Reeling in the Years

The Eighties: 1981

Reeling in the Years

Ronald Reagan is sworn in as President of the U.S.....there are celebrations in his ancestral birthplace in Ballyporeen, County Tipperary.

The Stardust Club, Dublin: A St. Valentine's disco turns to tragedy. 44 young people die.

Politicians and the public unite in protest when the IRFU announce plans to tour South Africa. Petitions are presented and vigils are held, but the tour goes ahead anyway.

Doireann Ni Bhriain presents the Eurovision Song Contest from the RDS in Dublin. Sheeba sing "Horoscopes" for Ireland. The contest is won by Great Britain's Buck's Fizz.

Republican prisoners in the H Blocks go on hunger strike to demand political status. Bobby Sands leads the hunger strike and is elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Support grows across Ireland for the hunger strikers. When Sands dies in March, tens of thousands attend his funeral. There is widespread rioting. The hunger strike continues.

An Aer Lingus jet is hijacked en route from Dublin to London. Minister for Transport Albert Reynolds briefs the press .The hijacker demands the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima.

The politicians go on tour in the 1981 General Election campaign. The main issues are the depressed economy and Northern Ireland. Charles Haughey makes a prediction on the future of the North.

The 22nd Dail meets on June 30. Garret Fitzgerald leads a Coalition government with Michael O'Leary, the new Labour leader. They rely on the support of Independents. The government will last 8 months.

Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

Gardai prevent a H Block protest march from reaching the British Embassy. A vicious riot ensues. Kieran Doherty becomes the eighth hunger striker to die. He was one of two H Block prisoners elected to the Dail.

The hunger strike is called off in October. Ten hunger strikers have died. The prisoners are eventually granted their demands.

1981 is a year of assasination attempts. President Reagan survives in January. The Pope survives in May. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is murdered in October.

Playlist:
Abba: Super Trouper
Rolling Stones: Start Me Up
The Blades: Ghost Of A Chance
Undertones: It's Gonna Happen
Phil Collins: In The Air Tonight
Boomtown Rats: Banana Republic
Big Tom: Four Country Roads
Talking Heads: Once In A Lifetime
Foster and Allen: Bunch Of Thyme
Joe Dolan: It's You, It's You, It's You
The Police: Invisible Sun
Queen/David Bowie: Under Pressure
Fureys/Davey Arthur: Sweet Sixteen


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