1991 in Ireland

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Downing Street mortar attack
Aftermath of mortar bomb attack on Downing Street

January: On January 1st, Limerick City celebrated three hundred years of the Treaty of Limerick.

On the 6th,  the Irish government and the EC Commission met in Dublin to launch the Irish EC Presidency.

The government controversially allowed US warplanes to refuel at Shannon airport.

The new government buildings in the renovated College of Science were officially opened.

February: On the 7th, the IRA fired mortar bombs at Downing Street.

March: The Birmingham Six were freed after sixteen years of wrongful imprisonment.

On March 16th, Dublin was inaugurated Europe's City of Culture.

On the 25th, the UUP, DUP, SDLP and APNI agreed to political talks.

April: Censuses of both the Republic and Northern Ireland was held on the 21st. The NI census included a question on the Irish language, and the question on ethnic group was replaced by a voluntary question on religion. Unlike in 1981, there was no protest by Republicans. Later analysis showed the likely size of the Catholic population was 41.5%.

The Brooke/Mayhew preliminary talks began on 30th April.

Dublin City of Culture
Dublin, European City of Culture
Annie Maguire on her release in 1985
Annie Maguire on her release in 1985
May: The leaders of the main Unionist parties refused to accept the deadline imposed in the political talks and travelled to London to meet John Major, the British Prime Minister.

A Census of Agriculture was carried out in the Republic.

On the 17th, the Brookes/Mayhew talks officially opened.

On the 26th, the Maguire Seven were found innocent of all charges against them.

July: The Child Care Act made the Health Service Executive responsible for the health, safety and welfare of pre-school children attending childcare services.

The Brookes/Mayhew talks ended. In the same month, the Combined Loyalist Military Command announced the end of their ceasefire, which had begun in April.

On the 23rd, a merger between the Ulster Defence Regiment and Royal Irish Rangers was announced.

The Northern Ireland Emergency Provision Act came into force.

Loyalist violence increased after the end of the CLMC, including an attack on a bus carrying the families of Republican prisoners.

Sandy Row in 1991
Sandy Row in 1991

Sean Kelly wins the Giro di Lombardia
Sean Kelly wins the Giro di Lombardia
September:  A US delegation led by the Democrat Tom Foley visited Northern Ireland.

Peter Brooke, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was reported as saying that Articles 2 and 3 in the Irish constitution were 'not helpful' in finding a peace agreement.

Sean Kelly won the cycling race 'Giro di Lombardia'.

Channel 4 broadcast The Committee, which claimed that an inner circle of RUC and UDR members were collaborating in killing Catholics.

The Dangerous Dogs Act came into force in Northern Ireland.

November: The Dublin Writers' Museum was opened.

Kildare TD Seán Power proposed a no-confidence motion in Charles Haughey's leadership. On the 7th, the Minister for Finance, Albert Reynolds, was sacked from government over his intention to support the no-confidence motion.

On November 13th, the new Defence Minister, Jim McDaid, resigned after the opposition accused him of connections with IRA member James Pius Clarke, who had been facing extradition from Dublin.

Two Loyalist prisoners were killed by an explosion at Crumlin Road Prison. Republicans had smuggled bomb materials into prison and manufactured the explosive.

December: On the  19th, Initiative '92 was launched.  Its aim was to find 'ways out of the violent deadlock' in NI.
Jim McDaid, TD
Jim McDaid, TD

Notable births in Ireland

Sarah Bolger, actress
Sarah Bolger
February 28th
Evanna Lynch, actress
Evanna Lynch
August 16th

Notable Deaths in Ireland

Name Date of death Age

Hubert Butler January 5th 90 Writer and historian
Joe Stynes January 29th 88 Irish Republican and sportsman
Thekla Beere February 19th (88) Civil servant who chaired the United Nations Commission
on the Status of Women in 1970
Sean O'Faolain April 20th 91 Short story writer
Valentin Iremonger May 22nd (72) Diplomat and poet
John M. Feehan May 25th 74 Author and publisher
Eddie Fullerton May 25th (55) Sinn Féin councillor killed by UDA
Patrick Joseph Kelly August 18th 96 Bishop of Benin City
J. G Devlin October 17th 84 Actor
Billy Behan November 12th 80 Soccer player and scout
Francis Blackwood November 13th 75 10th Baron Dufferin and Claneboye
George Otto Simm November 15th 81 Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dubin and Armagh
Michael Lyons November 19th 81 Fine Gael TD and Senator
Pat O'Callaghan December 1st 85 Athlete and Olympic gold medallist

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