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Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
The search for peace
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'
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.
22 October 2001
Sinn Fein urges IRA action over arms
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.
14 August 2001
IRA 'withdraws' weapons plan
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.
11 August 2001
Power sharing government restored
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.
10 August 2001
Sinn Fein anger over 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.
9 August 2001
IRA urged to act over weapons
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.
7 August 2001
Unionists demand more progress
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.
6 August 2001
IRA weapons 'breakthrough'
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.
1 August 2001
Parties given NI blueprint
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.
27 July 2001
PMs meet to finalise peace plan
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.
14 July 2001
Talks end without breakthrough
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.
1 July 2001
Trimble resigns over arms row
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.
8 June 2001
Trimble is big election loser
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.
13 December 2000
Clinton's final push for peace
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.
22 August 2000
Blow to Good Friday Agreement
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.
26 June 2000
Blair hails arms check peace hope
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.
5 June 2000
Assembly back after suspension
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.
6 May 2000
IRA arms offer
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.
25 March 2000
Trimble survives leadership challenge
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.
11 February 2000
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.
2 December 1999
Assembly makes history
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.
27 November 1999
Unionists back peace deal
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.
9 September 1999
RUC faces wholesale changes
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.
15 July 1999
Peace process frozen
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.
16 August 1998
Leaders vow to catch Omagh bombers
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.
22 May 1998
The people decide
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.
10 April 1998
Good Friday Peace Agreement signed
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.
20 February 1998
Sinn Fein suspended from peace talks
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.
9 January 1998
Mo Mowlam's gamble
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.
27 December 1997
Leading loyalist murdered in Maze
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.
12 December 1997
Adams holds historic meeting with Blair
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.
4 February 1996
Blast announces end of IRA cease-fire
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.
4 February 1996
Mitchell report published
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.
Bill and Hillary 'drop in'
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.
13 October 1994
Loyalists call cease-fire
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.
31 August 1994
IRA announces 'complete cessation of violence'
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.
15 December 1993
The Downing Street declaration
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.
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