Timeline of Recent Unrest, Sectarianism, Paramilitary Activity and Developments in the Peace Process

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Developments March 2009 - December 2010
Developments 2011
Developments 2012
Developments 2013
Developments 2014
Developments 2015
Developments 2016
Developments 2017
Developments 2018

December 2018 January 2019 February 2019
March 2019
April 2019
May 2019
June 2019
July 2019
August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019
December 2019 Latest

January 2019

1st The Irish Republican Socialist Party said in their New Year statement that 'republicans and socialists must get involved in the wider mainstream debate on a united Ireland to prevent the right-wing establishment from monopolising the social, cultural and economic narrative and to further divide the people for their selfish elitist class interests.' Sinn Fein said that they were 'ready for talks, to establish a new Executive working in genuine power-sharing, and operating standards of governance.'

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement, Republican Sinn Féin, Peadar Toibin, Saoradh, Continuity Sinn Féin and Republican Network for Unity also issued New Year statements.

Gun shots were fired in the Upper Springfield Road area of west Belfast. On the following day, a family reported that they had been forced from their home because of ongoing attacks. However, the motives for these attacks was not clear.

2nd A shot was fired through the door of a house in Banbridge, County Down.

3rd Taoiseach Leo Varadkhar said in a call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Brexit was a problem of the UK's making.

Shots were fired at Sinn Féin's Turf Lodge office. A week later, Pat Sheehan said the party would not be intimidated by the attack.

4th Shots were fired from a car on the Callan Bridge Road in Armagh City.

Speaking in Bavaria, Leo Varadkhar said that 'Despite the ever-shifting sands on the trek towards a settled Brexit destination, two things have stayed constant. The first is European support for Irish concerns and safeguarding peace on our island. The second is our understanding of what must be defended. We are determined to protect the Good Friday Agreement: peace in Britain and Ireland; power-sharing in Northern Ireland, and ever closer co-operation North and South.'

5th It was reported that Dylan Quinn from Co. Fermanagh was protesting against the lack of government by walking from Enniskillen to Stormont.

6th The head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, David Sterling, warned of an upsurge in smuggling in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

A gang carried out a racist attack on five Romanian men in a house. The woman who went to their aid said it was 'like a scene from the Troubles'.

7th An inquest found there was no evidence of collusion in the 1994 loyalist murder of a pensioner from Dungannon, Roseann Mallon.

The DUP criticised the 'very rigid' approach taken by the Migration Advisory Committee on post-Brexit immigration policy. The MAC reommendations would have put new restrictions on lower skilled migrants, but the DUP said that 'appropriate future access to low-skilled labour in Northern Ireland is important'.

8th Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said that they would consider whether to take action over a plaque placed on the Omagh bomb memorial. The plaque had been placed by Kevin Skelton, whose wife died in the bombing. It made reference to a 'dissident republican terrorist car bomb'.

9th Research by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce showed that 79% of the firms who took part predicted damage to the economy if the political stalemate continued.

10th The DUP described a meeting with the Irish Foreign Minister as 'useful but frank'.

Ernie Wilson, who believed his son's suicide was caused by the recent conflict, called for suicides to be included in the official record.

12th Former Taoiseach John Bruton said that Britain had decided to 'tear up' the Good Friday Agreement with Brexit.

An arsenal of replica firearms was discovered in Belfast after police arrested a man reported to have been seen with a machine gun.

The BBC reported on how Dublin was preparing for a possible no-deal Brexit.

13th An exhibition opened to mark fifty years of Free Derry corner. On January 5th 1969, a group of young men daubed the words 'You are now entering Free Derry' on the gable wall of a house on Lecky Road in the Bogside.

14th Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy defended his attendance at the inauguration of the Venezuelan president,and denied that the election was fraudulent.

15th The DUP's Arlene Foster said that the EU had 'hard questions to answer' after British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a huge defeat on her Brexit deal.

16th The mother of Colin Horner, who had been murdered by loyalist paramilitaries, warned people not to join the paramilitaries. That same day, four men were jailed for life for his murder. Horner's three-year-old son had witnessed the shooting in a Bangor car park.

17th The Association of British Insurers advised motorists in the North to carry an insurance document if they crossed the border after a no-deal Brexit.

The DUP said that the British Prime Minister Theresa May was in 'listening mode' and there was optimism a Brexit deal could be reached.

18th A man, Wayne Boylan, was shot dead in Warrenpoint. The PSNI said there was no clear motive, but did not rule out paramilitary involvement.

19th A bomb exploded outside the courthouse in Derry.

A poll in the Republic showed a gain for Sinn Féin.

Police made an appeal for information over the 1993 IRA shooting of Constable Michael Ferguson. They said they were close to a break-through.

20th The Taoiseach condemned the car bomb attack in Derry the previous night as a 'cynical act of terror'. The PSNI arrested two men.

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson said that the time had come for 'megaphone diplomacy' between unionists and the Irish government to end.

The American 'Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger' exhibition opened in the North for the first time.

21st The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the backstop was the only deal possible.

Theresa May said that she would continue talking to the DUP and others who had concerns over the backstop.

The grandfather of a teenage girl, Allie McAleer, who was filmed walking with friends past a bomb just before it blew up, spoke of his shock.

A third security alert occurred in Derry after a hijacked van was abandoned close to a secondary school.

22nd Residents in Derry were allowed back home after three security alerts. The New IRA were held responsible.

The PSNI said that a series of security alerts in Derry were designed to 'frustrate' an investigation in a bomb that exploded in the city centre.

Margaritis Schinas , the European Commission's chief spokesman, said it was obvious there would be a hard border in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Guardian reported on how Irish firms were preparing for Brexit.

23rd Police seized a suspected firearm during a search operation in Derry.

24th The Irish government denied rumours of 600 gardaí being moved to the border in the event of a hard Brexit.

25th It was reported that 'Soldier N', a paratrooper who might have been charged over Bloody Sunday, had died.

Independent Unionist MP Lady Hermon said that a no-deal Brexit would be an enormous threat to the stability of the UK.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned that troops could return to the border.

26th The PSNI carried out a reconstruction of the bomb attack in Derry.

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April 2019

1st During an inquest into the Ballymurphy Massacre, a former paratrooper said that 'bullets flew around his head as he came under fire from an unknown gunman.'

2nd During the inquest, a former British soldier said that he had seen paratroopers shoot and murder civilians.

3rd The DUP criticised Prime Minister Theresa May's 'lamentable' Brexit negotiations.

It was reported that the Long Tower Youth and Community Centre in Derry cancelled an event involving police after a protest from the republican group Saoradh.

4th Angela Merkel said that Germany would stand with Ireland over Brexit. Meanwhile, European Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen said that new ways of checking EU product standards were being worked on to avoid a hard border.

5th It was reported that the New IRA had made threats against vehicle recovery firms which carried out work for the police.

7th A signed draft of the Good Friday Agreement was sold at auction.

8th The PSNI recovered a horizontal mortar tube and command wire in Castlewellan, County Down. There was no explosive device. They believed it had been left by one parmilitary to collect by another.

10th A barrister examining the deaths of 10 people in west Belfast in 1971 suggested that two British Army statements made at the timewere fabricated.

11th 'Border Fox' Dessie O'Hare, a former INLA member, was jailed for seven years for assaulting a man, falsely imprisoning him and removing his family from their home.

12th At the Ballymurphy Inquest, 'Soldier M12' was excused from giving evidence on the grounds of ill health.

Relatives of the Kingsmill victims told a coroner they would no longer cooperate with An Garda Síochána until a new law had been passed, allowing a coroner in the North to question gardaí.

13th Daniel McClean of Dunmurry appeared in court in Belfast, accused of being a member of the IRA.

15th The Guardian reported that an unidentified man, 'Soldier B', was to face charges for the murder of 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty. His mother had written the Northern Ireland secretary requesting access to a secret file about the incident.

17th Police dealing with four security alerts in 24 hours said that the latest alert in Lisburn was caused by a 'crude device'.

18th US Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Richard Neal toured the Irish border. Neal expressed concerns about the impact of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement, and called the US a 'guarantor' of the Agreement.

One of the European Commission's most powerful officials, Martin Selmayr, said that a no-deal Brexit would mean a hard Irish border.

Nine people appeared in court after raids carried out by PSNI Paramilitary Crime Task Force in east Belfast, Newtownards and Comber.

A journalist, Lyra McKee, was shot dead during violence in Creggan, Derry. The violence followed searches by police. Republican paramilitaries were blamed for the murder.

19th The PSNI called for peace after the killing of Lyra McKee. Figures from the worlds of politics, journalism and beyond united to condemn her murder. A Book of Condolence opened in the Guildhall in Derry. The New IRA and Saoradh faced a backlash. Saoradh themselves blamed 'heavily armed crown forces' and described the death as an accident.

The BBC reported that republican paramilitary activity 'had been increasing of late, with police in Northern Ireland fearful of a spate of violent incidents marking the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising'.

20th Two teenagers were arrested over the murder of Lyra McKee. Jason Murphy of the PSNI said that 'we are seeing is a new breed of terrorist coming through the ranks and that for me is a very worrying situation'.

21st A community organiser in Derry claimed the republicans had 'orchestrated the riot that claimed the life of Lyra McKee partly to impress an MTF film crew fronted by the broadcaster Reggie Yates'.

Sinéad O’Shea wrote in the Guardian that the 'peace process' was nuanced, and the North was in a state neither of peace nor war. Republicans opposed to the Good Friday Agreement 'regarded the Good Friday agreement as a surrender. They didn't recognise the police, the courts or the UK government.'

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told the republicans behind the rioting to 'cease their activities'. Other politicians and clerics also condemned the murder.

A man was arrested after two suspect devices were left outside a house in Derry.

In the Republic, the Minister for Justice and the Minister of State with Responsibility for Defence condemned a march in Dublin held the prvious day by Saoradh.

22nd Rev Mervyn Gibson of the Orange Order, who had been a member of RUC Special Branch, said that 'collusion' had been misinterpreted. He said any police officers caught passing information to paramilitaries 'were thrown out'. Seized guns did sometimes go back into circulation but 'that was for intelligence purposes'.

The New IRA admitted responsiblity for killing Lyra McKee. They said 'In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces. The IRA offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death. We have instructed our volunteers to take the utmost care in future when engaging the enemy, and put in place measures to help ensure this.'

A man appeared in court charged with communicating false information causing a bomb hoax after suspect devices were found outside houses in Derry. Residents had been evacuated close to the city's police station.

23rd Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, condemned the murder of Lyra McKee in the House of Commons. She dismissed the 'hollow apologies' of the New IRA.

Dawn Purvis of the Progressive Unionist Party said that the Ulster Volunteer Force 'hadn't gone anywhere', despite decommissioning its weapons in 2009.

24th The funeral of Lyra McKee took place. Political leaders including Leo Varadkar and Theresa May attended. Fr Martin Magill received a standing ovation when he asked why it had taken her death to unite politicians. He urged the paramilitaries to walk away from violence.

Twitter suspended the account of the republican party Saoradh.

25th Crimestoppers offered a reward of up to £10,000 for any information on the murder of Lyra McKee.

It was reported that as many as 200 members of the British security forces were under official investigation for alleged criminal actions during the recent conflict.

The BBC reported that the British and Irish governments were planning to set up fresh talks to restore power-sharing.

26th The British and Irish governments reached an agreement to establish a new rounds of talks involving all themain political parties in the North, starting on May 7th.

New footage was released of the gunman who shot Lyra McKee.

At a conference on policing, the Minister for Justice said that the murder of Lyra McKee was a reminder of the real and persistent security threat from republican paramilitaries.

27th Fr Martin Magill described on the Andrew Marr Show how people on the church had put pressure on politicians at Lyra McKee's funeral to join the standing ovation.

A rally took place in support of British soldiers facing prosecution for killings that took place during the recent conflict.

28th The New IRA said it would continue its paramilitary campaign. 'We fully accept we cannot defeat the British militarily, or even drive them from Ireland, but we will continue to fight for as long as they remain there.'

29th At the Ballymurphy Inquest, two former RUC officers described how they witnessed a gun battle involving soldiers and unseen gunmen.

Two men who had been abused as teenagers by alleged IRA man Seamus Marley told a court how their lives had been damaged.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said that new talks at Stormont would not be easy and would need 'absolute determination'.

British Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg responded to criticism from the former taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Ahern had said that Rees-Mogg, an ardent Brexit supporter, had admitted to not knowing what the Irish border was. He called Rees-Mogg a 'strange fish'.

30th The Ballymurphy Inquest heard that soldiers had shot people lying on the ground.

It was reported that Maghaberry Prison had prevented inmates from getting copies of Unfinished Business: the Politics of ‘Dissident’ Irish Republicanism.

Eleven men were convicted of taking part in an illegal republican parade in Derry on Easter Monday 2018.

Sinn Féin cast doubt over the upcoming multi-party talks after accusing the DUP of 'reneging' on proposals dealing with the legacy of the recent conflict.

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July 2019

24th Karen Bradley was sacked as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, replaced by Julian Smith. She was one of a number of casualties of Boris Johnson's rise to power. However, her departure 'came as no surprise to many'.

25th Michael Creed, Ireland's agricultural minister, called Boris Johnson's approach to Brexit 'a concern' as tension mounted over the increased risk of no deal.

It was reported that a former leading member of the PIRA had fled Spain where he had been extradited on a charge of abusing a child.

28th The Police Federation for Northern Ireland warned that the thread of being ambushed by republican paramilitaries could slow the police response to calls for help from the public. This followed an incident when officers were called to Tullygally Road in Craigavon in an attempt to lure them towards a 'deadly booby-trap device'.

The Guardian reported that one of Britain's most prominent criminal lawyers, Jonathan Laidlaw, had become the legal adviser for detectives investigating 'Stakeknife'. Stakeknife, a spy once described as 'the jewel in the crown' of British military intelligence, was allegedly implicated in acts of murder and torture when he ran the IRA's internal security squad.

29th The PSNI said that a man in his late teens to early twenties had been involved in placing the explosive device found in Craigavon.

It was reported that Boris Johnson was refusing to sit down for talks with EU leaders until they agreed to ditch the Irish backstop from the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The appointment of Johnny Mercer as minister for veterans prompted Sinn Féin to voice concern that a Boris Johnson-led government would extend a proposed amnesty from prosecution for ex-soldiers to cover those who served in Northern Ireland.

The BBC ran a story on Creggan, which reported that republican paramilitaries were still active there. 'Paramilitaries do not live in the shadows. In a small community, they are people's neighbours, family members, friends.'

31st Boris Johnson wrapped up talks in Northern Ireland with no sign of progress on reviving power-sharing. However, the new Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith said it was his priority to restore devolution as soon as possible.

Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Féin, warned Boris Johnson that it would be 'unthinkable' if a no-deal Brexit was not followed by a poll on Irish reunification.

It was reported that a woman accused of having link to paramilitaries involved in cigarette smuggling had been ordered to explain how she bought six properties worth £3.2m.

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