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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 16:54 GMT

1981-84: Hunger strikes and the Brighton bomb

Riots follow the death of hunger striker Bobby Sands

McAliskey shot Republican Bernadette McAliskey (formerly Devlin) and her husband are wounded by gunmen at their home in County Tyrone in January 1981.

Bobby Sands H-Block IRA prisoner Bobby Sands begins a hunger strike in support of political status on March 1. On April 11 he wins the Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election.

He dies on May 5, the 66th day of his fast. Riots follow on both sides of the border and 100,000 attend his funeral.

The hunger strike ends eventually on October 3 after the deaths of 10 republicans. All prisoners are now allowed to wear their own clothes.

MP murdered The Official Unionist MP for Belfast South, Robert Bradford, is murdered by the IRA in Belfast on November 14.

Plastic bullets In May 1982, the European Parliament calls for the banning of plastic bullets throughout the EC.

London park bombs The IRA sets off two bombs in London's Hyde Park and Regent's Park on July 20. The former kills two members of the Household Cavalry and seven horses, the latter kills six soldiers from the Royal Green Jackets.

Assembly The Northern Ireland Assembly opens on November 11, 1982, though is boycotted by the SDLP and Sinn Fein.

Shankill Butcher Leonard Murphy, believed to have been the leader of the brutal Shankill Butchers loyalist killers, is shot dead by the IRA on November 16.

Droppin' Well bombing Seventeen people, 11 of them soldiers, are killed by an INLA bomb at the Droppin' Well pub in County Derry, on December 6 1982.

Supergrasses Fourteen UVF men jailed in April 1983 on the evidence of informer Joseph Bennett, a former UVF commander.

In August, the trial of 38 people on the evidence of IRA supergrass Christopher Black ends with 22 people being jailed - 18 have their convictions quashed in 1986.

Election In the general election of June 1983, unionists win 15 seats, the SDLP and Sinn Fein one each.

Maze escape Thirty-eight IRA prisoners break out of the Maze on September 25. Nineteen are recaptured soon after.

[ image: New IRA leader: Gerry Adams]
New IRA leader: Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams Changes among the leadership of Sinn Fein see Gerry Adams elected president in November.

He is shot and wounded by the Ulster Freedom Fighters four months later.

Church killings Three people are killed and seven wounded by gunmen in a Protestant chapel in Darkley, County Tyrone, on November 20. The attack is claimed by the Catholic Reaction Force, but the INLA later admits some involvement.

Harrods bomb Five people are killed and 80 wounded by an IRA bomb outside Harrods department store in west London on December 17 1983.

Extradition INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey is wounded in a shoot-out in the Irish Republic in March 1984 and extradited to Northern Ireland to face a murder charge.

The handover is the first of a republican from south to north.

Forum report The nationalist New Ireland Forum produces a report in May calling for a unitary Irish state - if not, then either a federal structure or joint UK-Irish authority.

Reagan visit US President Ronald Reagan visits the Irish Republic in June 1984. He says US policy is not to interfere, but he criticises violence.

Noraid The leader of Noraid, the republican fund-raising group, Martin Galvin, is banned from the UK. In August, he appears in Derry and when police try to seize him, a man is killed by a plastic bullet.

[ image: Four people dead after IRA bomb explodes at Grand Hotel in Brighton]
Four people dead after IRA bomb explodes at Grand Hotel in Brighton
Brighton bomb On October 12 1984, the IRA detonates a bomb at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, where many British Conservative leaders are staying during their party conference.

Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher narrowly escapes injury, though members of her government are injured and four people killed.

Mrs Thatcher rejects the NIF report in November after a summit with Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.

Soldier jailed Private Ian Thain is the first British soldier to be jailed for killing a civilian in Northern Ireland. He rejoins his regiment after 26 months in jail.

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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