Memorable Northern Ireland moments from the noughties 60-51
Published 24/12/2009 | 12:00
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.
60 NOMADIC COMES HOME TO CITY
The Nomadic, now berthed in Belfast, is the last floating connection with the Titanic. It was built at Harland & Wolff and entered service as a tender to the Titanic and sister ship Olympic in Cherbourg in France. In 2006 the vessel was bought by the Department for Social Development and brought back to Belfast at a cost of £582,000. It is estimated that it will cost up to £7m to restore it to its original condition. Nomadic is the last remaining floating ship of the White Star Line.
59 PRESIDENT BUSH VISITS PROVINCE
President George Bush paid two whistle-stop visits to Northern Ireland during his two terms in the White House. Compared to trips made by his predecessor President Bill Clinton, these were low key affairs. His first visit was in April 2003 when he stopped off at Hillsborough Castle with Prime Minister Tony Blair. In June 2008 President Bush returned to the province, as an endorsement of the restoration of devolved government. He met the First and Deputy First Ministers.
58 CITY STATUS FOR TWO TOWNS
In March 2002 two new cities were created — Newry and Lisburn. They were granted the status in a competition to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee. Secretary of State John Reid said the honour demonstrated the economic and social strides made in Northern Ireland since the ending of violence. Other towns put their name forward but it was disappointment for Carrickfergus, Ballymena, Coleraine and Craigavon.
57 RORY ROARING TOWARDS TOP
The rise and rise of Rory McIlroy. A world class sportsman at the age of 20, he was the youngest golfer to break into the world's Top 50 at the end of last year. Judges of the game say he will claim many top prizes. He won the medal for best amateur at the 2007 Open and turned professional later that year. In February this year he won his first tournament in Dubai and ended 2009 ranked 9th in the world, the highest position ever held by a 20-year-old. He was just pipped by Lee Westwood to top the European Tour end of year order of merit.
56 MR MUSIC PASSES AWAY
In February 2007, the man who did more than most to put Northern Ireland on the international music map died. Jim Aiken was the country's foremost concert promoter bringing over some of music’s biggest names including Queen, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Abba and David Bowie. He also booked Elton John and Pavarotti to play open air concerts at Stormont to mark the new peaceful Northern Ireland.
55 HEALY BAGS TREBLE AND RECORD
In one of the greatest individual performances by a Northern Ireland footballer, David Healy led the team to a shock 3-2 victory over eventual champions Spain in a European Championship qualifier at Windsor Park in September 2006. It was all the more remarkable because the team had slumped to a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Iceland just days earlier. Throughout those qualifying stages the Killyleagh-born striker scored a total of 13 goals, the highest figure ever.
54 ALL CHANGE FOR THE PAISLEYS
In February last year Ian Paisley jnr resigned as a junior minister in the devolved administration at Stormont. He decided to quit after criticism of his links with and lobbying for developer Seymour Sweeney. He was said to have lobbied for Mr Sweeney's plans for a visitor centre at Giant's Causeway and over land deals near Ballymena.
While there was no suggestion that he had broken any rules, political pressure grew on him over several months until he felt his position was untenable. He remained as an MLA for North Antrim and shortly after his resignation was appointed to the Policing Board, a move seen as a last hurrah by his father, Ian snr.
Ian jnr's resignation left his father exposed in his positions as First Minister and leader of the DUP and he was later to resign from both posts, with his former deputy Peter Robinson taking over.
53 15 DIE FROM SWINE FLU VIRUS
A total of 15 people in Northern Ireland have died from swine flu and a vaccination programme to protect those deemed most vulnerable is currently under way. The flu strain emerged in Mexico in May this year, leading to predictions of an international pandemic. Some alarmist predictions proved wide of the mark and the mortality rate is regarded as not much higher than for |normal flu types. Most deaths occurred in people with underlying health problems.
52 MPs UNDER FIRE OVER EXPENSES
MPs from all parties were in the firing line when details of their expenses were made public this year. The scandal led to the resignation of the Speaker of the Commons, Michael Martin, the first Speaker to be forced out in 300 years. There was widespread public anger over the scale of MPs’ claims and some of the claims made, including one celebrated claim for cleaning a moat and another for building a duck house.
51 POWER-SHARING SUSPENDED
On October 14, 2002, the power-sharing administration at Stormont was suspended and it was to be nearly five years before it returned with different players at the helm. The suspension came less than a fortnight after police raided Sinn Fein offices at Stormont claiming republicans were operating a spy ring at the heart of government. The devolved administration had been dogged by bad feeling from the outset and was suspended a number of times before the curtain finally fell.