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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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2008  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec     Notes
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2008

January 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - January 2008

Monday 7 January 2008
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: The Consultative Group on the Past (CGP) held the first of seven public meetings in Belfast on Monday evening. [Over the following few weeks other meetings were held in Derry, Bangor, Ballymena, Enniskillen, Armagh and Omagh. The co-chairs of the CGP were Lord Eames, former Archbishop of Armagh, and Denis Bradley, former vice-chair of the Policing Board. Mr Bradley said the meetings were an important part of the consultation process.]
gif image of small grey square Legacy: Unionists reacted angrily to the suggestion that the CGP was considering the argument that the British government should be asked to formally state that it fought a war against the IRA.

Thursday 10 January 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh Bomb Civil Case: Mr Justice Morgan, who was due to act as judge in the civil case brought by the families of those killed in the Omagh bombing, said that despite complications he was determined the case would proceed in April 2008.

Monday 14 January 2008
gif image of small grey square Truth Commission: A number of victims' groups met at Stormont, Belfast, and called for an international independent truth commission. The groups included Relatives for Justice, the Pat Finucane Centre and Justice for the Forgotten. The groups argued that the focus of such a commission should be on truth, not prosecutions. Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin, spoke at the event and said: "We accept that dealing with legacy issues is an onerous task. However, it is critically important that the past is dealt with and a mechanism found which treats all victims equally and allows families of victims an avenue to acknowledgement, apology and truth."

Tuesday 15 January 2008
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: Some nationalists said they would not be comfortable expressing their views to the Consultative Group on the Past (CGP) at the proposed venue in the Waterside area of the city. [There was some speculation in the media that two meetings would be held with a venue on the city side of the Foyle being used on the second occasion. In the end only the first planned meeting took place.]

Sunday 20 January 2008
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: The co-chairpersons of the Consultative Group on the Past (CGP) stated that they would publish their forthcoming report privately if the British government refused to publish its contents.

Friday 25 January 2008
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: The Consultative Group on the Past (CGP) ended its period of public consultation. Over the previous five months the group had met with over 100 organisations, had received approximately 200 written submissions and received over 900 letters.
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: The BBC revealed that the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) were about to appoint four people as Victims' Commissioners.
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: Several hundred people took part in a parade in Glasgow to remember the victims of Bloody Sunday on 30 January 1972. The parade was organised by Cairde Na hEireann (Friends of Ireland). Around one hundred people took part in a counter-demonstration. There were some minor disturbances and five people were arrested.

Sunday 27 January 2008
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: Relatives of some of the victims of the La Mon Hotel bombing said that Ian Paisley, then First Minister, would not be welcome at an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the attack.
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, who was the first Victims' Commissioner, said that a continuing lack of trust might be behind the decision to appoint four Victims' Commissioners.

Monday 28 January 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: Martin McGuinness (SF), then deputy First Minister, made the official announcement on behalf of the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) that four Victims' Commissioners would be appointed. McGuinness told the Northern Ireland Assembly that all four posts would be full-time and each would receive the full salary of £65,000. McGuinness also denied reports that he and Ian Paisley, then First Minister, could not agree on a single candidate. The four Victims' Commissioners were named as: Patricia MacBride, whose brother was killed by the SAS; Brendan McAllister of Mediation NI; Bertha McDougall, former Interim Victims' Commissioner, and Mike Nesbitt, broadcaster.
gif image of small grey square Historical Enquires Team: The BBC reported that the Historical Enquires Team (HET) had to date completed a re-examination of 320 cases. Of these only nine files having been sent to the Public Prosecution Service and no one had yet been convicted. The HET had been formally launched on 20 January 2006.

Wednesday 30 January 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: Some unionists objected to the term 'IRA volunteer' in the mini biography of Patricia MacBride, one of the new Victims' Commissioners. MacBride's brother was described as an "IRA volunteer" who had been "killed on active service". Some unionists said he should have been described as a "terrorist". Mike Nesbitt, one of the four commissioners, said that the text was agreed among the commissioners and no objections were raised.
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: Relatives of those killed on 30 January 1972 held a minutes silence at the Bloody Sunday monument.

 


February 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - February 2008

Thursday 7 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh Bombing: It was announced that the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) would appoint a panel of experts to carry out a review of the police investigation into the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. Some of the relatives of those killed said they would prefer a cross-border public inquiry to be established.

Monday 11 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Victim: Andrew Burns (27) was found shot dead in Doneyloop, Castlefin, Republic of Ireland, close to the border with Strabane. At the time Gardai said they had not ruled out a dissident republican or criminal link to the killing. The Real IRA released a statement saying they were not involved. [Later the Independent Monitoring Commission stated that the killing was likely to have been carried out by dissident republicans.]

Monday 18 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: The 30th anniversary of the La Mon Hotel bombing was marked by a memorial service in Castlereagh Borough Council.

Tuesday 19 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: The Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA) passed a motion by 46 votes to 20 which stated that 'the Troubles' should not be reclassified as a 'war'. The motion was introduced by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) following comments from the Consultative Group on the Past which indicated that a change was one idea that was being considered.

Wednesday 20 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Inquiries: Shaun Woodward, then Secretary of State, announced in the House of Commons, Westminister, that the cost to date of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry was 181m. About half of the cost has gone on legal services.
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: The Consultative Group on the Past (CGP) revealed that it had received over 2,000 letters objecting to an amnesty for former members of paramilitary organisations. The CGP said it believed the letters, which were similarly worded, were part of a co-ordinated campaign.

Thursday 21 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: Mike Nesbitt, then one of the Victims' Commissioners, said they had received legal advice that they should not meet victims or their families. Current legislation covers one commissioner, not a commission of four members, which was interpreted as meaning that the Victims' Commissioners had no legal status.

Friday 22 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: The co-chairmen of the Consultative Group on the Past travelled to London to hold a meeting with the Director General of MI5. [It is believed that the co-chairmen were trying to establish how much information MI5 would be prepared to reveal about its activities during 'the Troubles'.] No details of the talks were revealed.

Monday 25 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: A legal challenge began against the decision of the OFMDFM to appoint four victims' commissioners. Papers were lodged in the name of Michelle Williamson whose parents were killed in the Shankill bombing.
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: The co-chairmen of the Consultative Group on the Past had indicated that they would like to meet with the leadership of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), however republican sources were quoted as saying that such a meeting was "highly unlikely".
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) announced that it planned to apply to reserve the Long Gallery at Stormont parliament buildings for an event to commemorate the role of the Special Air Service (SAS) during the conflict. [The DUP move was seen as an attempt to counter an application from Sinn Fein for the same venue to commemorate Mairead Farrell who was shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar on 6 March 1998.]

Tuesday 26 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: The procedure used to appoint the co-chairmen of the Consultative Group on the Past was criticised by Felicity Huston, then Northern Ireland commissioner for public appointments. Huston said all public appointment should be open and transparent.

Wednesday 27 February 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorials: Some of the relatives of those killed in the Omagh bombing expressed concern that the remembrance stone that was in the temporary remembrance garden may not be returned when the new 'Garden of Light' opens on 15 August 2008.
gif image of small grey square Inquests: Paul McIlwaine, father of David McIlwaine (18) who was killed with Andrew Robb (19) on 19 February 2000, said he was angry that a full inquest would not now be held into his son's death. In 2003 McIlwaine had been granted a court order to have police files and witness statement related to the killings released. However this order was overturned by the Court of Appeal.

 


March 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - March 2008

Thursday 6 March 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorials: A dispute over the wording to be inscribed on a new Omagh bombing memorial was resolved when a report from an independent fact-finding group was accepted by Omagh District Council.
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: The Assembly Commission ruled that events to be held in the Long Gallery of the Stormont building needed in future to have cross-community support. [The decision followed a dispute about a planned Sinn Fein event.]

Friday 7 March 2008
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: Sinn Fein proceeded with an event to mark the life of Mairead Farrell. The party was forced to hold the event in its members room instead of the Long Gallery of Stormont.

Wednesday 12 March 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: Michelle Williamson, whose parents were killed in the Shankill bombing, was given leave by the High Court to challenge the appointment of the four Victims' Commissioners. Williamson was joined in the High Court by representatives from some victims' groups. [The main opposition was to the appointment of Patricia McBride whose brother was a member of the IRA.]

Friday 14 March 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh Bombing Civil Case: Michael McKevitt (58), who was convicted in the Republic of Ireland of directing terrorism, won the right to full legal aid to defend himself against a civil action compensation case brought by the relatives of those killed in the Omagh bombing. McKevitt was one of five men facing the civil action.

Sunday 23 March 2008
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: Republican commemorative parades and events to mark the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, were held at a number of venues across Northern Ireland.

 


April 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - April 2008

Tuesday 1 April 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh Bombing: It was announced that Sir Dan Crompton would lead the review into the police's handling of the Omagh bomb investigation. Crompton was due to deliver an interim verbal report to the Policing Board on 3 April 2008 and to deliver a final written report at the end of May 2008. gif image of small grey square Omagh Bombing: Relatives of those killed in the Omagh bombing travelled to Stormont to press MLAs to pass a motion which would call on the British and Irish governments to facilitate a cross-border public inquiry into the bombing. Although all 108 MLAs were invited to attend the event in the Long Gallery only 12 members were present.

Thursday 3 April 2008
gif image of small grey square Bloody Sunday Inquiry: On the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Jim Wray, the brother of one of those killed on 30 January 1972, said that the delay in publishing the findings of the Inquiry was adding to the stress felt by the families.

Monday 7 April 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh Bombing Civil Case: In Belfast a civil action compensation case began. The case was brought by the relatives of those killed in the Omagh bombing. Those being sued were Michael McKevitt, Seamus Daly, Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy and Seamus McKenna. The defendants all denied involvement in the bombing. [It was reported that this was the first occasion, anywhere in the world, that alleged members of a paramilitary organisation had been sued. As the case was a civil action the only remedy was financial and no one could be sent to jail as a result of the action.]

Tuesday 8 April 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners Bill: A decision was taken not to move the Commission for Victims and Survivors Bill for consideration in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Bill had been drawn up to facilitate the appointment of four Victims' Commissions as opposed the original plan of one commissioner. However, Sinn Fein were reported as being unhappy with proposed amendments which would have allowed for the appointment of a Chief Commissioner.

Tuesday 15 April 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims: The Police Ombudsman issued a press release which stated that the police did not carry out a proper investigation into the killing of Constable John Larmour on 11 October 1988. The Ombudsman indicated that not all the information available to the police was passed to the investigating officers. Gavin Larmour, the son of the John Larmour, alleged that officers knew the identity of the killer but did not pass on the information because he was an informer.
gif image of small grey square Nelson Inquiry: The public hearings began in the Inquiry into the killing of Rosemary Nelson on 15 March 1999. Sir Michael Morland, then a retired judge, chaired a three-strong panel examining allegations of security force collusion in the killing.

Monday 21 April 2008
gif image of small grey square Victim Support: It was announced that the British Army would provide 2m per year for a care service for more than 60,000 former Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) soldiers. The money is to assist former soldiers and their families adjust to civilian life and cope with the legacy of 'the Troubles'.
gif image of small grey square Victims: The family of Adrian Lamph (29), who was killed by the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) on 21 April 1998, made a special appeal on the 10th anniversary of his death for information about the killing.

Tuesday 22 April 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners Bill: For the second time a decision was taken not to move the Commission for Victims and Survivors Bill for consideration in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Bill had been drawn up to facilitate the appointment of four Victims' Commissions as opposed the original plan of one commissioner. However, Sinn Fein were reported as being unhappy with proposed amendments which would have allowed for the appointment of a Chief Commissioner. The First Minister and the deputy First Minister said that they had agreed to the changes to the Bill. However, the UUP, SDLP and Alliance party called delay a "shambles" and "an absolute horlicks". Alliance threatened to introduce its own victims' bill by way of a private members bill.

Monday 28 April 2008
gif image of small grey square Collusion: The issues surrounding the death of Raymond McCord Jr (22) on 9 November 1997 were debated in the Northern Ireland Assembly as part of Private Members' Business. A motion was moved by Alban Maginness (SDLP) and passed by the Assembly.

 


May 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - May 2008

Thursday 1 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims: The eighteenth report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) was published. The IMC report stated that the IRA was not responsible for the killing of Paul Quinn on 20 October 2007. referring to the killing of Andrew Burns on 11 February 2008 the report stated that Strabane members of Oglaigh na h'Eireann were "likely to have been responsible". [The report also stated that Burns had been a member of the group, something which his family denied.]
gif image of small grey square Victims: The family of Andrew Burns, killed on 11 February 2008, have denied that he was a member the Strabane grouping of Oglaigh na h'Eireann. The statement followed the publication of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report on 1 May 2008

Tuesday 6 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: The Office of the First Minster and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) has refused to disclose the legal advice it received which led to the decision to appoint four Victims's Commissioners. The BBC News had made a request for a copy of this advice under the Freedom of Information Act.
gif image of small grey square Nelson Inquiry: The High Court in Belfast granted permission to 12 soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) to apply for a judicial review of the decision by the Inquiry into the killing of Rosemary Nelson not to allow them anonymity.
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners Bill: The Commission for Victims and Survivors Bill passed through its consideration stage in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Bill had been drawn up to facilitate the appointment of four Victims' Commissions as opposed the original plan of one commissioner. The Bill had been withdrawn on two previous occasions. In amendments to the Bill the First and deputy First Ministers have the option of appointing a Chief Commissioner in the future. Also the Victims' Commission could appoint someone with a criminal conviction if it first obtained the approval of the OFMDFM.

Thursday 8 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims: It was announced that James Nesbitt, a actor born in Northern Ireland, would star in a drama based on the killing of James Griffin on 29 October 1975 by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The television film is to be entitled Five Minutes of Heaven.

Friday 9 May 2008
gif image of small grey square McShane Inquest : The coroner of an Inquest to begin on 27 May 2008 asked for members of the public with information on the death of Dermot Mcshane (35) on 13 July 1996 to come forward. McShane was killed during street disturbances when he was crushed by a British Army vehicle on Little James Street in Derry.
gif image of small grey square Memorials: In a written answer to a question asked at the Northern Ireland Assembly, Conor Murphy addressed the question of troubles-related illegally erected monuments. Murphy wrote: "... Roads Service is acutely aware that taking action to remove illegally erected monuments without the support of the wider local community could have a negative impact on relations between such groups".
gif image of small grey square Troubles Museum: In another written answer to a question asked at the Northern Ireland Assembly, it was announced that when the Ulster Museum reopens after refurbishment, new galleries would include exhibits which dealt with 'the Troubles'.

Sunday 11 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Inquests: The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) said it was opposed to measures contained in the proposed Counter-Terrorism Bill being considered at Westminster, which would allow some inquests to be held in secret. Ministers would be allowed to replace coroners with their own appointees. The SDLP said it believed that the legislation would be extended to Northern Ireland and would have implications for outstanding cases where inquests had been delayed for years.

Monday 12 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh Bombing Civil Case: The civil action being taken by relatives of those killed in the Omagh bombing moved from Belfast to a court in Dublin. This marked the first occasion when a Northern Ireland judge head evidence in the Republic of Ireland. Lawyers took evidence from Gardai who had investigated the bombing.

Tuesday 13 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners Bill: The Commission for Victims and Survivors Bill passed its final stage following a debate at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Friday 16 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Nelson Inquiry: A computer disc containing confidential information related to the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry was reported as having been lost. Shaun Woodward, then Secretary of State, ordered a review to ensure that the Inquiry was complying with procedures.

Tuesday 20 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims: A man was arrested in connection with the abduction and killing of Robert Nairac, then a British Army officer, on 14 May 1977. Nairac's body has never been recovered.

Friday 23 May 2008
gif image of small grey square [Commemoration: Eamon O Cuiv, then Community Affairs Minister in the Irish government, announced that there would be an annual official memorial day for the victims of the Irish Famine.]

Sunday 25 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Film: At the Cannes Film Festival a film entitled 'Hunger', about the last weeks in the life of Hunger Striker Bobby Sands, won the Camera d'Or prize. The film had its world premiere on 14 May 2008. The film was directed by artist Steve McQueen and starred Michael Fassbender as Sands.

Tuesday 27 May 2008
gif image of small grey square McShane Inquest: The inquest into the death of Dermot Mcshane (35) on 13 July 1996 opened in Derry.

Thursday 29 May 2008
gif image of small grey square Legacy - Consultative Group: Lord Eames and Denis Bradley, then co-chairmen of the Consultative Group on the Past, gave a speech in which the called on the British state to admit to any illegal activity which led to the deaths of innocent people.
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: The legal challenge in Belfast High Court to the appointment of four Victims' Commissioners was told that no records were kept of private meetings on the issue between Ian Paisley, then First Minister, and Martin McGuinness, then deputy First Minister.

 


June 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - June 2008

Thursday 5 June 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' group: Mary McAleese, then President of the Republic of Ireland, paid a visit to the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace in Warrington. The centre was opened in memory of Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball, two boys who were killed in an IRA bombing in 1993.

Wednesday 11 June 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: The Commission for Victims and Survivors (CVS) announced that it would hold a series of public meetings. The meetings would outline its initial programme of work. The first meeting was in Ballymoney on 11 June, and other meetings were arranged for Derry on 17 June, Enniskillen, 18 June, Belfast, 20 June, and in Newry on 23 June.

Wednesday 18 June 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: The four members of the Commission for Victims and Survivors are to give evidence before a Stormont committee.  They will answer questions at the Committee for the First and Deputy First Minister.  It will be the first appearance by commissioners (BBC)
gif image of small grey square Victims: The family of Henry Cunningham (16), who was killed by the UVF on 9 August 1973, spoke about information they had learned from detectives working with the Historical Enquiries Team (HET). The gun used in his killing had been stolen from a UDR base in an incident which appeared to detectives to involve collusion.

Tuesday 24 June 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims: The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) published a report into the shooting of Aidan McAnespie at a British Army border checkpoint on 21 February 1988. McAnespie was shot by a soldier as he walked through the checkpoint. The soldier concerned claimed that his hands were wet, causing him to accidentally fire a machine-gun when he was moving it inside the Army sanger. The report called this explanation the "least likely version" of what happened. The soldier was charged with manslaughter, but this was later withdrawn.

Thursday 26 June 2008
gif image of small grey square Legal review: A High Court judge refused to throw out a judicial review of the appointment of the four Victims' Commissioners.  The challenge was undertaken on behalf of the former First Minister, Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. The judicial review was being undertaken by Michelle Williamson, whose parents were killed in the 1993 IRA bomb attack on the Shankill Road. In particular Williamson objected to the appointment of Patricia MacBride whose brother was a member of the IRA.

Monday 30 June 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims: A man was arrested in Kent, England, by detectives investigating the killing of six people in a bar in Loughinisland, County Down, on 18 June 1994.
gif image of small grey square Wright Inquiry: Adam Ingram, former NIO security minister, gave evidence to the Billy Wright Inquiry.  Ingram told the Inquiry that the policy of housing Loyalist and Republican prisoners in the same block at the Maze had been the "least worst option" in a difficult and dangerous situation.

 


July 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - July 2008

Thursday 3 July 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorials: The Diamond war memorial project in Derry has researched the names that appear on the city's main War Memorial. Historian Trevor Temple revealed that 48 per cent of the people whose names were displayed on the memorial were from a nationalist background, while 52 per cent were unionists. He said that "the fact that it is almost 50/50 has allowed the war memorial to be opened up, and to become a shared monument".

Friday 4 July 2008
gif image of small grey square Inquest: An Inquest jury found that the British Army was ultimately responsible for the death of Dermot McShane (35), a former member of the INLA, who was killed on 13 July 1996 when he was knocked down by an Army Personnel Carrier. The jury unanimously found that the proper military procedures were not followed, and communication between the police and Army had broken down.

Monday 7 July 2008
gif image of small grey square Investigations: It was revealed that only one case had been forwarded for prosecution by the Historical Enquires Team (HET) out of 1,100 unsolved cases examined by the team. The information was contained in a Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report. The report also claimed that the cost of Inquiries was "financially unsustainable".

Sunday 13 July 2008
gif image of small grey square Apology: Paul Goggins, then NIO Security Minister, apologised in the House of Commons for false claims made by government officials in 1971 following the bombing of McGurk's Bar on 4 December 1971 when 15 people were killed. At the time, the security forces said it was an IRA "own goal".  He said: "We are deeply sorry, not just for the appalling suffering and loss of life that occurred at McGurk's Bar, but also for the extraordinary additional pain caused to both the immediate families and the wider community by the erroneous suggestions made in the immediate aftermath of the explosion as to who was responsible".

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Sunday 20 July 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims: Sarah Conlon (82) died in west Belfast. She had helped to secure an apology in 2005, from Tony Blair who was then Prime Minister, for the wrongful imprisonment of her husband Giuseppe and son Gerry. The two men had been imprisoned in relation to the IRA bombing of a public house in Guildford on 5 October 1974. Sarah Conlon had spent 16 years campaigning to have the names of her husband and son cleared.

Monday 21 July 2008
gif image of small grey square Legal action: Members of the group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR) travelled to the US to meet with American victims groups. The trip was in anticipation of a case against Libya in American courts to seek compensation for killed in a number of attacks. FAIR was hopeful that any compensation would also cover victims in Ireland.
gif image of small grey square Legal action: Two of the men being sued in the civil action over the Omagh bomb lost an appeal against exceptional legal aid being given to relatives of the victims. The men accused the Lord Chancellor of bias. They said a public pledge of financial assistance to the families ahead of any legal authorisation was predetermining the outcome of the legal aid process.

Tuesday 22 July 2008
gif image of small grey square Funding: In January the Northern Ireland Executive set aside £36m to help address the legacy of the past. Peter Robinson, then First Minister, announced that £3m of that money would be given directly to victims' groups in the region.

Wednesday 23 July 2008
gif image of small grey square Investigation: Nuala O'Loan, the former Police Ombudsman, said that the Historical Enquires Team (HET) and the Police Ombudsman's office should be merged. Dame O'Loan said a merger would make sense:  "There needs to be a single unit comprising the HET and historic investigations from the police ombudsman".
gif image of small grey square 'The Disappeared': The family of one of 'the Disappeared', Seamus Ruddy, said they were being misled in the attempts to locate his body.  Ruddy (32), from Newry, was working as a teacher in Paris when he went missing on 9 May 1985. It is believed he was killed by members of the INLA. The family had been given information about a location in a forest in Normandy, but nothing was found.

Sunday 27 July 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorials: A tall glass obelisk was installed on the site of the Omagh bomb.  The monument was part of a Memorial Garden of Light which was unveiled on 15 August 2008. It consists of seven glass sheets, each weighting a tonne, which had been laminated together.  The artist who designed the monument was Sean Hillen.

 


August 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - August 2008

Monday 4 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Personal accounts: Mick Grimes launched a book 'Til We Meet Again' about his life and the Omagh bomb when his wife Mary, daughter Avril, who was pregnant with twins, and granddaughter Maura were killed.

Wednesday 6 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Policy: A consultation paper, 'Outline draft strategic approach for Victims and Survivors', was published by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM). The proposals outlined a strategy for the next 10 years.  A 12-week consultation also began.  Mike Nesbitt, then one of the Victims' Commissioners, said the strategy provided the opportunity "for the first time to replace short-term anxiety with longer-term certainty".  He said the plans would help "victims groups who are grant-dependent, and therefore wonder every year whether the money is going to come through, whether they will be able to afford to keep their staff".

Thursday 7 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Legal review: A judge ruled that Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness would not have to attend the High Court to answer questions on how the four victims' commissioners were appointed. A legal challenge to the appointments was taken by Michelle Williamson. She believed that Paisley and McGuinness had based their decision on religious belief, or political opinion, rather than merit.

Friday 8 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: Some of the families of Omagh bomb victims decided not to attend a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the 1998 bombing. Kevin Skelton, then vice-chairman of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group, said families were not happy with aspects of the Memorial Garden.
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: Clergy from the four main churches said they would only attend the 'official' 10th anniversary service for the Omagh bomb. They had been invited to an additional service on the following Sunday.

Monday 11 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims: The family of Thomas Devlin, who was stabbed to death in August 2005, said the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is failing people in Northern Ireland. His mother, Penny Holloway, said the PPS should be tougher on knife crime and it should follow the English system where everyone involved in a murder is held to be responsible.

Tuesday 12 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: Church leaders in Omagh called on all of the families of those killed to attend Friday's 'official' 10th anniversary service in Omagh.  There were indications that ten families were planning to boycott the council-run event.  They are unhappy at the way in which plans for a new memorial had been handled.

Thursday 14 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh bomb : Hugh Orde, then Chief Constable of the PSNI, said he was frustrated that those responsible for the bombing had not been caught and admitted it was now unlikely they ever would.

Friday 15 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorial service: A memorial service was held in Omagh to mark the 10th anniversary of the bombing. A minutes silence was held at 3.10pm to mark the time the bomb exploded killing 29 people. The service was boycotted by some families of those killed.

Saturday 16 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Inquiry call : Jim Allister, then leader of Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), called for an Inquiry into the Omagh bombing. Speaking on Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme he said the Inquiry could help to explain why no-one was convicted of the bombing.

Sunday 17 August 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorial service: In Omagh a second memorial service was held by those families who had refused to attend the council-run event on Friday 15th August. It was reported that there was a large turnout for the service at the memorial garden.

 


September 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - September 2008

Wednesday 10 September 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorial service: There was a memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral, London, to honour the estimated 300,000 British soldiers who served as part of 'Operation Banner' in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 2007. During the conflict 763 military personnel died and an estimated 6,000 were injured.

Tuesday 16 September 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh bomb: Families of those killed in the Omagh bomb threatened to take legal action to force British intelligence services to hand over information about the bombing. The announcement followed a BBC Panorama programme which revealed that GCHQ was monitoring the phone conversations of the bombers as they drove to Omagh on 15 August 1998. The families want access to tape recordings or transcripts of what was said. The evidence would be used in the civil action being taken by the families.

Tuesday 30 September 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commission: An independent review by George Bain said that at least 5,000 public sector jobs should be moved out of Belfast as part of a decentralisation plan. It was suggested that the Commission for Victims and Survivors (CVS) could be one of the organisations that should move.

 


October 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - October 2008

Wednesday 1 October 2008
gif image of small grey square 'The Disappeared': Investigators working for the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains appealed for addition information on Gerry Evans (24) who disappeared on 27 March 1979. In March 2008 his family had been given a note and map showing where his body might be buried. The message read: "This is where I believe Gerry to be buried. I hope this helps and God bless you all." The document was taken to the Gardai before being passed on to the Commission.

Saturday 4 October 2008
gif image of small grey square Story-telling: The BBC carried a report of a new Web site entitled 'Shared Troubles' which was established to allow people tell their experiences of the conflict.

Wednesday 15 October 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh bomb: In the Northern Ireland Assembly there was disagreement over a motion calling for the full disclosure of intelligence information in relation to the Omagh bomb.

Monday 20 October 2008
gif image of small grey square Consultative Group on the Past: The media revealed that the Consultative Group on the Past was set to propose a five-year commission to re-investigate all troubles-related killings.  If prosecutions are not possible, the police, army and paramilitary organisations will be asked to provide details about their roles.
gif image of small grey square Omagh bomb: The British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body debated a motion calling for the release of intelligence files related to the Omagh bomb.

Tuesday 21 October 2008
gif image of small grey square Omagh trial: The BBC revealed that three prosecution barristers in the Omagh bomb trial were paid almost £1.2m in fees. The trial ended in December 2007 and lasted 56 days but failed to secure a conviction.

Tuesday 28 October 2008
gif image of small grey square Commemorative parade:
Sinn Féin repeated its call for a British Army homecoming parade, planed for Sunday in Belfast, to be called off.  Jennifer McCann, then a SF Assembly member, said the parade was an insult to the nationalist community of Belfast.
gif image of small grey square Omagh trial: The BBC revealed that the defence team which represent Sean Hoey in the Omagh bomb trial was paid almost £2.5m. The Legal Services Commission said the figure included fees to legal representatives and a range of other expenses, such as expert witnesses.

Wednesday 29 October 2008
gif image of small grey square Inquest: John Leckey, then Coroner, requested fresh inquests into the 1982 killings of RUC officers John Quinn, Allan McCloy and Paul Hamilton. He made his decision after seeing confidential files which were believed to contain new evidence. Leckey had asked to see the documents as part of his probe into six alleged 'shoot-to-kill' incidents. The reports were compiled by former Manchester Metropolitan Police Deputy Chief Constable John Stalker and Sir Colin Sampson.

Friday 31 October 2008
gif image of small grey square Commemorative parade: The British Army and Sinn Féin altered their respective plans for a homecoming parade and protest planned for Sunday in Belfast. The armed forces cancelled a planned RAF flypast and said soldiers would be unarmed. SF changed part of the route and time of its protest.

 


November 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - November 2008

Saturday 1 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorial service: The Irish Ex-Service Men's Association and the Whiteabbey British Legion branch laid wreaths bearing the Royal Crest and Tricolour at a War Memorial in Drogheda, County Louth. The joint service has been held for nine years and is the only all-Ireland remembrance service to war dead.

Sunday 2 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Commemorative parade: A British Army homecoming parade in Belfast passed off with only some comparatively minor incidents. Thousands of people turned out to support the parade. Some Loyalists climbed scaffolding outside a building from which they hurled abuse and building materials at families taking part in a Sinn Féin protest gathering.
gif image of small grey square 'The Disappeared': Families of 'the Disappeared' held a service at Stormont.

Monday 3 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Victims' Commissioners: Felicity Huston, then the Public Appointments Commissioner, criticised the leaking of details of those appointed as Victims Commissioners.  Felicity Huston said she was told the commissioners' names in a supermarket a fortnight before they were released.

Wednesday 5 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Hamill Inquiry: Shaun Woodward, then Secretary of State, said that the British government would not widen the terms of the Inquiry in the killing of Robert Hamill in 1997.
gif image of small grey square Bloody Sunday Inquiry: It was announced that the report of the Inquiry into Bloody Sunday would be further delayed until the autumn of 2009.

Thursday 6 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Bloody Sunday Inquiry: The families of those killed on Bloody Sunday have said their faith in the Saville Inquiry has been damaged by further delays.

Monday 10 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Consultative Group on the Past: Denis Bradley, then one of the co-chairs of the Consultative Group on the Past, said that an amnesty would not be recommended in the final report.

Tuesday 11 November 2008
gif image of small grey square 'The Disappeared': The family of Danny McIlhone, one of 'the Disappeared', were waiting on the results of DNA tests carried out on remains found in County Wicklow.
gif image of small grey square Commemoration: There was no formal ceremony to mark Armistice Day at the Cenotaph in Belfast's City Hall. However, families of those killed in various conflicts gathering to pay their respects and attend the two minutes silence.

Monday 17 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Inquiries: The cost the Nelson, Wright and Hamill Inquires was estimated at £69m.

Tuesday 18 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Historical Enquiries Team: The funding for the Historical Enquiries Team for the following year was secured. There had been a £1.5m shortfall and some members feared they would temporarily lose their jobs.

Wednesday 19 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Bloody Sunday Inquiry: Shaun Woodward, then Secretary of State, defended the extra time Lord Saville asked to publish his report into Bloody Sunday.  Speaking in the House of Commons, Woodward said he shared MPs' concerns but urged people to be patient.  "I'm afraid to report to the house that I too share the disappointment of honourable members that Lord Saville has written to me requesting a further year before he is able to publish."

Saturday 22 November 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorials: A memorial was damaged in an apparent sectarian attack on the lower Newtownards Road. The James McCurrie Robert Neill Memorial Garden, dedicated to two Protestant men killed by the IRA in 1970, was damaged with paint and sectarian graffiti.

 


December 2008
See also: Calendar of victims-related media material - December 2008

Monday 1 December 2008
gif image of small grey square Memorials: Forensic scientists visited land in County Monaghan in an attempt to identify sites that might hold the remains of Gerry Evans (24) one of 'the Disappeared'.

Thursday 4 December 2008
gif image of small grey square Historical Enquiries Team: It was announced that there was a shortfall in the budget of the Historical Enquires Team (HET) for the next financial year.

Monday 15 December 2008
gif image of small grey square Legal case: A Protestant man pleaded guilty to a sectarian attack that left a Catholic man in a coma. Paul McCauley was attacked in 2006.

Friday 19 December 2008
gif image of small grey square 'The Disappeared': The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains confirmed that remains found last month in County Wicklow were those of Danny McIlhone one of 'the Disappeared'. His family issued a statement part of which read: "We as a family are now at peace and now have the opportunity to given our brother Danny a Christian burial and to lay him to rest with our beloved mother and father, ... While we have now found peace, our thoughts and prayers remain with and will always be with the families whose anguish and loss continues."

Sunday 21 December 2008
gif image of small grey square Legal action: Caitríona Ruane, then Education Minister, was reported to police for statements she made about Bobby Sands. The complaint made was that her remarks breached the law on glorifying terrorism.

Monday 22 December 2008
gif image of small grey square 'The Disappeared': The funeral of Danny McIlhone, one of 'the Disappeared', took place in west Belfast.

 


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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