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

Deaths caused by Republicans
profiles profiles profiles
profiles
Profiles:
John Major

British Prime Minister, 1990 - 1997

Margaret Thatcher's successor shifted Conservative thinking with the 1993 Downing Street Declaration which told republicans that they get negotiations if they renounced violence. He confirmed a pronouncement first made in 1991 by Secretary of State Peter Brooke that the UK had no "selfish strategic, or economic interest" in NI.

profiles
profiles profiles profiles
1994 Ceasefires

Republicans initially sought to appear sceptical about the Downing Street Declaration - but their appetite had been whetted.

The question remaining to be answered was whether or not it would be enough to convince the IRA to go on ceasefire and allow Sinn Fein, now a growing political force, to negotiate on a purely political path.

Then, in one of the most significant moves of the process, President Bill Clinton enraged London by granting Gerry Adams a United States visa. His supporters saw him and Sinn Fein feted by Irish-Americans and the media as Northern Ireland's peacemakers.

This was the clearest signal that politics was delivering, his supporters told the hardliners. But, they added, a ceasefire was now becoming crucial for the cause.

On 31 August the IRA called a "complete cessation of military operations". Six weeks later, the two main loyalist groups joined them.

The stage was set for talks. But would republicans be admitted and would anyone sit with them?

Audio
Breaking News: The BBC’s Gary Duffy reports on the IRA ceasefire
Docklands bomb: "The alarm came just an hour after an end of the ceasefire"

Open Quotes
We believe that an opportunity to create a just and lasting peace has been created. A solution can only be found as a result of inclusive negotiations.
IRA ceasefire statement, 31 August 2001
Close Quotes

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific