On 10 February that year they announced an indefinite ceasefire following secret negotiations with government representatives who had been authorised by the Labour Northern Ireland Secretary Merlyn Rees to talk to the terrorists.
It followed a Christmas and New Year ceasefire which had been extended to 16 January. Incident centres were set up in republican areas, manned by Sinn Fein members, to monitor the peace in liaison with British Government officials.
Political discussions took place from February to September between Government representatives and the republican movement.
The Government was offered a permanent ceasefire in return for a public pronouncement that Britian would withdraw from Northern Ireland at a date to be negotiated.
The discussions failed although Merlyn Rees, in a letter to the Times in 1983, said a Cabinet sub-committee dealing with Ireland had 'seriously considered' withdrawal.
The IRA continued killing soldiers and unionists during the ceasefire and loyalist groups stepped up their slaughter. Despite the ceasefire spanning most of 1975,247 people were killed and 2,663 were injured. There were of 1,805 shootings, 635 bombs planted, 825 weapons found, 9.9 tons of explosives discovered and 1,197 people charged with terrorist offences.Reuse content