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The Northern Ireland Archives: Agreement

Panorama has reported from Northern Ireland from the early days of the civil rights movement in 1968, through over 30 years of the Troubles to the more peaceful situation of today.

You can watch abridged moments from one of those films below.

In April 1998, Panorama reported on the pessimism of both sides of the Northern Ireland peace process. Against all odds, the Good Friday Agreement was signed just days later, but the spectre of further extremism was looming

Post Anglo-Irish Agreement, the long road to a political settlement had started but the violence also continued, with notable attacks such as a bomb killing 11 at a Remembrance Day parade in Enniskillen and a mortar assault on Downing Street.

In early 1993 the government claimed they had been contacted by the IRA and told "the conflict is over". Later that year MPs were told the two sides had been in contact for some years, and in December the British and Irish Governments signed the Downing Street Declaration.

By August of the following year, the IRA announced a complete cessation of violence.

It was not the first cease-fire proposed by the IRA , but it led to a lifting of the broadcast ban on Sinn Fein and a similar announcement to end violence from the Combined Loyalist Military command - which represented the loyalist paramilitaries such as the Ulster Freedom Fighters and the Ulster Volunteer Force.

After only 9 deaths in 1995, the lowest in a single year of the Troubles' history, the following year started badly with the bombing Canary Wharf - which killed two and injured 100. It marked a new wave of attacks with a bomb on an Aldwych bus, killing two and injuring eight, and another bomb at the Arndale Centre, Manchester, in June 1996.

Violence also erupted in Northern Ireland, when in July a 1000 Orangemen marched through Drumcree on their annual parade to mark the victory of the Protestant William of Orange, at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The violence spread to Belfast and Derry leading to the Apprentice Boys being banned from marching past contentious sections of Londonderry's city walls and a review being set up to handle parades and marches in Northern Ireland - eventually leading to the Parades Commission.

In recent years the Drumcree parades have passed off without major incident.

During Easter 1998, the Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement, was signed by the British and Irish Governments and all the political parties in Northern Ireland with the Democratic Unionist Party the only notable exception.

Aiming to give more power to politicians in Northern Ireland, it included measures to decommission the weapons of paramilitary groups and accelerate the release of terrorist prisoners. It also set out ways to reform Northern Ireland's police force, the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

At this time Panorama reported on the pessimism on both sides for the Northern Ireland peace process. Against all odds however, the Good Friday Agreement was signed just days later, but the spectre of further extremism was looming in the shape of splinter group the Continuity IRA.



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