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Provisional IRA: War, ceasefire, endgame?
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Alex Maskey: Honoured British war dead
Casualties of paramilitary-style attacks (1973 - 2002)
2002 The D-words

Questions followed the 2001 decommissioning. Was this a one-off or a process?

The IRA conducted a second act of decommissioning in April 2002. The same month, there was the gathering of 2,500 republicans for a "national tribute" to their dead. Was this, as some suggested, a retirement party of sorts?

On the political front, republicans celebrated the hugely symbolic prize of Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey becoming Mayor of Belfast. Much to the surprise of many, he laid a wreath at commemorations for British war dead - the first act of its kind by a Republican. But how important was this symbolic act?

The IRA followed up with its first ever apology to "non-combatants". It was an unprecedented statement which spoke of "conflict resolution" and acknowledging "the grief and pain" of others. But the peace process was being dogged by growing distrust between unionists and republicans.

For unionists there were unresolved issues - the suspected IRA men in Colombia, street violence, the break-in at the Castlereagh base and, in October, a police raid on Sinn Fein's Stormont office.

The spying allegations which followed proved too much and within weeks devolution was again suspended as unionists walked out.

The IRA withdrew from the decommissioning body and accused others of breaking commitments.

But its critics said it was time for republicans to choose. And the D-word they were now talking about was disbandment.

Open Quotes
The future will not be found in denying collective failures and mistakes or closing minds and hearts to the plight of those who have been hurt - that includes all of the victims of the conflict, combatants and non-combatants.
IRA statement, 16 July 2002
Close Quotes

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