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Provisional IRA: War, ceasefire, endgame?
Intro
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Enniskillen
Enniskillen: Eleven dead
Total deaths by year
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profiles
Profiles:
Martin Mansergh

Irish government adviser

An Oxford-educated Protestant, Martin Mansergh has advised three Irish prime ministers on Northern Ireland and is one of the key external figures to have influenced republican thinking. He played a crucial role in not only persuading republicans towards a ceasefire but in also re-thinking Dublinís relationship with London and Belfast.

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1987 Waging war

Despite political developments within republicanism, the 1980's were years of more relentless violence.

One of the worst atrocities came when the IRA's 1987 Enniskillen bomb killed 11 civilians on Remembrance Sunday. Amid public revulsion, Gerry Adams said the attack undermined the "legitimate" use of physical force.

But the security forces were also hitting the IRA hard, killing an eight-strong unit who attacked a police station in 1987 and another trio on Gibraltar in 1988. These events triggered more violence - but they did not stop the republican movement's continuing political changes.

Its strategists increasingly wanted to politically engage opponents. Sinn Fein first attempted this with a 1987 paper setting out guarantees for unionists who accepted a united Ireland.

British officials dismissed the proposals as no more sophisticated than the IRA's 1972 London demands. But they did indicate that there was a seed of a debate within the movement over how republican ideology could accomodate the rights of unionists.

Separately and more significantly, SDLP leader John Hume initiated talks with Gerry Adams in an attempt to end republican violence. The talks between the two men would form the foundations of the peace process to come.

Audio
The Enniskillen bombing (includes amateur footage of scene)

Open Quotes
We offer [loyalists] a settlement based on their throwing in their lot with the rest of the Irish people and ending sectarianism. We offer them peace. We offer them equality.
Sinn Fein policy document, 1987
Close Quotes

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