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'Remembering': Victims, Survivors and Commemoration
A Chronology of the issue of Victims
compiled by Martin Melaugh
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1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
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2006  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec     Notes
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2006


October 2006
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - October 2006

Sunday 1 October 2006
gif image of small grey square Remembrance Service: The third annual National Police Memorial Day service commemorating police officers who were killed in the line of duty took place in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast. Around 2,000 serving and former police officers together with the families of deceased officers attended the event. Professor Sir Desmond Rea, then chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB), welcomed those attending the service. Desmond Rea noted the significance of the event taking place in Northern Ireland where more than 300 police officers had lost their lives.

Monday 2 October 2006
gif image of small grey square Remembrance Service: Jimmy Spratt, then a DUP member and former official of the Police Federation, criticised Hugh Orde, then Chief Constable of the PSNI, for not attending the National Police Memorial Day service in Belfast on Sunday 1 October 2006. Hugh Orde instead took part in the Great North Run on Tyneside in aid of the RUC George Cross Widows Association. Jimmy Spratt said his absence was an "insult" to the PSNI adding that Mr Orde "should hang his head in shame".

Friday 6 October 2006
gif image of small grey square Military Award: The Queen attended a ceremony in Belfast and awarded the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. The event at the Balmoral Showgrounds was held to mark the disbandment of the regiment's three home service battalions. Several thousand members of the RIR, and its predecessor the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), attended the ceremony, as did political figures, disabled veterans, and relatives of many of the 274 soldiers killed during the conflict.

Sunday 8 October 2006
gif image of small grey square Political Party Statement: The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) announced that it had written to the British and Irish Governments asking them to appoint an independent commission on the past and its legacy. The commission would be composed of domestic and international experts to consult, and make a series of recommendations which would address how to deal with outstanding issues relating to the past and its legacy, and their linkage to the promotion of reconciliation. David Ford, then leader of the APNI, said many existing efforts to deal with the past had been "handled on a very piecemeal basis". Although he acknowledged there had been "some significant efforts to improve services to victims", he said it was "time to bring these efforts together". Ford went on: "A number of particular areas relating to the victims of violence should be seriously considered. ... These include memorials, a possible annual day of reflection and remembrance, a forum of testimonials to enable victims to place their memories on record, and most crucially, a mechanism to address truth recovery."

Friday 13 October 2006
gif image of small grey square Political Party: As he entered the political talks being held at St Andrews, Scotland, Sammy Wilson, then DUP MP, refused to accept information from a cross-community delegation of victims' relatives and instead called them pro-IRA supporters. [See: Irish News 19 October 2006]

Friday 20 October 2006
gif image of small grey square Memorial Damaged: Vandals removed a memorial to the victims of the Claudy bombing (31 July 1972) from its plinth and left it lying on the ground. The bronze figurative sculpture was unveiled in the village in 2000. [The statue was replaced on its plinth on Friday 27 October 2006.]

Thursday 26 October 2006
gif image of small grey square Bloody Sunday Inquiry: It was announced that the findings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry would not be published until at least the end of 2007. Lord Saville sent a letter to the victims' families and indicated it could be 2008 before he publishes his conclusions.

Monday 30 October 2006
gif image of small grey square Wright Inquiry: The public Inquiry into the killing of Billy Wright, then leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, on 27 December 1997 began in Belfast. The first stage of the Inquiry was scheduled to last one week and deal solely with the recovery of certain documents. The legal team representing the Wright family had been seeking a number of specific documents from the Maze prison. It was reported in the media that some documents have gone missing from the Northern Ireland Prison Service.


November 2006
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - November 2006

Sunday 5 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Remembrance Service: The Royal Irish Regiment held a last service of remembrance before its home service battalions were due to be disbanded in 2007. The Duke of York, as colonel-in-chief, joined soldiers at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast. It is planned that the colours of the regiment colours will remain on permanent display at the cathedral.
gif image of small grey square Physical Memorials: There was a rededication ceremony of the Knockagh Monument, a 110ft basalt pillar overlooking Carrickfergus. The monument was completed in 1936 to commemorate those from county Antrim who were killed during the First World War; the monument was later rededicated to include those who were killed during the Second World War. The monument had undergone refurbishment costing approximately £50,000.

Monday 6 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Collusion: An international panel of legal experts published a report which claimed that members of the then Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in 74 murders in the 1970s. The report relates to d 76 killings between 1972 and 1977 and concluded there was evidence of collusion in all but two of the cases. The report alleges that some senior officers knew of the crimes but "failed to act to prevent or punish" those responsible. The panel called on the British government to set up an independent investigation. See report: Cassel, D., et al. (2006). [PDF; 1188KB]

Tuesday 7 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Collusion: The Loughinisland Justice Group traveled to London and met a cross-party delegation of MPs at Westminster. The group were Lobbying MPs to investigate claims of security force collusion in the killings by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) of six men in O'Toole's bar, Loughinisland, County Down, on 18 June 1994. The families were accompanied to the meetings by Caitriona Ruane, then Sinn Féin MLA for South Down.

Thursday 9 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioner Case: Mr Justice Girvan, then a High Court judge, said that there should be an Inquiry established into the appointment of Bertha McDougall as the Interim Victims' Commissioner. The judge stated that the appointment by Peter Hain, then Secretary of State, was motivated by an "improper political purpose". The civil service departments advising Peter Hain were also criticised by the judge. He said: "The relevant government departments initially provided partial, misleading and incorrect information as to the manner of the appointment, failing to disclose the true nature of the limited consultation which took place with one political party [the DUP]; implying that no consultation took place when it had; and giving the false impression that the appointment was made on the basis that the appointee was the best candidate in terms of merit when in fact the ordinary principles applicable to an appointment solely on merit were disregarded."
gif image of small grey square Omagh Bomb: Representatives of the Omagh bomb victims met with David Hanson, then Victims' Minister, to discuss delays in erecting a memorial stone. Michael Gallagher claimed that the hold-up was because the Sinn Féin dominated council objected to the wording for the memorial. The proposed inscription for the monument was: "To honour and remember 31 people murdered and hundreds injured from three nations by a dissident republican terrorist car bomb." Michael Gallagher said that Sinn Féin objected to the word 'terrorist' being used on the memorial. Barry McElduff, then a Sinn Féin councillor and MLA, rejected this claim.

Saturday 11 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioner: Peter Hain, then Secretary of State, rejected calls from the Relatives for Justice group for the immediate suspension of some of Northern Ireland's top civil servants following their criticism by by Mr Justice Girvan, then a High Court judge. Girvan had requested that an Inquiry be established into the appointment of Bertha McDougall as the Interim Victims' Commissioner. Relatives for Justice group called for the immediate suspension of Nigel Hamilton, then head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, and Jonathan Phillips, then Permanent Secretary at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).
gif image of small grey square Remembrance Events: Armistice Day, the anniversary of the official end of World War I on 11 November 1918, was marked by a two-minute silence and various events across the UK.

Sunday 12 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Remembrance Services: Remembrance Day services were held across Northern Ireland to remember those who died in two world wars and other conflicts. Pat McCarthy, then SDLP lord mayor of Belfast, led the city's service at the cenotaph. In Scotland Archbishop Robin Eames addressed a Royal Irish Regiment ceremony at Fort George.

Friday 17 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioner Case: A planned hearing in the High Court in Belfast into the appointment of the Interim Victims' Commissioner was postponed.
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioner: Elfyn Llwyd, then Plaid Cymru MP, said that Peter Hain, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Wales, should consider his position if criticisms of him by Mr Justice Girvan, then a High Court judge, are upheld. Llwyd said the judge's criticisms were "devastating". David Jones, then Conservative MP for Clwyd West, urged Peter Hain to seriously consider whether he could carry on in his two posts. Jones described the judges' comments as "trenchant, very damning criticism".

Monday 20 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioner Inquiry: Mr Justice Girvan, then High Court judge, formally asked Lord Goldsmith, then Attorney General, to inquire into whether or not the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) deliberately misled the court during a judicial review of the appointment of Bertha McDougall, then Interim Victims' Commissioner. Girvan tabled 67 questions for Lord Goldsmith to consider.
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioner Inquiry: Later Lord Goldsmith, then Attorney General, confirmed that he would order an Inquiry into the government's appointment of Interim Victims' Commissioner. [The terms of the inquiry and the name of the person assigned to conduct it were announced on 4 December 2006.]

Thursday 23 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Omagh Bomb: Mr Justice Weir, then judge in the Omagh bomb trial, said an immediate investigation should be carried out into why some statements were altered and the originals lost. Mr Justice Weir's remarks were made on day 35 of the trial of Sean Hoey who is accused of the 29 murders in Omagh on 15 August 1998 and more Real IRA attacks including one in 2001.

Friday 24 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioner Inquiry: Lord Goldsmith, then Attorney General, told the House of Lords that an independent person would investigate if Peter Hain, Secretary of State, and his officials deliberately misled the High Court. Lord Goldsmith said that he hoped to make public any report into the matter. He also said that he would also write to senior civil servants to remind them of the "duty of candour" required during court cases.

Monday 27 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Commemoration Centre: Robert Saulters, then Grand Master of the Orange Order, said that a planned interpretive centre on the Battle of the Boyne site would prove a magnet for Orange tourism. Saulters made the comment when he led a delegation on a visit to the site near Drogheda. In 2005 the Irish government announced that it would spend 15m euro to fund a museum and interpretive centre at the site. Robert Saulters said the Irish government "deserve great credit" for their work.

Wednesday 29 November 2006
gif image of small grey square Collusion: A report by an Irish parliamentary committee (the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights) concluded that British security services colluded with loyalists involved in a series of attacks in the Republic of Ireland. The committee examined the findings of the Barron reports into the killing of 18 people by loyalist paramilitaries in the 1970s. Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), said the committee's findings were "deeply troubling" and called on the British government to examine the report carefully. Mark Durkan, then SDLP leader, said: "The considered view of a parliamentary committee is that collusion was endemic, there was extensive evidence of that collusion at the time and elements in the British security forces were engaged in international terrorism." See report: Joint Committee ... (2006). [PDF File; 413KB]

Thursday 30 November 2006
gif image of small grey square 'The Disappeared': Ian Paisley, then leader of the DUP, met Vera McVeigh the mother of one of 'the Disappeared'. Columba McVeigh (17) was kidnapped, killed and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975. Ian Paisley said that he had been asked to help in the case by Monsignor Denis Faul, who had been a campaigner for the Disappeared, prior to his death.


December 2006
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - December 2006

Monday 4 December 2006
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioner Inquiry: Peter Scott, then a senior Queen's Council (QC), was appointed by Lord Goldsmith, then Attorney General, to investigate whether Peter Hain, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, misled the High Court over the appointment of the Interim Victims' Commissioner. Mr Justice Girvan asked the Attorney General to investigate the case following the judge's ruling that Peter Hain acted "for an improper political purpose" in appointing Bertha McDougall. Lord Goldsmith also set out the terms of reference of the Inquiry.

Thursday 7 December 2006
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioner: It was announced that Bertha McDougall (then Interim Victims' Commissioner) had been granted an extension to her contract for two extra months to allow her time to conclude her report. Originally her contract had been due to expire this week.

Tuesday 12 December 2006
gif image of small grey square Report on Restorick Killing: Nuala O'Loan, then the Police Ombudsman, said that there was no evidence that the killing of Stephen Restorick (23) in February 1997 could have been prevented. An ex-soldier had previously told the Sunday Times that his death was permitted to protect an informer.

Tuesday 19 December 2006
gif image of small grey square Inquest into O'Hagan Killing: John Lecky, a coroner conducting the inquest into the killing of Martin O'Hagan (51), said he was satisfied that O'Hagan was killed because he had been investigating loyalists who were dealing drugs in the mid-Ulster area. O'Hagan who had worked as a Sunday World journalist, was shot dead on 28 September 2001.

Thursday 21 December 2006
gif image of small grey square Wright Inquiry: In the Belfast High Court Mr Justice Deeny ruled the Peter Hain, then Secretary of State, had acted unlawfully in changing the Billy Wright Inquiry from one to be conducted under the terms of the Prisons Act to one which would be held under the Inquiries Act (2005). Justice Deeny said he felt the Secretary of State had been ill-advised in the matter. Wright (37) was shot dead by three INLA prisoners in the Maze Prison on 27 December 1997. An Inquiry into his killing was originally announced in November 2004 following allegations of security force collusion.
Victims' Commissioner Inquiry: Mr Justice Girvan announced in Belfast High Court that he was reserving judgement on whether the appointment of the Interim Victims' Commissioner should be quashed. Girvan made his judgement on 15 January 2007.

 


Notes

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.

See also:
The main CAIN chronology of the conflict
The Sutton Index of Deaths 1969-2001

 

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