chronology



A Chronology of the IRA campaign in the 20th Century
24-29 April 1916
Easter Rising, Dublin
This is led by Patrick Pearse, who proclaims the "Irish Republic."

1920-21
War of Independence & Partition
Following the Anglo-Irish War (War of Independence) the Government of Ireland Act creates partition. Twenty-six southern counties become the Irish Free State and six northeastern counties--Northern Ireland--remain part of Britain.

12 August 1969
Battle of the Bogside (Derry)
The Orange Apprentice Boys of Londonderry hold a parade. Rioting breaks out and 1,000 police arrive to contain the crowd. Bogside marks a pivitol point where the troubles in Ireland move away from civil rights issues and toward religious and national identities. A few days later, the British Army arrives to maintain order.

28 December 1969
Birth of Provisionals
The IRA Provisonal Army Council issues a statement which signals the split between the IRA. The Provisionals emerge.

9 August 1971
Internment
Internment is implemented--meaning a person can be locked up without a trial. This move by the British government produces violence and political unrest.

30 January 1972
Bloody Sunday (Londonderry)
During a civil rights march in Derry involving thousands of people, British paratroopers shoot dead thirteen Roman Catholics. (A British inquiry will later exonerate the soldiers,suggesting the demonstrators were terrorists linked to the IRA. Decades later, the British government concedes the demonstrators were innocent; a new investigation is under way in 1999.)

24 March 1972
Direct Rule
As a result of Bloody Sunday, Her Majesty's Government abolishes Stormont Parliament and introduces Direct Rule from Westminster, "until a political solution to the problems of the province can be worked out."

21 July 1972
Bloody Friday
The IRA sets off 26 bombs in Belfast killing nine people and injuring 130.

15 May 1974
Sinn Fein legalized
The Northern Ireland (Emergency Provision) Act of 1973 is amended making the Ulster Volunteer Force and Sinn Fein legal organizations.

1974-1975
Cease-fire
A truce is reached through secret negiotiations between the Provisional IRA and the British security forces. IRA members believe British withdrawal from Northern Ireland will follow soon.

5 December 1975
Internment ends
The British government ends internment, declaring those who are guilty of crimes will be charged, arrested, and tried with a jury. During the period of internment nearly 2,000 people were detained without a proper trial.

1 March 1976
Criminalization
The British begin phasing out Special Category status. After this date, all prisoners convicted of terrorist acts are to be treated as ordinary criminals and locked in H-Block.

15 September 1976
Blanket Men (Maze Prison)
Kieran Nugent, Provisional IRA member is the first prisoner convicted and not given Special Category status. He refuses to wear a uniform and wears a blanket to differentiate himself from the Ordinary Decent Criminals (OCDs). This became known as the "Blanket Protest."

2 August 1978
Dirty Protest (Maze Prison)
Cardinal O'Fiaich visits Maze Prison and protests the unsanitary conditions. Three hundred Republican prisoners refuse to wear prison clothes and demand Special Category status. Protesters wear only blankets and smear the walls in their cells with excreta.

27 August 1979
Mountbatten Assassination
Lord Mountbatten, uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, is murdered along with three others when his boat is blown up by an IRA bomb at Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo.

27 October 1980
First Hunger Strike
Tommy McKearney and six other IRA members start the first prison hunger strike demanding the right to wear their own clothes.

1 March 1981
Second Hunger Strike led by Bobby Sands
Bobby Sands begins a new hunger strike on the fifth anniversary of the ending of Special Category status.

9 April 1981
Sands elected MP
Forty days into his hunger strike, Sands wins the seat for Fermanagh-South Tyrone.

5 May 1981
Bobby Sands dies on 66th day of hunger strike
His death causes rioting in Northern Ireland and in the Republic 100,000 attend his funeral. The next day, provisional IRA prisoner, Joe McDonnell starts a hunger strike to take the place of Sands. Another nine IRA members fast to death.

15 November 1985
Anglo-Irish Agreement
This agreement is signed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald. It establishes an Inter-Governmental Conference to deal with political matters, security, and legal matters and the promotion of cross-border cooperation.

8 May 1987
Deaclan Arthurs, Padraig McKearney and six other IRA members of E. Tyrone Brigade are killed
They are gunned down during an attack by the Special Air Services (SAS) while bombing Loughhall Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station.

1 November 1987
Eksund--Libyan arms
A huge consignment of Libyan arms and ammunition, including surface-to-air missiles, are discovered on board the Eksund. It's later reported that the IRA had already received three other arms shipments from Libya.

6 March 1988
Gibraltar
Sean Savage, Daniel McCann and Mairead Farrell, unarmed, are gunned down, by SAS. They were active IRA members. Controversy surrounds their deaths because SAS had followed them and allegedly gave no warning before the shootings. SAS claim they feared the three were about to detonate a bomb.

16 March 1988
Milltown cemetery in Belfast
Three mourners are killed by Loyalist gunman Michael Stone during the burial of the three IRA members killed in Gibraltar.

19 March 1988
Two British soldiers are killed
These two soldiers accidentally drive into the funeral procession of Kevin Brady in Andersonstown (he was one of the three IRA victims killed by the Milltown gunman two days earlier.) TV cameras record how the soldiers are dragged from their car, beaten by the crowd, and then shot dead by IRA. The footage is shown around the world.

11 January 1988
SDLP and Sinn Fein Talks
Social Democratic Labor Party leader John Hume and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams begin discussions for an all-Ireland settlement.

7 February 1991
IRA mortars
The IRA fires a mortar bomb 15 yards from a room where Prime Minister John Major is meeting with his cabinet. No one is injured.

17 January 1992
Teebane Crossroads
Seven Protestant constructions workers at a security base in Co. Tyrone are killed by an IRA bomb. The driver of their bus also dies.

24 April 1993
Bishopsgate bomb
An IRA bomb containing one ton of fertilizer explosives goes off at the NatWest Tower in London. One is killed and 30 are injured. Damages amount to $1 billion.

23 October 1993
Shankhill bomb
IRA detonates a bomb in a Belfast fish shop. Ten people die including one of the bombers; 57 are injured.

15 December 1993
Downing Street Declaration
John Major and Albert Reynolds issue a Joint Declaration on Northern Ireland which says "the ending of divisions can come about only through the agreement and cooperation of the people, North and South, representing both traditions in Ireland."

February 1994
Gerry Adams granted U.S. visa
Sinn Fein leader Adams is finally granted visa to enter the U.S. after being turned down eight times by the Reagan and Bush administrations. President Clinton says he hopes Adams' visit would help the peace process.

31 August 1994
IRA cessation
The IRA announces that there will be a cessation of military operations in an effort to help the democratic peace process.

February 1996
Canary Wharf bomb
The IRA announces the ceasefire will end. Scotland Yard receives warnings that a bomb is planted in the Canary Wharf area. At 7:01 PM a bomb explodes there killing two and injuring over a 100.

15 September 1997
All Party Peace Talks begin
Another IRA ceasefire is established and, for the first time since Ireland was divided in 1922, the Irish Free State, Ulster (British Province) and Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, sit down to formal negotiations.

13 October 1997 British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets with a Sinn Fein delegation and shakes hands with Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams in East Belfast. Northern Ireland's Protestant majority are outraged, citing the IRA's history of violence and continued unwillingness to lay down their weapons.

5 December 1997 A Catholic man is killed outside of Belfast. It's the first killing since the IRA cease-fire in July. The Loyalist Volunteer Force is suspected.

11 January 1998 On the eve of the peace talks resuming, Terry Enwright, a Roman Catholic doorman at a Belfast night club and nephew of Gerry Adams, is killed. The Loyalist Volunteer Force takes credit.

26 January 1998 After more killings occur totaling seven Catholics and two Protestants, the Ulster Democratic Party leaves the peace talks rather than be expelled when the Ulster Freedom Fighters admit to some of the murders.

29 January 1998 Prime Minister Tony Blair announces a new judicial inquiry into the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" killings in Northern Ireland.

20 February 1998 The Irish and British Governments temporarily expel Sinn Fein from the peace talks for two killings earlier in the month which are linked to the IRA.

10 April 1998
The Good Friday Agreement
After months of peace talks, murders and violence, the Northern Ireland Peace Talks produce a settlement called The Good Friday Agreement.

23 May 1998 A referendum on the historic Good Friday Agreement is voted on in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. It passes by 71 percent to 29 percent in Northern Ireland and in the Irish Republic 94 percent approve the compromise agreement.

15 August 1998
Omagh Bombing
29 people are killed and over 200 wounded when a bomb explodes in Omagh. It is Northern Ireland's most deadly paramilitary attack. The blast is blamed on the Real IRA, a splinter group from the IRA.

September 1998 David Trimble, Northern Ireland's First Minister, says Sinn Fein should not be seated in Northern Ireland's new Assembly because the IRA has not disarmed. Sinn Fein's chief negotiator, Martin McGuiness, says Sinn Fein must be part of the executive in Northern Ireland before the IRA hands over their weapons.

16 October 1998 David Trimble and John Hume win the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

18 December 1998 First steps in decommissioning terrorist weapons are taken with the handing over of a cache of weapons by the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

2 April 1999 On the first anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, there is still no deal between the opposing sides. The main issue remains the decommissioning of the IRA's weapons.

July 1999 Significant setbacks occur this month for implementing the peace agreement. The main Protestant politicians, the Ulster Unionists, announce they won't share power with Sinn Fein in a Protestant-Catholic coalition Cabinet, as envisioned in the peace accord, so long as the IRA refuses to begin disarming. And Sinn Fein rules out IRA disarmament by May 2000 which is the deadline set by the peace accords for the IRA and pro-British Protestant paramilitary groups to surrender all weapons.




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