On This Day

Terence O'Neill

Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill
National Museums NI

Full Name: Terence Marne O'Neill, Baron O'Neill of the Maine,
Profession: Northern Ireland Prime Minister

Nationality:
United Kingdom
British

Why Famous: As Prime Minister of Northern Ireland from 1963-69, Terence O'Neil was the first attempt to end sectarianism and establish a working relationship between Protestants and Catholics.

O'Neill was also the first Northern Irish leader to re-establish relationships with the Republic of Ireland. In 1965 He invited the Taoiseach Seán Lemass to Belfast and returned the invitation with a visit to Dublin. O'Neill's reforms faced strong opposition from figures such as Ian Paisley and even from those within his own party.

Conflict grew after the establishment of the Northern Irish Civil Rights Organization demanding One Man, One Vote, which started public demonstrations. Violent clashes with the Royal Ulster Constabulary and other protestants led to conflict with Harold Wilson's UK government and general unrest. O'Neill called a surprise election in 1969 and although he was reelected continued unrest led to his resignation as Prime Minister in 1969 and retirement from politics in 1970.

Born: September 10, 1914
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Tiger
Star Sign: Virgo

Died: June 12, 1990 (aged 75)
Cause of Death: Cancer

Historical Events

  • 1968-01-08 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill travels to Dublin to meet with Irish Prime Minister Jack Lynch to continue discussions on matters of joint interest to the two governments
  • 1968-01-19 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill calls for "a new endeavour by organisations in Northern Ireland to cross denominational barriers and advance the cause of better community relations"
  • 1968-05-20 Terence O'Neill, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, is showered with eggs, flour and stones after a meeting of the Woodvale Unionist Association, a loyalist vigilante group
  • 1968-11-04 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill meets British Prime Minister Harold Wilson for talks on Northern Ireland; Wilson states no change of constitutional position of Northern Ireland possible without consent of the its people
  • 1968-11-22 Terence O'Neill, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, announced a package of reform measures granting concessions to the Catholic minority, in response to protest movement
  • 1968-12-09 Terence O'Neill, Northern Ireland Prime Minister, makes a television appeal for moderate opinion in what became known as the 'Ulster stands at the Crossroads' speech
  • 1968-12-11 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill sacks Home Affairs Minister, William Craig
  • 1968-12-12 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill receives overwhelming support from Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) at Stormont
  • 1969-01-09 Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Terence O'Neill travels to London to meet Home Secretary James Callaghan and brief him on the growing violence in Northern Ireland
  • 1969-01-15 Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Terence O'Neill announces that an official inquiry will analyse the 'troubles' in Northern Ireland
  • 1969-01-24 Deputy Prime Minister Brian Faulkner resigns from the Northern Ireland cabinet in protest at the lack of 'strong government' on the part of PM Terence O'Neill
  • 1969-02-03 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill announces the dissolution of the Stormont parliament and the holding of new elections
  • 1969-02-06 The New Ulster Movement forms, promoting moderate and non-sectarian policies and to assist those candidates who support Northern Ireland Prime MinisterTerence O'Neill
  • 1969-02-28 Terence O'Neill re-elected as leader of the Unionist Parliamentary Party and thus confirmed as Northern Ireland Prime Minister
  • 1969-04-28 Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill resigns and is replaced later by James Chichester-Clark.
  • 1969-05-01 James Chichester-Clark is elected as leader of the Unionist party, succeededing Terence O'Neill as the Northern Ireland Prime Minister
  • 1969-05-10 In an interview with the 'Belfast Telegraph' former Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill states: "if you give Roman Catholics a good job and a good house, they will live like Protestants, ... They will refuse to have 18 children"
  • 1970-04-16 Protestant Unionist Ian Paisley wins seat formerly held by Terence O'Neill in the Stormont (North Ireland Parliament)

Famous British People