That was the year that was . . . 1989

Release of Guildford Four, fall of Berlin Wall and Ireland qualifying for World Cup for the first time among highlights

Republic of Ireland players John Aldridge and Kevin Sheedy celebrate a goal in the Word Cup qualifier against Malta on November 15th, 1989. Photograph: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Republic of Ireland players John Aldridge and Kevin Sheedy celebrate a goal in the Word Cup qualifier against Malta on November 15th, 1989. Photograph: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

 

January 16th: The case of the Guildford Four is referred to the Court of Appeal.

January 17th: Douglas Hogg, a British Home Office minister, publicly suggests that a number of solicitors in Northern Ireland “are unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA”.

January 20th: George HW Bush is sworn in as the 41st president of the United States.

February 2nd: Satellite television service Sky Television is launched in Europe.

February 12th: Solicitor Pat Finucane (39) is shot dead by loyalists at his home in north Belfast, in front of his wife Geraldine, who was also injured, and their children Michael, Katherine and John.

March 7th: Iran breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain over author Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

March 20th: Chief Superintendent Harry Breen of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), and Superintendent Ken Buchanan are killed in an IRA ambush as they cross the border in south Armagh. An inquiry later found Garda collusion was likely.

March 21st: Corporal Fintan Heneghan from Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, Private Mannix Armstrong from Sligo and Private Thomas Walsh from Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, are killed when the truck in which they are travelling detonates a landmine in southern Lebanon.

April 15th: Ninety-six Liverpool FC fans are killed in a crush at an FA cup match against Nottingham Forest, in what becomes known as the Hillsborough disaster, at the stadium of the same name in Sheffield.

April 21st: Three loyalists are arrested in Paris handing over parts from a Shorts Aircraft Company Blowpipe missile to a South African embassy official.

April 21st: RTÉ broadcasts its first People in Need Telethon fundraiser, starting live on RTÉ 1 at 6.30pm, presented by Gay Byrne. It ran until 2007.

April 21st: Students begin protesting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

May 4th: Billed as The Ultimate Event, Frank Sinatra is joined onstage with Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Junior before 18,000 fans at Dublin’s Lansdowne Road stadium.

July 12th: Fianna Fáil leader Charles Haughey is re-elected as taoiseach after forming the party’s first ever coalition government with the Progressive Democrats.

July 24th: Peter Brooke is appointed as the new secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

September 1st: Music radio station Atlantic 252 goes on air for the first time from studios in Trim, Co Meath, and broadcasting on the longwave Clarkstown radio transmitter.

September 3rd: Tipperary defeat Antrim (4-24 to 3-9) in the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final at Croke Park.

September 17th: Cork beat Mayo (0-17 to 1-11) in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final at Croke Park.

September 18th: RTÉ television soap opera Fair City airs for the first time.

September 22nd: An IRA bomb explodes at the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal, Kent, England, killing 11 people and leaving 22 injured.

October 1st: Civil union for same-sex partners becomes legal in Denmark, the first country in the world to enact such legislation.

October 11th: Republic of Ireland beats Northern Ireland 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Dublin.

Gerry Conlon is released from prison in 1989 to the delight of his family after he had been wrongly jailed for the Guilford pub bombing. Photograph: Alan Lewis/Photopress Belfast
Gerry Conlon is released from prison in 1989 to the delight of his family after he had been wrongly jailed for the Guilford pub bombing. Photograph: Alan Lewis/Photopress Belfast

October 19th: Three of the Guildford Four – Patrick Armstrong, Gerard Conlon and Carole Richardson – are released by the Court of Appeal after having spent 14 years in jail. Paul Hill is held in custody pending a hearing in another case but is later released. The court found their original confessions were fabricated by the police.

November 10th: Director Jim Sheridan’s Oscar-winning film My Left Foot, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker, is released.

November 15th: Republic of Ireland wins 2-0 against Malta to secure qualification for the World Cup for the first time.

November 17th: After East German official Günther Schabowski accidentally tells a press conference that new rules for travelling to West Germany will be put in effect “immediately”, Germans celebrate by tearing down the Berlin Wall.

December 22nd: Nobel prize winning playwright Samuel Beckett dies in Paris at the age of 83.

December 31st: U2 play Dublin’s Point Depot