Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, March 16, 1999 Published at 14:43 GMT


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

Gerry Adams parades in triumph after being returned to Parliament, May 1997

Parades In January 1997, the North Committee recommends the establishment of a Parades Commission to try to head off the violence of previous years.

This body is formed on March 26, chaired by Alistair Graham.


[ image: Unionist paramilitary Billy Wright]
Unionist paramilitary Billy Wright
Billy Wright Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright is jailed on March 7 for eight years for threatening a witness. In April, he is moved to the Maze Prison.

Grand National halted An IRA bomb warning causes the evacuation of Aintree racecourse just before the Grand National on April 5. The race is run two days later.

Elections Labour sweeps to power in the British general election. Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister and Mo Mowlam Northern Ireland Secretary. In Northern Ireland, Gerry Adams regains his seat in West Belfast.

Shortly afterwards, Blair meets party leaders and visits Belfast. Contacts with Sinn Fein on an IRA ceasefire are broken off after the IRA kills two RUC officers. Blair says the "settlement train is leaving with or without Sinn Fein".

In the Irish Republic, Bertie Ahern becomes Taoiseach after a narrow election win for Fianna Fail on June 6.

Portadown Troops and police surround flashpoints in Portadown and allow an Orange march down the Garghavy Road on July 6. The march is followed by widespread violence with more than 600 petrol bombs thrown, 200 car hijackings and 500 attacks on the security forces.

IRA ceasefire restored The IRA announces a second "complete cessation of military operations" from July 20, 1997.

Two days later, Tony Blair says decommissioning should take place during talks from September until May 1998. The unionists still say they want weapons to be surrendered before talks start.

Contacts Sinn Fein meets British government representatives on July 28 and Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams meets Mo Mowlam on August 6 - three weeks later she says Sinn Fein will be admitted to peace talks.

Mitchell Principles On September 9, Sinn Fein affirms its commitment to the Mitchell Principles on democracy and non-violence.

Three days afterwards, however, the IRA rejects the Principles.

Talks begin Sinn Fein enters the talks on September 15. The unionists initially stay away but gradually return. By October 7, all sides sit down at Stormont to talks for the first time in 25 years.


[ image: Adams in Downing Street]
Adams in Downing Street
On October 13, Blair meets Adams at Stormont, though there is no public handshake and in December, Adams visits Blair in Downing Street. He is the first British PM to meet a Sinn Fein delegation for 76 years when Lloyd George met Michael Collins.

Wright murder crisis LVF leader Billy Wright is killed inside the Maze Prison by the INLA on December 27, 1997.

His death sparks off a cycle of deaths lasting until late January as loyalists exact revenge. Loyalist prisoners of the UFF and UDA vote for their political representatives to leave the talks but Mo Mowlam pays them a personal visit on January 9 and they reverse their decision.

Suspension On January 23, 1998, the UFF admits taking part in three killings. On the 26th, the UDP, which is linked to the UFF, walks out of talks before it is expelled.

Bloody Sunday Blair announces on January 29 an independent judicial inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings of 1972.

Sinn Fein suspended The IRA is blamed by the RUC for two killings. It says its ceasefire is still intact and Sinn Fein protests angrily when it is suspended from the talks on February 20 until March 9.

Back in talks The UDP returns on February 23 and Sinn Fein eventually takes its seat again on March 23.

Deadline On March 25, Senator Mitchell agrees a deadline of April 9 with the participants for a settlement in the multi-party talks and steps up the number of sessions being held.

Agreement On 10th April 1998 the Good Friday Agreement was signed, concluding the multi-party talks successfully.

Referendum campaign the 'Yes' campaign stage a rock concert in which the pop group U2 and David Trimble and John Hume all appear together on the same stage. Three days later referendums in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland back the peace deal.

Assembly On July 1, the first sitting of the Northern Ireland Assembly sees David Trimble of the UUP elected First Minister and Seamus Mallon of the SDLP elected Deputy First Minister by the Assembly members.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |




PROFILES

ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

FOCUS

HISTORY

PARTIES

PARAMILITARIES

LINKS





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