2002 in Ireland

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Mikhail Gorbachev in Dublin

Mikhail Gorbachev samples Guinness in Dublin
January: The Euro went into circulation in the Republic of Ireland.

Mikhail Gorbachev received the Freedom of Dublin.

The UDA admitted murdering a Catholic postman in north Belfast. In the same month, there was rioting in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.

February: The body of teenager Brendan Rushe was found in Donegal Bay.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern held talks in Dublin.

March: A referendum on amending the Constitution to remove the threat of suicide as a ground for legal abortion was narrowly defeated. While abortion remained illegal in Ireland, women were allowed to travel to England for abortions under certain circumstances.

In Northern Ireland, the fallout from the Holy Cross school protests continued with loyalist threats to teachers, parents or pupils. A group called the Loyalist Commission, representing the UDA, UVF and RHC, issued a statement distancing itself from the threats.

April: The Catholic Bishop of Ferns, Brendan Comiskey, resigned over criticism of his handling of abuse cases in the diocese.

The first recruits into the new Police Service of Northern Ireland graduated. Meanwhile, the IRA stated that they had put a second tranche of arms beyond use; and there was an acceleration in activity by republicans opposed to the peace process, including a bomb attack on Maghaberry Prison, and an attempt to drive a firebomb into the centre of Belfast.

Abortion referendum posters

Posters from the referendum on abortion

Queen Elizabeth in Northern Ireland

Queen Elizabeth II at Stormont
May: The coalition of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats was re-elected in the Republic. Bertie Ahern was confirmed as Taoiseach.

Queen Elizabeth II visited Stormont as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations.

June: The Loyalist Commission issued a statement saying that loyalists would not start violence at sectarian flashpoints in Belfast.

The Irish Government made a National Declaration at the Seville European Council emphasising its commitment to the European Union's security and defence policy.

July: The IRA offered its 'sincere apologies and condolences' to the relatives of 'non-combatants' who had been killed on Bloody Friday, 1972.

A new agreement was signed to reduce the level of radioactive discharges in the UK, which would also benefit the Irish Sea.

August: The Real IRA were blamed for the death of an army contractor in an explosion at a Territorial Army base in Derry.

The Attorney General's office in the Republic confirmed that drivers would be banned from using mobile phones.

Martin McGuinness in 2972

Martin McGuinness, IRA leader in 1972

Campaigning during the Nice Referendum

Campaigning during the referendum on the Nice Treaty
September: David Trimble threatened to collapse the power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland if the IRA did not disband by 19th January 2003.

Plans to build a National Stadium in Dublin (the 'Bertie bowl') were shelved because of a lack of public funds.

October: Geraldine Kennedy became the first female editor of the Irish Times.

In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionists and the DUP came to the brink of pulling out of the Assembly because of continued IRA activity, including punishment beatings, spying, and the training of Colombian rebels. On the 14th, the Secretary of State suspended the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Executive. The IRA responded by breaking off contact with the decommissioning body led by John de Chastelain.

In the Republic, a second referendum was held on the Nice Treaty. It was accepted by a good majority.

The Magdalene Sisters, a film about abuse in laundries run by nuns, was released in Ireland.

November: Major figures in the Northern Ireland arts world boycotted an awards ceremony in a protest against arts funding cuts.

Talks began in the Republic on whether the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, which was due to expire on 31st December, would be replaced.

December: David Trimble of the UUP walked out of Stormont in protest at a secret memo by the Irish government that claimed the IRA was still active.  He believed it meant Sinn Féin should be excluded from power-sharing.

The Irish President Mary McAleese broke her ankle while skiing in Austria.

President Mary McAleese

President Mary McAleese

Notable Deaths in Ireland

Name Date of death Age

Colm Hilliard 14th January 65 Fianna Fáil TD
Jim Tunney 16th January 78 Fianna Fáil TD and Lord Mayor of Dublin
Paddy Ambrose 22nd February 73 Soccer player and coach
Brendan O'Dowda 22nd February 76 Tenor singer
Spike Milligan 27th February 83 Comedian
Kevin Danaher 14th March 89 Folklorist and author
David Beers Quinn 19th March 82 Historian
Sylvester Barrett 8th May 75 Fianna Fáil TD and MEP
John B. Keane 30th May 73 Playwright
Brendon Menton Senior 1st August (91) President of the Football Association of Ireland
Jim McFadden 28th August 82 Ice hockey player
David Molony 4th September 52 Fine Gael TD and member of the Seanad
David Grene 10th September 89 Classical scholar
Pat Saward 20th September 74 Footballer
Derek Bell 17th October 66 Musician
Richard Harris 25th October 72 Actor
Brian Behan 2nd November 75 Writer, trade unionist, brother of Brendan Behan
Jim Mitchell 2nd December 56 Fine Gael TD, Cabinet Minister
Glenn Quinn 3rd December 32 Actor
Lucy Grealy 18th December 39 Poet
Alan Clodd 24th December 84 Publisher, book collector and dealer
Frances Kelly - (94) Painter
Owen Walsh - 69 Artist

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