Some dates in Irish history.

Part 2

Geir Neverdal, Lektor at Otta vidaregåande skole






British Soldiers are sent to N.I. to help end the unrest.

(At first they are looked upon as impartial peacekeepers)






To counter terrorism Stormont (the Parliament of N.I.) orders the army to arrest and imprison suspected members of the IRA - without taking them to court first.

This is felt to be extremely unfair and the IRA gets a lot of support!






“Bloody Sunday” (30. of January) in Londonderry

13 unarmed Catholics killed by British soldiers


Stormont is dissolved - Direct Rule from London is introduced.

“Bloody Friday” (21 of July). The IRA kill 9 and wound 130 in Belfast (22 bombs)





May: Three Protestant car bombs kill 31 persons in Eire.

The same year IRA bombs kill 21 and injure 120 in two Birmingham pubs





Bobby Sands

One of the men who are interned in the Maze prison in N.I. - Bobby Sands - is elected an MP!

He is the first of 10 people who starve themselves to death in the Maze prison - protesting against the policy of internment.





During the next decade or so there are many attempts to restore peace in N.I. but terrorist pressure from both sides - including bombing campaigns and killings - make peace talks difficult - and at times impossible.

The Provisional Wing of the IRA and Protestant extremists seem to be the main actors in these terrorist campaigns.





For some time one of the obstacles to the peace process is the unwillingness of the British to let Sinn Fein, the political party with close links to the IRA, take part in the negotiations (because it supports the terrorist acts of the Provisional IRA).





August: The Provisional IRA announces a ceasefire.

This makes it possible for Sinn Fein to join the process

October: The Loyalist Paramilitary forces also agree to a






The unwillingness of the IRA to hand in their weapons is the next problem that delays the peace process. The British demand that the IRA hand in their weapons before Sinn Fein can be included in the talks.







1996 Feb.

The IRA ends its ceasefire and starts a bombing campaign in London.


The Irish and the British Prime Ministers meet - one result of these talks is the election of an assembly - a "forum" of 110 members to discuss issues relevant to the promotion of understanding in Northern Ireland.

Election results:



The Ulster Unionist Party

24 %


The Social Democratic and Labour Party

21. %


The Democratic Unionist Party

18. %


Sinn Fein

15. %


Still, Sinn Fein was excluded from the all-party talks, because the IRA refused to resume the cease-fire.




The Good Friday Agreement

A 65-page agreement is drawn up, proposing devolution of some central government power to a Northern Ireland assembly. The Ulster Unionists, the SDLP and Sinn Fein welcome it. DUP leader Ian Paisley denounces it as "treacherous".





21 May

The People in Northern Ireland and Eire vote for peace.

In the first all-Ireland poll since the general election of 1918 71.2% of voters in Northern Ireland and 95% of the voters in the Republic of Ireland say YES to the agreement.





Assembly is elected:




Ulster Unionists.

28 seats






24 seats





Democratic Unionist Party

20 seats





Sinn Fein

18 seats








There are a lot of problems the next year or so




1-2 Dec.


- but eventually power is passed from Westminster to Belfast at midnight 1. December 1999.




The next day the Irish government removes its territorial claim to Northern Ireland from its constitution.

The new Northern Ireland Executive meets for the first time. The IRA appoints a representative to the International Body on Decommissioning.





11 February

The NI Assembly is suspended
There is a lot of back and forth the next two months but in the end, on Feb. 11th the NI Assembly is suspended because the IRA still refuses to hand in its weapons.





6 May

The IRA finally shows willingness to disarm
The IRA releases a statement saying that it is ready to begin a process that would "completely and verifiably" put its arms beyond use.

The statement follows a proposal to restore the assembly linked to a firm commitment to decommissioning. Details suggest that two international figures will inspect IRA arms dumps and confirm that the weapons are not being used.





26 June

IRA arms dumps are inspected by the former Finnish President Ahtisaari and ex-ANC secretary-general Cyril Ramaphosa.
A month after the Ulster Unionists agree to re-enter power-sharing government with Sinn Fein, the two international arms inspectors, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and ex-ANC secretary-general Cyril Ramaphosa, report that they have been secretly taken to IRA arms dumps, inspected them and concluded that the arms cannot be used without their detection.








During the last 30 years more than 3,000 people have been killed in NI and about 40,000 people have been injured (of a population of 1,6 million).











Nationalist / Republicans:

People and organisations (mostly Catholics) who want Northern Ireland to become a part of the Irish Republic (Eire)





Loyalists / Unionists

People and organisations (mostly Protestants) who want Northern Ireland to stay a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.








SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party):

The biggest Catholic party in N.I. The leader, John Hume, is an important person in the peace process





The Ulster Unionist Party

The biggest Protestant party in N.I. The leader,David Trimble, is an important person in the peace process. (The party governed NI from 1922 until 1972 when Stormont - the parliament of Northern Ireland was dissolved and Northern Ireland was placed under direct rule from London)








Sinn Fein ("vår sak"):

Catholic party with strong links to the IRA.

The leader is Gerry Adams (more extremist views than the SDLP)




DUP (The Democratic Unionist Party)

Protestant party founded by Ian Paisley (more extremist views than the UUP)








Falls Road

An important Catholic area of Belfast




Shankill Road

An important Protestant area of Belfast








Catholic paramilitary organisations:


IRA (The Irish Republican Army):

Catholic terrorist group




Protestant paramilitary organisations:


The Ulster Defence Association (UDA)


Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)


Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)





Geir Neverdal