Ireland:. Success at last after decades of bombs and years of talks

It was the best of years, the very best of years. It was a time of frustration and disillusionment, of long, tedious and apparently fruitless talks; and then suddenly it was a time of breakthrough and success, and a new dawn.

Mandelson hails `age of grown-up politics' in Ulster

TERRORISTS MUST disarm as Northern Ireland enters the age of "grown-up politics", Peter Mandelson said yesterday.

Warning: don't write off Dr Mowlam just yet

`The conventional wisdom is that she doesn't have much of a role because Number 10 drives policy'

Ulster: N Ireland Assembly votes itself a pay rise

Politics in Belfast comes speedily of age as the first full day of business opens with pounds 9,000 pay rises all round agreed

Leading Article: The pragmatists have defeated the pessimists

IN THE last two years in Northern Ireland, the pessimists and their apparently unassailable arguments have repeatedly been proved wrong. Each time that another political first is achieved, the doomsayers who insisted that it was all impossible quickly pick themselves off the floor and predict unspeakable woe just around the corner. These past months, full of scepticism and anger, will, however, be seen in retrospect as an almost comfortable consolidation of the peace process.

Parliament: Northern Ireland: One brief debate transfers Ulster back to its people

FORMER NORTHERN Ireland secretaries, ministers and MPs queued up last night to hail the peace settlement for the province as an "historic" and "enormous leap forward".

The champagne corks, like the guns, remain silent

SO WHY haven't supporters of the Good Friday Agreement been up all night, leaping into fountains and deliriously celebrating David Trimble's famous victory in the Ulster Unionist Council? Why has the sound of gunfire not been replaced by the pop of champagne corks?

This time Ulster's dissenters may finally learn to say yes

`Protestants value the right to dissent, prizing and constantly exercising their freedom of conscience'

Leading article: Mr Trimble and Mr Adams have both learned a hard truth

WE ARE not there yet. There is no shortage of reasons for pessimism, for anyone who is that way inclined. And yet, it would be churlish not to acknowledge the deep significance of the changes now taking place in Northern Ireland.

Ulster breakthrough: The historic day republicans and Unionists finally learnt to speak each other's language

IN ONE sense they were only words: David Trimble issuing one statement, Gerry Adams putting out another. What was special was that each used words that are normally the preserve of the other.

A journey through the twists and turns of Ulster Unionist decision- making

`Unionism traditionally hesitates before making up its collective mind'

It's time for Unionists to put suspicion aside and say Yes

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