A decade of painstaking progress finally reaches its climax

Following the Downing Street declaration and contacts from John Major's government, the IRA called off its 25-year armed struggle.

"As of midnight, 31 August, there will be a complete cessation of military operations. All our units have been instructed accordingly. We are therefore entering into a new situation in a spirit of determination and confidence determined that the injustices which created this conflict will be removed."

9 FEBRUARY 1996 (CANARY WHARF BOMB)

Resumption of violence followed by further attacks in central London and Manchester. Sinn Fein growing in political strength.

"The blame for the failure thus far of the Irish peace process lies squarely with John Major and his government."

20 JULY 1997 (NEW CEASEFIRE)

New momentum in the peace process following Tony Blair's election leads to Good Friday Agreement the following year.

"We want a permanent peace and are prepared to enhance the search for a democratic peace settlement through real, inclusive negotiations."

30 APRIL 1998 (AFTER GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT)

Refused to countenance decommissioning in effort to put further pressure on government and Unionist leaders.

"There will be no decommissioning by the IRA. This issue... is a matter only for the IRA, to be decided upon and pronounced upon by us."

6 MAY 2000

Breakthrough leading to first inspection of arms dumps.

"The IRA leadership will initiate a process that will completely and verifiably put IRA arms beyond use ... [It] has agreed to put in place, within weeks, a confidence-building measure to confirm our weapons remain secure. The contents of a number of our arms dumps will be inspected by agreed third parties, who will report that they have done so to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). The dumps will be reinspected regularly to ensure the weapons have remained silent."

9 AUGUST 2001

Hardening of the IRA's language, prompting speculation decommissing could be soon. But it was rejected by Unionists and the NI assembly was suspended.

"The leadership has agreed a scheme with the IICD, which will put IRA arms completely and verifiably beyond use."

14 AUGUST 2001 (WITHDRAWING OFFER)

Withdrawing the offer was setback for the peace process and reflected the strong republican anger.

"This was an unprecedented development which involved a very difficult decision by us and problems for our organisation."

16 JULY 2002 (30TH ANNIVERSARY OF BLOODY FRIDAY BOMBINGS)

Bowing to pressure for apology to victims of atrocities.

"We offer our sincere apologies and condolences to their families. There have been fatalities among combatants on all sides. We also acknowledge the grief and pain of their relatives."

30 OCTOBER 2002 (SUSPENDS CO-OPERATION WITH DECOMMISSIONING)

Response to the suspension of devolution after revelation of IRA spy-ring at Stormont and calls for IRA disbandment. But it stressed ceasefire continued.

"There is an effort to impose unacceptable and untenable ultimatums on the IRA. At the same time the British government, by its own admission, has not kept its commitments."

6 MAY 2003

IRA's draft form of words for ending armed conflict. Gerry Adams said the IRA had a "completely peaceful intent".

"We are resolved to see the complete and final closure of this conflict... The IRA leadership is determined to ensure that our activities, disciplines and strategies will be consistent with this."

21 OCTOBER 2003 (REOPENS CO-OPERATION)

Third and biggest act of decommissioning. But General John de Chastelaine, overseeing the process, could not give detail of the arms, infuriating Unionists.

"We have authorised our representative to meet with the IICD with a view to proceeding with the implementation of a process to put arms beyond use at the earliest opportunity. We have also authorised a further act of putting arms beyond use."

9 DECEMBER 2004

IRA agrees to allow churchmen to witness decommissioning but the deal founders on the question of photographic proof. The process is hit by the Belfast bank robbery, blamed on the IRA, and the murder of Robert McCartney.

"We restate our commitment to the peace process. But we will not submit to a process of humiliation."

2 FEBRUARY 2005

The IRA is under pressure and fiercely criticises London, Dublin and Democratic Unionists.

"We are taking all our proposals off the table. It is our intention to monitor ongoing developments and protect the rights of republicans and our support base."

23 MARCH 2005 (REFERRING TO THE KILLING OF ROBERT MCCARTNEY)

"It was wrong, it was murder, it was a crime. But it was not carried out by the IRA, nor was it carried out on behalf of the IRA. The IRA moved quickly to deal with those involved."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015