BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Provisional IRA: War, ceasefire, endgame?
Intro
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
2004
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005

Shankill bomb: 11 killed
Deaths commited by paramilitaries
profiles profiles profiles
profiles
Profiles:
Albert Reynolds

Irish Taoiseach 1992-94

Albert Reynolds built ties with Sinn Feinís Gerry Adams but also sought relationships with Unionists, recognising that their consent would be instrumental to the peace process. Building on the initial efforts of John Hume, Reynolds and UK Prime Minister John Major developed a close working relationship that led to the 1993 Downing Street Declaration which set the clock ticking for an IRA ceasefire.

profiles
profiles profiles profiles
1993 Road to ceasefire

John Hume and Gerry Adams resumed their talks in 1993. John Hume told republicans they were naÔve if they believed the British would yield before the gun and blinkered if they did not realise that London may act neutrally if the IRA accepted the principle of democratic consent.

Sensing that republicans were moving towards a ceasefire, Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and UK Prime Minister John Major developed a rival document which sought to encourage the political wing of republicanism while ensuring there was enough in it for unionists.

Their Downing Street Declaration of 1993 ambiguously told republicans that "doors would open" in the absence of violence. But London was already talking to republicans behind the scenes. The outcome of the controversial and disputed communications supported the view of many analysts that the IRA would declare a ceasefire if there was enough progress towards accepting the legitimacy of some of the republican agenda.

While ceasefire talk grew, an IRA attempt to blow up loyalist paramilitary leaders on the Shankill Road killed 10 people and the bomber. Loyalists retaliated by killing seven people in a bar in Greysteel. Eight IRA bombs were detonated in England and loyalists attacked SDLP members, fearing a pan-nationalist deal.

The momentum towards talks was growing, but so was the slide into what many feared could be a civil war.

Audio
The BBC's Denis Murray: "Both prime ministers hoped this would be the first step on the road to lasting peace"

Open Quotes
It is not sensible to suppose that any British government will yield to an agenda prosecuted by violent means. In the event of a genuine and established cessation of violence, the whole range of responses that we have had to make to that violence could, and would, inevitably be looked at afresh
Northern Ireland Secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew, December 1992
Close Quotes

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific