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July 28, 2005

US Leaders Wecome IRA Move

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 07/28/05 US Leaders Welcome IRA Move
UT 07/29/05 Adams Calls For United Front From Republicans
SF 07/28/05 McGuinness Speaking To IRA Statement.
IT 07/29/05 Ex-Prisoner For Whom Deal Was 'Only Way'
IT 07/29/05 US Welcome For 'Historic Statement'
IT 07/29/05 Bush's Role In Peace Process Singled Out
IT 07/29/05 SF-DUP Talks Could Begin In New Year
IT 07/29/05 Arms Are Likely Stockpiled, Ready For Disposal
NY 07/28/05 IRA Renounces Use Of Violence; Vows To Disarm
IT 07/29/05 Hume Says Loyalist Must End Their Activities
TH 07/28/05 What Happens Next?
IT 07/29/05 SF's Credibility Rests On Future Conduct Of IRA
TE 07/28/05 Only Time Will Tell If This Is The Last Act
TJ 07/28/05 Opin: Another Test For IRA
IT 07/29/05 Northerners Get To Grips With New Reality
IO 07/28/05 Hain Defends Release Of Shankill Bomber Kelly
IT 07/29/05 Chronology

(Poster's Note: See the reference to IAUC press release in
the "US Leaders Welcome IRA Move" story. Also, see the
full IAUC press release at:

See Sinn Fein's full coverage of events at:



US Leaders Welcome IRA Move

By Matthew Davis
BBC News, Washington

US politicians have hailed the IRA's pledge to end its
armed campaign as a "potentially historic" moment - and it
is one which has great resonance in a country where some 40
million people have Irish ancestry.

The White House was cautiously optimistic, welcoming the
statement but saying it "must now be followed by actions
demonstrating the republican movement's unequivocal
commitment to the rule of law".

President George Bush's special envoy on Northern Ireland,
Mitchell Reiss, described the statement as "very positive
and very encouraging".

He said whether it was truly historic would be determined
in the coming weeks and months.

Sinn Fein's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness had briefed
Mr Reiss on the development on Thursday morning and was
applauded by journalists as he gave his reaction to the
move at a news conference on Capitol Hill.

Surrounded by US lawmakers Mr McGuinness paid tribute to
the "remarkable part" they had played in the ongoing peace

His reception was far warmer than when Sinn Fein leader
Gerry Adams came to Washington in March.

'Politics not guns'

Then the leading Irish American politician Senator Ted
Kennedy refused to meet him and said the IRA had become an
albatross around the neck of the party.


:: All IRA units ordered to dump arms
:: Members ordered to pursue objectives through
"exclusively peaceful means"
:: Arms to be put beyond use as quickly as possible
:: Two church witnesses to verify this
:: Statement followed "honest and forthright" consultation
:: Strong support among IRA members for Sinn Fein's peace
:: There is now an alternative way to achieve goal of
united Ireland
:: "Volunteers must not engage in any other activities

That was seen as part of a stepping up of pressure on the
republican movement from the US, and in the wake of
Thursday's announcement some said it had even greater

Republican congressman Peter King - a Sinn Fein supporter -
branded the breakthrough "a truly defining moment in Irish

But he added: "I think the pressure from the US actually
helped Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness convince elements
in the IRA that this had to be done."

Senator Kennedy, meanwhile, said he looked forward to the
final act of decommissioning.

"Hopefully this statement means we are finally nearing the
end of this very long process to take guns and criminality
out of politics in Northern Ireland once and for all," he
told the US Senate.

Bars of New York

Ordinary Irish Americans were likely to be reacting with
much the same cautious optimism as their political leaders,
observers said.

Patricia Harty, editor-in-chief of Irish America magazine,
told the BBC: "Every Irish American will be excited by the
development, it is a great move and let's be honest it has
been a long time coming.

"But I think most people will be waiting to see the
reaction from the other major party - the Irish bars of New
York are not going to be filled with people drinking pints
of Guinness in celebration just yet."

Meanwhile, other Irish groups in America urged US
politicians to stay engaged with the peace process.

The Irish American Unity Conference - whose mission is "a
peaceful reunification of Ireland" - called for a swift
return to power-sharing government.

"We encourage the US government to resume a leadership role
in the peace process," said IAUC president Retired Judge
Andrew Somers.

"Based on the IRA's long-term cease-fire and its recent
statement, we believe that the US should encourage Ian
Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party to work within the
context of the Northern Irish Assembly."

Republicans had been under intense pressure to end IRA
activity after the £26.5m Northern Bank raid in December
and the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney in January.

Political talks last year failed to restore devolution,
which stalled amid claims of IRA intelligence gathering at
Parliament Buildings, Stormont, in 2002.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/28 20:36:03 GMT


Adams Calls For United Front From Republicans

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

Sinn Féin press conference: Sinn Féin president Gerry
Adams has appealed to the IRA and republican supporters to
"stay united".

"I think it will take weeks and longer for people to absorb
what happened today. Some people may never come to terms
with it.

"Maybe it is a step too far for some republicans. I would
simply say to everyone to stay united. It is quite
legitimate to be against this. We are not saying that our
view or the IRA's view is the only view. We think it is the
right one . . . but I would appeal to everyone to keep it
in-house and to stay united," he told a press conference in

Asked if IRA members could defect to dissident republicans,
he replied: "I don't think for one moment that any genuine,
serious republican activist is going to join any of these
other micro-groups . . . Yes it is a concern, but I would
have a huge confidence in people's good sense."

He urged the DUP to negotiate with Sinn Féin despite past

"Let's talk, let's exchange ideas, let's represent our
constituents. Whatever we think of today's developments,
let's not let it be wasted."

Questioned about Sinn Féin's attitude to the Police Service
of Northern Ireland, he said it was "totally clear and

"I will go to the ardchomhairle of Sinn Féin when we have
satisfaction about outstanding matters, including the
transfer of powers from the British to a local
administration and plastic bullets."

The British government would have to "tackle the issues
about who runs the securocrats, the spooks and the spies
and the agents, about putting an end to political policing
and getting MI5 out of it.

"We also want to be policed. The people we represent are
law-abiding people, they pay taxes. They require a police
service that is a public service. We don't have that now."
On demands by the Irish and British governments for an end
to IRA criminality, Mr Adams said: "What part of any other
activity whatsoever do people not understand?"

Republicans "would, of course, dismiss the term
criminality. I am not going to interpret the IRA statement
when it says that it will commit its volunteers to
democratic and peaceful means and forbid them to be
involved in any other activity whatsoever".

Asked if Sinn Féin is prepared to wait for two
International Monitoring Committee reports on the IRA's
activity before opening talks with the DUP, he said: "The
DUP have the right to engage, or refuse to engage with
others. We can't compel them to do that.

"I would like to think that they would do that. They
represent what they say is new, confident unionism. Well,
let's see it. We are quite prepared to talk to them
tomorrow morning."

Asked who would defend nationalists if there were a repeat
of the 1969 pogroms in Belfast, he said: "Things have
changed. Nationalism is now confident. Society is now
confident. It is society generally which will not let that
reoccur. I would have no confidence in a British government
in this regard."

In his opening remarks, Mr Adams said "Today's decision by
the IRA to move into a new peaceful mode is historic and
represents a courageous and confident initiative.

"It is a truly momentous and defining point in the search
for a lasting peace with justice. I commend the commitment
of those who have taken this decision and I appeal for
unity and solidarity among all Irish republicans on the
island of Ireland and beyond and for the struggle to be
carried forward with new energy and enthusiasm. The IRA
decision presents an unparalleled challenge and opportunity
for every nationalist and republican.

"There is an enormous responsibility on us to seize this
moment and to make Irish freedom a reality. I would urge
all Irish nationalists and republicans, including those who
have shown such commitment as volunteers of the IRA, to put
their undoubted talents and energy into building a new

(c) The Irish Times


Comments By Martin Mcguinness Speaking On Capitol Hill,
Washington In Response To The IRA Statement.

Published: 28 July, 2005

I warmly welcome today's statement and I commend the IRA
for this decisive initiative. It contains the potential to
unlock the political stalemate that has frozen the Irish
peace process and the implementation of the Good Friday
Agreement. There is now an inescapable responsibility on
the British and Irish governments to push urgently ahead
with the implementation of the Agreement and, also, on the
leadership of unionism to finally accept the principles of
power sharing, equality and human rights.

Britain's role in Ireland has historically been negative
and divisive. We have seen the consequence of this in every
generation particularly since the partition of the island,
against the wishes of the Irish people, 80 years ago.

Today's momentous decision by the IRA creates an
opportunity to resolve these historic difficulties
peacefully and democratically. This places an enormous
responsibility on all of us to seize this opportunity to
ensure that conflict never happens again. We can do this by
making politics work. There is a particular responsibility
on all of us who argued that there is a political and
peaceful way forward to prove this case by delivering real
and meaningful progress. Irish republicans, and friends of
Irish freedom across the world, including the huge Irish
American community in the United States, must now take the
lead role in the unfinished struggle for Irish unity, for
justice and for freedom. That is now our collective
responsibility and I welcome the very tangible expression
of support that is being offer here today both in the
Congress and the Senate.

The two governments have an urgent duty to implement the
Agreement in all its aspects. In particular this means that
the British government must stop pandering to negative
unionism and those in their own system who seek peace only
on their own terms. The British government must
energetically address the demilitarisation, equality and
human rights agendas urgently. The deprived communities who
have suffered discrimination, injustice, inequality and
repression must see immediate change. The Irish government
must begin to act, as it has never done, to protect the
rights and entitlements of all its citizens, particularly
those locked, against their will, into the British
partitioned state in the north of Ireland. Unionists who
are for peace and for agreement must end their ambivalence
and accept the need to tackle inequality, injustice and
sectarianism. And Ian Paisley's party, the DUP, must now to
decide if they want to put the failed past behind them, to
end the intolerance, bigotry and triumphalism and to make
peace with their Irish nationalist neighbours, north and

If others in political leadership here in the United
States, in Britain and in Ireland respond to today's IRA
statement in a spirit of generosity and openness, the
faltering Irish peace process can be revived and
successfully. The way forward is dialogue, negotiation and
accommodation. And in a world beset with conflict and
division, the success of the Irish peace process can offer
much needed hope for the future.

Copyright 2005 Sinn Fein. Contact


Ex-Prisoner For Whom Deal Was 'Only Way'

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Profile: Séanna Walsh: Séanna Walsh, who read out the IRA
statement on DVD, was one of the longest-serving republican

He was a friend and cell-mate of hunger striker Bobby
Sands, a one-time OC of the IRA in the H-Blocks of the Maze
prison, and a leader of the blanket protest.

He is married to Sinéad Moore, another republican prisoner,
and they have two children.

The Walsh family once lived in the nearby Ravenhill area
until they were intimidated and left for the republican
Short Strand enclave.

Around this time, Mr Walsh's close friend Patrick McCrory
was shot dead at his front door by loyalist gunmen thought
to be linked to the UDA/Ulster Freedom Fighters.

His brother, Cornelius, was shot dead by the same loyalist
group four years later.

But, by that time, Séanna Walsh was already a republican

By 1998, when he was 42, he had spent 21 years in jail,
serving three sentences for weapons and explosives
offences. He was eventually freed under the terms of that
year's Belfast Agreement.

Mr Walsh had a locally famous encounter with DUP MP Jeffrey
Donaldson at the West Belfast Festival last year.

In a public debate Mr Walsh told Mr Donaldson who was
pressing for IRA decommissioning: "I was arrested in 1988
with hundreds of pounds of homemade explosives. I had in my
possession a number of home-made mortar bombs and what I'm
saying to you is - when you talk about the capacity,
removing the IRA's capacity to make war, I can go out of
here tonight with a couple of hundred pounds in my pocket.
I can purchase the equipment to make mortar bombs; to make
Baltic Exchange-type bombs; to make Canary Wharf-type

He asked the DUP man: "How are you going to remove that
capacity, Jeffrey? Are you going to kill me? Because that's
the only way you can do it.

"Unless you reach some sort of agreement with me and people
like me. That is the only way that people like me can be

(c) The Irish Times


Welcome For 'Historic Statement'

Conor O'Clery, North America Editor, in Washington

US reaction: Welcoming the statement yesterday, the White
House said it understood the IRA and its members would no
longer have any contact with foreign paramilitary and
terrorist organisations.

This assurance, which was not included in the IRA
announcement, is believed to have been given to the Bush
administration by Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Martin
McGuinness, who met President Bush's special envoy Mitchell
Reiss in Washington yesterday morning.

The White House had been pressing Sinn Féin for the IRA to
specifically disassociate itself from any links with
international terrorism.

Asked about the White House statement, Mr McGuinness said
it was made clear to volunteers that they were under strict
orders not to be involved in any other activity whatsoever,
and "I don't think we would have any concerns on that

White House spokesman Scott McClellan did not elaborate on
what foreign groups the Bush administration had in mind,
but concern about IRA links have been simmering since the
episode of the 'Colombia Three' and the current atmosphere
of the "war on terror". "We welcome today's IRA statement
pledging 'an end to the armed campaign'," Mr McClellan

"This is an important and potentially historic statement
consistent with the IRA's commitment to 'the development of
purely political and democratic programmes through
exclusively peaceful means' and to 'not engage in any other
activities whatsoever'.

"This IRA statement must now be followed by actions
demonstrating the republican movement's unequivocal
commitment to the rule of law and to the renunciation of
all paramilitary and criminal activities.

"We understand that many, especially victims and their
families, will be sceptical.

"They will want to be certain that this terrorism and
criminality are indeed things of the past."

Mr Reiss said the IRA statement was "very positive".

In a telephone interview after meeting Mr McGuinness over
breakfast, he said: "It is a potentially historic
statement. Whether it's truly historic or not depends on
translating the very good words into deeds."

Mr Reiss also discussed the IRA move by telephone with Sinn
Féin leader Gerry Adams, Peter Robinson of the DUP, and
Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey. He said he
planned to talk to the DUP's Rev Ian Paisley at a later

He said he interpreted the order to IRA volunteers that
they "must not engage in any other activities whatsoever"
to mean that they should cease criminal activities.

Senator Edward Kennedy welcomed the IRA statement on the
floor of the Senate.

"Hopefully this statement means we're finally nearing the
end of this very long process to take guns and criminality
out of politics in Northern Ireland once and for all."

Senator Chris Dodd said the announcement "has the potential
to finally bring true peace to a land long starved of

(c) The Irish Times


Bush's Role In Peace Process Singled Out

Conor O'Clery, in Washington

US briefing: Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness
yesterday briefed US officials and members of Congress on
the IRA statement, and said he would like to see the
complete decommissioning of IRA weapons happen "tomorrow".

"The high temperature in Washington has passed. This is a
beautiful day," he told a press conference on Capitol Hill,
drawing a parallel between the recent Washington heatwave
and the heated rhetoric against Sinn Féin over the Northern
Bank robbery and the murder of Belfastman Robert McCartney
earlier this year.

The Mid-Ulster MP pointedly praised the role in the peace
process of US president George Bush "who has always been a
friend to Ireland".

Mr McGuinness earlier had briefed the US special envoy
Mitchell Reiss on the decision of the republican movement
and had spoken on the telephone with former president Bill
Clinton, who he said was "very excited and enthused" at the
prospect of the IRA statement. For Mr Clinton and other
supporters of the peace process in Washington, the IRA
decision to abandon armed struggle is the culmination of
more than a decade of involvement with Sinn Féin aimed at
achieving this result.

Mr McGuinness emphasised that his party wanted to develop
friendly relations with the Rev Ian Paisley and the
Democratic Unionist Party in the wake of the IRA statement.
"We have stretched out the hand of friendship to Tony Blair
and he has accepted it. President Bush has also accepted
our hand of friendship, the Taoiseach has accepted our hand
of friendship, what we want to see now is Ian Paisley
accept our hand of friendship," he said.

People of all political beliefs in Ireland "know in their
heart of hearts that the logical outworking of the
statement is a coming together of the political
representatives in the North and the political
representatives of the North and South to form the power-
sharing executive and the all-Ireland ministerial council
which are the bedrock of the Good Friday Agreement," he

"Ian Paisley's DUP must put the past behind them, to end
intolerance, bigotry and triumphalism, and to make peace
with their Irish nationalist neighbours, North and South."

Mr McGuinness said it was the inescapable responsibility of
the British and Irish governments "to press urgently again
for the implementation of the Good Friday agreement and
also for the leaders of unionism to fully accept the
principle of power-sharing and equality".

The British government "must stop pandering to negative
unionism and energetically address demilitarisation,
equality and human rights".

Mr McGuinness rejected the suggestion that the IRA decision
had been influenced by the recent bombings in London.

Sinn Féin was against the bombings and "totally opposed"
everything the bombers in London were doing.

"The people involved in these activities should desist and
learn the lesson of the Irish peace process," he said,
adding that the announcement by the IRA "has to have some
effect on those involved in these ongoing activities."

(c) The Irish Times


SF-DUP Talks On Assembly Could Begin In New Year

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

Assembly: Talks between the Democratic Unionist Party and
Sinn Féin about reforming the Northern Ireland Assembly and
Executive could begin in the new year, according to
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern.

He acknowledged that little political movement would take
place until the Independent Monitoring Commission had
verified that the IRA had stopped all actions.

The decommissioning of IRA weaponry would take place
without photographs, he said. Photographic evidence had
been a key demand of the Democratic Unionist Party last

However, he left open the possibility that the
International Independent Commission on Decommissioning
might make some arrangement with the IRA to boost public

Cautiously welcoming the statement, Mr Ahern was careful
when questioned about the IRA leadership not putting its
decision on ending its campaign to a full vote at an IRA

"It isn't for us to go into the internal machinations of an
illegal paramilitary organisation. We have looked at the
statement . . . It is a very clear statement. It has in
words, shown a shift towards a new peaceful, entirely
peaceful mode which would comply with the conditions laid
down in paragraph 13 of the joint declaration.

This document said: "Paramilitarism and sectarian violence,
therefore, must be brought to an end, from whichever part
of the community they come.

"We need to see an immediate, full and permanent cessation
of all paramilitary activity, including military attacks,
training, targeting, intelligence gathering, acquisition or
development of arms or weapons, other preparations for
terrorist campaigns, punishment beatings and attacks and
involvement in riots.

"Moreover, the practice of exiling must come to an end and
the exiled must feel free to return in safety. Similarly,
sectarian attacks and intimidation directed at vulnerable
communities must cease."

The IMC will now play a crucial role in deciding whether
the IRA keeps its promises,in reports due in October and
January, in addition to the work of the IICD, headed by Gen
John De Chastelain.

Mr Ahern said the IRA had responded to the clear line taken
by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and other ministers since
January, when they warned Sinn Féin and the IRA that they
had worn the patience of Dublin and London.

The governments' demands for guarantees on criminality were
justified, he said, "since there has been a fair bit of
paramilitary activity going on that has dampened trust and

The IMC would judge whether future criminality was linked
to the IRA, though criminality by people once associated
with the IRA would be dealt with by the security forces and
the Criminal Assets Bureau in the normal way.

(c) The Irish Times


Arms Are Likely Stockpiled, Ready For Disposal

IRA decommissioning will prove to be a serious logistical
challenge, writes Tom Clonan.

The Provisional IRA, in its statement yesterday, pledged to
"verifiably put its arms beyond use, in a way which will
further enhance public confidence, and to conclude this as
quickly as possible".

Given the size and dispersed nature of the IRA's arsenal,
this task will likely prove to be a logistical challenge
which will take at least several weeks to complete.

Over the past four decades the IRA has taken delivery of a
considerable number of consignments of weapons.

The main sources of IRA armaments have traditionally been
republican sympathisers in the US and other anti-
establishment and terrorist sources in eastern Europe,
north Africa and the Middle East, including Libya and

A number of notable shipments of arms, including those
found on the Marita Ann in 1984 - intercepted by the Irish
Naval Service - and on the Eksund in 1987, were seized by
international authorities.

These latter shipments, originating in the US and Libya,
included thousands of weapons, including automatic pistols,
assault rifles and medium and heavy machine guns - capable
of bringing down light aircraft and helicopters - along
with at least one surface-to-air missile system.

The range of weapons seized, encompassing the full spectrum
of arms from assault weapons to light artillery, gives some
indication as to the possible full extent of the IRA's
weapons inventory.

Given that it is believed that at least three shipments of
arms successfully reached the IRA between 1985 and 1987,
its inventory of weapons towards the end of the 1980s was

In addition to such weapons, the IRA is believed to possess
approximately three tonnes of Semtex and a large quantity
of detonators and homemade or improvised weapons such as
the "Mark 10" and "Mark 17" mortars.

In total, it is estimated that it possesses approximately
800 assault rifles and machine guns as well as 40 rocket-
propelled grenades, similar to the type currently being
used in Iraq, along with one surface-to-air missile system
and at least three tonnes of military-specification plastic

Motivated by a desire to deny the police and intelligence
services any precise evidence of the extent or whereabouts
of its illegal arms dumps, the IRA did not keep a
centralised written inventory of its weapons and

The locations and contents of most IRA weapons dumps were
committed to the memory of local active service units
(ASUs) which in turn answered to the IRA's quartermaster.
It is believed that the vast majority of these weapons
caches - kept small and dispersed - are located in the

Garda sources, along with some republicans, express the
view that not all of these weapons can now be traced. Many
have been simply lost as older republican sympathisers
died, bringing with them to the grave the secret of their

Some ASU members also have difficulty in pinpointing the
exact location of weapons hides as a result of the
limitations imposed on memory when such weapons were
disposed of - often after dark and in stressful
circumstances. Indeed, this failure of memory was a tragic
feature of recent attempts to locate the bodies of those
who were murdered and "disappeared" during the "Troubles".

Other weapons may also have been moved to new locations by
dissident republicans, prominent among whom is a former IRA

With all these factors in mind, a significant element of
yesterday's statement included the sentence, "All IRA units
have been ordered to dump arms". This suggests that the IRA
may have begun the process of assembling whatever remains
of its dispersed stock of arms to pre-selected centralised
sites for the purposes of disposal.

Since the IRA officially ceased its activities at 4pm
yesterday, it is likely that this may already have taken
place. How, for example, would it look if a supposedly
disbanded ASU was intercepted en route to a decommissioning
point in the coming days with a carload of AK-47s or

The manner in which the weapons will be disposed of remains
unclear. The formula of words around their disposal - to
verifiably put arms beyond use - does not explicitly imply
outright destruction. Rather, it suggests that the weapons
will be stripped down to their constituent parts and fouled
or compromised in some fashion.

Most experts believe that the weapons will be disassembled
and buried in concrete, with firing mechanisms and barrels
buried separately. The stocks of Semtex could be disposed
of safely by burning - 1kg of Semtex takes approximately 45
seconds to burn.

The IRA statement emphasises that it will conduct this
process "in a way which will further enhance confidence".
Presumably this means that the decommissioning process will
involve not just the IICD and oversight by individuals such
as Gen John de Chastelain, but will also include, by
invitation, "two independent witnesses from the Protestant
and Catholic churches to testify to this".

The immediate test for the decommissioning process will be
to expedite this procedure as quickly as possible and in
the process obtain the services of two very credible church

In the absence of photographic evidence of decommissioning
and a clear inventory of arms - despite the presence of
prominent churchmen - faith in the decommissioning process
may yet pose quite a challenge for the more cynical in
Irish and British society.

(c) The Irish Times


I.R.A. Renounces Use Of Violence; Vows To Disarm

Published: July 29, 2005

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, July 28 - The Irish Republican
Army declared an end on Thursday to a 36year campaign of
violence against Britain that was aimed at unifying
Northern Ireland with the Irish Republic.

Gerry Adams, the leader of the political wing of the
I.R.A., hoped renouncing violence would help to revive the
peace process in Northern Ireland.

Text: I.R.A. Statement on End to Armed Campaign (July 28,
2005) The long-awaited announcement was viewed in London
and Dublin as a profound turning point that could bring an
end to a bloody and painful chapter, possibly shifting
Northern Ireland's destiny away from the sectarian strife
that accompanied the republicans' opposition to British
rule and which claimed more than 3,500 lives on all sides.

"This may be the day on which, finally, after all these
false dawns and dashed hopes, peace replaced war, politics
replaces terror on the island of Ireland," Prime Minister
Tony Blair of Britain said in a televised statement in

Even as other leaders spoke of the need for actions by the
I.R.A. to back up its declaration, Mr. Blair also said the
announcement "creates the circumstances" in which the
province's power-sharing local government, which was
established under a 1998 peace accord but suspended in
2002, in part because of demands for disarmament of the
I.R.A., could be revived.

"This is a step of unparalleled magnitude in the recent
history of Northern Ireland," he said.

A statement from the White House said, "This I.R.A.
statement must now be followed by actions demonstrating the
republican movement's unequivocal commitment to the rule of
law and to the renunciation of all paramilitary and
criminal activities."

The group's statement said, "All I.R.A. units have been
ordered to dump arms." It was read out on a DVD by Seanna
Walsh, a member who spent 21 years in prison for his I.R.A.

The statement also pledged "to complete the process to
verifiably put its arms beyond use" - a reference to the
reputedly vast hidden stockpiles of weapons kept by the
group. It also invited two independent clerics - one
Catholic, one Protestant - to "testify" to disarmament.

The shift was foretold in 1994, when an I.R.A. cease-fire
began winding up the tradition of militant Irish
republicanism, stretching from the back streets of
Londonderry and Belfast all the way to England.

The statement by the I.R.A. said its leadership had
"formally ordered an end to the armed campaign," as the
organization calls its military activities, which are
described by supporters as a legitimate armed struggle and
by critics as terrorism.

The move followed growing revulsion among its supporters,
both here and in the United States, at its involvement in
organized crime. The statement did not say the group was
disbanding and did not specifically mention the issue of
crime by its members, who are held responsible for a major
bank robbery in December and a brutal barroom killing and
cover-up in January.

Some skeptics, moreover, recalled previous I.R.A.
statements that had failed to secure progress toward a
revival of the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which
established the province's power-sharing government.

But officials like Britain's Northern Ireland secretary,
Peter Hain, said the wording of the latest statement was
different. "The clarity of this statement is in contrast to
its predecessors," Mr. Hain said. "It states in plain
language that the armed campaign is at an end."

The statement said: "Our decisions have been taken to
advance our republican and democratic objectives, including
our goal of a united Ireland. We believe there is now an
alternative way to achieve this and to end British rule in
our country," apparently referring to electoral advances by
the group's political wing, Sinn Fein, in Northern Ireland
and in the Irish Republic.

The statement said all I.R.A. volunteers had been
"instructed to assist the development of purely political
and democratic programs through exclusively political

"Volunteers must not engage in any other activities
whatsoever," it said - language taken by outsiders to refer
to its network of criminal operations.

Mr. Blair said that unionists, who want Northern Ireland to
remain united with Britain and have always opposed the
I.R.A., would want to ensure that the "clear statement of
principle is kept to in practice." In addition, he said,
the statement will be taken "as a forthright denunciation
of any activity, paramilitary or criminal."

Unionists, most of them Protestants, are the province's
largest political group. They are likely to insist on a
delay of at least a year before returning to share seats in
the provincial legislature with Sinn Fein.

Skip to next paragraph

Text: I.R.A. Statement on End to Armed Campaign (July 28,
2005) "The history of the past decade in Northern Ireland
is littered with I.R.A. statements which we were told would
be historic," said Ian Paisley, a firebrand leader of the
Democratic Unionists, the dominant Protestant political
force. "These same statements were followed by the I.R.A.
reverting to type and carrying out more of its horrific
murders and squalid criminality."

The I.R.A.'s statement came four months after the Sinn Fein
president, Gerry Adams, who denies repeated reports that he
has been a I.R.A. commander, called on the guerrilla group
to embrace purely political and democratic activity.

Mr. Adams said at a news conference in Dublin on Thursday
that the move heralded a "new and peaceful mode" in
Northern Ireland. "There is a time to resist, to stand up
and to confront the enemy by arms if necessary," he said.
"In other words, there is a time for war. There is also a
time to engage, to reach out, to put the war behind us

Putting the war behind it took the I.R.A. more than a
decade in part because Mr. Adams had to convince its
members, who the Irish government says number more than
1,000, many of whom spent a lifetime fighting the British
presence in Northern Ireland, that espousing a political
strategy is not tantamount to admitting defeat.

Concern remains that its members may join militant splinter
movements, much like the breakaway factions of the
Palestine Liberation Organization. I.R.A. members who have
felt compromised by political activities and peace talks
have occasionally formed dissident republican groups like
the Real I.R.A.

That group killed 29 people by detonating a car bomb in
Omagh in 1998. The leaders of such dissident groups have
been convicted in recent years after their ranks were
infiltrated by undercover police.

Dismantling the I.R.A.'s huge stashes of weapons, hidden in
underground bunkers in the countryside, has been the most
stubborn obstacle to a functional power-sharing system
between Catholic and Protestant political groups in
Northern Ireland. To establish whether the group keeps its
word, the British and Irish governments have asked an
independent body that monitors paramilitary groups to
publish reports every three months.

In August 1994, when the I.R.A. declared its cease-fire,
the people of Belfast broke into wild celebrations. On
Thursday the public response was more skeptical.

"I'm very hopeful, for the sake of our grandchildren," said
Christine Nolan, 64, while shopping on the Falls Road in
the I.R.A.'s west Belfast heartland. "But we have been
hopeful before, and it's all fallen through."

Paul Burn, a 19-year-old Catholic, condemned the group
because, he said, its members had shot one of his friends
in the kneecaps for stealing a car, and he does not expect
them to stop acting as vigilantes. "I don't think things
will be any different," he said.

But Alec Reid, 56, a retired cleaner, offered a different
view. "We don't want the kids coming through what we went
through," he said. "It was 30 years of hell."

Brian Lavery reported from Belfast for this article, and
Alan Cowell from London.


Hume Says Loyalist Groups Must Also End Their Activities

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

North reaction: Former SDLP leader and Belfast Agreement
architect John Hume welcomed the IRA statement, and called
on loyalists and others to recognise the democratic will of
the people.

"I hope that they now honour their commitment to end all
their activity as the Good Friday agreement requires."

He said of the UVF, LVF and UDA: "Loyalists too must end
their activity. The two governments and the unionist
parties in particular must work to ensure this. Violence is
futile. It achieves nothing. It only deepens the divisions
of our people and makes it harder to resolve our problems."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said: "We have stressed that the
IRA's break with its past has to be clear, clean and
complete. This statement appears to be that.

"The SDLP hopes that, as promised, all IRA paramilitary
activity and all IRA involvement in organised crime will
end now and for good - as well as the culture of cover-up
and community control.

"It has to be noted that the statement does not commit the
Provisional movement to policing.

"Yet policing is fundamental to accepting the rule of law
and vital to tackle organised crime. The SDLP calls on Sinn
Féin to join with us in upholding the new beginning to

David Ford, the Alliance leader, saw shortcomings in the
IRA declaration.

"While this statement is clearly a significant move in the
right direction, it is important to look behind the hype
and analyse its true meaning.

"A statement in which the IRA declares an end to its 'armed
campaign' does not address a number of issues.

"There is still no clear acceptance of the legitimacy of
both the northern and southern states with respect to
policing and criminal justice matters.

"There is no renunciation of their self-proclaimed right to
indulge in 'community policing' and dispensing paramilitary

The Green Party said: "As we stated earlier in our call on
republicans to reconsider their strategy, the Green Party
has been convinced for some time that armed struggle and
the maintenance of a military capacity serves only those
who remain opposed to the principles and terms of the Good
Friday agreement."

The party's co-leaders in Northern Ireland, Dr John Barry
and Kelly Andrews, said: "The Green Party shares the view
that there is now an unprecedented opportunity to utilise
the considerable energy and goodwill which there is for the
peace process.

"However, we are under no illusion that certain party
leaders on the unionist side will be found wanting in the
months and years ahead.

"This is particularly true of elements within the DUP."

They said: "The Green Party is today calling on those who
exercise positions of influence within the ranks of the DUP
to respond to the compelling political and moral case for
the removal of any figure within that party who is
incapable of seizing this moment and leading this community
into a peaceful and just future."

(c) The Irish Times


What Happens Next?

General John de Chastelain and Andrew Sens, independent
commissioners, along with two clergymen, one Catholic and
one Protestant, will oversee the decommissioning process.

The Independent Monitoring Commission will publish its
regular report in October and a special progress report in

The government will introduce legislation in the autumn to
smooth the return of paramilitaries who fled during the
Troubles to escape arrest.

Army watchtowers and other fortifications will be scaled
down within days.

Northern Ireland's politicians will hold talks aimed at
securing the transfer of policing and justice powers to
devolved government in Belfast.

Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist party, may
begin negotiations with Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein's president,
with a view to re-establishing devolved government in
Northern Ireland.


SF's Credibility Rests On Future Conduct Of IRA

Analysis: The IRA statement goes much further than the
one issued last December writes Mark Hennessy.

In 1994, cars travelled down west Belfast and many other
nationalist areas in Northern Ireland, horns blaring,
wrapped in Tricolours, in the hours after the IRA declared
its ceasefire.

There was less of a sense yesterday that the hand of
history was spread upon the land. Too many false dawns have
made politicians and the public cautious. Caution, perhaps,
may prove to be a better servant.

If backed up by deeds over coming weeks and months, the
IRA's statement is historic, one that will greatly
challenge the organisation and those in it who may have
bridled at the leadership of Gerry Adams and Martin

Undoubtedly, it is as clear and unambiguous as could have
been expected in any document signed "P O'Neill" -
certainly far more so than the effort it produced last

Then, the IRA had been urged by the Irish and British
governments to sign up to a declaration that it would
recognise "the need to uphold and not to endanger anyone's
personal rights and safety, all IRA volunteers have been
given specific instructions not to engage in any activity
which might thereby endanger the new agreement".

The language proposed was turned down by the IRA, even
though Taoiseach Bertie Ahern had believed for some time at
least during late November that it would sign up.

On December 9th, the day after Ahern and British prime
minister Tony Blair had declared that negotiations effort a
failure, the IRA produced its own text, one that was
quickly deemed a failure by both governments.

Then, it said that it would "support a comprehensive
agreement by moving into a new mode which reflects our
determination to see the transition to a totally peaceful

It said it had been prepared to give specific instructions
to all IRA volunteers not to engage in any activity which
might thereby endanger that new agreement.

Furthermore, it said that the IRA leadership had also
"decided that we will, in this context, conclude the
process to completely and verifiably put all our arms
beyond use".

Though those words were insufficient in the eyes of Dublin
and London, their very truthfulness was called into
question by the subsequent Northern Ireland Bank robbery.
The biggest cash raid in the history of Britain or Northern
Ireland, it has been blamed on the IRA and had to have been
in preparation at the time of its statement.

Following the December debacle, both governments made clear
that the IRA was in "the last-chance saloon".

The IRA yesterday went further than last December by
ordering its members to dump arms, act through "exclusively
peaceful means" and not "engage in any other activities

The language used offers little room for manoeuvre.
Punishment beatings are out, intimidation is out,
protection rackets are out, smuggling is out and robberies
are out.

The danger of fracture is conceded in the IRA statement
itself, which made it clear that "every volunteer is aware
of the import of the decisions we have taken" and all
"Óglaigh are compelled to fully comply with these orders".

Sinn Féin's credibility, damaged badly by intransigence in
the eyes of the two governments and in the United States by
the killing of Robert McCartney, will be set at nought if
such acts occur.

Clearly, those who have lived well off criminality, as can
be judged by some of the houses occupied by known
republicans in some republican heartlands, are unlikely to
be weaned away from such steady streams of income. Some, no
doubt, will continue.

Such an outcome was tacitly accepted by Minister for
Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern last night, though he implied
that they would be dealt with as simple criminals, rather
than ones wearing a republican cloak, if they did.

The IRA's declaration was published following, as it said,
an unprecedented internal discussion and consultation
process with IRA units and volunteers since Gerry Adams's
address to the organisation on April 6th.

However, it has been published without a meeting of the
IRA's army convention, the body usually given the final
decisions upon major changes in tactics and strategies.

Though the murky world of republicanism is difficult to
penetrate, it has to be believed that Mr Adams did not put
the issue to the test before the convention because of the
divisions that such a move would have brought to the

At the end of last year, the IRA had been prepared to
destroy its arsenal, under the eyes of the International
Independent Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), "speedily
and if possible by the end of December".

No such time limit was set yesterday. Instead, the
statement said: "The IRA leadership has also authorised our
representative to engage with the IICD to complete the
process to verifiably put its arms beyond use in a way
which will further enhance public confidence and to
conclude this as quickly as possible."

The lack of a completion date as such may mean little if it
is backed up by a series of decommissioning acts during
August, verified by the IICD head, Gen John De Chastelain.

From the point of view of the IRA, the delay created in
December may prove beneficial if it is able to avoid having
arms destruction photographed by the IICD and published
subsequently. The photographs issue had assumed a totem-
like importance for republicans, convinced as they are that
the images would have been turned back upon them as an act
of surrender by the DUP.

The two clergymen, one Protestant, one Catholic, will offer
some extra comfort for unionists.

(c) The Irish Times


Only Time Will Tell If This Is The Last Act In The Ulster

By Philip Johnston
(Filed: 29/07/2005)

Over the past 10 years, the political process in Northern
Ireland has had more convoluted choreography than the Royal
Ballet. Whenever a ''breakthrough'' was imminent, the
various participants made a series of previously agreed
gestures designed to signal goodwill and intent to a wider

This week, while most of the country has been preoccupied
with the threat from jihadist terrorists, the province has
been treated to another burst of stage-managed activity
that, we are assured, really is the final act in its

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams

First, an Irish minister let it be known that Martin
McGuinness and Gerry Adams had given up their positions on
the IRA's army council, something to which they have always
denied belonging, although few believed them.

Then, Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, ordered
the release of one of the most notorious bombers of the
Troubles, Sean Kelly, who murdered nine shoppers in a
fishmongers in the Shankill Road, Belfast, in 1993.
Finally, in a flurry of press conferences, briefings and
media interviews, a statement was released that heralded
the end of the Provisional IRA's 35-year armed campaign to
eject the British from Northern Ireland.

Tony Blair, who had evidently used the word ''historic''
too often for it to suffice any longer, called it ''a step
of unparalleled magnitude''. Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime
minister, was satisfied with ''historic''.

Whether it turns out to be either will depend, as all
protagonists acknowledged, on what actually happens on the

The unionists are deeply sceptical because they entered
government with Sinn Fein in 1999 on the understanding that
the IRA was committed to ''exclusively peaceful and
democratic means'' of pursuing political differences.

To this end, the republicans were given many concessions:
all paramilitary prisoners, loyalists as well as
republicans, were released; the RUC was reformed and its
Special Branch wound up; troop levels were cut, watch-
towers taken down and Sinn Fein leaders invited for tea at
No 10; Martin McGuinness, the most important republican
during the Troubles, was put in charge of the province's

But when the IRA was implicated in a Stormont spying
scandal, the executive collapsed and was replaced with
direct rule once more.

Unionists questioned whether David Trimble, the former
Ulster Unionist leader, had been tricked into giving too
much away. He and his party were almost wiped out at the
general election in May, forcing Mr Trimble's resignation.
Buoyed by its political advances, Sinn Fein virtually
eclipsed the mainstream nationalist party, the SDLP.

The alleged involvement of IRA members in last year's £26
million robbery at the Northern Bank in Belfast and the
murder this year of Robert McCartney outside a bar
frequented by Provisionals diminished the chances of
reviving the power-sharing executive. The prospect dwindled
further when Ian Paisley's DUP became the largest party at
the election.

It was against this background that Sinn Fein/IRA judged
that they had extracted as many concessions as they could
without taking the further step that they had managed to
resist for years: a formal end to the ''armed campaign''.
While yesterday's statement fell short of disbanding the
IRA, it went much further than any previous declaration.
But unionists will not be rushing back into government with
republicans until they are convinced that it is genuine.

That will need open and verifiable destruction of IRA
weapons, witnessed and filmed. The republicans have always
maintained that complete disarmament is difficult, if not
impossible, and have consistently said that decommissioning
weapons is irrelevant to peace as the same hardware can be
bought on the eastern European market the next day.

But getting rid of their weapons openly will do much to
establish the basis for trust between the two communities
that would allow them to work together in government.

It is 12 years since the IRA allegedly contacted the
Government with the words: "The war is over and we need
your help to end it." Although the IRA denies saying that,
it began a series of contacts that led to the Downing
Street Declaration in 1993, which enshrined the principle
of consent in the process.

That started an international effort to bring about a
lasting peace, spearheaded by Bill Clinton, the former
American president, who visited the province in 1995 a few
months before the IRA bombed London's Docklands, shattering
the truce. Labour's election victory in 1997 paved the way
for another ceasefire and the Belfast Agreement in 1998.

One problem with the whole process has been its lack of
openness. People have never said what they mean and have
even devised a curious and euphemistic language to avoid

Yesterday's statement, which was far less ambiguous than
usual, contained this passage: ''The IRA leadership has
also authorised our representative to engage with the
Independent International Commission on Decommissioning to
complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use
in a way which will further enhance public confidence and
to conclude this as quickly as possible.''

If that means that all IRA arms will be disposed of in a
way that everyone can see, marking an irreversible
republican commitment to peace, democracy and the rule of
law, the statement may well come to be seen as ''historic''
in the years to come.


Another Test For IRA

Editorial Comment
July 29 2005

Irish republicanism yesterday reached the final milestone
on the long and winding road away from militarism. After a
30-year campaign of violence that has claimed more than
1800 lives, the IRA has formally ordered an end to its
armed struggle. Its statement - the longest and most
definitive in its history - appears to offer a clean break
with the past. All weapons and explosives are to be
verifiably put beyond use. Significantly, the statement
also makes reference to a ban on "any other activities",
presumably a reference to the protection rackets, robberies
and "punishment" attacks that continued unabated after
previous ceasefires. If an unarmed IRA is capable of
delivering on these undertakings, it will end a decade of
political ambiguity in which, despite pledges of peace,
republicans have continued to operate their traditional
strategy of the Armalite in one hand and the ballot box at
the other. The focus would then move to the rapid creation
of a Northern Ireland power-sharing executive in which Sinn
Fein could take its place at the democratic table. Even the
once unthinkable prospect of a handshake between the Rev
Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams could come to pass.

The muted response from the province's Protestant community
and its leaders yesterday is understandable. A third of the
IRA's victims were civilians. Some bodies have never been
found. Given the false dawns of the past, the IRA has
serious credibility problems. As recently as last May the
Northern Ireland ceasefire watchdog, the Independent
Monitoring Commission, reported that the IRA was continuing
to buy ammunition and recruit new members. It was also
heavily involved in fuel and tobacco smuggling, money
laundering and large-scale robberies, such as December's
£26.5m Northern Bank raid. However, there are various
reasons the IRA may mean what it says this time around.
Republicans have been under intense pressure to end their
criminal activity since the bank raid and the shocking
cover-up following the murder of Robert McCartney in
Belfast the following month. These two incidents may have
convinced many republicans that the activities of the IRA
had become counterproductive to their main objective of a
united Ireland.

Secondly, disarmament is also the logical conclusion of the
course that Gerry Adams and others embarked on in seeking
election to Westminster. It is clear that they have been
working hard behind the scenes to persuade the movement
that politics is the only way forward. His argument has
been aided by a desire to distance themselves from the
Islamist bombings in London that have rekindled
uncomfortable memories of IRA atrocities in the capital in
the 1970s and 1980s.

Now there are three requirements. The decommissioning of
arms and explosives must be comprehensive and irreversible.
This must be accompanied by a complete cessation of
criminal activities that have supported militant
republicanism and become ingrained in the life of the
province. This will be a test of how far Sinn Fein and a
disarmed IRA can command compliance on the ground. Lastly,
republicans must accept the authority of the police and
judicial system in rooting out criminal elements. The wall
of silence that descended after the murder of Robert
McCartney, together with the destruction of vital evidence
in the case, illustrated how far the IRA considers itself
above the law.

One waiting game is over. Another is about to begin.


Northerners Get To Grips With New Reality

Carl O'Brien, in Belfast

A hush falls over the men at the counter of Danny
Molloy's pub in Ardoyne as the Sky News headlines flash
across the giant screen in the corner.

"It's a disgrace," snorts Joe, a 28-year-old, into his pint
glass of cider. "It's not going to happen. What are we
expected to do? We have to defend the area. There are lot
of people willing to do that. That's never going to stop."

Robbie, a 35-year-old bricklayer, disagrees loudly with
him. "It was always going to happen. We've been heading
that way for a long time. The leadership has made a point
about what's best. We're confident about who we are, and
where we're going."

Another patron of Molloy's, former hotel maintenance
manager Harry McClafferty, aged 51, said the IRA statement
was "a bunch of crap. A lot of good men who died would be
turning in their graves, just like my stomach is turning
over listening to this".

The IRA's announcement has provoked different responses
across the republican heartlands of Belfast. Many committed
members are still coming to terms with what the statement
means, how far it will go, and the challenges they face.
Others have accepted it with weary resignation.

Fr Gary Donegan, assistant superior at Holy Cross church,
has seen the debate unfold. He is hopeful the IRA's
decision is a significant turning point.

"There are huge challenges for a lot of people. I think
most volunteers are going to accept the terms [ of the
statement]. It's been broadly welcomed. There will always
be a percentage of people who may not follow it. The
biggest challenges are for those who had dedicated their
lives to violent struggle who now face a difficult
transition to ordinary life.

"It's a momentous time for them. They have put everything
into the struggle. Everything else has come second: family,
relationships," he says. "I think in general there is a
cautious optimism about today's development, anything which
reduces the possibility of violence and death has to be

Over on the Falls Road, which is dotted with Free Seán
Kelly posters, debate over the statement's significance is

Joe and Pat, a couple in their 60s who grew up on the
Falls, disagree about whether the statement's principled
words will be put into practice. "It seems very
significant," says Joe. "It's almost too much to take in.
I'm a Falls Road man all my life, I've seen a lot of
change, but something like this" he says, his voice
trailing off. "It will be followed through. The order has
gone out, so anyone who gets out of line will be dealt

His wife, Pat, disagrees. While the days of bombings may be
over, she says members of the IRA involved in criminal
activity will never make the transition to regular life.
"If anything it'll be worse, because something might have
been sanctioned from on high before. Now you have all these
individuals who'll be free to do their own thing." -
(Additional reporting PA)

(c) The Irish Times


Hain Defends Release Of Shankill Bomber Kelly
2005-07-28 19:40:03+01

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain tonight defended his
controversial decision to release the Shankill bomber Sean

The dramatic move, on the eve of the IRA's historic
statement on its future, was strongly condemned by

But Peter Hain said the grounds on which he granted Kelly's
temporary release - just weeks after he was returned to
Maghaberry Prison, Co Antrim - had changed.

Mr Hain said: "Today's statement by the IRA has created a
new situation and thereby changed the context of my
original decision to suspend Sean Kelly's licence.

"The (British) government accepts that the statement by the
IRA is intended to express an end to paramilitary activity
and criminality.

"Having seen the statement I judged that it materially
affected the evidence that I would have submitted to the
Sentence Review Commissioners."

He added: "In particular the material on which I based my
original decision no longer supported the conviction that
Sean Kelly would be a danger to others if he were at
liberty. I have therefore concluded that I should not
submit this material to the SRC.

"On the basis that I no longer consider it appropriate that
his licence should be revoked it would have been wrong to
keep him in prison until the SRC had made a formal decision
in his case."

A man whose wife was among the victims of Sean Kelly hit
out at the decision to release him.

Alan McBride said Kelly's release would only heighten
unionist and Protestant scepticism.

Mr McBride, 40, whose wife and father-in-law were among
those killed when Kelly's bomb exploded prematurely in a
Shankill Road fish shop in Belfast in 1993, claimed he
should never be back on the streets.

He said: "Just seeing him out sends a chill up my spine. It
represents another concession to republicanism and because
of it this IRA statement will not have the significant
impact on the unionist community it might, just might,
otherwise have had."

His wife Sharon and father-in-law Fred Frizell were among
the nine people killed in the attack in October 1993.

Kelly's IRA accomplice, Thomas Begley, was also killed, in
one of the most notorious atrocities of the Troubles.

Kelly was given nine life sentences but was released under
the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Hain ordered his re-arrest last month amid suspicions by
security chiefs he had again become involved in terrorism.

No details were released, but Sinn Féin and Ardoyne priest
father Aidan Troy called for his release.

The move shocked the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists
and Reg Empey's Ulster Unionists and left Mr McBride deeply

He said: "I've always stated the British government should
have provided the evidence, to come clean on the reasons
why Kelly was sent back to jail.

"It's quite obvious why he was dumped back on the streets
and this does nobody any good. He's out for a reason."



From the start of the Troubles to 1994 ceasefire as well
as breakthroughs and setbacks from 1996 to 2005.


October 5th: Two days of rioting after a banned civil
rights march in Derry is broken up by RUC using batons.
Many view this incident as the start of the Troubles.


January 11th: Sinn Féin splits into Officials and
Provisionals, mirroring the split in the IRA at the end of


February 6th: Gunner Robert Curtis - killed by an IRA
sniper - becomes the first soldier to die in the Troubles.


February 22nd: In an IRA reprisal bomb attack for Bloody
Sunday, seven people are killed in Aldershot military
barracks; July 21st: Bloody Friday: Nine people are killed
when the IRA sets off 22 bombs in Belfast.


January 14th: A reserve constable is killed when his police
vehicle drives over an IRA mine. His is the first of 124
lives claimed by the IRA in 1973.


November 21st: An IRA team blows up two pubs in Birmingham,
killing 21 young people and injuring 162 (left).


January 5th: The IRA shoots to death 10 Protestant workmen
at Kingsmills in one of the bloodiest years of sectarian


The IRA extends its list of so-called "legitimate targets"
to include police families, civilian searchers at security
checkpoints and businessmen.


February 17th: 12 people are killed by an IRA bomb at La
Mon House Hotel, Co Down.


August 27th: IRA bombers kill 18 soldiers near Warrenpoint,
Co Down. Lord Mountbatten is killed by the IRA in explosion
on his boat at Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.


May 5th: IRA prisoner Bobby Sands (right) dies on his 66th
day of hunger strike in support of political status. There
is rioting in Belfast, Derry and Dublin.


October 12th: Four people killed in IRA bomb at the Grand
Hotel in Brighton, HQ of the Conservative Party conference.


November 15th: Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald and British
prime minister Margaret Thatcher sign Anglo-Irish


May 8th: Eight IRA men shot dead by SAS in Loughgall, Co
Armagh; November 8th: 11 killed by IRA bomb at Enniskillen
Remembrance Day ceremony.


January 11th: John Hume meets Gerry Adams for talks, both
denying an IRA ceasefire is on the agenda; March 6th: SAS
shoot three IRA members in Gibraltar;

August 20th: Eight British soldiers killed by IRA bomb on
bus at Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.


September 22nd: 10 killed in IRA bomb at Royal Marines
School of Music, Deal, Kent.


February 7th: IRA launches three mortars at 10 Downing
Street while ministers are in session;

May 30th: Three UDR soldiers killed in IRA lorry bomb in
Glenane, Co Armagh.


January 17th: Eight Protestant workers die following an IRA
bomb in a minibus in Co Tyrone; September 23rd: Amid
indications that talks are coming to a halt, a 2,000lb IRA
bomb destroys the forensic science laboratories in south


March 20th: IRA Warrington bomb kills two children;

April 10th: Hume and Adams meet for talks;

October 23rd: 10 people killed, including a bomber,
following an IRA blast at a fish shop on the Shankill Road
in Belfast. Adams later carries the bomber's coffin;

December 15th: Albert Reynolds and John Major announce the
Downing Street Declaration. If the Provisional IRA stops
its campaign for three months, Sinn Féin can eventually
join the political process.


August 31st: IRA announces a complete cessation of


February: IRA ceasefire ends after 16 months with a one-
tonne bomb in London's Canary Wharf district, which kills
two people.

June: Det Garda Jerry McCabe is shot dead during a post
office raid in Adare, Co Limerick.


July: IRA renews its ceasefire.


April: The Belfast Agreement sees participants sign up to a
"total and absolute commitment to exclusively

democratic and peaceful means of resolving differences on
political issues".

May: The Belfast Agreement receives overwhelming support in
polls in the North and the Republic.

August: A car bomb in Omagh kills 29 people including the
mother of unborn twins. The Real IRA admits responsibility
and later calls a ceasefire.


July: The IRA is suspected of trying to smuggle several
hundred guns from Florida in the US to the Republic.


February: The Assembly is suspended after Gen John de
Chastelain reports he received "no information from the
IRA" on decommissioning.


August: Three men with links to Sinn Féin are arrested in
Colombia on suspicion of offering explosive training to
Farc guerrillas.


March: The IRA is accused of stealing confidential
documents from PSNI Special Branch headquarters in
Castlereagh, east Belfast.

July: The IRA apologises for the deaths and suffering of
"non-combatants" caused by its campaign of violence.


March. Two premiers meet at Hillsborough over two days to
draw up Joint Declaration.

November: Postponed Assembly elections take place. Sinn
Féin and the DUP poll strongly.


September: The two governments and all the parties meet for
intensive talks at Leeds Castle in Kent.

December: Proposed comprehensive settlement fails over
photographic proof of IRA decommissioning. In the same
month, £26.5 million is stolen from the Northern Bank in
Belfast city centre.


January 30th: Robert McCartney is fatally stabbed outside
Magennis's Bar in Belfast city.

February: The Independent Monitoring Commission said some
Sinn Féin leaders were involved in authorising the robbery
of the Northern Bank.

Following a series of denials of involvement in the
Northern Bank raid and the McCartney killing, the IRA
formally withdraws its offer of complete decommissioning.

March: IRA tells McCartney sisters it offered to shoot
their brother's killers.

April: Gerry Adams appeals to the IRA to adopt a purely
political and democratic path.

July: IRA orders an end to its armed campaign.
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