Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Memorable Northern Ireland moments from the noughties 30-21

A motorist is caught in the severe floods on the Westlink area of Belfast.
Firemen rescue Belfast man Kevin Curran after his car was submerged
Robert and Joey Dunlop

We continue to count down the 100 most significant moments in the decade. You can submit your choices for most memorable moments in our comments section below.

30 MARTIN O’HAGAN IS MURDERED

On September 28, 2001 loyalist gunmen shot dead Sunday World journalist Martin |O'Hagan as he was walking to his home in Lurgan with his wife. The 51-year-old had been threatened previously by the extreme Loyalist Volunteer Force and had moved to the newspaper's offices in the Republic for a period during the 1990s until he felt safe to return. As a teenager Mr O'Hagan had joined the Official IRA and in 1971 was interned in Long Kesh for more than a year.

29 LANDMARK ARENA OPENS DOORS

The Odyssey Arena on the eastern bank of the River Lagan in Belfast is the province's landmark millennium project. It was opened in December 2000. The facility which also includes numerous hospitality venues and the W5 interactive discovery centre cost around £91m to develop. Capable of seating up to 10,000 people, it has become Northern Ireland's premier concert venue and has helped to attract international music acts. It is also home to the Belfast Giants ice hockey team.

28 ULSTER’S ALL-IRELAND FIRST

On September 28, 2003 two Ulster counties met for the first time in the GAA's All-Ireland football final at Croke Park. Holders Armagh met Tyrone with the Red Hand team winning 0-12 to 0-09. This was the first of three All-Ireland successes for Tyrone, the others coming in 2005 and 2008 with Kerry the losers on both occasions. Armagh's sole victory came in 2002. Although Kerry are perennial finalists, Armagh and Tyrone set the standards for much of the last decade.

27 ADAMS IN ORANGE ORDER TALKS

IN June 2008, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams held face-to-face talks with members of the Portadown Lodge of the Orange Order. The Portadown Orangemen have been banned since 1998 from marching down the mainly Catholic-populated Garvaghy Road. This has led to violent protests at Drumcree Church every July for several years culminating in a loyalist firebomb attack on a house in Ballymoney in which three Catholic children were burned to death.

26 GAY COUPLE MAKES HISTORY

Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close made history on December 19, 2005 when they became the first gay couple to marry in the UK. They held their civil partnership ceremony at Belfast City Hall, the day before such ceremonies could be held in Scotland and two days before they came into force in England and Wales. The couple were followed up the aisle by another two couples. Around 40 people staged a protest outside the City Hall during the ceremonies.

25 TV HOST LOSES CANCER BATTLE

In April 2004 TV presenter Caron Keating died after a long battle against breast cancer. The 41-year-old daughter of Northern Ireland broadcasting star Gloria Hunniford shot to prominence in the 1980s as the presenter of Blue Peter, the BBC's flagship children's programme. She took time out of her television career to look after her two sons, Charlie and Gabriel, who were aged nine and seven respectively when she died. She later went to present This Morning on ITV.

24 BELFAST UNDERPASS IS FLOODED

IT was one of the most graphic images of recent years – the spanking new underpass in the centre of Belfast flooded to its roof and with a taxi almost submerged in the water.

On August 16, 2008 heavy rain pelted down continuously flooding homes and making several roads in Northern Ireland impassable.

The most dramatic flooding occurred at the Broadway underpass, part of the multi-million pound redevelopment of Belfast's Westlink.

23 RUC AWARDED GEORGE CROSS

On April 12, 2000, the Queen presented the George Cross to the RUC at a ceremony at Hillsborough Castle. The award had been announced the previous November. Presenting the medal to the force, Her Majesty said: “Due in no small measure to the bravery and dedication over the years of the men and women of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Northern Ireland is now a much more peaceful and stable place in which to live”. It was presented to Constable Paul Slaine who lost both legs in a IRA mortar attack eight years earlier. More than 300 officers were killed during the Troubles. The George Cross is the highest civil decoration in the UK and previously was awarded to Malta for the courage of its people during World War II. The medal was instituted in 1940. The year after being |presented with the George Cross, the RUC was renamed the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

22 ROBERT McCARTNEY IS KILLED

IT began as a fight in a Belfast city centre bar but the fall-out went all the way to the White House in Washington. Short Strand man Robert McCartney died from knife wounds received in the fight at Magennis' public house where Sinn Fein supporters had gathered on January 30, 2005. CCTV pictures of the fight were removed from the bar by friends of those involved. The dead man's sisters fought to bring those responsible to justice claiming Sinn Fein were involved in a cover-up.

21 JOEY DUNLOP DIES IN BIKE CRASH

Joey Dunlop was one of the greatest motorcycle racers ever to emerge from Northern Ireland.

He won a record 26 races at the Isle of Man TT meetings and practically every other major road race in Ireland.

He died on July 2, 2000 when competing in a race in Tallinn in Estonia when his bike |careered off the road and hit a tree. At his funeral an estimated 50,000 people thronged the roads around his home in Ballymoney.

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