1956 in Ireland

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John A. Costello
John A. Costello
January: Agreement with the United States respecting the use of Counterpart for defraying the costs of programmes submitted by Muintir na Tire, Macra na Feirme and the Irish Countrywomen's Association.

The 1956 census passed into law.

February:  On the 15th, Owen Sheehy-Skeffington, son of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington who had been murdered by the British during the Easter Rising, introduced a motion calling for the abolition of corporal punishment of girls in public schools.

The Fatal Injuries Act was passed to make better provision for the families of those fatally injured through the fault of another person.

March: Gerard Sweetman, the Minister for Finance, introduced special import levies on 'less than essential consumer imports'. Prize bonds were authorised, and would first be sold a year later.

John A. Costello became the first head of Government to spend St. Patrick's Day in the United States, where he was guest of honour at a dinner put on by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Philidelphia. Meanwhile Dublin's Jewish Mayor, Robert Briscoe, led the annual parade in New York.

April: On the 2nd, President Seán T. O'Kelly unveiled a bust of Easter Rising rebel Countess Markiewicz in St. Stephen's Green.

A national census was carried out, which revealed a general decline in population in both industrial and rural areas.

May: On May 7th, a Trade Agreement was signed with France.

The Mid-Ulster by-election of May 8th was won by Independent Unionist George Forrest. The sitting MP, Charles Beattie, had been disqualified in February. Beattie had himself taken the seat by default after Sinn Féin's Tom Mitchell was disqualified for being a convincted felon.

On May 21st, the President Seán T. O'Kelly opened the first international Cork Film Festival. Eight days later, T. K. Whitaker was appointed the new Secretary of the Department of Finance.

Sean T O'Kelly
Seán T. O'Kelly
The All-Ireland Champions
The All-Ireland football champions
June:  The Ministers and Secretaries Amendment Act provided for a Department of the Gaeltacht. Minister for Education Richard Mulcahy had introduced the debate the month previously.

July: The Prisoners of War and Enemy Aliens Act was passed, confirming Ireland's commitment to the Geneva Conventions. An Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act was also passed to make provision for the acquisition and loss of Irish citizenship.

Major spending cuts were introduced on housing and roads.

August: An outbreak of polio forced the GAA to postpone the All-Ireland hurling and football finals.

September: On the 22nd, Galway beat Cork in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.

October: On the 3rd of October, Ireland beat Denmark 2-1 in a World Cup Qualifying match at Dalymount Park, Dublin.

November: On the 21st, Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children was opened in Crumlin, Dublin.

Nine days later it was announced that petrol rationing would be brought in from January, due to the crisis in the Suez.

On the first, Robert Delaney won the 1500m race and claimed Ireland's first Olympic gold in 24 years.

The IRA's Border Campaign was launched on the night of 11th December with simultaneous attacks on targets including a barracks, a B-Special post, a courthouse and a BBC radio transmitter.
Declaration of the Border Campaign in the United Irishman
Declaration of the Border Campaign in the United Irishman

Notable births in Ireland

John O'Donohue, poet
John O'Donahue
1st January
Pat Carroll, hurler
Pat O'Carroll
11th February

Liam Brady, soccer player
Liam Brady
13th February
Jim Lynagh, PIRA member killed at Loughgall
Jim Lynagh
13th April

Kevin Moran, footballer
Kevin Moran
29th April

Steve Barron, director
Steve Barron
4th May

Mary Coughlan, singer
Mary Coughlan
5th May
Brendan Howlin, politician
Brendan Howlin
9th May
Pat Byrne, football player and manager
Pat Byrne
15th May
Pat Fleury, hurling manager and player
Pat Fleury
18th May
Seán Kelly, cyclist
Seán Kelly
21st May
Michael Jackson, Anglican bishop
Michael Jackson
24th May
John O'Donoghue, politician
John O'Donoghue
28th May
Brendan Smith, politician
Brendan Smith
1st June
Gerry Ryan, TV presenter
Gerry Ryan
4th June
Marty Whelan, TV personality
Marty Whelan
7th June
Frank Stapleton, football player and manager
Frank Stapleton
10th July
Liz O'Donnell, politician
Liz O'Donnell
Denis Mulcahy, hurler
Denis Mulcahy
Willie Mullins, racehorse trainer
Willie Mullins
5th September
Charles Flanagan, politician
Charles Flanagan
1st November
Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Irish language poet
Cathal Ó Searcaigh 
Patrick Cassidy, composer
Patrick Cassidy
Marita Conlon McKenna, children's author
Marita Conlon McKenna
Dorothy Cross, sculptor
Dorothy Cross
Joe Duffy, radio presenter
Joe Duffy
Frankie Gavin, musician
Frankie Gavin
Mary Kennedy, television presenter
Mary Kennedy
Tadhg Murphy, hurler
Tadhg Murphy
Fran Rooney, businessman
Fran Rooney

Notable Deaths in Ireland

Name Date of death Age Details

Sir John Keane 30th January 82 Barrister and politician; the fifth Baronet.
Louis Meldon 21st February 69 Cricketer who played four first-class matches for Ireland.
Alfred Byrne 13th March 73 Irish nationalist politician and Lord Mayor of Dublin.
Benjamin Glazer 18th March 68 Screenwriter, producer, foley artist and film director.
Matt Goff 19th March 54 Gaelic footballer who helped establish the GAA.
Bob Lambert 24th March 81 Cricketer who played 23 first-class matches for Ireland.
John Tudor Gwynn 17th May 74 Cricketer who played in India for 'Europe'.
John Miller Andrews 5th August 85 Second Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
Tomás Ó Deirg 19th November 58 Fianna Fáil politician.
Robert Bowers 25th November 59 Cricketer who played one first-class match for Ireland.
Frederic Charles Dreyer 11th December 78 Admiral in the Royal Navy.
Lambert McKenna 27th December 86 Jesuit priest and writer.
James Cousins - (83) Writer, playwright, critic, editor, teacher and poet.
Elizabeth Cronin - (77) Singer specialising in trad music.
Ella Young - (89) Poet, political activist and mystic.

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