Brief chronology of the Troubles and origins of the peace process
in Inside Accounts, Volume I

Brief chronology of the Troubles and origins of the peace process

February 1967

Formation of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.

October 1968

The Derry Civil Rights March.

August 1969

Arrival of British troops in Northern Ireland.

August 1971

The introduction of internment.

January 1972

Bloody Sunday.

March 1972

Introduction of direct rule.

December 1973

Sunningdale Agreement.

May 1974

Ulster Workers’ Council strike.

December 1974

Provisional IRA (PIRA) declares a ceasefire to conduct talks with British Government.

May 1981

Republican Bobby Sands dies on hunger strike. Nine other republicans die.

October 1981

Hunger strikes come to an end.

June 1983

Sinn Fein obtains 13.4 per cent of the vote in Northern Ireland.


Anglo-Irish Agreement.

November 1987

PIRA kills eleven people and injures many more at a Remembrance Sunday service in Enniskillen.

January 1988

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader John Hume meets Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

October 1988

British Government imposes broadcasting ban on Sinn Fein and other groups linked to paramilitaries.

March 1989

Gerry Adams comments on the need for a ‘non-armed political movement to work for self-determination’.

November 1989

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Brooke states that the PIRA cannot be militarily defeated and that talks could follow an end to violence.

November 1990

Peter Brooke states that the UK has ‘no selfish strategic or economic interest’ in Northern Ireland. Brooke goes on to say that ‘It is not the aspiration to a sovereign, united Ireland against which we set our face, but its violent expression.’

March 1991

Talks begin, chaired by Peter Brooke. Talks end when the Intergovernmental Conference, which emerged from the Anglo-Irish Agreement, is resumed. The talks focus on Strand One only and the process of talks is constructed along the lines of three strands: relations in Northern Ireland, relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and relations between Dublin and London.

February 1992

Sinn Fein publishes the document Towards a Lasting Peace in Ireland, setting out a political peace strategy.

May 1992

Strand Two talks chaired by Patrick Mayhew on North–South relations are launched in Dublin and last until November. The Ulster Unionist Party attends but the Democratic Unionist Party does not.

April 1993

John Hume and Gerry Adams make a joint statement about Irish people as a whole requiring a right to self-determination. The statement is made after Gerry Adams is seen visiting the home of John Hume in Derry.

October 1993

Ten people are killed when a PIRA bomb explodes in a fish shop on the loyalist Shankill Road.

November 1993

Secret communications between the PIRA and London are revealed.

December 1993

Downing Street Declaration is released stating that Irish unity would require ‘double consent’ support of majorities in both parts of Ireland and that no constitutional change would occur without the consent of the majority of the people in Northern Ireland.

January 1994

President Clinton agrees a visa for Gerry Adams to visit the United States.

June 1994

Loyalists kill six Catholic men at a bar in Loughinisland, Co. Down.

August 1994

The PIRA announces ‘a complete cessation of military activities’.

September 1994

The British Government lifts the broadcasting ban on Sinn Fein.

October 1994

The Combined Loyalist Command (an umbrella body for the Ulster Volunteer Force, the Red Hand Commando and the Ulster Defence Association) announces a ceasefire.

February 1995

British and Irish Governments release the Frameworks Document.

March 1995

Northern Ireland Secretary Patrick Mayhew reveals a three-point plan to try to remove PIRA weapons in advance of talks, making decommissioning a key condition for reaching agreement.

May 1995

Sinn Fein meets British Government Minister Michael Ancram after exploratory dialogue with senior officials.

July 1995

Drumcree parade becomes flashpoint of the marching season after members of the Orange Order are prevented from marching through a nationalist area.

November 1995

President Clinton visits Northern Ireland.

January 1996

The Mitchell Report is published. It canvasses for elections to roundtable talks and stresses a commitment to non-violence as a basis for participation.

February 1996

The PIRA ends its ceasefire with a bomb in Canary Wharf, London, killing two. Sinn Fein is excluded from talks.

May 1996

Elections take place to decide participants at talks. Sinn Fein gets 15.5 per cent of the votes but does not take part, having not made the necessary commitment to non-violence. The PIRA ceasefire is not renewed. Talks take place in Castle Buildings, Belfast and are chaired by Senator George Mitchell.

June 1996

The PIRA plants a bomb in Manchester city centre.

July 1996

Drumcree creates a stand-off, but police allow marchers to complete the route. This is followed by major rioting.

April 1997

The PIRA creates hoax bomb alerts in the UK, targeting motorways and the Grand National horse race.

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Inside Accounts, Volume I

The Irish Government and Peace in Northern Ireland, from Sunningdale to the Good Friday Agreement


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