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Tuesday, March 16, 1999 Published at 14:44 GMT


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

Cheering crowds greet President Clinton's historic visit to the Province

Patrols As a result of the ceasefire, troops end daytime patrols in Belfast from January 22, 1995. Further relaxations in security measures and troop reductions occur during the year.

St Patrick's Day Gerry Adams attends a celebration at the White House. UDP representatives are also there.

Ministerial meetings Northern Ireland Office minister Michael Ancram meets a Sinn Fein delegation led by Martin McGuinness - the first contacts at ministerial level for 23 years.

Lee Clegg
[ image: Lee Clegg freed after four years]
Lee Clegg freed after four years
Private Lee Clegg is released on licence after being convicted of the 1990 murder of a teenage girl when troops fired on a stolen car. He rejoins the Parachute Regiment and his conviction is ultimately quashed in February 1998.

Parade violence Loyalist marches in Belfast, Portadown and Drumcree as well as other areas produce tension and violence in confrontations with police and nationalists in July and August 1995.

Change in the UUP Party leader James Molyneaux stands down and is replaced in September by David Trimble.

Decommissioning The issue of decommissioning paramilitary weapons bedevils the talks throughout 1995. Sinn Fein says this was not an issue in discussions leading up to the Downing Street Declaration and the IRA refuses to hand over a single weapon. Unionists declare that without decommissioning, a settlement will be meaningless.

On November 28, British PM John Major and Irish Taoiseach John Bruton announce a twin-track approach - parties are invited to peace talks and an international body is to be set up to assess the decommissioning issue - its members start work in December.

Historic visit
[ image: Clinton pledges to stand by those committed to peace]
Clinton pledges to stand by those committed to peace
Bill Clinton visits Northern Ireland on November 30 - the first serving US president to do so.

He is greeted by enthusiastic crowds and has separate talks with the leaders of the main political parties as well as shaking hands in public with Gerry Adams.

Mitchell report The Mitchell Commission reports on January 24 1996 that paramilitaries will not disarm before talks. It recommends talks and decommissioning occur in tandem - Prime Minister John Major wants a start made on disarming before discussions begin.

IRA ceasefire ends
[ image: Devastation in the Docklands]
Devastation in the Docklands
An IRA statement just before 7:00pm on February 9 announces the ending of its ceasefire. At 7:01pm, a huge bomb goes off at Canary Wharf in London, killing two people and causing massive amounts of damage.

Sinn Fein denies knowing in advance about the attack.

Patrols resume in Northern Ireland and troops are sent back into border areas. A week later, an IRA bomber is killed when his device goes off on a London bus.

In February, a senior IRA figure says there can be no decommissioning until a final settlement.

Mitchell talks Multi-party talks begin on June 10 under the chairmanship of US Senator George Mitchell. They end in July with agreement on a talks procedure but no progress on disarming.

Parade violence The trouble seen in 1995 is redoubled. The worst clashes are when Portadown Orangemen try to march from Drumcree church through a Catholic area. Extra troops are sent and the march is first banned by the RUC and then allowed on July 11 - angering both sides.

King Rat The Combined Loyalist Military Command expels two loyalists - Billy Wright, known as "King Rat", and Alex Kerr from Portadown on August 28 for encouraging the Drumcree protests.

Prisoners' voiceUFF and UVF prisoners in the Maze prison withdraw their support for the peace process on September 30 because of what they call continuing IRA activity and political inaction.

McAliskey German police request the extradition of Roisin McAliskey, daughter of republican former MP Bernadette McAliskey, on November 25 1996, for questioning about an IRA attack in Germany.

The case drags on until March 1998, when Home Secretary Jack Straw rules against extradition.



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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