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



December 2016 January 2017 February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017
December 2017 Latest



January 2017

1st éirígí said in their New Year statement that their focus for 2017 would be opposing 'the privatisation and commodification of housing'. The Republican Network for Unity said 'we as revolutionary republicans must this year strive to present an alternative to constitutionalism, we must gain the support of the majority of the people of this island to make our goals and ambitions a reality'.

A foreign national was subject to a 'racially motivated hate crime' in Belfast city centre.

2nd Tyrone manager Mickey Harte said that the GAA could stop playing the Irish national anthem and flying the tricolour at matches 'when the time is right'.

5th Police appealed for witnesses to come forward over the UDA murder of Brian McIlhagga which had occurred two years previously.

6th In the Turf Lodge area of west Belfast, a man was shot in both legs. Speaking for the SDLP, Alex Attwood said 'there is a new tyranny emerging - drug pushing on one hand and violent attacks on the other. Many in west Belfast know the scale of the threat, the impact on our community and the risks for our young people in particular. People and police must together confront these criminal and violent forces.' The Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire said 'I am sickened by news of the punishment-style shooting in Belfast last night - a cowardly act of violence that has no place in our society'.

Homes were evacuated in Magherafelt after a hoax alert.

A judge revoked the bail of Damien McLaughlin, due to stand trial over the murder of prison officer David Black.

8th Garryduff Independent Orange Hall on Garryduff Road was damaged in an arson attack.

9th Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigned from his position in government over the RHI renewable energy scandal. He was also in poor health.

The family of murdered prison officer David Black said that they felt 'betrayed by the justice system'. Damien McLaughlin, who had been due to stand trial, had been released on bail and had gone missing.

10th MPs were briefed on the situation after the departure of Martin McGuinness. First Minister Arlene Foster of the DUP, whose resignation had been forced by that of McGuinness, said that she was willing to open talks with Sinn Féin to prevent a collapse of power sharing. British Prime Minister Theresa May discussed the crisis with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. An assembly election looked to be highly likely.

11th Sinn Féin said they were 'not interested' in crisis talks. However, Enda Kenny suggested that Sinn Féin and DUP were willing to consider a meeting.

The SDLP announced that they would back British-Irish rule if devolution failed, but not direct rule from Britain. Colum Eastwood said 'we cannot allow a DUP-run government to be solely replaced by British direct rule ministers. Theresa May, the British secretary of state [James Brokenshire] and the DUP need to understand that there can be no return to what has gone before.'

12th Funding was found for the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme. McGuinness had said that a major cut to the scheme had been part of the reason for his resignation.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party, said that he would oppose direct rule.

Óglaigh na hÉireann shot and injured the parents of a youth who they had intended to target in a punishment attack. The shooting was widely condemned.

13th It was reported that Northern Ireland's Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir was challenging a 280-year-old ban on Irish being spoken in courts. Disagreements over the official use of Irish language had been part of the tensions between Sinn Féin and the DUP.

14th It was reported that threats had been made against a family member of the couple shot by Óglaigh na hÉireann.

Brians Well Road in west Belfast was shut during a security alert. Police said later that they had found a device that was designed to kill.

15th The Police Federation of Northern Ireland expressed fears that post-Brexit border posts would be a propaganda gift and a target for republicans opposed to the peace process.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire said that he was not considering any alternatives to devolved government. However, Sinn Féin confirmed that they would not be putting forward a candidate to replace Martin McGuinness.

16th With deadlock at Stormont, an election was announced. The DUP accused Sinn Féin of forcing the election.

17th After British Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement that the UK would leave the European Single Market, Sinn Féin said that this would create a hard border in Ireland.

James Brokenshire said that the British government remained committed to the Good Friday Agreement.

It was reported that the families of three Scottish soldiers killed by the PIRA were taking action to get justice. The men's killers were believed to be living freely in the Republic.

18th It was reported that paramilitary-style shootings had doubled in west Belfast during 2016.

A 'viable device' was found during a security alert in Dungannon.

19th It was announced that Martin McGuinness would not stand for re-election.

Sinn Féin threatened to pull out of the Joint Ministerial Council over concerns about negotiations for the UK to leave the EU.

Facebook confirmed that it had removed a list of people accused of anti-social behaviour after a series of punishment shootings.

20th The DUP's Ian Paisley thanked Martin McGuinness, saying his 'remarkable journey not only saved lives but made the lives of countless people better'.

21st Gerry Adams said that Brexit would be a 'hostile action' that would destroy the peace deal. 'The British prime minister repeated her intention to bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European court. Along with her commitment to remove Britain from the European convention on human rights, this stand threatens to undermine the fundamental human rights elements of the Good Friday agreement.'

A man who had been arrested over Facebook posts that had made serious allegations about some people in west Belfast was released on bail. The list named people suspected of being part of a joyriding gang in the Turf Lodge area. The list had been linked to punishment shootings.

The Guardian reported on the 'uneasy peace' in Northern Ireland, focusing on Portadown.

22nd The UK government rejected Gerry Adam's comments on Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement. It said there would be 'no return to the borders of the past'.

A police officer was shot and injured during a drive-by attack in north Belfast.

23rd Police called the shooting of one of their officers 'reckless madness'.

Michelle O'Neill was named as the new Sinn Féin leader. According to The Guardian, 'while her father served prison sentences for IRA offences during the Northern Ireland Troubles, Michelle O’Neill has no such baggage and represents a break with the republican movement’s violent past'.

The Police Federation said that a hard border between North and South would put their officers at risk.

24th Two men were arrested and one released over the shooting of a police officer two days previously.

25th The New IRA claimed the shooting of a police officer on the Crumlin Road.

A gun was found in a bin in west Belfast.

A deceased soldier from the Parachute Regiment, Allan McVitie, was named as the man who shot dead father-of-six Henry Thornton, a van driver, in 1971.

Eamon de Valera's grave, in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, was vandalised.

26th It was reported that republicans Colin Duffy, Henry Fitzsimons and Alex McCrory would be facing trial over paramilitary offences. The charges related to an attack on 5th December 2013.

27th Conservative MP Bob Stewart admitted to having been 'a kind of torturer' during the Troubles. He said that torture was sometimes justified, and can work.

28th A pipe bomb was found during an alert at Earhart Park in Derry.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire argued that the Troubles inquiry was focusing too much on the police and army. Numerous former soldiers were facing prosecutions over kilings. Brokenshire said that 'I am clear the current system is not working and we are in danger of seeing the past rewritten. It is also clear the current focus is disproportionately on those who worked for the state [...] the vast majority of whom served in Northern Ireland with great courage, professionalism and distinction'.

James Brokenshire became the first secretary of state to attend a gaelic football match in Northern Ireland. He was lately criticised for 'snubbing' the Irish national anthem.

30th It was reported that a gun used to injure a police officer the week before had been used in a previous attack on police.

British Prime Minister Theresa May warned Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales that they would have no veto on Brexit. The taoiseach, Enda Kenny, spelled out fears over a 'hard border' with the North. May said that she wantd a 'seamless, frictionless border'.

Irish foreign minister Charlie Flanagan said Dublin did not look favourably on any proposed amnesty for either 'state or non-state actors'.

An appeal by republican 'Slab' Murphy against his sentence for tax evasion was dismissed.

31st Bombardier called for a swift resolution to the Stormont crisis.

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February 2017

1st The secretary of state, James Brokenshire, ruled out the possibility of Northern Ireland having special status after Brexit.

Tributes were paid to Margaret McKinney, a founder of the Families for the Disappeared, who had died aged 85. Her son Brian had been killed by the IRA in 1978.

2nd The BBC cited figures that challenged claims that investigations into Troubles killings were unduly focused on those committed by the army. The DUP had said that up to 90% of PSNI legacy investigations involved killings by the army, but PSNI figures showed it was about 30%.

3rd Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell pleaded guilty to stashing explosives in preparation for an attack. The Guardian reported that 'Maxwell, who grew up in the predominantly Protestant unionist town of Larne, used the cover of being a British marine to aid Irish republican dissidents opposed to peace and power-sharing in Northern Ireland'.

A bomb was found in the garden of a house in Kinnaird Street, North Belfast.

5th Gerry Adams said he would visit the White House if invited for St.Patrick's Day. Earlier in the week, Sinn Féin's leader at Stormont, Michelle O'Neill, had said that an invitation to President Trump to visit Northern Ireland was no longer appropriate. However, Trump said that St Patrick's Day was about Ireland, not Mr Trump.

Shots were fired at a house in Newtownabbey.

6th Arlene Foster of the DUP said that her party would never agree to an Irish language act. She said it would be better to have a Polish language act because more people in Northern Ireland spoke Polish.

Patrick Brennan was jailed in Dublin after being caught with high grade explosives and three detonators on a bus.

7th John Mason of the SNP said he was sorry for a tweet about IRA 'freedom fighters'.

8th It was reported that a European Arrest Warrant had been obtained for Damien McLaughlin, wanted on charges relating to the killing of David Black.

The Conradh na Gaeilge began an action over the executive's failure to adopt an Irish language strategy.

Dan Mulhall, Irish ambassador to the UK, said it would be impossible to monitor the numerous crossing points on the Irish border after Brexit.

9th A planned march by military veteran in Derry was cancelled. Veterans for Justic UK had wanted to 'highlight injustices against soldiers'.

The Public Prosecution Service announced its decision not to prosecute a man over the Kingsmill massacre. A palm print found on a van used in the murders was believed to belong to him.

Three suspect devices were made safe in Naas.

11th Bertie Ahern argued that the Northern Ireland peace process had been put at risk by Brexit. He said that British Prime Minister Theresa May 'seems to be switching her language. She's saying not that there'll be no border, but that the border won't be as difficult as to create problems. I worry far more about what's going to happen with that. It will take away the calming effects [of an open border]. Any attempt to try to start putting down border posts, or to man [it] in a physical sense as used to be the case, would be very hard to maintain, and would create a lot of bad feeling.'

13th Irish foreign minister Charlie Flanagan warned that human rights protections under the Good Friday Agreement were 'inviolable' and could not be altered by Brexit.

14th A man was left in a critical condition after being shot in County Armagh.

It was reported that the former British Prime Minister Edward Heath had been linked to the Hooded Men torture decision.

The Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire rejected calls to step aside as chair of cross-party talks after the assembly election. Both Sinn Féin and the SDLP had claimed that his recent comments on the legacy of the Troubles meant he could not be an honest broker in any negotiations.

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