Milestones in Northern Ireland conflict - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Milestones in Northern Ireland conflict

(AP) _ Key dates in Northern Ireland conflict and peace process:

-1969: Catholic-Protestant clashes in Northern Ireland, fueled by Catholic grievances over discrimination, force Britain to deploy troops as peacekeepers.

-1970: A newly formed "Provisional" Irish Republican Army defends Catholic areas and begins offensive designed to overthrow Northern Ireland as a predominantly Protestant part of the United Kingdom.

-1972: Britain abolishes Protestant parliament and assumes direct control.

-1974: Britain transfers power to Catholic-Protestant administration, but power-sharing collapses amid Protestant strikes.

-1981: Ten Irish republicans die in prison hunger strike led by Bobby Sands.

-1985-86: IRA smuggles 130 tons of Libyan-supplied weaponry into Ireland, including Semtex plastic explosive, key ingredient in major IRA bombs for the next decade.

-1993: Moderate Catholic leader John Hume opens secret talks with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in pursuit of IRA cease-fire.

-1994: Bill Clinton becomes first U.S. president to pursue Northern Ireland peace, grants visa to Adams despite British objections. IRA and major outlawed Protestant groups call cease-fires.

-1996: Mediator and former Sen. George Mitchell recommends IRA disarm gradually during talks. IRA abandons truce with massive London bomb that kills two civilians.

-1997: IRA renews cease-fire, Sinn Fein admitted to talks. Protestant hard-liners led by Ian Paisley walk out, David Trimble's moderate Ulster Unionists stay.

-1998: Negotiators forge Good Friday accord. Trimble and Hume share Nobel Peace Prize.

-1999: Trimble forms 12-member Cabinet, including two Sinn Fein members, in deal that requires IRA to start disarming.

-2000: Britain pulls plug on power-sharing after IRA refuses to start disarming. Trimble revives administration after IRA pledges to put its "arms beyond use."

-2001: After several power-sharing breakdowns, IRA hands some weaponry to disarmament officials, won't permit any public detail.

-2005: British, Irish and U.S. governments demand that IRA complete disarmament, cease all activities after IRA commits world's biggest bank robbery and knifes to death a Catholic civilian in Belfast. In July, IRA formally ends its campaign to overthrow Northern Ireland by force, instructs members to "dump arms." Two months later, disarmament chiefs say IRA has finished the job.

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