The political week that was: Home Rule, contraceptive trains, royal visits and Good Friday Agreements

The political week that was: Home Rule, contraceptive trains, royal visits and Good Friday Agreements

In a new addition to the 'On The Plinth' initiative, deputy political editor Elaine Loughlin, scans the archives and highlights some of the major political events which were making the headlines this week in years gone by.

1870 

May 19: The first meeting of the Home Government Association, which would later morph into the Home Rule League, was held in the Bilton Hotel in Dublin. The meeting, organised by Isaac Butt was attended by over 60 people from different political and religious persuasions. They passed a resolution "that the true remedy for the evils of Ireland is the establishment of an Irish Parliament with full control over our domestic affairs."

1921 

May 25: The burning of the Custom House was carried out by the IRA in what was their largest single operation during the War of Independence. Five IRA members and four civilians were killed in the gun-battles, which took place in and around the building. The neoclassical building, first opened in 1791, and its administrative records were completely destroyed.

Burning of the Custom House, Dublin in May 1921
Burning of the Custom House, Dublin in May 1921

1971 

May 22: The 'Contraceptive Train' brings contraceptives across the border after around 40 members of the Irish Women's Liberation Movement arrived in Dublin's Connolly State with "a horde of pills and other contraceptives," the Cork Examiner reported. "In Belfast some of the women had difficulty in choosing a device to test customs reaction. For a few it was their first time ever seeing a contraceptive."

Women on the platfrom of Connolly Station, Dublin in 1971 prior to boarding the Belfast Train to buy contraceptives, which were illegal in the Republic in the 1970s and 1980s. Nell McCafferty is pictured second left, chin partially obscured by the banner. Picture: The Irish Times 
Women on the platfrom of Connolly Station, Dublin in 1971 prior to boarding the Belfast Train to buy contraceptives, which were illegal in the Republic in the 1970s and 1980s. Nell McCafferty is pictured second left, chin partially obscured by the banner. Picture: The Irish Times 

1998 

May 22: The Good Friday Agreement endorsed by referendum on both sides of the border. However, just a few days later almost 1,000lbs of explosives was found in two cars stopped by the garda emergency response unit outside Dundalk. Two decades on Fiachra Ó Cionnaith looked back on the key moments of the first 20 years of the peace process. You can read about the rocky road since peace here.

1998 

May 25:

A headline on the front of the Examiner announced that it was "back to the drawing board" after thieves stole the plates for the new Euro notes en route to the printers. The highly contentious design of the Euro went missing "somewhere between Paris and Munich" it was reported.

The Irish Examiner front page of May 23, 1998.
The Irish Examiner front page of May 23, 1998.

2015 

May 21: As part of his four-day trip to Ireland, Prince Charles visited Mullaghmore in Sligo to view the harbour where his god-father Lord Mountbatten was killed by the IRA in 1979. You can read about the visit, including the historic handshake with the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams here.

Tuesday May 19, 2015.: The Prince of Wales (left) shakes hands with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams at the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Tuesday May 19, 2015.: The Prince of Wales (left) shakes hands with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams at the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

* 'On The Plinth' coverage continues each week in Tuesday's Irish Examiner (in print and online). Make sure you are also up to speed on the major political stories by also signing up to the On The Plinth politics newsletter right HERE

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