Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Memorable Northern Ireland moments from the noughties 70-61

Roy Keane walked out of the Republic squad during preparations for the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan
Jenny Curran modelling at Victoria Square
Iris Robinson

Today we continue to count down the 100 most significant moments in the decade, chosen by a panel of experts.

You can submit your choices for most memorable moments in our comments section below.

70 ADAMS MEETS POLICE CHIEF

The Northern Ireland peace talks were at a critical stage in November 2004 when Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams had a dramatic Downing Street meeting with Chief Constable Hugh Orde, the first time the republican leader met the head of the police force formally. They met for two hours with Mr Adams pressing for a commitment to remove Army lookout posts, one of the key demands during the tense negotiations to reach agreement which would restore devolved government.

69 BLOODY SUNDAY INQUIRY ENDS

In November 2004 the Bloody Sunday Inquiry finally ended after seven years of hearings at a cost of around £150m. The inquiry, which was investigating the deaths of 14 civilians shot dead by paratroopers in Londonderry during a civil rights march in January 1972, heard evidence from more than 900 witnesses. It began its hearings in April 1998 in Derry's Guildhall and sat for a total of 433 days. Now, five years later, the findings of Lord Saville have yet to be made public.

68 SUDDEN DEATH OF GAA CAPTAIN

The GAA world was plunged into mourning with the announcement in March 2004 that Cormac McAnallen, the young captain of Tyrone, had died suddenly. The 24-year-old schoolteacher was found dead in his bed. The exceptional footballer had been captain of Tyrone teams from minor, through under-21 to senior. His death was attributed to sudden adult death syndrome, which led to the screening of elite athletes in many sports to guard against cardiac problems.

67 TITANIC DEVELOPMENT UNVEILED

In 2003 plans were unveiled for one of the most ambitious waterfront developments in Europe. The former shipyard site on the eastern banks of the River Lagan was chosen as an area for redevelopment which would include commercial, landmark, leisure and residential properties. Called Titanic Quarter,the multi-million pound developmentwill take well over a decade to complete, especially following the downturn in the commercial property market.

66 A REAL PASSION FOR FASHION

There was a time when fashion in Belfast was confined to a few high quality boutiques and the students of Belfast's College of Art and Design, who held a much heralded end-of-term catwalk show. But no longer, for Belfast Fashion Week, bringing cutting edge designs, many of them the products of locally-trained fashion experts, is now a much-anticipated event. It has now been running for five years, and this year the main event took place in refurbished City Hall.

65 ARMY WATCHTOWERS REMOVED

The price for the IRA laying down its arms was the security forces beginning to demolish watchtowers and bases throughout Northern Ireland. The most iconic watchtowers were in south Armagh, where surveillance equipment kept an eagle eye on movements around the border area. The move was seen as a signal that the terrorist war was over. Their closure and demolition met with vociferous opposition from unionist politicians, but went ahead in most instances.

64 ROY KEANE EXITS WORLD CUP

Roy Keane proved he was as uncompromising a person as he was a player when he walked out of the Republic squad during preparations for the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. Keane fell out with administrators over preparations, citing travel arrangements, poor training camp and their attitude towards players for his revolt. Not long after manager Mick McCarthy sent his star midfielder home.

63 FAMILY’S FISHING BOAT TRAGEDY

On February 15, 2002, one of the worst maritime tragedies hit Northern Ireland. The Tullaghmurray Lass, a fishing vessel which had left Kilkeel port the previous day to fish for prawns, was lost at sea. On board were three generations of the one family, an eight-year-old boy, his 32-year-old father and 54-year-old grandfather, all called Michael Green. The boy had only been allowed to go on the fishing expedition because of the school holidays.

An official investigation into the loss of the vessel concluded that a gas explosion, probably caused by a leak from the heating system, caused the boat to sink. Almost two months after the vessel sank seven miles offshore the bodies were recovered by police divers. Special underwater cameras were used to inspect damage to the vessel. The boat had been due to be taken out of service a month after it sank.

62 BUDGET AIRLINES TAKE FLIGHT

In 2007 Ryanair and Aer Lingus began operating from Belfast's two airports. The arrival of the airlines signalled the importance of the province as a base for the low frills airline industry. Other low cost airlines, such as easyJet, Jet2, bmi and flybe, had already established schedules, marking a big departure from the days when Northern Ireland was poorly served and flights were proportionately very expensive.

61 IRIS ANGERS GAY COMMUNITY

MLA Iris Robinson found herself in the middle of a storm last year over outspoken remarks about gay people. The storm erupted when she gave a radio interview claiming that gay people could be “turned around” with psychiatric counselling. The following month she was reported to have told a Parliamentary committee that homosexuality is viler than child abuse. Although she later said that she had been misquoted, her comments led to calls for her to resign.

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