1987: The year that was

North’s death toll rises, general elections and a Tour de France win for Roche

January 1st: a new system for vehicle registration plates came into force in the Republic, with letter codes assigned to each county.

January 20th: Labour Party ministers resigned from the government led by Fine Gael's Dr Garret FitzGerald over a disagreement on budget proposals.

February 17th: A general election took place.

March 10th: A Fianna Fáil minority government was formed with Charles Haughey as taoiseach.


March 6th: the British ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsized while leaving the harbour of Zeebrugge, Belgium, killing 193 people.

March 11th: Dr FitzGerald resigned the leadership of Fine Gael. He was later succeeded by Alan Dukes.

March 22nd: The first Irish National Lottery was launched in Dublin.

March 23rd: 31 people were injured when an IRA bomb exploded at the officers' club of a joint British RAF and army barracks in Rheindahlen, West Germany.

May 8th: Eight members of the IRA and a civilian were killed in an ambush by the British SAS and the RUC at Loughgall, Co Armagh, as they were launching a bomb attack on a police station.

April 19th: The Simpsons cartoon first appeared as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show.

May 9th: Johnny Logan made history in Brussels when he won the Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland for the second time with his own composition Hold Me Now.

May 26th: Just 44 per cent of the State's 2.4 million voters went to the polls in a referendum on the Single European Act. Almost 70 per cent of them voted in favour of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

June 11th: A general election in Britain saw Margaret Thatcher returned for a third term as prime minister.

June 24th: Lionel Messi, who would later become what many consider to be the best footballer in the world, was born.

July 26th: Stephen Roche became the first Irishman to win the Tour de France, prompting Charles Haughey to jet to Paris to share in the glory on the Champs-Élysées.

October 19th: A day of extreme turmoil on worldwide financial markets saw Wall Street take its then biggest plunge in history, becoming known as "Black Monday".

October 23rd: Retired English jockey Lester Piggott was jailed for three years for tax evasion.

November 8th: 11 civilians were killed and 63 injured when a 30lb IRA bomb exploded during a Remembrance Day service in Enniskillen.

November 5th: Irish broadcaster Eamonn Andrews died in London aged 64.

November 29th: Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, opened to patients.

December 15th: The construction of the Channel Tunnel between England and France commenced .

December 29th: Kylie Minogue released her first single, I Should Be So Lucky.