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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 16:57 GMT


1972-75: The failure of Sunningdale

Loyalist demonstrators gather outside Stormont

Temporary truce The Official IRA calls a ceasefire in May 1972 and Northern Ireland Secretary William Whitelaw persuades the Provisionals to follow suit in June.

Talks break down, however, and the fighting starts again in west Belfast in July.

Bloody Friday
[ image: Rescue workers deal with the aftermath of Bloody Friday]
Rescue workers deal with the aftermath of Bloody Friday
Nine people are killed and many more injured as 22 bombs go off in Belfast on July 21.

In response, Whitelaw decides to get rid of no-go areas in Operation Motorman. Extra troops and special tanks are brought in and on July 31, they enter Catholic areas of Belfast and the Bogside by force, destroying barricades.

Protestant no-go areas are also broken up. The Army builds fortified posts to prevent the barricades going up again.

On the same day, a PIRA bomb kills 10 in County Derry.

Darlington conference Unionists, the Northern Ireland Labour Party and the Alliance Party attend round-table talks in Darlington in September. The SDLP does not go, but says it is ready to talk.

Britain publishes a discussion paper on the province's future in October. It repeats that Northern Ireland would remain part of the UK as long as a majority wished, but recognising the need for change to be acceptable to the Irish Republic.

Dublin Two people are killed and 80 injured by loyalist bombs on December 1 as the Dail debates special emergency powers - the measure is approved.

1972 toll The death toll for 1972 is the highest of the modern troubles: 103 soldiers, 41 police and UDR, and 323 civilians.

Referendum Northern Ireland votes 90:1 to remain part of the UK in March 1973, but Catholics boycott the poll.

New Assembly Voting on June 28 under PR for a new 78-member Assembly.

Power sharing Protestants and Catholics agree to share power on a new Executive to run Northern Ireland affairs.

Sunningdale Agreement
[ image: British PM Edward Heath signs the Sunningdale agreement]
British PM Edward Heath signs the Sunningdale agreement
Politicians from both communities and the British and Irish governments agree on December 9 on power sharing in Northern Ireland.

They also agree to a Council of Ireland with limited jurisdiction over issues of joint concern between north and south.

Power sharing
[ image: Faulkner, resigns from the UUP]
Faulkner, resigns from the UUP
The new Northern Ireland Executive takes power in January 1974. Unionists reject Council of Ireland. Faulkner resigns as UUP leader, replaced by Harry West, but stays as leader the power-sharing executive.

On the 22nd, unionists opposed to power sharing disrupt the Assembly - Paisley is removed forcibly by police.

Sunningdale fails The Assembly approves Sunningdale in May and the loyalist Ulster Workers' Council organises power strikes. Faulkner and other unionists resign from the Executive, which collapses and direct rule resumes.

Maze riots Republican prisoners set fire to the Maze prison on October 15. Troops are brought in to quell the riot.

The following month, 33 prisoners escape from the Maze though 29 are recaptured almost immediately.

British pub bombings Five people are killed and 44 injured in Guildford on October 5. Nineteen die and 182 are wounded in Birmingham on November 21.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act is extended to Northern Ireland in December.

Truce The Provisional IRA announces a Christmas truce after talks with Protestant churchmen. It lasts until January 16, 1975.

Convention Ulster Unionists win resounding victory in elections to the Convention on May 1.

Miami Showband Three members of the Dublin-based group are killed and one is wounded in a UVF gun attack near Newry on July 31.

After a wave of UVF killings in October, the group is banned.

Internment ends The last detainees are released on December 5.

Balcombe Street siege Four IRA gunmen take a London couple hostage after a street gun battle on December 6. The gunmen surrender after six days.



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In this section

1997-98: Second IRA ceasefire to the Nobel Peace Prize

1995-96: Clinton's visit and the end of the IRA ceasefire

1993-94 The Downing Street Declaration and the IRA ceasefire

1990-92: Start of the talks process

1988-89: Gibraltar killings and release of the Guildford Four

1985-87: The Anglo-Irish Agreement

1981-84: Hunger strikes and the Brighton bomb

1976-80: The violence continues

1972-75: The failure of Sunningdale

1970-72: Internment and Bloody Sunday

1968-69: The troops are sent in

1939-67: Relative calm before the storm

1923-38: The fixing of the Irish border

1921-22: The Irish Free State and civil war

1917-20: The road to partition

1910-16: The 'winning' of Home Rule to the Easter Rebellion

1850-1909: Parnell, Gladstone and the battle for Home Rule

1695-1850: A time of revolution and the Great Famine

1170-1691: From Strongbow to the establishment of Protestant ascendancy