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NI Deadlock Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
The search for peace
BBC News Online coverage of events in Northern Ireland
BBC News Online coverage of events in Northern Ireland
BBC coverage of the road that led to Sinn Fein's call for IRA arms decommissioning and a crucial breakthrough in the peace process.

BBC News Online brings together audio and video coverage of the key moments in the struggle to resolve the weapons impasse.


23 October 2001

IRA 'begins decommissioning'

A heavy machine gun seized from the IRA during the troubles
The IRA has now put a "quantity of arms beyond use"

The IRA has announced it has decommissioned part of its arsenal of weapons. That has also been confirmed by a statement from the International Commission on Decommissioning, which calls it ``a significant event.'' The Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has said he will now ask his party to support his return to the Northern Ireland executive.

 Watch Tony Blair's statement in full

 The BBC's Denis Murray reports


22 October 2001

Sinn Fein urges IRA action over arms

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

The Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, says he has asked the IRA to make what he calls a "groundbreaking move on the arms issue" which could save the Northern Ireland peace process.

 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

 The BBC's Denis Murray on the day's events


14 August 2001

IRA 'withdraws' weapons plan

The IRA had given a new plan to arms commission
The IRA had given a new plan to arms commission

The IRA withdraws its proposed scheme for putting arms beyond use saying the conditions "did not exist" to progress its proposition. The IRA had agreed the scheme with the decommissioning body on 8 August.

 The BBC's Kevin Connolly reports


11 August 2001

Power sharing government restored

Stormont Castle in Northern Ireland
Stormont Castle in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's power sharing government will be restored just 24 hours after it was suspended. The Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid signed the order after meeting Ireland's foreign minister. The BBC's Kevin Connolly reports.

 Click here to watch


10 August 2001

Sinn Fein anger over suspension

Secretary of State, Dr John Reid
Secretary of State, Dr John Reid, announces the temporary suspension.

Secretary of State, Dr John Reid, announces the temporary suspension of Northern Ireland's devolved institutions. Sinn Fein says the decision is a "body blow" for the Good Friday Agreement, while the Ulster Unionist Party's John Taylor says responsibility for re-instating the institutions lies with nationalists. The BBC's Kevin Connolly reports.

 Click here to watch


9 August 2001

IRA urged to act over weapons

Without a breakthrough, the devolved institutions may face suspension.
Without a breakthrough, the devolved institutions may face suspension.

In a statement, the IRA says it has agreed a scheme to put weapons "completely and verifiably beyond use". The Ulster Unionists continue to demand a timetable for a handover of weapons, and maintain that the IRA move does not go far enough. The BBC's Kevin Connolly reports.

 Click here to watch


7 August 2001

Unionists demand more progress

David Trimble clashes with Sinn Fein over IRA arms pledge
David Trimble clashes with Sinn Fein over IRA arms pledge

The Ulster Unionists and Sinn Fein clash over the IRA's pledge to put weapons beyond use. At a Belfast news conference, David Trimble says "we don't intend to be let down a third time". Later, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness says "David Trimble's problem is with the entire agreement". The BBC's Kevin Connolly reports.

 Click here to watch


6 August 2001

IRA weapons 'breakthrough'

An IRA gunman

The body overseeing the decommissioning of terrorist weapons says the IRA has proposed a way of putting guns "completely and verifiably beyond use". N Ireland Secretary John Reid said he "warmly welcomed the development". Irish PM Bertie Ahern said it was an "historic breakthrough". The BBC's John Andrew reports.

 Click here to watch


1 August 2001

Parties given NI blueprint

Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid
Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid says it is a "time for cool heads"

Westminster and Dublin unveil a new Anglo-Irish package designed to keep the Northern Ireland peace process alive, insisting the proposals are "non-negotiable". Unionists and Republicans are given five days to consider their response. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


27 July 2001

PMs meet to finalise peace plan

Bertie Ahern meets Tony Blair for talks
Bertie Ahern meets Tony Blair for talks

The Irish and British Prime Ministers finalised a set of proposals which they hope will rescue the Good Friday Agreement. Tony Blair urged the Northern Irish parties to consider the proposals carefully. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


14 July 2001

Talks end without breakthrough

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern lead attempts to save the peace process
Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern lead attempts to save the peace process

The Northern Ireland talks ended with the British and Irish governments saying only that they planned to come up with new proposals to save the Good Friday peace process. They have less than a month before the devolved government would have to be suspended or fresh elections called for the Northern Ireland assembly. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


1 July 2001

Trimble resigns over arms row

David Trimble has resigned as first minister
David Trimble has resigned as first minister

Mr Trimble's resignation came into effect as his deadline for decommissioning by the IRA on 30 June elapsed. He had announced his decision to resign at the Northern Ireland Assembly on 8 May, when he told assembly colleagues that he would not continue in office if the IRA failed to deliver on decommissioning their weapons. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


 Click here to watch David Trimble's resignation statement


8 June 2001

Trimble is big election loser

David Trimble reflects on his party's poor performance
David Trimble narrowly held on to his Upper Bann constituency

The UK general election saw moderates voted out at the expense of extremists, with David Trimble's Ulster Unionists losing a third of their seats mostly to the Reverend Ian Paisley's hardliner Democratic Unionists. Sinn Fein also polled strongly, overtaking the moderate SDLP to become the biggest nationalist party.

 Click here to watch


13 December 2000

Clinton's final push for peace

Bill Clinton on stage at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast
Bill Clinton on stage at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast

The outgoing US President, Bill Clinton, talks with leading politicians in Northern Ireland in an attempt to encourage movement in the deadlocked peace process. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


22 August 2000

Blow to Good Friday Agreement

A triumphant William McCrea is carried aloft by supporters
A triumphant William McCrea is carried aloft by supporters

The Reverend William McCrea, a bitter opponent of the Good Friday Agreement, wins the first by-election since the creation of the Northern Ireland Assembly. His victory spotlights the struggle within unionism over the agreement. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


26 June 2000

Blair hails arms check peace hope

Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson with inspectors Martti Ahtisaari and Cyril Ramaphosa
Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson with inspectors Martti Ahtisaari and Cyril Ramaphosa

Prime Minister Tony Blair hails the inspection of IRA weapons dumps as substantial progress in the peace process. The IRA had taken the unprecedented step of opening some of its arms dumps to independent inspectors. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


5 June 2000

Assembly back after suspension

Stormont Castle, home of the NI Assembly
Stormont Castle, home of the assembly

Business resumes at the Northern Ireland Assembly which meets for the first time since suspension in February 2000. Its rebirth comes amid a row over policing and the flying of flags. The BBC's David Eades reports.

 Click here to watch


6 May 2000

IRA arms offer

An IRA gunman with assault rifle
An IRA gunman with assault rifle

The IRA says it is ready to begin a process that will "completely and verifiably" put its weapons beyond use. The statement was issued in response to new proposals from the British and Irish Governments. But Unionists are wary of the offer.

 The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Belfast


25 March 2000

Trimble survives leadership challenge

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble

Ulster Unionist David Trimble beats off a leadership challenge from the Reverend Martin Smyth, a long-standing opponent of the Good Friday Agreement. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


11 February 2000

Assembly suspended

Republican graffiti in West Belfast
Republican graffiti in West Belfast

Direct rule is re-imposed in Northern Ireland despite a last-minute Sinn Fein bid to break the deadlock over the IRA's failure to hand over weapons. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


2 December 1999

Assembly makes history

The chamber for the Northern Ireland Assembly at Belfast's Stormont Castle
The chamber for the Northern Ireland Assembly at Belfast's Stormont Castle

Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive meets for the first time in Belfast, ending 25 years of direct rule from Westminster. Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon describes the session as "the birth of a new era in our lives". The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


27 November 1999

Unionists back peace deal

David Trimble leaves the Waterfront Hall after the UUP council votes to back the Mitchell Review
David Trimble after the vote

The Ulster Unionist Council backs the latest Mitchell peace deal. The vote is also an endorsement of Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble's position. The deal allows for devolution before the handover of terrorist weapons. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


9 September 1999

RUC faces wholesale changes

The Patten report contained 175 recommendations
The Patten report contained 175 recommendations

The Patten Commission on the future of policing in Northern Ireland proposes fundamental changes to the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The recommendations anger unionists but also fail to meet nationalist and republican demands. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch

 Click here to watch Chris Patten outline the RUC reforms


15 July 1999

Peace process frozen

Seamus Mallon who resigned as Deputy First Minister
Seamus Mallon who resigned as Deputy First Minister

The Northern Ireland peace process is put into review after it falls apart on the day the power-sharing executive should have been established. Seamus Mallon, of the mainly nationalist SDLP, resigns as Deputy First Minister in protest at a boycott by the Ulster Unionist Party. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


16 August 1998

Leaders vow to catch Omagh bombers

Emergency services inspect the damage caused by the car bomb - 28 people were killed
Emergency services inspect the damage caused by the car bomb

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern hold an emergency summit in Belfast after 28 people are killed in a blast in the small market town of Omagh. They vow the bombers will not stay free or derail the peace process. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


22 May 1998

The people decide

Good Friday Agreement document
Good Friday Agreement document

The people of the island of Ireland go to the polls in a referendum on the Good Friday Agreement. The Republic, as expected, is massively in favour of the deal. Northern Ireland also votes in favour - and by a higher margin than predicted.

 Click here for reaction to the vote in favour of the agreement


10 April 1998

Good Friday Peace Agreement signed

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair shake hands
Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair shake hands for the cameras

After weeks of negotiations, often continuing late into the night, agreement is finally reached on Good Friday. Northern Ireland's political parties agree a formula covering many contentious issues including power sharing, cross-border bodies and the decommissioning of weapons.

 Click here to watch


20 February 1998

Sinn Fein suspended from peace talks

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

Sinn Fein is excluded from the Northern Ireland multi-party peace talks. The party was barred because of the assessment of the RUC Chief Constable that the IRA was responsible for two recent murders. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


9 January 1998

Mo Mowlam's gamble

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam
Former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam

Risking her political career, the Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam enters the Maze prison to meet loyalist prisoners who had withdrawn their support from the peace process. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


27 December 1997

Leading loyalist murdered in Maze

Murdered LVF leader Billy Wright
Murdered LVF leader Billy Wright

Billy Wright, leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, is killed by republican terrorists while being held in the Maze prison. Wright had been linked to many sectarian killings of Catholics. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


12 December 1997

Adams holds historic meeting with Blair

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness outside 10 Downing Street
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness outside 10 Downing Street

The Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, holds an historic first meeting with the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, at No 10 Downing Street. It is the first time a Republican leader has entered the heart of British government since Michael Collins met David Lloyd George in 1921 and signed the treaty which partitioned Ireland.

 Click here to watch


4 February 1996

Blast announces end of IRA cease-fire

IRA 'business as usual' sign on main road outside Newry
IRA 'business as usual' sign on main road outside Newry

A bomb in the Docklands area of London kills two people and injures 40 others. The attack ends the IRA's 18-month ceasefire and causes damage estimated at 150 million. The BBC's Valerie Jones reports.

 Click here to watch


4 February 1996

Mitchell report published

Former US Senator George Mitchell
Former US Senator George Mitchell

The former US Senator George Mitchell prepares to present his recommendations for the peace process. But he says that the one document alone cannot produce an instant agreement and that compromise will be needed. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


December 1995

Bill and Hillary 'drop in'

Gerry Adams shakes the hand of Bill Clinton
Gerry Adams shakes the hand of Bill Clinton

US President Bill Clinton and the First Lady visit Northern Ireland. In a key note speech he calls on both communities to "seize the opportunity" for peace. Later he is seen shaking hands with Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


13 October 1994

Loyalists call cease-fire

UVF mural in Belfast
UVF mural in Belfast

Six weeks after the IRA ceasefire, loyalist paramilitary groups follow suit. They stress that their ceasefire is conditional on how the IRA acts in the future. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch


31 August 1994

IRA announces 'complete cessation of violence'

IRA mural on a wall in Belfast
IRA mural on a wall in Belfast

The statement was greeted by widespread celebrations in nationalist areas. But unionists and the UK government point out that there is no explicit promise that the truce is permanent. The BBC's Robin Oakley reports on the political reaction.

 Click here to watch


15 December 1993

The Downing Street declaration

John Major and Albert Reynolds
John Major and Albert Reynolds

The UK Prime Minister John Major and the Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds deliver the outline of a plan that both hope will lead to peace. The BBC's Denis Murray reports.

 Click here to watch

Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

Background

SPECIAL REPORT: IRA

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
Links to more NI Deadlock stories are at the foot of the page.


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