On this day: the Irish government stands up to the Catholic Church

On the 12th of March, 1985, the government of the Republic of Ireland finally stood up to the powerful Catholic Church and legalised contraception.

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Women leave Dublin on their protest journey to Belfast.

The 1970s saw feminists travelling to Belfast in Northern Ireland and returning home with contraceptives, risking arrest for importing illegal products. They were met by protestors upon their arrival home.

Illegal in the Republic in all circumstances until 1980, a new law allowed some contraception to be dispensed by a pharmacist to people with a doctor’s prescription.

This highly restrictive law was finally changed five years later, despite conservative opposition.

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Some Americans were so outraged that “Holy Ireland” now allowed contraception, they wrote to the Prime Minister to complain.

Even so, advertising of contraceptives was still banned, and Ireland continued to have one of the highest birth rates in the developed world.

On this day: the birth of Aleksandr Shaparenko

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Ukrainian sprint canoeist Aleksandr Shaparenko was born in Stepanivka on the 16th of February, 1946.

Competing for the Soviet Union, he won Olympic gold in 1968 and 1972, as well as a silver in the 1968 Games.

Shaparenko also won thirteen World Championship medals, including the gold seven times.

On this day: Bloody Sunday

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A British soldier chases an unarmed man from the scene. X

On the 30th of January, 1972, the largest single shooting incident of The Troubles in Northern Ireland occurred at a protest against internment.

Significant because of the high number of civilians who were shot or otherwise injured by British soldiers, thirteen people were killed at the scene, while another died of their injuries a few months later. A further twelve people were injured by gunshots, while others were hurt by vehicle impact, and from being shot at with rubber bullets.

The massacre occurred in the Bogside area of Derry, beginning shortly before 4pm. In the aftermath of the massacre, recruitment for the IRA significantly rose.

On this day: the first day of the blizzard of 1977

The 1977 blizzard that hit parts of New York, USA and Ontario, Canada, began on the 28th of January, 1977.

Wind gusts from 46 to 69 mph (74 to 111 km/h) hit daily, and more than 2.5 metres of snow were recorded in a storm that lasted into February and saw dozens of deaths registered.

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