic man living in Larne, County Antrim. item mark There were sectarian arson attacks on an Orange hall in Ballymoney, County Antrim, a Presbyterian church hall in Rathfriland, County Down, and a Free Presbyterian church hall in Moneyslane.

Monday 9 August 1999
item mark The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to press charges against Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers who were accused of assaulting David Adams, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) member. Adams had received £30,000 compensations for injuries, including a broken leg, inflicted upon him while being held in Castlereagh Holding Centre. Adams had been arrested in 1994 and later sentenced to 25 years for conspiracy to murder a senior RUC detective.
item mark A man from north Belfast appeared in Belfast High Court and was charged with the murder of Charles Bennett on 30 July 1999.
item mark The Northern Ireland Parades Commission decided to allow an Apprentice Boys march down the lower Ormeau Road, Belfast, on 14 August 1999 despite the opposition of local Nationalist residents. Delegates from the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the Bogside Residents' Group met in an effort to reach a compromise on the arrangement for the forthcoming parade in Derry.

Tuesday 10 August 1999
item mark Two pipe-bombs were recovered after Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers stopped a car acting suspiciously in the Rathenraw estate in Antrim shortly after midnight. Two men were arrested and the devices were defused by British Army (BA) officers.

Wednesday 11 August 1999
item mark The Parades Commission ruled that the Apprentice Boys of Derry could parade around the Diamond in the centre of Derry. The Bogside Residents’ Group opposed the decision.

Friday 13 August 1999
item mark Bernadette McAliskey, former MP, spoke at a rally held on the lower Ormeau Road in advance of the planned Apprentice Boys of Derry march. She said that "marching is not a human right – for Orangemen or Republicans".
item mark The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) criticised the decision of Castlereagh Borough Council decision to fly an Orange Order flag outside its civic offices. The PUP said it was "an affront to Roman Catholic and nationalist residents. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) accused the PUP of hypocrisy because of the PUP’s support of the flying of Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) flags.

Saturday 14 August 1999
item mark There was violence in Derry and Belfast following Apprentice Boys parades through the Bogside and lower Ormeau Road. Several Nationalists engaged in a protest were injured as Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers cleared the lower Ormeau Road to allow the Loyal Order parade to pass.
item mark The Northern Ireland politician, trade unionist and author, Paddy Devlin, died in Belfast. Devlin had been a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). He had been awarded an MBE in 1998.

Sunday 15 August 1999
item mark Thousands gathered in Omagh and Buncrana to mark the first anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Silent vigils were kept at 3.10pm throughout the country to commemorate the 29 people killed and 300 injured in the attack which caused the biggest loss of life of any incident in the North.

Tuesday 17 August 1999
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met the Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), at Stormont. She was seeking further information from US and Irish authorities on the attempt to import arms from Florida and the recent murder in west Belfast of Charles Bennett, before deciding if the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had broken its ceasefire.

Friday 20 August 1999
item mark There were disturbances between Nationalists and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers in the Seacourt Estate in Larne, County Antrim. During the trouble a shotgun was fired and stones thrown.
item mark Nine men, including Gerard Rice, then spokesman for the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community, were charged with obstruction following the protest on 14 August 1999.
item mark There was a meeting between the Bogside Residents’ Group and the Apprentice Boys of Derry to discuss the Lundy’s Day parade planned for December.

Saturday 21 August 1999
item mark The remains of Tom Williams were exhumed from Crumlin Road Prison and handed over to his surviving family members. Williams had been a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and was hanged in 1942 for the killing of Patrick Murphy a Constable in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Sunday 22 August 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said the UUP was correct not to form a power-sharing government on 15 July 1999 in light of the subsequent killing of a Belfast taxi driver, Charles Bennett, and the uncovering of a Florida-based gun-smuggling operation.

Monday 23 August 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), speaking at the Omagh International Summer School, expressed disappointment that the Good Friday Agreement was bogged down in dissension. He said there was no resistance within his Assembly party to setting up a fully inclusive Executive, providing decommissioning took place. He restated his willingness to "jump together" with Sinn Féin (SF) in forming an Executive.

Wednesday 25 August 1999
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) reported that the Patten report on the future of policing in Northern Ireland, due to be published next month, would propose a major overhaul of the RUC. The newspaper said the proposals would include renaming the force, removing the Union Jack from police stations, and changing the uniform, badge, oath and structures of the force.
item mark Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), said he had no doubt that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was involved in the murder of Charles Bennett.

Thursday 26 August 1999
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, ruled that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire had not broken down. However, she said she was in no doubt the IRA was involved in the murder of Charles Bennett and said there was clear information about the organisation being implicated in the Florida gun-running operation. Unionists reacted with fury to the decision.
item mark Human rights campaigners said they were concerned at the news that John Stephens was being promoted to Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Stevens was leading the inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989. However, Stevens said that much of the work of the inquiry would be completed before he took up his new position.

Saturday 28 August 1999
item mark The home of a Catholic man was attacked on Churchill Road, Larne, when a pipe-bomb was left in his driveway. The man is the brother of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) councillor in Larne, Danny O’Connor. Considerable damage was done to the house and the owner was treated for severe shock. item mark Also in Larne, a pipe-bomb was thrown at the home of a Catholic family in Sallagh Park South. A couple and their four children were in the home at the time of the attack but were uninjured. The attacks were carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) ordered four young men from Dungannon to leave Northern Ireland or be shot. The young men had been accused of "anti-social activities". Unionist and Conservative politicians described the "expulsion orders" as a direct snub to Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said he was in no doubt that the expulsion orders were linked to Mowlam's assertion that the IRA ceasefire was intact, despite recent violence.

Sunday 29 August 1999
item mark A British army bomb disposal unit defused a pipe-bomb found near a Catholic church in County Antrim. The bomb had been left in the graveyard of St. Peter the Rock, on the Rock Road in Lisburn. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. item mark Loyalists also carried out a paramilitary ‘punishment’ shooting on a man in Antrim, and were also responsible for two beatings in east Belfast and Glengormley. item mark A Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) clubhouse in Ahoghill, County Antrim, was damaged in an arson attack. item mark The IRA expelled two young men from the Ardoyne in north Belfast and the Short Strand in east Belfast.
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was taken into hospital in Austria for an operation on a perforated intestine.

Monday 30 August 1999
item mark The LVF announced that it intended to engage in a second handover of weapons following an earlier initiative on 18 December 1998.

Tuesday 31 August 1999
item mark Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, resisted Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) demands for a postponement of the review of the Good Friday Agreement. He made it clear to Mr Trimble that he supported the decision by Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, that the IRA ceasefire was still intact.
item mark The victims’ group FAIR (Families Acting for Innocent Relatives) called for the collapse of the Good Friday Agreement. The call was made at a conference in Portadown, County Armagh, which was attended by anti-Agreement MPs.

September 1999

Wednesday 1 September 1999
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, gave a speech on the peace process.

Thursday 2 September 1999
item mark Ed Moloney, then Northern Editor of the Sunday Tribune (a Dublin based newspaper), failed in his attempt to overturn a court order compelling him to hand over notes of an interview with a man now charged with the killing of Pat Finucane. Moloney was given seven days to comply with the order or face an unlimited fine and / or five years' imprisonment.
item mark Robert McCartney, then MP and leader of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), received substantial damages in a libel action he took against the Financial Times (a London based newspaper).

Friday 3 September 1999
item mark The remains of John McClory were buried in Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast. McClory (17) was one of the ‘disappeared’ and he and Brian McKinney (22) had been abducted on 25 May 1978 and were shot some time later by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for allegedly stealing weapons. Their bodies were discovered on 29 June 1999 by Garda Síochána (the Irish police) in a bog in County Monaghan.
item mark The family of Peter McBride, who had been shot dead by two British soldiers on 4 September 1992, won a judicial review which sought to block the reinstatement into the British Army of the soldiers concerned. [The two soldiers, Scots Guardsmen Fisher and Wright, had been sentenced for the murder of McBride in February 1995 but were released by the Secretary of State in August 1998.]

Saturday 4 September 1999
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) held a meeting to decide on its approach to the Mitchell Review of the Good Friday Agreement. It was decided that representatives of the party would take part in the review. item mark There was also a meeting of the Sinn Féin (SF) Ard Comhairle at which the decision was taken to participate in the Mitchell Review.

Monday 6 September 1999
Start of Mitchell Review of the Good Friday Agreement
item mark George Mitchell, former Chairman of the multi-party talks, was in Castle Buildings to open the Review of the Good Friday Agreement. He made clear that the review would concentrate specifically on breaking the deadlock over decommissioning and the formation of an Executive. The talks adjourned until the following week to give politicians time to study the Patten report on policing.
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), held discussions with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, to review the political situation in Northern Ireland.

Thursday 9 September 1999
Patten Report Published
item mark The Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland was released and was accompanied by a statement from the author Chris Patten. Patten called on Catholics to join the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). It contained recommendations for a radical overhaul of the police service in the region. The proposed changes to the ethos, composition, training and structure of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) met with a mixed reaction. David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), described it as "the most shoddy piece of work I have seen in my entire life", and there were strong objections from rank-and-file RUC officers. The UUP also issued an initial statement on the report. Many criticisms related to the proposed change to the name and symbols of the RUC. Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), issued a statement about the proposals. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) statement and the Sinn Féin (SF) statement indicated that the two parties were prepared to view the document positively. Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, issued a statement. The Irish government issued a statement on the report. The Police Federation for Northern Ireland also issued a statement.
item mark There was a sectarian attack on a 13 year old Catholic student attending Hazelwood Integrated College in north Belfast. The young boy was attacked by three loyalists and beaten with baseball bats and shot in the stomach with a pellet gun. The attack happened near the White City estate in Belfast. Police said the motive for the attack was sectarian.
item mark There was an inquest in Belfast into the death by hanging of William Giles (41). Giles had been part of an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang which had abducted and killed Michael Fay (25), a Catholic civilian, on 20 November 1982. Giles had been released from prison in 1997 after serving 15 years of a life sentence. It was claimed that Giles had hanged himself out of remorse.

Sunday 12 September 1999
item mark Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), speaking on 'Sunday With Adam Boulton' on Sky News, said the threat from dissident Republicans was growing. Groups such as the ‘real IRA’ were regrouping and posed a threat, especially in border areas, he said.
item mark There was a sectarian attack by loyalists on the home of Danny O’Connor, then Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) MLA. A group of loyalists had gathered outside his home shouting threats and causing damage to his car. It was the third sectarian attack on his home in three months.

Monday 13 September 1999
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) executive set up a committee to devise an alternative to the Patten proposals for policing in Northern Ireland. David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, dismissed threats to his leadership and said his party would continue to be involved in the Mitchell Review of the Good Friday Agreement.
item mark A survey of public opinion in Northern Ireland found that of those questioned 69 per cent of Catholics approved of the proposals in the Patten report while 65 per cent of Protestants disapproved. The survey was conducted by Ulster Marketing Surveys.

Tuesday 14 September 1999
item mark Johnny Adair became the 293rd prisoner to be freed under the Good Friday Agreement's early release scheme. He was one of Northern Ireland's most notorious Loyalist paramilitaries and had been sentenced in 1995 to 16 years imprisonment for directing terrorism.
item mark There were two separate paramilitary ‘punishment’ attacks on 14 year old boys. One attack took place in Dundonald, near Belfast, and the second on the Ardowen estate, near Craigavon, County Armagh. Both boys were hospitalised as a result of their injuries.

Wednesday 15 September 1999
item mark Research showed that the forensic testing for use of firearms was flawed. The ‘paraffin’ test had been used to find traces of lead particles, for example on the hands or clothing of people suspected of firing weapons. However, research that had been commissioned by the Bloody Sunday Inquiry found that such testing was "flawed" because, for example, exposure to car exhaust could show a ‘positive’ result.
item mark There was a paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack on a man (52) in the Waterside area of Derry. The man was shot in one leg. item mark Loyalists carried out incendiary bomb attacks on three businesses in Ballycastle, County Antrim. item mark There was an arson attack on an Orange hall in Donaghmore, near Newry, County Down. The hall was damaged in the attack and "real IRA" graffiti was painted on the walls.

Thursday 16 September 1999
item mark There was forensic evidence presented to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry which indicated that Jim Wray, one of those killed on 30 January 1972, had been shot in the back as he lay wounded on the ground.

Saturday 18 September 1999
item mark A rally in Belfast against the reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) proposed by the Patten report was addressed by a former chief constable of the force, Sir John Hermon. He warned against pushing the report's recommendations through the British parliament before the Northern Ireland Assembly was properly in place.
item mark The dissident Republican group, the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, opened a branch in Derry saying it plans to build "the strongest Republican opposition ever to British rule".

Monday 20 September 1999
item mark Michelle Williamson was granted leave to challenge in the High Court in Belfast the ruling by Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire was intact. Williamson lost both parents in the IRA Shankill Road bombing of 23 October 1993. Williamson was supported in her legal action by Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) members including David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, and Jeffrey Donaldson MP.

Tuesday 21 September 1999
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) met a Sinn Féin (SF) delegation at Stormont. The meeting was part of the Mitchell Review of the Good Friday Agreement.

Wednesday 22 September 1999
item mark David Wright had a meeting with Adam Ingram, then Security Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). Wright discussed concerns over the circumstances of the shooting dead of his son Billy Wright in the Maze prison on 27 December 1997.

Thursday 23 September 1999
item mark Sinn Féin published its submission to the Mitchell Review of the Good Friday Agreement.

Friday 24 September 1999
item mark The 29 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) belonging to the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) travelled to Glasgow, Scotland, to discuss the Mitchell Review of the Good Friday Agreement and political strategy. The exact location of the meeting was not revealed to the media. The arrangements for the meeting were criticised by anti-Agreement unionists.
item mark There were claims in the Irish News (a Belfast based newspaper) that Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD), believed to be a cover name used by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), had ordered nine people to leave Bessbrook in south Armagh.

Sunday 26 September 1999
item mark Ken Maginnis, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP, said the meeting of UUP Assembly members in Glasgow at the weekend was not an attempt to discuss a change of policy on Irish Republican Army (IRA) decommissioning. He insisted that tactics in the Assembly, not overall party strategy, had been discussed.
item mark The ‘Long March’ walked from Sandy Row in south Belfast to Stormont. Approximately 600 people took part in the march to protest against "terrorists in government".

Monday 27 September 1999
item mark Interlocutory hearings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry took place in the Guildhall in Derry. The hearings were chaired by Lord Saville and discussed the issue of anonymity for up to 500 security force witnesses to the shootings on 30 January 1972. [The first of the main hearings began on 27 March 2000.]
item mark Sinn Féin (SF) demonstrators disrupted the public launch of the annual report of the Police Authority of Northern Ireland (PANI). Figures in the report indicated that recorded crime for 1998/99 had increased by 28 per cent while detection rates had dropped by 5 per cent.
item mark Michael Cunningham, then an Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) councillor, pleaded guilty to 13 charges of indecent assault on two girls aged six and seven years. [On 12 November 1999 Cunningham was sentenced to two years imprisonment.]

Tuesday 28 September 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), criticised loyalist paramilitaries for attacks on Catholics. He also called on people to repudiate "mafia loyalism" in Protestant areas. Trimble quoted figures indicating that Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for 9 murders, 76 shootings, 178 ‘punishment’ beatings, and over 400 incidents of forced exclusions. The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) and the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) criticised Trimble for his remarks.

Wednesday 29 September 1999
item mark Both David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Martin McGuinness, the Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), held separate meetings with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, during the Labour Party annual conference. Trimble was reported as having said that he would be prepared to share power with Sinn Féin if the Irish Republican Army (IRA) undertook to decommission its weapons within days of the establishment of the proposed Executive.

Thursday 30 September 1999
item mark The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to charge any Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer in connection with the killing of Robert Hamill following a beating he received on 29 April 1997. Hamill was severely beaten in a sectarian attack by a gang of up to 30 loyalists in the centre of Portadown, County Armagh, and he died from head injuries on 8 May 1997. Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were present close to the scene of the attack and were accused by witnesses and Hamill's family of not intervening to save him.
item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), travelled to Dublin for a meeting at his request with Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). The meeting was called to discuss a series of attacks that had occurred on Free Presbyterian churches in the Republic of Ireland.
item mark The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) launched a three year strategic plan part of which was to involve the drafting of a Bill of Rights.`

October 1999

Saturday 2 October 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), spoke at the conference of the youth wing of the UUP. Trimble criticised the Young Unionists for passing a motion calling for the exclusion of Sinn Féin (SF) from any future government. As he spoke Trimble was heckled.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), gave an address to the second annual Congress of Ógra Sinn Féin in Dublin. The youth wing of SF voted to reject the Patten report.
item mark Eddie McGrady, then chief whip of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), accused the Conservative Party of selecting spokesmen on Northern Ireland who "are totally anti-Agreement, anti-change and therefore anti-peace".
item mark Sam Cushnahan, then Director of Families Against Intimidation and Terror (FAIT), announced that the group was ending its work.

Monday 4 October 1999
item mark A pipe-bomb was thrown at a Catholic taxi driver as he travelled through the Peter’s Hill area of west Belfast. The bomb failed to explode. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) later claimed responsibility for the attack. [In 2001 it became apparent that RHD was a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).]
item mark Talks between David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), broke up without any progress in advance of the Mitchell Review. Decommissioning remained the main issue preventing the UUP from accepting SF's participation in the new Northern Ireland Executive.
item mark The results of a survey conducted by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) indicated that the average weekly income of Catholic families was £306 compared to £351 for Protestant families.
item mark The Irish Government announced an Exchequer surplus of £1.7 billion. Employers' organisations, along with major unions, also called for significant tax concessions in the Budget.

Tuesday 5 October 1999
item mark The Irish Cabinet formally decided that Ireland would join the NATO led Partnership for Peace security programme. In spite of a promise in the Fianna Fáil (FF) general election manifesto in 1997, it was confirmed by the FF / Progressive Democrats (PD) Coalition that no referendum would be held on the matter.

Wednesday 6 October 1999
item mark Garda Síochána (the Irish police) officers arrested four men in County Donegal in connection with an arms find in County Wexford.
item mark Patrick Campbell (22), an Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) member who was originally from west Belfast, was badly beaten and stabbed during clash between INLA members and a group of men (described in the media as a criminal gang) in the Ballymount industrial estate, Walkinstown, Dublin. [Campbell died on 10 October 1999 from his injuries.]

Thursday 7 October 1999
item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), addressed a rally, estimated at 500 people, which was organised to ‘Defend the RUC’. The rally was held in Newtownards, County Down, and was planned as being the first in a series.
item mark Esmond Bernie, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MLA, told a party meeting that he would accept "jumping together" with Sinn Féin (SF) into government. He was prepared to accept this ahead of decommissioning if SF ministers agreed to resign if Irish Republican Army (IRA) decommissioning of arms did not occur.
item mark The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) announced that Nigel Dodds would stand as a candidate for the party at the next general election in north Belfast. Previously in the 1997 general election Cecil Walker, then UUP MP, had not been opposed by any Unionist candidate. [At the 2001 general election Dodds won the seat.]

Friday 8 October 1999
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) published a document entitled 'Implementing the Agreement' which discussed the extent to which the Belfast Agreement had been implemented and the extent to which the different parties recognised their obligations and complied with the requirements of the Agreement. David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, issued a statement on ‘the best way forward’.
item mark Bill Clinton, the President of the USA, gave a speech in Ottawa, Canada, during which he said: "I spent an enormous amount of time trying to help the people in the land of my forebears in Northern Ireland get over 600 years of religious fights, and every time they make an agreement to do it, they're like a couple of drunks walking out of the bar for the last time. When they get to the swinging door, they turn around and go back in and say, 'I just can't quite get there.’" Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), criticised the remarks. Later Clinton apologised for the use of an inappropriate metaphor.

Saturday 9 October 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), defended the Good Friday Agreement and criticised anti-Agreement elements within the UUP at the part conference in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Anti-agreement dissidents warned the conference against any compromise on Sinn Féin's entry into the Executive without prior decommissioning. The conference unanimously passed a motion dismissing the Patten recommendations on the RUC as a threat to security.

Sunday 10 October 1999
item mark Patrick Campbell (22), a member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and originally from Belfast, died after being badly beaten and stabbed on 6 October 1999 during clash between an INLA unit and a group of men in Ballymount industrial estate, Walkinstown, Dublin.
death button

Monday 11 October 1999
Mandelson Appointed Secretary of Sate
item mark Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam (Dr), then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who had been in post since 3 May 1997 was replaced in a Cabinet reshuffle by Peter Mandelson. Although thought "too green" in her political leanings, Mowlam insisted she had not been forced out by Unionists. Mandelson had first been suggested for the position by David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).
item mark A pipe-bomb was thrown at the home of a Catholic family in the Twinbrook area of west Belfast. The device was hurled through the family’s living room window but failed to explode. A second pipe-bomb was found outside the house. A couple and their two-month old baby were in the house at the time but escaped injury. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark The Police Federation of Northern Ireland launched a petition to ‘defend the RUC’ from the proposal in the Patten report.
item mark Nuala O’Loan, a law lecturer and former member of the Police Authority, was appointed by Adam Ingram, then Security Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), as the new Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI).

Tuesday 12 October 1999
item mark George Mitchell said he would hold the talks on the Review of the Agreement to London so as to try to avoid some of the close media scrutiny.

Wednesday 13 October 1999
item mark Poet and Irish translator Michael Hartnett died in Dublin. A member of Aosdána, Hartnett was best known for his collection of poems, A Farewell To English (1975).

Thursday 14 October 1999
item mark The funeral of Patrick Campbell, who was an Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) member, took place in Belfast. Campbell had been injured on 6 October 1999 in Dublin and died on 10 October. Approximately 1,000 people attended the funeral among them Patrick’s father Robert Campbell who had been ‘on the run’ in the Republic of Ireland since 1981.
item mark A joint statement was issued by anti-Agreement Unionists including the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), the Northern Ireland Unionist Party, and some members of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). The statement set out a common strategy for opposing any political deal leading the establishment of a power-sharing Executive which included Sinn Féin (SF).

Saturday 16 October 1999
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), addressed the annual Fianna Fáil (FF) Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown in County Kildare, Republic of Ireland. Ahern praised Sinn Féin (SF) and Loyalist parties for their courageous political leadership in recent years and called for their efforts to be recognised.
item mark The Progressive Unionist Party's (PUP) annual conference in east Belfast heard Hugh Smyth, then leader of the PUP, ask SF to state that the ‘war is over’ and there would be no first strike from Republicans. Mr Smyth said this would match what the loyalist paramilitaries had said. Billy Hutchinson, who acts as interlocutor for the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Red Hand Commando (RHC) with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), made a similar plea to Republicans.
item mark The Guardian (a London based newspaper) carried a story claiming that Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, had authorised secret talks between government officials (and MI5 officers) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Thatcher’s approval for the reopening of the ‘back channel’ (the name given to the system of contact which involved a go-between called the ‘mountain climber’) was given in late 1990. [The story of Thatcher’s involvement was at odds with her often publicly stated assertion that she never talked to terrorists.]

Sunday 17 October 1999
item mark A number of homes were evacuated in the Cliftondene Crescent area of north Belfast as part of a security alert. A pipe-bomb was later found and made safe.
item mark Lord Grey of Naunton died aged 89. He had been the last British Governor of Northern Ireland and had served in the post from 1968 until direct rule was imposed on 30 March 1972.

Monday 18 October 1999
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), issued a statement on his party’s commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.
item mark In the Republic of Ireland the Equality Act outlawing discrimination in the workplace was signed into law at the official opening of the building designed to house the new Equality Authority and the Director of Equality Investigations. Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), stressed the commitment of the State to eliminating discrimination.
item mark John O'Donoghue, then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, proposed regulations which would allow asylum-seekers to be deported to the European Union country first entered. Included in the proposals were mechanisms to house asylum-seekers outside Dublin plus the introduction of food, clothing and housing support rather than social welfare payments.
item mark The funeral of Josef Locke, the singer born in Derry, took place in Clane parish church, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland.

Tuesday 19 October 1999
item mark A joint Garda Síochána (the Irish police) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) investigation uncovered a cross-Border money-laundering operation located in a bureau de change. Gardaí recovered more than £1 million in cash and as much as £100 million is believed to have been laundered from drug trafficking and other crimes over the last six years for gangs operating in Belfast and Dublin.
item mark George Mitchell chaired talks that formed part of the review of the Good Friday Agreement in the US Ambassador’s residence of Winfield House in Regent’s Park, London.
item mark Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held talks in Dublin with David Andrews, then Minister for Foreign Affairs. Both men said they were "very optimistic" about the prospects for the outcome of the Mitchell Review of the Agreement.
item mark Mark Fulton, then leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), began an action in the High Court, Belfast, to obtain a transfer from Maghaberry Prison to the Maze Prison. Fulton was serving a four year sentence for firearms offences.

Wednesday 20 October 1999
item mark Jack Lynch, a former Taoiseach, died at the age of 82 in Cork following a long illness. After an early career marked by distinction in hurling and Gaelic football, he later become known as "the real Taoiseach" in his native Cork, regardless of whether or not his party was in government. He joined Fianna Fáil (FF) in 1948 and led the party from 1966 through the early days of violence in Northern Ireland, the arms crisis and entry to the EEC in 1973. He resigned from politics in 1979. [Described as a modest, self deprecating man of integrity and kindness, he was widely acclaimed as the most popular leader in the history of Fianna Fáil.]
item mark Garda Síochána (the Irish police) arrested 10 men in Herbertstown, County Meath. The men were accused of being at a "real" Irish Republican Army (rIRA) training camp.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), left the Mitchell Review talks in London to speak at a fund-raising event for SF.

Thursday 21 October 1999
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), made a statement on recent political talks at a lunch time meeting in New York, USA. Adams told the audience that he thought the review would probably end in failure.

Friday 22 October 1999
item mark Some journalists were shown identity cards that were alleged to have been taken from two British soldiers who had been "arrested" by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the Short Strand area of east Belfast. Republicans claimed that the soldiers had been involved with a group of Loyalists in throwing stones at Nationalist residents of Short Strand. It was said that the two soldiers had been questioned by the IRA before being released.
item mark Two men were shot in the legs in a paramilitary ‘punishment’ shooting in Strabane, County Tyrone. The IRA were believed to have been responsible for the attack.
item mark Following their arrest on 20 October 1999, seven men were charged with firearms offences and in the case of three other men files were forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Republic of Ireland.
item mark Political talks that formed part of the Mitchell Review of the Agreement continued late at Stormont, Belfast.

Saturday 23 October 1999
item mark Senator George Mitchell announced his review of the Good Friday Agreement would be extended as the pro-Agreement parties met at Castle Buildings, Stormont, Belfast. Sinn Féin (SF), the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) were attempting to end the stalemate over decommissioning and the formation of an Executive.
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, wrote an article for the Newsletter (a Belfast based newspaper).

Monday 25 October 1999
item mark A cache of weapons believed to belong to the dissident republican group the "real" Irish Republican Army (rIRA) was uncovered near Stamullen in County Meath, close to the spot where an underground firing range was discovered on 20 October 1999. Garda Síochána (the Irish police) said the new cache contained a type of rocket launcher - an RPG 18 - never before seen in arms finds on either side of the Border.
item mark Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held a meeting with Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). Mandelson said the that the proposed Patten reforms would strengthen the police.

Tuesday 26 October 1999
item mark Two men were arrested near Dungannon, County Tyrone, after the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) discovered explosives in their van. Army technical experts then carried out a controlled explosion on the vehicle. The men are thought to be involved with dissident Loyalists; the van contained a pipe-bomb and two hand grenades. One of the men arrested was Clifford Peebles, then a preacher based in Woodvale in north Belfast. [The men appeared in Cookstown courthouse on 29 October 1999.]

Wednesday 27 October 1999
item mark Ed Moloney, Northern editor of the Sunday Tribune (a Dublin based newspaper), won his legal battle against a judge's decision ordering him to hand over his interview notes with loyalist paramilitary William Stobie. Stobie had been charged with murdering Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989. Costs, estimated at £160,000, were awarded to the newspaper.
item mark Bomb disposal officers defused a bomb left at the home of Liam Shannon, then a prominent Republican, in Belfast. Loyalist paramilitaries had planted the device.

Thursday 28 October 1999
item mark David Trimble and Gerry Adams continued discussions at Castle Buildings, Stormont, seeking a way out of the decommissioning logjam. They had been trying to put together a package of confidence building steps between their two parties to ensure the success of the Mitchell Review.

Friday 29 October 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), held a series of meetings at Stormont in an attempt to find a way of establishing the proposed Executive.
item mark Garfield Gilmour was sentenced for the murder, on 12 July 1998, of three Catholic children Richard Quinn (11), Mark Quinn (10), and Jason Quinn (9). Gilmour had been part of a Loyalist gang which petrol bombed the boys’ home in Ballymoney, County Antrim. Gilmour claimed that he had waited in a car and had not thrown the petrol bomb. He had named two other men who he alleged were responsible for throwing the device.
item mark The Appeal Court in Belfast overturned the murder convictions that had been imposed on Paddy McKinney and Billy Gorman in 1980. McKinney and Gorman had been given life sentences for the killing of Thomas McClinton, then a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), on 2 March 1974. Both McKinney and Gorman claimed that they had been beaten while in police custody. An ESDA test carried out on their confessions and interview notes showed that these had been rewritten by police officers.
item mark David Adams, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner, began an appeal against the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) not to bring charges against those RUC officers who had assaulted him in Castlereagh Holding Centre . Adams had received £30,000 compensations for injuries, including a broken leg. [See: 9 August 1999]

Sunday 31 October 1999
item mark Michael Oatley, a former MI6 officer, wrote an article for the Sunday Times (a London based newspaper) in which he accused politicians in Northern Ireland and Britain of using the issue of the decommissioning of Irish Republican Army (IRA) weapons as an "excuse to avoid the pursuit of peace". [While involved in secret talks in Northern Ireland Oatley had been codenamed the ‘mountain climber’. He had been involved in secret talks during the hunger strikes and during the period 1990-1993.]

November 1999

Monday 1 November 1999
item mark Ed Moloney, then Northern editor of the Sunday Tribune (a Dublin based newspaper), was named Journalist of the Year in the annual ESB National Media Awards for "defending the highest journalistic standards". Moloney had won a long-running legal battle against handing over interview notes to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Tuesday 2 November 1999
item mark Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) detectives found a number of pipe-bombs hidden in a hedgerow while conducting a search of the Loyalist Mourneview area of Lurgan, County Armagh.
item mark The RUC in Belfast and police in Glasgow, Scotland, arrested two men in a joint operation. The men were held for questioning about the shooting of Martin McGartland. McGartland, formerly a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) who turned informer, was shot and injured on 17 June 1999 at his home in Whitley Bay, England. McGartland blamed the IRA for trying to kill him. [The two men were questioned by police in Northumbria but were released on 4 November 1999.]
item mark George Mitchell, then chairman of the Review of the Agreement, indicated that he thought the Review would end within a week. He also announced that he was asking John de Chastelain for an assessment of the impasse over decommissioning.

Wednesday 3 November 1999
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) conducted a series of raids in County Armagh and County Antrim against Loyalist paramilitaries. Fifty RUC detectives were involved in the operation and three men were arrested and arms and explosives recovered. In one of the raids at Stoneyford Orange Hall, County Antrim, the police held six men for questioning when military documents were uncovered with the personal details of over 300 Republicans from Belfast and south Armagh. The Orange Order said it was "aghast" at the finds. Sinn Féin (SF) said the documents were evidence of collusion between the security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark The RUC held three men for questioning about the killing of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor shot dead on 12 February 1989. The arrests were made at the request of the team carrying out an inquiry into the killing. The team was headed by John John Stevens, then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. John White, then Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) spokesman, accused the inquiry team of "deliberately harassing Loyalists".

Thursday 4 November 1999
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), flew to Washington to brief officials at the White House on the Mitchell Review of the Agreement.
item mark Tommy English, a former Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) delegate, was charged along with two other men with aggravated burglary. The charge related to accusations that the three men had caused damage with baseball bats to the Crow’s Nest pub in Belfast
item mark The Irish Times (a Dublin based newspaper) published the results of an opinion poll which indicated that the Irish Government's satisfaction rating was at its lowest since the Coalition was formed in 1997. The survey was conducted by MRBI on behalf of the Irish Times.

Friday 5 November 1999
item mark The Parades Commission issued a determination which re-routed a planed parade by the Orange Order on Poppy Day. The Orange Order had applied to march through the mainly Nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown, County Armagh.
item mark Seamus Mallon, then deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), made a speech at the party's annual conference in Belfast.

Saturday 6 November 1999
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), delivered his 20th annual leader's address to the party's annual conference in Belfast. He said SDLP policies of negotiation, partnership and reconciliation had a major influence in bringing about the Good Friday agreement. The deputy leader, Séamus Mallon, called on Sinn Féin (SF) and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) to end their "miserable dispute" over decommissioning and devolution. Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, also addressed the conference.
item mark The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) formally accepted the recommendations of the Patten report.
item mark A new pedestrian bridge was lifted into place across the Liffey, in Dublin, between Grattan Bridge and the Ha'penny Bridge. The Millennium Bridge was due to open in late December 1999.

Sunday 7 November 1999
item mark The Observer (a London based newspaper) reported that David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), had personally paid £8,000 towards a £30,000 libel settlement. The case had been brought by Freddie Hall, then Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Assistant Chief Constable, against Gordon Lucey the author of a pamphlet entitled ‘Stand Off’ which was about the 1995 Drumcree Orange Order parade. The pamphlet had been published by the Ulster Society of which Trimble was a company director. As Lucey was unable to pay, the remainder of the settlement was paid by Northern Whig (£10,000) the printers, and the publishers the Ulster Society (£12,000).

Monday 8 November 1999
item mark Relatives of Tom Williams announced that his remains would be buried in the family grave in Milltown Cemetary, Belfast, rather than in the Republican plot in the same cemetery. His remains had been exhumed from Crumlin Road Prison on 21 August 1999. He had been hanged in the prison in 1942. [See 21 August 1999]
item mark A delegation from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) held a meeting with Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to discuss the Patten report.
item mark Stephen McClean and Noel McCready pleaded ‘not guilty’ at the beginning of their trial in Belfast for the murder of Phillip Allen (34) and Damien Trainor (26) on 3 March 1998. The two friends were shot dead while having a drink in a bar in Poyntzpass, County Armagh. At the time the attack was believed to have been carried out by the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF). Ryan Robley had earlier pleaded guilty to the killings. [David Keys, who was also charged in connection to the attack, was later killed in the UVF wing of the Maze Prison.]

Tuesday 9 November 1999
item mark John Paul and Phillip McGroarty appeared at Limavady Courthouse, County Derry, charged with the murder of Jonathon Cairns in Ballykelly, County Derry, in April 1999. The killing of the teenager was not believed to have been sectarian. A crowd of people outside the courthouse tried to attack the accused as they were taken away.
item mark Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, gave a speech about political developments at a lunch for the Ireland Fund of Great Britain.

Wednesday 10 November 1999
item mark A pipe-bomb with a jar of nails attached to it was discovered on the windowsill of a house in Dromara Street, off the mainly Nationalist lower Ormeau Road in south Belfast. One woman was in the house at the time. The device was later made safe by an Army bomb disposal team. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

Thursday 11 November 1999
item mark Political talks that formed part of the Mitchell Review of the Agreement continued at Stormont in Belfast. There was speculation that a ‘sequence’ of events was being agreed which would include a Sinn Féin (SF) statement condemning violence and the appointment of an IRA interlocutor to negotiate with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) led by John de Chastelain. However Unionist opponents of the proposals said that it failed to guarantee short-term decommissioning. Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), called on the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) to overthrow David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, before he betrayed Unionists.
item mark The Orange Order decided to halt disciplinary proceedings against Lord Dennis Rogan. Proceedings had been started because Rogan had attending the Catholic funeral of three victims of the Omagh bomb. Such participation in a Catholic ceremony is against the rules of the Orange Order.

Friday 12 November 1999
item mark George Mitchell, then chairman of the Review of the Agreement, adjourned the talks for the weekend. He hoped that both the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Sinn Féin (SF) would use the time to reflect on the ‘sequence’ of events that had been discussed.
item mark A vote taken by the 27 members of the UUP MLAs showed a majority in favour of agreeing to a deal about the new Executive.
item mark Four people, all Irish nationals, appeared at a hearing in a Florida court in the USA charged with trying to illegally export handguns to Ireland. The four were refused bail.

Saturday 13 November 1999
item mark There was a sectarian arson attack on the home of an 82 year old Catholic woman living in the Waterside area of Derry. The woman was hospitalised as a result of the attack. Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for the attack. Police described the attack as "pure naked sectarianism".
item mark Tom French, then President of the Workers' Party (WP), told the party's Ard Fheis that there was a stench of corruption in the Republic which he likened to Cuba before Fidel Castro. He said the party was now trying to re-establish the ideas of democracy and independence.
item mark Ruairí O Bradaigh, then President of Republican Sinn Féin (RSF), addressed his party’s Ard Fheis in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. He said that if the Irish Republican Army (IRA) agreed to decommission its arms then it should disband.
item mark Professor Brian Ó Cuív, a leading Celtic scholar, died at the age of 82. The author of many works on the Irish language and its history. He married Emer, daughter of former president Eámon de Valera.

Sunday 14 November 1999
item mark The home of a Catholic family in north Belfast was attacked with a pipe-bomb. No one was injured in the attack. The family returned home at about 6.30pm to find their house in Westland Road had been damaged. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.

Monday 15 November 1999
item mark George Mitchell, then chairman of the Review of the Agreement, issued a statement which indicated that a formula to overcome the decommissioning and devolution impasse had almost been achieved. John de Chastelain, then head of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), issued a report which called upon "the paramilitary organisations to respond positively by appointing authorised representatives" to deal with the issue of decommissioning.
item mark A man was shot in the leg in a paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast. Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for the attack. item mark A pipe bomb was thrown by Loyalists at the home of a Catholic family in north Belfast. item mark Hillhall Presbyterian church hall in Lisburn, County Down, was destroyed in an arson attack.
item mark An appeal case on behalf of Lee Clegg, then a soldier in the Parachute Regiment, began in Belfast. The appeal was against his four year sentence for attempting to wound Martin Peake on 30 September 1990. On 11 March 1999 Clegg won his retrial for the murder of Karen Reilly in the same incident. [Clegg had been released from prison in 1995.]
item mark The National Development Plan for the Republic of Ireland was launched at Dublin Castle by Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), who said it was "an investment on a scale never seen before in our history". More than half of the allocated £40.6 billion was to be invested in infrastructure, including roads, public transport, housing, water and sewerage, with the largest single allocation (£6 billion) going towards social and affordable housing.

Tuesday 16 November 1999
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) issued a keynote statement and Sinn Féin (SF) issued a separate keynote statement committing both parties to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, recognised the legitimate aspirations of Nationalists to pursue a united Ireland and embraced the principles of inclusivity, equality and mutual respect. Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), spoke of working with, not against, Unionists in the future. The other main political parties in Northern Ireland all issued statements endorsing the Good Friday Agreement. (See: keynote statement by the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, APNI; keynote statement by the Social Democratic and Labour Party, SDLP; the keynote statement by the Progressive Unionist Party, PUP; and the keynote statement by the Ulster Democratic Party, UDP.)
item mark The Interdepartmental Committee on Immigration and Asylum, which was drawing up proposals for the dispersal of asylum-seekers outside Dublin, received a proposal by the Department of Defence to accommodate asylum-seekers in disused Army barracks around the State.

Wednesday 17 November 1999
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a short statement saying it was committed to peace and acknowledged that the Good Friday Agreement would contribute to a lasting peace. It endorsed the leadership of Sinn Féin (SF) in the negotiations and agreed to nominate a representative to enter discussions with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). Those political parties in favour of the Agreement welcomed the IRA statement. Five Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MPs issued a statement which called the IRA’s move "totally inadequate". David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, disassociated himself from the statement of his fellow MPs.

Thursday 18 November 1999
End of the Review of the Agreement
item mark George Mitchell, then chairman of the Review of the Agreement, issued his final statement concluding the Review. He said that the basis existed for devolution to occur and the formation of an Executive to take place. Before leaving Northern Ireland to return to the USA, the Senator was thanked during a press conference in Castle Buildings by all the participants and parties involved. The review had taken 10 weeks to complete. [The British Government later issued a statement which expressed gratitude for Senator Mitchell's help in transforming the Northern Ireland situation from one of conflict and confrontation to one of dialogue and peace.]
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly team met to discuss the political developments and authorised David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, to put the matter to a meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) on 27 November 1999.
item mark Michael O’Hara, then a community activist from Short Strand in east Belfast, was injured when he was attacked by two men using a machete.

Friday 19 November 1999
item mark An application to the High Court in Belfast for a judicial review of the decision of Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, former Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, to accept as intact the ceasefire of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The application was dismissed by the court.
item mark Two men lost their appeal against their life sentences. The two men had been convicted of the murder of Greg Taylor, a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer, on 1 June 1997. Taylor had been off-duty and was beaten to death by a Loyalist mob as he left a public house in Ballymoney. [The two men were later released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.]

Saturday 20 November 1999
item mark Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, gave a speech about political developments to the annual conference of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC).

Monday 22 November 1999
item mark Peter Mandelson, then Northern Ireland Secretary, in a speech to the House of Commons, said he planned for success and not failure on Northern Ireland. However, if there was a default in implementing either decommissioning or devolution, the two governments would take steps to suspend the operation of the institutions. He said Northern Ireland stood on the brink of a "remarkable transformation".
item mark David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), addressed 70 senior members of his party at a private meeting in the Long Hall of Stormont in advance of the meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) on 27 November 1999.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), issued a statement clarifying his party’s position on decommissioning.

Tuesday 23 November 1999
RUC Awarded the George Cross
item mark It was announced that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was to be awarded the George Cross, Britain's highest civilian award for gallantry. The British government rejected suggestions that the timing of the award was designed to placate Unionists and the RUC at a time when the force was facing major change. Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the RUC, said it was a momentous day. Sinn Féin (SF) criticised the award.
item mark Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), both addressed a meeting of UUP members in Edenderry Orange Hall in Portadown, County Armagh. Both men were heckled during the meeting. There were scuffles between anti-Agreement protestors and police outside the building. And abuse was shouted at Mandelson and Trimble as they entered and left the building.
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), made a statement to members of the Dáil that if any party ‘defaulted’ on its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement then the two governments would "step in and assume their responsibilities".
item mark The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), issued a statement saying that the leadership had decided to defer its decision on the appointment of an interlocutor to liaise with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) until after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) has met its commitments.

Wednesday 24 November 1999
item mark Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, speaking in the House of Commons, Westminster, criticised the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and accused the party of "breathtaking hypocrisy" for being prepared to take up its two seats on the proposed Executive but not having contributed to the Mitchell Review of the Agreement.
item mark All 860 members of the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) were sent a letter signed by James Molyneaux, former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Robert Salters, then Grand Master of the Orange Order, urging them to vote against the proposed deal on 27 November 1999.
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), gave an address to a special meeting of the SF Ard Chomhairle in Dublin and told those present that the proposals from the Mitchell Review were "the historic compromise between Nationalism and Unionism".

Thursday 25 November 1999
item mark A British Army bomb disposal unit carried out a controlled explosion on a pipe-bomb found in the village of Bushmills, County Antrim. The weapon was believed to have been produced by Loyalist paramilitaries.
item mark In an interview with The Irish Times (a Dublin based newspaper), David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), acknowledged Unionist concerns about accepting the Mitchell Review as an open-ended process. He promised his party that its entry into government with Sinn Féin (SF) could be time-limited to ensure decommissioning followed devolution, tied in with the developing role of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). He criticised the "dirty tricks" of Unionist hardliners over a bogus Sinn Féin (SF) letter to Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) members ahead of the council's meeting to vote on the Mitchell Review. The letter purported to come from Gerry Adams and called for a ‘yes’ vote "so we can move forward together to build a new prosperous Ireland.
item mark Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, gave a speech on the theme of ‘Rebuilding Northern Ireland’ to staff and students at Victoria College, Belfast.

Friday 26 November 1999
item mark Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), said that there was "no intelligence basis" for the view that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was planning to return to violence.

Saturday 27 November 1999
item mark The Ulster Unionist Council (UUC), the policy-making body of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), held a meeting in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, to discuss the Mitchell Review. The Council decided by 480 votes to 349 to back the deal. The decision opened the way for the UUP to enter the power-sharing Executive with Sinn Féin (SF). The UUC also attached a condition that the Council should meet again in February 2000 "to take a final decision" on the matter. At a press conference after the vote David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said: "We’ve done our bit. Mr Adams its over to you. We’ve jumped, you follow". [It was later revealed that Trimble had lodged a post dated resignation letter with a party official which would come into effect if Irish Republican Army (IRA) decommissioning did not occur.]
item mark The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) held its annual conference at the La Mon House Hotel near Belfast. During his speech Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said that Northern Ireland was facing its gravest crisis and that no unionist should be holding negotiations with the Irish government, the SDLP, or Sinn Féin. He accused the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) of betrayal and said Trimble was as "much of an enemy of Ulster as the IRA".

Monday 29 November 1999
Executive Appointed
item mark There was a meeting of the Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA). Seamus Mallon, then deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was reinstated as Deputy First Minister Designate. The d'Hondt procedure for the appointment of ministers in a power-sharing Executive was triggered and 10 ministers appointed. [This was the first time in 25 years that Northern Ireland had a power-sharing Executive.]

Tuesday 30 November 1999
item mark The House of Lords and the House of Commons both approved a devolution order under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 that allowed for the transfer of power from Westminster to the Assembly at Stormont. [This allowed for the ending the system of 'Direct Rule' that had been installed in 1972.]
item mark The newly appointed Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive were photographed at their desks. The two Sinn Féin (SF) Ministers refused the offer of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) protection.
item mark The Northern Ireland Assembly met to appoint members to the 10 Statutory Departmental Committees under the d’Hondt system of proportionality. Each committee was comprised of 11 MLAs including a Chair and Deputy Chair. Robert McCartney, then leader of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), refused to accept a seat on any of the committees as did three of the four members of the Northern Ireland Unionist Party (NIUP).
item mark David Andrews, then Irish Foreign Minister, suggested the Dublin government was anticipating that the cross-Border bodies would have powers "not unlike a government". Unionist leaders reacted furiously to the comments.

December 1999

Wednesday 1 December 1999
item mark The Northern Ireland Executive (NIA) held an informal meeting at Stormont Castle, Belfast.
item mark At Parliament Buildings, Stormont there was a meeting with Irish ministers. David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Seamus Mallon, then Deputy First Minster, hosted John O’Donoghue, then Irish Minister for Justice, and Liz O’Donnell, then junior Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
item mark The Irish government announced that the remaining 22 IRA prisoners being held in Portlaoise Prison would be transferred to a low security unit in Castlerea Prison, County Roscommon.
item mark Hugh Orde, then Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was appointed to replace John Stevens as head of the investigation into the killing of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989.
item mark Pupils attending Kilkeel High School, County Down, left their classes as a protest against the appointment of Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) as Minister of Education. [This was the first of a series of such protests by pupils at state (Protestant) schools. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was later accused of orchestrating the school protests.]

Thursday 2 December 1999
New Devolved Government
item mark Direct Rule came to an end as powers were devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA). [Devolution took effect as of midnight on 1 December 1999.] item mark At a meeting in Dublin at 9.00am the North-South Ministerial Council and the British-Irish Ministerial Council, as set out in the Good Friday Agreement, took effect. At the same time the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) was replaced by the British-Irish Agreement. item mark At 9.20am Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution were replaced by new Articles. item mark Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, made a statement and David Andrews, then Irish Foreign Minister, also made a statement on the developments. item mark At 3.00pm the new Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly met for the first time. Present at the meeting were representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Sinn Féin (SF). The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) refused to attend. item mark At 8.30pm the IRA issued a statement indicating that it would appoint a representative to meet the Decommissioning Body chaired by General de Chastelain. [The new devolved government was suspended on midnight 11 February 2000 and direct rule re-introduced. The suspension covered the Northern Ireland Assembly, Executive, and other Institutions.]
item mark Mary McAleese, then President of the Republic of Ireland, was in London for lunch with the Queen (Elizabeth II). [There was speculation that the Queen might in the future visit the Republic of Ireland.]

Saturday 4 December 1999
item mark The interlocutor appointed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) held a meeting with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) at an undisclosed location. Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), welcomed the meeting and called for reductions in the number of British troops in Northern Ireland.
item mark A man from Lurgan, County Armagh, was charged with the murder of Elizabeth O’Neill in Portadown on 5 June 1999.
item mark The annual Lundy’s Day parade held by the Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) passed off without serious trouble.

Monday 6 December 1999
item mark In one of its first decisions the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to increase the salaries of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) by £9,000 to £38,036.

Tuesday 7 December 1999
item mark There was a series of walk-outs by pupils at state (Protestant) schools in protest at the appointment of Martin McGuinness as Minister of Education. Protests were held in Carrickergus, Cookstown, Glengormley, Newtownabbey, and the Shankill Road in Belfast. McGuinness claimed that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was orchestrating the protests. The DUP denied the claim.
item mark Gary McMichael, then leader of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), denied that there was a split within the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) over whether or not appoint an interlocutor to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).

Wednesday 8 December 1999
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), called a press conference to reveal that a car he used during the review of the Good Friday Agreement had been bugged. He said: "I feel shafted by the discovery of this". Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, declined to comment on the matter.
item mark The Northern Ireland Assembly Committees met for the first time at Stormont, Belfast.
item mark Samuel McBratney (42), a "computer expert" from Ballycraigy Ring, Larne, County Antrim, appeared before the high court in Belfast. McBratney was alleged to have helped Loyalist paramilitaries make pipe-bombs by downloading bomb-making information from the Internet. In addition to possessing incriminating computer records he also faced charges of possessing pipe-bomb components and of having four devices with intent to endanger life. A crown lawyer said police carried out a planned search of McBratney’s home last May and seized computer records, books and literature about making bombs, parts of pipe-bombs and 97 cartridges, the propellant used in the making of pipe-bombs.
item mark The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), announced that it had selected five members to meet with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). The announcement was made at a press conference which was addressed by six masked men in a hall close the Shankill Road, Belfast. [The meeting took place on 10 December 1999.]
item mark David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French government at a ceremony in Paris.
item mark Robert Salters, then Grand Master of the Orange Order, was re-elected to the post.

Friday 10 December 1999
item mark Five men representing the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), held a meeting with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). The five men were: Johnny Adair, William Dodds, John Gregg, Jackie McDonald, and John White. The IICD later issued a report.
item mark The announcement that the Castlereagh Holding Centre in east Belfast would be closed by the end of December 1999 was welcomed by Sinn Féin (SF). The recommendation had been contained in the Patten Report.
item mark Bríd Rodgers (SDLP), then Minister of Agriculture, had eggs thrown at her by loyalist protestors as she was on an official visit to a training centre in Portavogie, County Down.
item mark Six human rights organisations called for an independent Inquiry into the killing of Rosemanry Nelson, a Lurgan solicitor killed on 15 March 1999.

Monday 13 December 1999
item mark The inaugural meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council was held in Armagh. The Northern Ireland Executive led by David Trimble (UUP), then First Minister, and Seamus Mallon (SDLP), then deputy First Minster, met with the full cabinet of the Irish government led by Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). The two Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) members of the Executive refused to attend the meeting.

Tuesday 14 December 1999
item mark Dermot Nesbitt (UUP) and Denis Haughey (SDLP) were appointed as junior ministers to the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister.
item mark At the Special Criminal Court in Dublin seven men were charged with possession of guns and explosives. The charges related to the arrest of men in County Meath on 20 October 1999 at a "real" Irish Republican Army (rIRA) training camp.

Wednesday 15 December 1999
item mark Marion Price, a former Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner who had been convicted of causing explosions in London on 8 March 1973, was refused a visa to enter the USA. Price had been due to speak at a fundraising event in New York that had been organised by the Irish Freedom Committee.

Thursday 16 December 1999
item mark Padraig Wilson, then Officer Commanding the Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners in the Maze Prison, was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. [There was media speculation about his possible role as an interlocutor between the IRA and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).]
item mark Mitchel McLaughlin, then Sinn Féin (SF) chairman, resigned his post as a local councillor to concentrate on his role as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).
item mark Mary McAleese, then President of the Republic of Ireland, addressed both houses of the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament) and called for a socially inclusive Ireland.

Friday 17 December 1999
item mark The Inaugural Summit Meeting of the British-Irish Council took place in London and a Joint Communiqué was issued. The British-Irish Council is made up of representatives of: the British government, the Irish government, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, and the institutions of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The British-Irish Council decided to look at the topics of transport, social exclusion, the environment, illegal drugs, and ‘society’.
item mark Five men, alleged to be members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) were found guilty of shooting and beating two Catholic brothers in their home in July 1999.

Sunday 19 December 1999
item mark Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), made a statement on the Dublin, Monaghan, and Dundalk bombings, which announced that Liam Hamilton, then the outgoing Chief Justice was being invited to undertake a through examination, involving fact finding and assessment of all aspects of the bombings and their sequel.

Monday 20 December 1999
item mark The Prime Minister’s Office at Downing Street confirmed that Sinn Féin (SF) MPs would be allowed to have office facilities at Westminster despite the fact that none of the MPs intended to take their seats in the House of Commons.
item mark Peter Robinson (DUP), then Minister for Regional Development, announced his intention to introduce free travel on public transport for pensioners. [This proposal would bring Northern Ireland into line with the existing arrangements in the Republic of Ireland.]
item mark Seamus Tracy and Barry Macdonald, then both barristers, were granted leave by the High Court in Belfast for a judicial review of the requirement to swear an oath to "well and truly serve the Queen" before becoming Queen’s Councils. The two barristers were supported in their action by the Northern Ireland Bar Council.
item mark Christmas parole arrangements were announced by the Northern Ireland Prison Service. Over 300 paramilitary and ‘ordinary’ prisoners were to be granted 12 days leave over the Christmas period. [To date 309 prisoners had been released under licence according to the terms of the early release scheme.]

Wednesday 22 December 1999
item mark Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, published a paper which set out the British government’s strategy for achieving "normal security and policing".

Friday 24 December 1999
item mark A man who was being held in prison accused of the murder of Charles Bennett on 30 July 1999 was released after charges were withdrawn. No explanation was given for the withdrawal of charges against the man.

Monday 27 December 1999
item mark Loyalists carried out a paramilitary ‘punishment’ shooting on a 17 year old youth in Ballinahinch, County Down. The young man was shot in the leg.
item mark Supporters of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) were involved in a fight in the social club of Portadown Football Club. Eleven people were injured in the fight during which baseball bats were used.
item mark A bomb alert disrupted a horse racing meeting at Kempton Park in Surrey. Approximately 20,000 people were evacuated from the course. The Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) were blamed for the incident.

Wednesday 29 December 1999
item mark A Catholic man was stabbed and killed at a taxi depot in New Lodge, Belfast. The killing was not thought to be sectarian.

Friday 31 December 1999
item mark Details of the New Year’s Honours List were announced. Alistair Graham, then chair of the Parades Commission, was given a Knighthood as was Josias Cunningham, the president of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

 


Sources
item mark 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 1999.
  • Various newspapers
  • For a full list of, and links to, on-line sources see the Guide to the Internet.

    Notes
    item mark 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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