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

December 2016 January 2018 February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018
June 2018
July 2018
August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018
December 2018 Latest

January 2018

1st The Republican Network for Unity issued their New Year statement, saying that '2017 was a difficult year internally for RNU and with much deliberation and dialogue with the grassroots members we have consolidated, regrouped, restructured and intend on moving forward in a progressive principled manner.' Eirigi 'commended the significant political activism of our members and supporters during 2017. Your work, alongside the work of other progressive forces, offered hope to the Irish people in a time of global turmoil and widespread despair.' According to 32CSM, 'the continuing existence of Irish Republican POW’s and the strategic use of internment by remand lays bare the falsehood that the conflict in Ireland is in some way resolved.' The IRSP said that 'no meaningful progressive social or economic progress has been made in "the North" since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement'. However, Sinn Féin stated that 'we have witnessed incredible political developments, suffered the loss of a political giant but also the reawakening of the demand for fairness and equality at the heart of our political process.'

2nd A Presbyterian congregation in Dungiven claimed it had the first bomb-proof Sunday School in the UK, after taking over a former police station.

4th There were reports of an explosive device left in a wooded area between Cashel Cross and Kiltyclogher.

5th There was an outcry after Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff posed with a loaf of Kingsmills bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill Massacre.

7th Alan Black criticised the actions of Barry McElduff. 'It was like a punch to the stomach, it was so callous. To mock the dead and dance on their graves is depraved.'

Petrol bombs were thrown at a police vehicle during a hoax alert in Derry.

8th The Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire, resigned on health grounds. His role was taken on by Karen Bradley.

Sinn Féin condemned Barry McElduff's action in apparently mocking the Kingsmill victims, then refusing to take down his post for several hours when requested.

It was reported that the impasse at Stormont had blocked £19 million of charity cash going through.

9th A bomb was found in a pub toilet in Drogheda.

10th It was reported that Belfast city council was investigating how the deputy leader of right-wing party Britain First had managed to deliver an anti-immigration video from the lord mayor's chair.

12th John O'Dowd of Sinn Féin described the Kingsmills massacre as shameful and sectarian.

13th Arlene Foster of the DUP said that Brexit would not mean building a wall between the Republic and the North, but that close relations would continue.

14th Shots were fired at a house in Killyleagh, County Down. Two men and a woman were arrested and released on bail.

15th Sinn Féin MP for West Tyrone, Barry McDelduff, resigned over his controversial Kingsmill Twitter video. The party had already told him that he would not be able to carry out party work.

16th The father of Tim Parry, who died in the Warrington Bombings, paid tribute to Cranberries star Dolores O'Riordan.

Kevin Skelton, whose wife had been killed in the Omagh Bombing, said he would be willing to contest the West Tyrone constituency after Barry McElduff stepped down.

The Court of Appeal heard that Gerry Adams had been unlawfully imprisoned during the 1970s because an order for his internment was legally flawed.

17th It was reported that proposals by the Boundary Commission to cut the number of parliamentary seats in Belfast to three had benen revised, and Belfast would retain four seats.

18th DUP MP Sammy Wilson said he regretted calling the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, a 'nutcase'.

New talks were announced between the DUP, Sinn Féin and other main parties of the North.

19th In west Belfast, a man was attacked with a hammer before being shot in the knees and ankles.

It was reported that Justice McCloskey was to decide whether he would step aside from a case connected to the Loughinisland murders, because of bias allegations. He had ruled a month previously that the police ombudsman's finding of collusion between some officers and the killers was 'unsustainable in law'.

20th Mary Lou McDonald was named as the next leader of Sinn Féin. She would be the party's first female leader.

22nd Belfast's Linen Hall Library announced that it would be making an archive of political documents, articles and posters from the 1990s available on its 'Divided Society' website.

23rd Paramilitary group Óglaigh na hÉireann announced a ceasefire. In a statement they said that 'at this time the environment is not conducive to armed conflict'. PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said that the group had been involved in beatings, shootings and intimidation. The New IRA and the Continuity IRA were continuing to back armed struggle.

Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach, said he was ready to get involved in talks due to begin at Stormont if he thought it would help.

24th Talks began again at Stormont.

St Cecilia's secondary school in Derry was criticised for featuring Sinn Féin MEP and former IRA volunteer Martina Anderson as its past pupil of the day.

DUP MEP Sammy Wilson accused the Irish government of having a 'very public hissy fit' over Brexit.

26th An explosion occurred in east Belfast. A man with links to a loyalist paramilitary organisation was later arrested.

There was an explosion at Fraser Pass in east Belfast. A man was subsequently taken into custody on suspicion of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life. He was later released.

28th Two men were shot in separate paramilitary-style attacks in west and north Belfast.

29th UVF 'supergrass' Gary Haggarty was jailed for six years. He had admitted to the murder of five people, among hundreds of offences.

A senior doctor at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital said that paramilitary shootings and beatings were causing serious, long-term problems for both the victims and the health service.

It was reported that Michelle O'Neill was the only candidate for the Sinn Féin deputy role.

30th Fred Scappaticci, who had once been the British Army's highest ranking agent in the IRA, was arrested and questioned over allegations that he was involved in dozens of murders.

The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland rejected a Sinn Féin claim that the proposed new parliamentary constituencies had been gerrymandered.

31st Police were given more time to question Scappaticci.

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February 2018

1st It was reported that the Irish flag had been banned from the Strabane St Patrick's Day parade in order to promote inclusion and integration.

2nd Nigel Farage, former UKIP leader, spoke of an 'appetite' within the Irish public to leave the EU.

'IRA spy' Scappaticci was released on police bail.

The chair of a House of Lords EU select committee said its Northern Ireland visit had reinforced concerns about the possible adverse impact of Brexit. He said 'we have always felt that the implications for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have been underestimated during the referendum campaign and afterwards'.

6th Northern Ireland was discussed during 'technical' talks in the Brexit negotiations. In December, the EU and the UK had agreed that the deal would not allow a return to a hard border, but EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier suggested that the two sides had different intrepretations of what had been agreed.

Derry City and Strabane District Council clarified that there was no ban on Irish flags in their St Patrick's Day parade.

Families of four soldiers killed in the Hyde Park bombings were granted legal aid to take a civil case against John Downey, one of the alleged bombers.

7th DUP MP Ian Paisley urged 'no surrender' to the EU.

A 'viable pipe bomb type device' was removed from a house in Lenadoon, west Belfast, after reports of a small explosion. Video Sinn Féin's Arder Carson condemned the explosion as reckless.

10th Mary Lou McDonald was named as Gerry Adam's replacement as the leader of Sinn Féin.

11th Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said she wanted to see 'genuine power sharing that delivers for everybody'.

12th British Prime Minister Theresa May headed to Stormont to meet the DUP and Sinn Féin. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said of forthcoming talks that achieving a frictionless Irish border that did not involve Northern Ireland staying in the customs union and single market would be 'tricky'.

13th Raymond Johnston was shot dead in west Belfast, in front of his two children. According to the Guardian, 'the motive for the killing remains unclear, but there has been an upsurge in so-called punishment attacks by armed republican dissidents in north and west Belfast over the last two years.'

Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin said that it was time for the DUP to make its mind up on the Irish Language Act, after Arlene Foster of the DUP said that she was against a 'free-standing' Act in the talks.

An impact survey indicated that the Irish economy could take a 7% hit in the case of no deal on Brexit.

14th Sinn Féin said that the DUP had agreed a deal in the Stormont talks.

Gerry Adams failed in his attempt to have convictions for attempting to escape prison overturned.

15th The shooting on Raymond Johnston was blamed on republicans outside of the peace process.

In the Republic, former Sinn Féin councillor Nicky Kehoe was cross-examined in High Court over alleged links to the IRA and firearm convictions.

Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald claimed that an Irish Language Act had been in the draft agreement.

The Guardian described Northern Irish politics as a 'grim zero-sum game' which the Conservatives had worsened. 'The darker truth here is that Sinn Féin has chosen to weaponise the language question for political ends, less to protect a minority than to antagonise unionists.' The Guardian also claimed that the DUP 'loved power but not responsibility'.

16th The Alliance Party refused to appear before a Westminster committee on devolution and democracy because the loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson was also giving evidence.

17th A service took place to mark the fortieth anniversary of the La Mon restaurant bombing.

18th A museum of the recent conflict was opened by Peter Moloney in Derry.

19th The funeral took place of Raymond Johnston, who had been shot dead by republicans opposed to the peace process.

20th The Tánaiste Simon Coveney condemnedas reckless the comments of Labour MP Kate Hoey who had said that the Good Friday Agreement had become unsustainable with Brexit.

21st A leaked copy of the draft agreement being worked on by the two main parties, before talks broke down, was published. The DUP and Sinn Féin were disagreeing on whether or not a deal had been on the table before the latest round of talks collapsed the week before.

The leader of the SDLP, Colum Eastwood, warned that Stormont institutions could be down for five years.

Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said that the government did not have a viable plan to deal with political stalement.

Shots were fired at a house in Cullyhanna, County Armagh.

Twenty masked men stormed a pub in north Belfast and read out a statement saying that anti-social behaviour would not be tolerated. Three men were subsequently arrested.

23rd Shortly after midnight, petrol bombs were thrown at a house in Ballymena.

Arlene Foster of the DUP said that the party had not been aware of a deal between Sinn Féin and the government on Troubles' inquests in the absence of an overall agreement.

24th A man was charged with possessing documents or records 'likely to be useful to terrorists'. He had been arrested in Lurgan three days earlier.

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March 2018

2nd A journalist, Eamonn Mallie, produced 'an email chain' between the DUP and Sinn Féin in which the DUP gave SF a hard copy of a draft agreement text. The DUP deputy leader had said there was no knowledge of Arlene Foster giving SF a draft.

The DUP criticised a social media post from SDLP councillor Denise Mullen which was disrespectful to DUP leader Arlene Foster. Mullen apologised for what she called an 'innocent mistake'.

5th A court heard that UDA member John Boreland had been executed outside his home in August 2016.

Michelle O'Neill of Sinn Féin said that Arlene Foster of the DUP had personally handed her a hard copy of the draft agreement days before talks to restore devolution collapsed. Foster and other DUP members had previously denied the existence of such a draft deal.

Sinn Féin said they had shared a meeting of minds with the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

7th It was reported that a BBC film would be aired about the Milltown cemetery killings.

Academic Katy Hayward said that technology could not make a border between the North and South of Ireland completely frictionless.

8th Arlene Foster of the DUP said she doubted devolution would return in the near future.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, told Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach, that Ireland's interests would come first in the Brexit negotiations.

It was reported that Sinn Féin's Barry McElduff had been interviewed by police over a video he made apparently mocking the Kingsmill massacre.

An inquest into the shooting of Kathleen Thompson in 1971 heard that she had been on her knees when she was shot. Thompson had been killed in 'disputed circumstances' during a British army raid in the Creggan estate.

9th It was reported that the new Stormont budget would include £410m of the £1 billion package negotiated by the DUP in return for backing the Conservatives at Westminster.

It was also reported that all references to a former police officer criticised in an ombudsman's report into the murder of six Catholics in 1994 at Loughinisland would be removed.

A man was shot in the head outside Moneymore.

10th Paint was thrown at the Orange Hall on Aghintober Road near Aughnacloy, in what police called a 'hate crime'.

11th The head of the Institute of Directors said that the issue of the post-Brexit Irish border was 'absolutely vital'.

12th A fresh search began for 'Disappeared' victim Joe Lynskey.

It was reported that punishment shootings had risen 60% in four years.

14th Speaking in America, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned that Brexit could 'drive a wedge' between the UK and Ireland. He reassured unionists that he had 'no hidden agenda'. He also said that co-operation between the British and Irish governments would be needed to break the Stormont deadlock. Arlene Foster of the DUP responded that it was not for Varadkar to chart the future of negotiations at Stormont.

15th Ray Bassett, a former Irish diplomat, said that any return of the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference would show that the North was heading for direct rule.

Sinn Féin described the latest proposals from the Boundary Commission for future Westminster seats as 'fundamentally flawed'.
16th Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Fein wrote in the Guardian that the DUP-Tory pact would damage the Good Friday Agreement. 'Incredibly a return to direct rule, the shredding of the Good Friday agreement and a hard border in Ireland are being talked about by Tories as legitimate and acceptable outcomes. That is utter madness. Those outcomes would signal a complete political breakdown between Ireland and Britain.'

19th Máire Devine was suspended from Sinn Féin over a tweet about the prisoner officer Brian Stack who had been killed by IRA. The party said that 'there can be no excuse for the hurt and offence which has been caused to the Stack family'.

It was reported that the EU and the UK had not reached an agreement on the Irish border despite 'decisive' process on other Brexit issues.

20th An Irish government request to find that men detained during internment, the 'Hooded Men', had suffered torture, was rejected by the European Court of Human Rights.

23rd British royal Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle visited Belfast.

Theresa May was warned that she had less than three months to resolve the problem of avoiding a hard border, as EU leaders formally endorsed the terms of the transition period.

24th Naomi Long of the Alliance Party said that the government had given the impression that it had one hand tied behind its back during the Stormont talks because on its dependence of the DUP.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said that she would not impose a framework deal or timetable to resume negotiations at Stormont.

A Protestant 14-year-old boy suffered head injuries in a sectarian attack during nearly an hour of disturbances near an interface at North Queen Street. Police said 'a crowd of people watched'.

DUP leader Arlene Foster accused Sinn Féin of trying to render Northern Ireland dysfunctional and actively seeking to sow division.

25th Andrew Lynas, head of Lynas Foods, said that for businesses it would be 'inconceivable' that there should be a hard border post Brexit.

Shots were fired at a car in the Hazelbank area of Derry.

26th A shot was fired at a house in Newry. Five men were subsequently arrested.

It was reported that DUP MP Ian Paisley had invited US President Donald Trump for a visit.

Talks aimed at reaching a deal about the Irish border after Brexit began in Brussels.

27th It was reported that there had been a cyber-attack on Stormont.

Andrew Murrison, the chair of Westminster's Northern Ireland Committee, said that NI was having difficulties communicating concerns on Brexit due to the lack of a functioning executive.

Sinn Féin's Máire Devine apologised to the family of prisoner officer Brian Stack after retweeting an offensive tweet about him.

29th It was reported that a stun guns and drugs had been seized during police searches in Bangor directed against North Down UDA.

31st It was reported that Jackie Nicholl had resigned from the Victims and Survivors Forum after discovering that another member had serviced time in prison for IRA bomb offences.

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April 2018

1st Seven men were charged over their attendance at an illegal republican Easter parade in Lurgan the previous day.

Michelle O'Neill of Sinn Féin called for a referendum on unity within the next five years.

The Guardian reported that British military intelligence had known of a supposedly secret IRA unit called 'the Unknowns' months before it started abducting and killing people who would be remembered as 'the disappeared'.

2nd During an 'illegal' republican parade in Derry, marking the Easter Rising, petrol bombs and stones were thrown at police vehicles. On the same day, six people appeared in court over the parade in Lurgan two days previously.

The National Union of Journalists said that a journalist based in Belfast had been threatened by the UDA.

The DUP's Ian Paisley apologised for retweeting an inflammatory tweet from right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins.

The Migration Advisory Committee reported that placing restrictions on EU citizens' right to work on the UK would not require new infrastructure at the Irish border.

3rd Comedian Patrick Kielty revealed that the IRA had offered revenge for his father's murder by loyalist paramilitaries in 1988.

4th Another DUP politician, Maurice Bradley, apologised for retweeting an inflammatory tweet, this one calling the Mayor of London 'the enemy within'.

6th Sinn Féin said it had 27 papers produced by the Northern Ireland Civil Service on the impact of Brexit. MEP Martina Anderson said the papers pictured 'a bleak picture and show that Brexit will have a hugely detrimental impact on key sectors'.

7th SDLP leader Colum Eastwood called for the re-establishment of the New Ireland forum. The original Forum was a cross-border body set up by the Irish government in 1983 to gather a range of views on the conflict.

8th Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern said that problems facing politicians in the North were 'not as difficult' as those faced in 1998. Meanwhile Tony Blair, former British Prime Miniester, said it was possible for a solution to the impasse at Stormont to be resolved. 'It's very similar to the types of issues we used to deal with. You've just got to keep working at them until you find a way through'. However, Fianna Fáil's Darragh O'Brien called the failure to agree to power sharing 'disgraceful'.

9th The car of Sinn Féin's Kevin Campbell was set on fire in Derry.

The Ulster Defence Association, Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando issued a joint statement saying that they supported the rule of law, and any members involved in crime would be expelled.

10th On the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, key players such as Clinton and Blair reflected on its legacy. Peter Robinson of the DUP claimed that he had been right to oppose it.
The chief constable, George Hamilton, said that some loyalist groups were just criminal gangs.

12th The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said he felt that Sinn Fein were not compatible coalition partners for Fine Gael as they were Eurosceptic, high tax and sectarian.

13th Five people were arrested following a police operation targeting the republican paramilitary group INLA.

14th A hoax pipe bomb was thrown through the window of a family home in Balleymoney.

15th A petrol bomb was thrown at a police vehicle in North Belfast.

18th The Guardian reported on a case opening that could be determined whether former soldiers and retired police officers could be convicted over torture allegations relating to the 'Hooded Men'.

Donald Tusk said that there would be no Brexit withdrawal agreement or transition deal until the border issue was resolved.

19th An academic who monitored social trends said he believed there could be a Catholic majority in the North by 2021.

20th A search for Joe Lynskey, one of the Disappeared, ended without success.

23rd A coroner said it was more likely than not that a soldier had shot dead 17-year-old Marian Brown in 1972.

Research by Paul Nolan claimed that there had been 158 'security-related' deaths in the North since the Good Friday Agreement.

It was reported that Sinn Féin were backing a unionist farmer in a Seanad by-election. They said they were 'impressed by his views on Brexit and the potential impact Brexit will have on the island, north and south.'

Sinn Féin's Mary-Lou McDonald controversially referred to Derry as Londonderry.

26th The British Brexit Secretary David Davis suggested that pressure to resolve the Irish border issue in June was an 'artificial deadline'.

It was reported that the Housing Executive had erected steel barriers around pallets at a bonfire site in Milltown, south Belfast, because local residents had become frustrated with its growing size.

27th A former RUC officer who shot IRA man Column Marks in 1991 claimed that senior colleagues asked him to lie if questioned about it.

29th Three men were arrested after a bomb was found during searches in Strabane.

30th DUP leader Arlene Foster said that the Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier did not understand unionist culture. Barnier had once again issued warnings that talks would collapse if the UK did not soften its red line on the Irish border issue.

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