Independent Media Centre Ireland

Guy Fawkes: 400th Anniversary.

category international | history and heritage | opinion/analysis author Tuesday November 01, 2005 20:07author by pat c

The 400th anniversary of the Guy Fawkes is fast approaching. Contrary to popular belief Guy Fawkes wasnt the only person to enter Westminster with honest intentions. I set out a list of others below. Undoubtedly I've left out some events. Please add to the list.

1. On January 1885 the “Fenians”bombed Westminister Palace. Two policemen were hurt. On the same day a second device went off this time in the Chamber of the House of Commons. It had been left on the seats known as ‘Under the Gallery’ which were in those days where the Broadcasting box is now. All those who had been in the Chamber had left before the device went off to investigate the earlier incident. However considerable dam age was caused with the Peers Gallery being totally flattened and the Government front benches and the Speakers Chair badly affected. Some idea can be had of the scale of this second device by the fact that the effects extended to the Members Lobby and the Post Office.

2. On the 23rd of July, 1970, Frank “Butch” Roche (RIP) threw a cannister of CSgas into the chamber of the House of Commons to give MP’s first hand experience of what life in Belfast was like at that time. Two MP’s were take to hospital of which one required a chest X-ray before being released. The Sergeant-at-Arms complained that, “My face was smarting, my eyes running and I was retching”.

3. In 1972, during the construction of the Underground Carpark beneath New Palace Yard, The IRA placed abomb in a room adjacent to Westminster Hall.This went off at 8am one morning igniting a gas main and causing considerabledamage.

4. In 1975 Irish Republican sympathisers were able to smuggle two CSgas cannisters into the Public Gallery of the House Of Commons. These they threw onto the Floor of the House causing confusion and distress to those present.

5. In 1978 members of the SWP got in to the public galleries of the house of commons and threw parcels of horsedung down on the mps. This was a protest against British actions in Ireland.

6.Shortly before the 1979 General Election. A device was attached to the car of Airey Neave. The device was activated via a timer and subsequently set off by a mercury-tilt-switch when the car was driven up the exit ramp from the car park of Westminister Palace. Hisinjuries were serious and hedied shortly afterwards. Airey Neave was a close personal friend of Margaret Thatcher and had played a large part in her election as Conservative Party Leader. He was widely expected to be appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland should the election go the way of the conservatives. (As it did)

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