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A Chronology of the Conflict - 1993



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Text and Research: Martin Melaugh
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change

A Chronology of the Conflict - 1968 to the Present 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003            

The following is a draft chronology of the conflict for the year 1993

1993 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sources Notes

1993

January 1993

Friday 1 January 1993
item mark The Irish National Congress (INC) took direct action to reopen a number of border roads that had been blocked by the security forces in Northern Ireland. [The 'unapproved' roads had been closed during the early part of the conflict to try to secure the border. The action by the INC coincided with the end of European Community internal boundaries.]

Sunday 3 January 1993
item mark Patrick Shields (51) and his son Diarmuid Shields (20), both Catholic civilians, were shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at Lisnagleer, near Dungannon, County Tyrone. [A number of weeks later the girlfriend of Diarmuid committed suicide because she was unable to come to terms with his death.]
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Monday 4 January 1993
item mark A proposal to introduce proportional power-sharing on Belfast City Council was rejected by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

Tuesday 5 January 1993
item mark Incendiary bombs exploded in four stores in Oxford Street in London. [The bombs had been planted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).]

Monday 11 January 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, gave an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in which he stated that Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution were "unhelpful" and would be a central element of any future talks.

Tuesday 12 January 1993
item mark It was reported in The Times (a British newspaper) that the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) was planning to target those who were considered to be part of the 'pan-Nationalist front'. [This was taken to mean those who were members of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Sinn Féin (SF), the Irish government, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). A number of attacks did take place in the following months.]

Wednesday 13 January 1993
item mark Dick Spring, the Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), promised that there would be "openness and flexibility" in any future political talks.

Tuesday 19 January 1993
item mark The Opsahl Commission began its oral hearings as part of Initiative '92.

Thursday 21 January 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, wrote a letter to John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), in which he rejected calls for a new inquest into the events of Bloody Sunday.

Friday 22 January 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, travelled to Dublin for informal talks with Dick Spring, the Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs). Mayhew agreed to informal discussions with the Irish government in advance of any new political talks in Northern Ireland.

Saturday 23 January 1993
item mark Michael Ferguson (21), a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on Shipquay Street, Derry.
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Wednesday 27 January 1993
item mark The Irish government established a new committee to monitor Northern Ireland policy.

Saturday 30 January 1993
item mark There was a rally in Derry to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the killings on 'Bloody Sunday' (30 January 1972).

February 1993

Tuesday 2 February 1993
item mark Eugene Martin (28), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at his home in Ballyronan, County Derry.
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item mark Two incendiary bombs were planted outside the homes of two Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) councillors. The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) was responsible for the attacks. [These attacks followed an UDA statement on 12 January 1993.]

Wednesday 3 February 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out two bomb attacks in London. The Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) held a meeting in London and decided to issue invitations to the political parties to attend bilateral talks.

Friday 5 February 1993
item mark Roger Wheeler, then a Lieutenant-General in the British Army, replaced John Wilsey as General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the army in Northern Ireland.

Monday 8 February 1993
item mark The leaders of the four main churches (Catholic; Presbyterian; Church of Ireland; and Methodist) travelled to the United States of America (USA) to encourage new business investment in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday 10 February 1993
item mark Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), nominated Gordon Wilson to become a member of the Irish Senate (the upper house of the Irish Parliament). [Gordon Wilson had been injured, and his daughter killed, in the Enniskillen bomb on 8 November 1987.]

Thursday 12 February 1993
item mark Christopher Harte (24), a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was found dead near Castlederg, County Tyrone. He had been shot dead by the IRA who claimed that he had been an informer.
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Tuesday 16 February 1993
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), gave an interview to the Irish News (a Northern Ireland newspaper) in which he called for "inclusive dialogue" and a new Irish-British agreement that would bring an end to partition.

Monday 22 February 1993
item mark Joe Hendron, then a Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Member of Parliament (MP), together with his election agent, were found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices by an election court. The action was brought following allegations of misconduct during the 1992 Westminster election in west Belfast. [The court did order a re-run of the election.]

Wednesday 24 February 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, held a meeting with Bill Clinton, then President of the United States of America (USA), in Washington, USA. Major later stated that he found Clinton's proposal of a 'peace envoy' to be unhelpful, but was in favour of a representative undertaking a "fact-finding" visit to Northern Ireland.

Friday 26 February 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded three bombs at a gas works in Warrington, England. The bombs caused a large explosion. Two men were later arrested.

Sunday 28 February 1993
item mark Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), gave an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in which he stated that Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution were not "cast in bronze".

March 1993

Tuesday 2 March 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, gave a speech in Bangor, County Down, in which he said that Britain was "neutral" with regard to Northern Ireland's position within the United Kingdom (UK). Mayhew stressed that the union between Britain and Northern Ireland would only be changed if a majority of the population voted for some new constitutional arrangement.

Wednesday 3 March 1993
item mark Six Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldiers were awarded undisclosed damages against Hugh Annesley, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), as a result of their arrest on 8 October 1989. The men had been arrested on the orders of the Stevens inquiry into allegations of collusion between the security forces and Loyalist paramilitary groups.

Friday 5 March 1993
item mark Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), gave a speech at a meeting of the Irish Association in which he acknowledged that changes to the Irish Constitution would be required in any future settlement.

Sunday 7 March 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a large bomb, estimated at 500 pounds, in Main Street in Bangor, County Down. Four Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were injured in the explosion. [The cost of the damage was later estimated at £2 million. The blast came five days after Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, delivered a speech in the town. There was another large explosion in the same street in Bangor on 21 October 1992.]

Monday 8 March 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, welcomed the speech made by Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), on 5 March 1993. Mayhew said that Spring was someone he could "do business with".

Wednesday 10 March 1993
item mark The House of Commons at Westminster decided by 329 to 202 votes to renew the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The Labour Party voted against the motion whereas in previous years the party had abstained.

Friday 12 March 1993
item mark The European Parliament backed a proposal to consider how institutions of the European Community could provide assistance in Northern Ireland to try to resolve the conflict. The initiative was led by John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and MEP.

Tuesday 16 March 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, said that his government would not bring forward legislation to allow for devolved government in Scotland or Wales.

Saturday 20 March 1993
Warrington Bombs

item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded two small bombs in litter bins in Bridge Street, Warrington, England, killing Johnathan Ball aged 3 years and mortally wounding Timothy Parrry aged 12 years who died on 25 March 1993. [The IRA had provided inadequate warnings which resulted in the deaths and the 56 injuries. The killings of the two boys led to public protests in England and in the Republic of Ireland against paramilitary violence. The killings also led to the establishment of Initiative '93.]
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Tuesday 23 March 1993
item mark There was a meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) in Belfast. The meeting agreed to increase security measures in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Thursday 24 March 1993
item mark Peter Gallagher (44), a Sinn Féin (SF), member was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), at his place of work on Grosvenor Road, Belfast.
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Thursday 25 March 1993
Castlerock Killings

item mark The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), shot dead four Catholics as they arrived at a building site in Castlerock, County Derry. A fifth person was injured in the attack. [A few days later it was revealed that one of the dead men was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).] item mark Later in the day the UFF shot dead Damien Walsh (17), a Catholic civilian, and injured another young Catholic.
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item mark The Irish Senate, the upper house of the Irish Parliament, held a debate on Northern Ireland. [This was the first debate on the region for eight years.]

Friday 26 March 1993
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) uncovered five tons of fertiliser in west Belfast. The fertiliser was of a type that was used to manufacture home made bombs.

Sunday 28 March 1993
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), suggested that the two governments might impose a blueprint for a political settlement in Northern Ireland backed by a referendum. The Sunday Telegraph (a British newspaper) published details of a poll of the opinions of a sample of people living in England on the Northern Ireland issue. Of those questioned 56 per cent said that they no longer wanted the region to remain in the United Kingdom (UK).

Tuesday 30 March 1993
item mark Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) lost its appeal against a High Court decision that its blanket ban on broadcasting interviews with members of Sinn Féin (SF) was wrong and that Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act was being misinterpreted by the station. The five-judge Supreme Court unanimously upheld the High Court decision. [In the High Court in July 1992, Mr. Justice O'Hanlon found that RTE, in deciding that no SF member should be permitted by reason of that membership to broadcast on any matter or topic, had misinterpreted the provisions of the ministerial order. In its appeal, RTE argued that the purpose of the order was to prevent its broadcasting system being used for the purpose of subverting or undermining the authority of the state.]

April 1993

Thursday 1 April 1993
item mark Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), gave a speech in the Daíl about the prospects for peace in Northern Ireland. Reynolds defended the Irish Constitution and called for a new framework to help take the gun out of politics on the island. The News Letter (a Northern Ireland newspaper) published a poll of its readers which showed that, of those who took part, 42 per cent agreed with Loyalist paramilitary violence.

Wednesday 7 April 1993
item mark Gordon Wilson met with representatives of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to try to persuade them to stop their military campaign. [Gordon Wilson had been injured, and his daughter killed, in the Enniskillen bombing on 8 November 1987. Following the meeting he said that he was saddened by the outcome.]

Saturday 10 April 1993
Hume Meets Adams

item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), was seen visiting the home of John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), in Derry. The two men met for "extensive discussions" in their capacities as leaders of their respective parties.

Sunday 11 April 1993
item mark The secret talks held between John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), became public knowledge follow a report in the Sunday Tribune (a Republic of Ireland newspaper). [The talks were criticised by a number of parties and individuals.]

Friday 16 April 1993
item mark Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), addressed a meeting of the British-Irish Association in Oxford, England. Spring stated that a possible solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland lay in a 'Europe of the regions'.

Saturday 17 April 1993
item mark Douglas Hurd, then British Foreign Secretary, said that the Republic of Ireland had a "crucial role" in any new talks. He also stated that the Republic's willingness to consider changes to the Irish Constitution provided a "positive context".

Monday 19 April 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held a meeting with John Alderdice, then leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), at the start of a new round of bilateral talks with the main political parties.

Tuesday 20 April 1993
item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), presented a set of proposals entitled 'Blueprint for Stability' to John Major, then British Prime Minister, while on a visit to London.

Wednesday 21 April 1993
item mark Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), travelled to the United States of America (USA). While in Boston he said that the suggestion of a 'peace envoy' was "not appropriate at present".

Friday 23 April 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack on an oil terminal in North Shields, England. The bomb damaged a large storage tank.
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), held another meeting.
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, made a major speech on Northern Ireland to an audience at the Institute of Irish Studies in Liverpool. Mayhew stated that the British government was against the notion of "joint sovereignty" but did want to see a devolved government with wide powers.

Saturday 24 April 1993
Bishopsgate Bomb
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a large bomb, estimated at over a ton of home-made explosives, at Bishopsgate in London. One person was killed and over 30 people injured in the explosion. [Later estimates put the cost of repair at £350 million (some reported estimates were as high as £1,000 million).]
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item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), held their second meeting in a fortnight and issued a first joint statement.

Tuesday 27 April 1993
item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), stated that he would not enter new political talks while the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was in talks with Sinn Féin (SF).

Wednesday 28 April 1993
item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said that he would not enter new political talks.

Friday 30 April 1993
item mark The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), carried out a gun attack on a bookmaker's shop in Belfast. Five people were wounded in the attack. [On of the rifles used in the attacked jammed and this probably saved the lives of some of those in the shop.]

May 1993

Saturday 1 May 1993
item mark Alan Lundy (39), a Sinn Féin (SF) member, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Lundy was working a the home of Alex Maskey, then a SF councillor, in Andersonstown, Belfast, when the attack took place.
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Wednesday 5 May 1993
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), was refused a visitor's visa to enter the United States of America (USA).

Sunday 9 May 1993
item mark The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) issued a death threat against politicians in the Republic of Ireland.

Monday 10 May 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, promised proposals for new political talks.

Wednesday 12 May 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb in Oxford, England.

Monday 17 May 1993
item mark The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) stated that it would look at the results of the local government elections on 19 May 1993 to see if there was any evidence of "pan-Nationalist candidates" co-operating with each other.

Wednesday 19 May 1993
Local Government Elections
item mark There were district council elections to choose 582 councillors for the 26 District Councils in Northern Ireland. [When the results were declared they showed an increase in the percentage share of the vote for the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Sinn Féin (SF), and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI).]
item mark Three former detectives in the British police who had been involved in the investigations that led to the convictions of the Guildford Four were cleared of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. The men were accused of having manufactured the interview notes of one of the Guildford Four.

Thursday 20 May 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb, estimated at 1,000 pounds, in Glengall Street, Belfast. Thirteen people were injured in the explosion. The bomb was placed outside the Grand Opera House and close to the Headquarters of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). [Later estimates put the cost of the damage at £6.5 million.]

Saturday 22 May 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb, estimated at 1,000 pounds, in Portadown, County Armagh. Six people were injured in the explosion. [Later estimates put the cost of the damage at £8 million.]

Sunday 23 May 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb, estimated at 1,500 pounds, in Magherafelt, County Derry. There was another IRA bomb in Belfast.

Wednesday 26 May 1993
item mark The European Court of Human Rights considered an appeal against the use, within the United Kingdom (UK), of a period of seven-day detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The Court rejected the appeal on the grounds that the situation in Northern Ireland justified the detention of suspects for longer than four days.

Thursday 27 May 1993
Queen Meets President
item mark Mary Robinson, then President of the Republic of Ireland, travelled to London to attend a meeting with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace. [The meeting was the first official contact between an Irish president and a British monarch.] Michael Ancram replaced Jeremy Hanley at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) to become the Political Development Minister.

June 1993

Tuesday 1 June 1993
item mark Reg Empey, then a Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) councillor, was elected as Lord Mayor of Belfast. Hugh Smyth, then a Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) councillor, was elected as Deputy Lord Mayor.

Sunday 6 June 1993
item mark The Ministry of Defence announced that, as from October 1993, women soldiers would be armed with SA80 rifles.

Tuesday 8 June 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held a meeting with James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), in London. This was the start of a fresh set of bilateral talks.

Wednesday 9 June 1993
item mark The report of the Opsahl Commission, entitled A Citizens' Inquiry, was published. The Commission had been established as part of Initiative '92 with the intention of seeking a wide range of views on the future of Northern Ireland.

Thursday 10 June 1993
item mark It was confirmed that Jean Kennedy Smith, sister of the late President John F. Kennedy, would be the next American Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland.

Friday 11 June 1993
item mark Queen Elizabeth paid a visit to Northern Ireland. John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held another meeting with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF). Amnesty International criticised certain aspects of emergence powers in Northern Ireland.

Tuesday 15 June 1993
item mark The Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR) argued for changes to the way in which the House of Commons dealt with legislation on Northern Ireland matters. [Following the introduction of Direct Rule the region was governed under a Temporary Provisions Act, and Northern Ireland legislation was introduce by way of 'Orders in Council'. The main criticism of this procedure was that the legislation could not be amended in the House of Commons.]

Wednesday 16 June 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, and Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), held a meeting in London and both called for talks between the Northern Ireland political parties to be resumed.

Friday 18 June 1993
President Shakes Adams' Hand
item mark Mary Robinson, then President of the Republic of Ireland, paid an unofficial visit to community groups in Belfast. The visit went ahead against the wishes of the British government and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). During the visit Robinson met Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), and shook his hand. [This gesture provoked a lot of criticism amongst Unionists.] Robinson also visited Coalisland, in County Tyrone.

Thursday 24 June 1993
item mark Michael Mates, then a Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Minister, resigned his post. [He was replaced by John Wheeler.]

Saturday 26 June 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, began a two-day visit to Northern Ireland. Major called for a resumption of political talks between the constitutional parties.
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) moved to prevent an Orange Order parade close to the peace line in the Springfield area of Belfast. The action led to rioting. Brian McCallum (26), a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), was mortally wounded when a grenade he was handling exploded prematurely. Eighteen other people were injured. [McCallum died on 29 June 1993.]
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Monday 28 June 1993
item mark It was disclosed that the British Labour Party had produced a discussion document in 1992 on the future of Northern Ireland . The document contained a proposal that, in the absence of agreement between the political parties, there should be joint authority, between Britain and the Republic of Ireland, over Northern Ireland for a period of 20 years. [The proposals were welcomed by Nationalists but were rejected by Unionists.]

July 1993

Thursday 1 July 1993
item mark The annual report of the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR) was published. SACHR called for a review of the legislation that covered the use of lethal force by the security forces. The report also supported the use of video recording of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) interviews of people suspected of paramilitary related offences.

Friday 2 July 1993
item mark There was serious rioting in Belfast, Bangor, and Lurgan, following the funeral of Brian McCallum (26), a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). McCallum had been fatally wounded on 26 June 1993.

Sunday 4 July 1993
item mark The Sunday Tribune (a Republic of Ireland newspaper) carried an interview with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF). Adams was reported as stating that Republicans might accept joint authority as "part of the process towards an end to partition".

Monday 5 July 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb, estimated at 1,500 pounds, in the centre of Newtownards, County Down.

Tuesday 6 July 1993
item mark Yorkshire Television broadcast a documentary entitled 'Hidden Hand -the Forgotten Massacre' made as part of its 'First Tuesday' series. The programme dealt with the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974. [The programme came to the conclusion that the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) would have required assistance to carry out the bomb attacks. There was speculation as to where such assistance might have come from. While no firm conclusions were reached, it was suggested that the security forces in Northern Ireland were the most likely source of help. Allegations concerning the existence of a covert British Army unit based at Castledillon were considered; as well as alleged links between that unit and Loyalist paramilitaries. It was shown that Merlyn Rees, the former Secretary of Sate, had known of the unitís existence. On 15 July 1993 the UVF issued a statement in which it claimed sole responsibility for the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings.]

Thursday 8 July 1993
item mark The Guardian (a British newspaper) published an interview with Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs). In the interview Spring suggested that the two governments draw up a framework settlement and then put the proposal directly to the public by means of a referendum. There was a meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC).

Sunday 11 July 1993
item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), claimed that the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) had presented the Irish Republican Army (IRA) with peace proposals at the end of 1992.

Thursday 15 July 1993
item mark The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) released a statement in which the organisation admitted sole responsibility for the Dublin and Monaghan bombs on 17 May 1974. The statement was issued in response to the television documentary 'Hidden Hand - the Forgotten Massacre' broadcast on 6 July 1993.

Friday 23 July 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, told the House of Commons that there was no truth in the rumour that he had entered into a deal with the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in return for support during the debate on the 'Social Chapter' of the Maastricht Treaty. [Martin Smyth (Rev), then a UUP Member of Parliament (MP), stated that he expected a Select Committee on Northern Ireland to be established in the near future.]

Tuesday 27 July 1993
item mark Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), argued that the suggested Northern Ireland Select Committee for the House of Commons would have an adverse affect on the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

August 1993

Sunday 8 August 1993
item mark Sean Lavery (21), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), in a gun attack on the Lavery home. Sean's father, Bobby Lavery, was a Sinn Féin (SF) councillor.
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Wednesday 11 August 1993
item mark Seamus Hopkins (24), a Catholic civilian, was found beaten to death in the Shankill area of Belfast. Sir Hugh Annesley, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), announced that women officers would be armed from April 1994.
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Thursday 12 August 1993
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) prevented a bomb attack when officers intercepted a van bomb, estimated at 3,000 pounds, in Portadown, County Armagh.

Friday 13 August 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a series of fire-bomb attacks on the pier at Bournemouth, England, and a number of shops.

Saturday 14 August 1993
item mark A group of supporters of ETA from the Basque country paid a visit to Belfast and expressed support for Sinn Féin (SF) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Monday 16 August 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack in the centre of Strabane, County Tyrone.

Thursday 19 August 1993
item mark Jean Kennedy Smith, then American Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, paid an unofficial two-day visit to Derry and Fermanagh.

Monday 23 August 1993
item mark Both the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and Republican sources denied a report on 22 August 1993 in the Sunday Times (a British newspaper) that the British Government and army had drawn up a secret peace strategy towards the end of 1992 involving contacts and eventual talks with the IRA. [A similar claim was made by James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), on 11 July 1993.] The newspaper claimed that the strategy involved a 60-point blueprint for reducing violence. The NIO reiterated the British government's position that "there cannot be talks or negotiations with people who use or threaten violence to advance their arguments." [Details of a series of secret talks were revealed on 28 November 1993.]

Wednesday 25 August 1993
item mark The Red Hand Commando (RHC) announced that it would attack bars or hotels where Irish folk music is played. The RHC stated that the music was part of the "pan-nationalist front". [Following widespread criticism the RHC withdrew the threat on 26 August 1993.]

Thursday 26 August 1993
item mark John Wheeler (Sir), then a Northern Ireland Office (NIO) minister, gave an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in which he said that "the IRA [Irish Republican Army] is already defeated". [The IRA issued a statement in reply on 27 August 1993.]

Friday 27 August 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) responded to an interview given by John Wheeler (Sir), then a Northern Ireland Office (NIO) minister, on 26 August 1993. In the statement the IRA said that it would meet "head-on any British persistence with the failed policies of the past".

September 1993

Wednesday 1 September 1993
item mark James Bell (49), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at his place of work near to the Newtownards Road in east Belfast. item mark James Peacock (44), a prison officer, was shot dead at his home in Belfast by the UVF. [The UVF later threatened to kill more prison officers unless there were improvements in conditions for Loyalist prisoners. This threat was withdrawn on 10 September 1993.]
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item mark The Unionist controlled Belfast City Council voted to ban Mary Robinson, then President of the Republic of Ireland, from entering any council owned property including the City Hall.

Friday 3 September 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb, estimated at 1,000 pounds, in the centre of Armagh. The explosion caused extensive damage to property in the area.

Saturday 4 September 1993 to Saturday 11 September 1993
item mark There was a suspension in Irish Republican Army (IRA) attacks for one week. Commentators believed this was done to coincide with a visit by an Irish-American fact-finding group to Ireland led by Bruce Morrison (former United States Democratic congressman). The group requested a meeting with Sinn Féin (SF). The meeting with SF was considered important by the Irish-American group, which had talks over 3 days with political leaders in Dublin and Belfast. The group believed that SF's inclusion in the peace process was essential to bring about an end to violence. [This was the second temporary ceasefire during 1993 - the first in May coincided with the visit of the then co-chairman of the Irish group, former mayor of Boston, but fizzled out according to Republican sources when his expected meeting with SF failed to take place.]

Friday 10 September 1993
item mark Three Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) detectives who had been involved in the original 'UDR [Ulster Defence Regiment] Four' case were themselves sent for trial.

Sunday 12 September 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, gave a speech to the British Irish Association. Mayhew called for flexibility on the part of the political parties. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) published a policy document entitled 'Breaking the Log-Jam'.

Tuesday 14 September 1993
item mark Jean Kennedy Smith, then USA Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, began a week-long fact-finding visit to Northern Ireland.

Thursday 16 September 1993
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), travelled to Downing Street, London, for a meeting with John Major, then British Prime Minister. Following the meeting Hume stated that he did not "give two balls of roasted snow" for those who were criticising his continuing talks with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF).

Friday 17 September 1993
item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), travelled to Downing Street, London, for a meeting with John Major, then British Prime Minister. In an interview following the meeting Paisley criticised John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), as being the voice of "pan-Nationalism".

Saturday 18 September 1993
item mark An interview with Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), was published in the Guardian (a British newspaper). McGuinness stated that any political settlement should be decided by the people of Ireland and spoke of the "right to self-determination of the Irish people".
item mark The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) issued a statement in reply to Sinn Féin (SF) claims that members of the party had been refused licences to carry firearms for personal protection. The RUC denied that was any such policy and stated that five SF councillors had been issued with firearm certificates.

Tuesday 21 September 1993
item mark The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), placed bombs at the homes of four Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) councillors. No one was injured in the attacks. Senior members of the SDLP expressed support for the 'Hume-Adams' talks.

Wednesday 22 September 1993
item mark David Trimble, then a Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP, criticised the Hume-Adams Initiative as: "misconceived and bound to fail".

Thursday 23 September 1993
item mark The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) held a meeting with Michael Ancram, then Political Development Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), to discuss the possibility of future political talks. item mark The Campaign for Labour Representation in Northern Ireland (CLRNI), which was established in 1977 to try to persuade the British Labour Party to stand for elections in Northern Ireland, was dissolved without achieving its central aim.

Saturday 25 September 1993
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), issued a second joint statement. The statement outlined the Hume-Adams Initiative which "aimed at the creation of a peace process". The document was believed to have been forwarded to the Irish government. [The full text of the Hume-Adams Initiative has never been published.]
item mark The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) issued a statement.

Monday 27 September 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a large bomb, estimated at 300 pounds, in the centre of Belfast and caused extensive damage. The IRA exploded a second bomb, estimated at 500 pounds, in south Belfast.
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), suspended their talks while a report from them (the Hume-Adams Initiative) was being considered by the British and Irish Governments. A report in the Irish Times (a Republic of Ireland newspaper) claimed that the Hume-Adams Initiative asked the British government to state that it no long-term interest in Northern Ireland and that it would use its influence to persuade Unionists that their best interest lay in a united Ireland.

Tuesday 28 September 1993
item mark Unionist politicians rejected a suggestion by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) for a boycott of government.

Wednesday 29 September 1993
item mark In a speech, Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, asserted the right of "self-determination of the people living in Northern Ireland". Mayhew also stated that Sinn Féin (SF) could only join political talks when Irish Republican Army (IRA) violence had ended "for real".

October 1993

Friday 1 October 1993
item mark Representatives of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) held a meeting with Michael Ancram, then Political Development Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). The DUP members refused to discuss their latest policy document 'Breaking the Log-Jam' unless Ancram undertook to ignore the Hume-Adams Initiative.

Saturday 2 October 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded three bombs in Hampstead, north London and injured six people and damaged a number of shops and flats.

Monday 4 October 1993
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded five bombs in north London and injured four people.
The IRA issued a statement welcoming the Hume-Adams Initiative.

Wednesday 6 October 1993
item mark The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), carried out a gun attack on a pub in Twinbrook, Belfast, and killed one Catholic civilian and injured two others. The UFF later claimed that the attack was carried out because of the Hume-Adams Initiative and the pan-Nationalist front.
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item mark The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) exploded a bomb outside a Sinn Féin (SF) office on the Falls Road, Belfast.
item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), made a speech at a fringe meeting of the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool, England. Molyneaux stated that the Hume-Adams Initiative had wrecked any prospect of future inter-party talks. item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), wrote a letter to John Major, then British Prime Minister, in which he stated that the Hume-Adams Initiative was "aimed at Ulster's destruction". item mark Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), stated that if there was an overall political settlement then Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution could be changed by a referendum.

Thursday 7 October 1993
Hume Meets Taoiseach
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), travelled to Dublin to meet Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minster), and Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs). Hume gave them a report on the meetings he had held with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF). Adams, who was also in Dublin, said that a declaration by the British government on the right of Irish self-determination would lead to an end of the campaign of violence by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
item mark At the trial of three former British police officers in London was ended by the judge because of what he termed "saturation" publicity surrounding the case. The three officers had been accused of perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in the case of the Birmingham Six.

Friday 8 October 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, delivered a speech to the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool, England. Major stated that the only message he wanted from the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was one indicating that the organisation was finished with its campaign of violence for good.
item mark Robin Eames (Dr), then Church of Ireland Primate, condemned the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) threat to the Catholic community. [Ten Catholic civilians had been killed since 8 August 1993 by the UFF and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).]

Saturday 9 October 1993
item mark John Taylor, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament (MP), called on Loyalist paramilitaries to end their campaign of violence.

Sunday 10 October 1993
item mark Martin Smyth (Rev.), then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament (MP) and Grand Master of the Orange Lodge, gave an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). In the interview he stated that Sinn Féin (SF) could be included in political taks on what was best for "Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom" if they ended their support for the Irish Republican Army (IRA). [Smyth was criticised by some UUP members and other Unionists for this statement.] item mark The Sunday Independent (a Republic of Ireland newspaper) published the results of a poll of opinion in the Republic of Ireland. The result showed that, of those questioned, 72 per cent supported the talks that led to the Hume-Adams Initiative. Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), held a meeting in Dublin with Nelson Mandela, then leader of the African National Congress. Mandela gave his endorsement to the Hume-Adams Initiative.

Wednesday 13 October 1993
item mark In the Dáil Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), declined opposition requests for a debate on Northern Ireland. The reason given was the matter was at a delicate stage. Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), stated that peace in Northern Ireland would come about as a result of "total demilitarisation" and was not a "prerequisite" for a peace process.

Friday 15 October 1993
item mark The Equal Opportunities Unit of the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) reported that Catholics were fairly represented in most levels of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, the exception being in those posts at a senior level.
item mark A number of workers from the Shorts factory attended a protest meeting following the killing of Joseph Reynolds on 12 October 1993. Reynolds, a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), as he walked to work at Shorts. Five other workers were also injured in the attack.

Saturday 16 October 1993
item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), addressed the UUP annual conference in Craigavon, County Armagh. He repeated his criticism of the Hume-Adams Initiative. He also stated that there would have to be a lengthy period of "quarantine" following the end of violence before representatives of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) could be included in political talks.

Tuesday 19 October 1993
item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), held a meeting in London with John Major, then British Prime Minister, and repeated his party's opposition to the Hume-Adams Initiative. item mark Major told the House of Commons that he "knew nothing" of the details of the Hume-Adams Initiative. item mark Michael Howard, then British Home Secretary, signed an 'exclusion order' which banned Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), from entering Britain. Adams had been invited by Tony Benn, then a Member of Parliament (MP), to address a meeting at Westminster, London.

Wednesday 20 October 1993
item mark John Alderdice, then leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), said that the Hume-Adams Initiative had cast a shadow over efforts to get political talks going again.
item mark The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published a report that advocated shared, or joint, authority as a political solution to the conflict.

Thursday 21 October 1993
item mark John Gibson (51), a Protestant civilian, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Glengormley near Belfast. Gibson was believed to have been targeted because he was doing building work for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).
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item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, informed the House of Commons that bilateral talks were taking place with the political parties.

Friday 22 October 1993
item mark While addressing the House of Commons at Westminster, John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said that he thought the Hume-Adams Initiative was the best chance of achieving peace that he had seen in 20 years.
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued threats against the staff of five firms that were undertaking building work on behalf of the security forces.

Saturday 23 October 1993
Shankill Road Bombing
item mark Ten people were killed when a bomb being planted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded prematurely as it was being planted in a fish shop on the Shankill Road, Belfast. With the exception of one of the bombers who was also killed, the rest of those who died were Protestant civilians. The bombing represented the greatest loss of life in Northern Ireland in a single incident since the Enniskillen bombing on 8 November 1987. A further 57 people were injured in the attack. There was a wave of condemnations of the attack. item mark Loyalist paramilitaries reacted immediately shooting two Catholic men one of whom died later from his wounds.
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item mark [Over the next week Loyalist paramilitaries killed a total of 12 Catholic civilians. The IRA later claimed that the intended target of the bomb was a meeting of Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) members that was believed to be taking place in the former Ulster Defence Association (UDA) office above the fish shop.]
item mark It was announced that the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) meeting planned for 27 October would be postponed as a mark of respect following the Shankill Road bombing. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in Belfast City Council decided not to engage with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) until the Hume-Adams Initiative had ended.

Monday 25 October 1993
item mark The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) shot and killed Sean Fox (72), a Catholic pensioner, at his home in Harmin Park, Glengormley, near Belfast. [After the killing the UVF rang a Belfast newsroom to claim responsibility and also stated that its members had spent over an hour interrogating Fox before killing him.]
item mark A Catholic civilian died two days after being shot in Belfast.
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item mark Thousands of (Protestant) workers from Harland and Wolff shipbuilders and the Shorts factory took time off work to walk to the scene of the Shankill Road Bombing.

Tuesday 26 October 1993
item mark Two Catholic civilians were shot dead and five others injured, in a Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), gun attack at Kennedy Way in west Belfast.
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item mark At the funeral service of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) member killed in the Shakill Road Bombing on 23 October 1993, Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), helped carry the coffin.

Wednesday 27 October 1993
item mark Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), speaking in the Dáil outlined proposals for sustainable peace that involved six "democratic principles".
item mark Peace rallies were held at a number of venues in the Republic of Ireland including Dublin and Galway.

Thursday 28 October 1993
item mark Two brothers, both Catholic civilians, were shot dead at their home near Lurgan by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).
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Friday 29 October 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, and Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), issued a joint statement from a meeting they held in Brussels. The statement contained six points and outlined the governments' determination that there would be no secret deals with the paramilitary groups. However the statement also made clear that if there were an end to violence then the governments would respond imaginatively. The governments stated that they would not adopt or endorse the proposals contained in the Hume-Adams Initiative.

Saturday 30 October 1993
Greysteel Killings
item mark The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), killed six Catholics civilians and one Protestant civilian in an attack on the 'Rising Sun' bar in Greysteel, County Derry. A further 13 people were injured in the attack one of whom later died of his injuries on 14 April 1994. [One of the gunmen was hear to say "trick or treat" before he fired into the crowded bar. This was a reference to the Halloween celebration that was taking place. There was widespread condemnation of the attack. The UFF later claimed that it had attacked the "Nationalist electorate" in revenge for the Shankill Road Bombing on 23 October 1993. The killings brought the total number of deaths during October to 27 making it the worst month for casualties in 17 years.]
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November 1993

Monday 1 November 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, told John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), that the proposals contained in the Hume-Adams Initiative were "not the right way to proceed". In reply to another member of the House of Commons Major said that to "sit down and talk with Mr Adams and the Provisional IRA ... would turn my stomach". [It was revealed on 28 November 1993 that the British government had a channel of communication with the Republican movement for three years and had been in regular contact since February.]

Tuesday 2 November 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, proposed a series of bilateral meetings with the leaders of the four main (constitutional) political parties to try to start a talks process. item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said that the parties would not talk to the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) until the Hume-Adams Initiative was ended.

Wednesday 3 November 1993
item mark The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) organised peace rallies in Belfast and Derry.

Thursday 4 November 1993
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), had a meeting with John Major, then British Prime Minister, in London. Hume later stated that there could be peace within a week if his proposals were adopted.
item mark Gordon Wilson revealed that he, along with two other people, had held a meeting with three leaders of Loyalist paramilitaries. The meeting took place earlier in the week.

Saturday 6 November 1993
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), rejected the six principles proposed by Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), as "the basis for a peace process". [Spring had outlined the principles on 27 October 1993.] item mark Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), told the Fianna Fáil (FF) Ard Fheis (annual conference) that peace could begin by the end of the year.

Sunday 7 November 1993
item mark Approximately 3,000 people attended a peace rally at Greysteel, County Derry, the site of the Greysteel Killings on 30 October 1993.

Thursday 11 November 1993
item mark Michael Ancram, then Political Development Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), held a meeting in London with representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). This completed a series of bilateral meetings with the main political parties. item mark The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) published its proposals for the future of Northern Ireland in a document entitled Breaking the Log-Jam.

Sunday 14 November 1993
item mark A Sinn Féin (SF) selection convention was held in Belfast to discuss the European Elections in June 1994. The party selected candidates to contest each of the three Northern Ireland seats in the European Parliament - the first time SF had fought in all three constituencies.

Monday 15 November 1993
item mark The Belfast Telegraph (a Northern Ireland newspaper) carried a report that Sinn Féin (SF) had held face-to-face meetings with senior British Government officials and exchanged documents about how to end IRA violence. One source described the talks as 'protracted' but that they were ended by June. SF refused to deny the claims, but the British Government flatly rejected them. [Confirmation of the secret talks broke in the United Kingdom (UK) media on 28 November 1993.]
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, made a keynote speech on Northern Ireland to an audience at the Guildhall in London. He said that the opportunity for peace in Northern Ireland was better than at any time for many years.

Thursday 18 November 1993
item mark The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) organised a series of 16 peace rallies across Ireland.

Friday 19 November 1993
item mark The Irish Press (a Republic of Ireland newspaper) carried a report of a secret plan drawn up by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs on the future of Northern Ireland.

Saturday 20 November 1993
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held another meeting with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF). The two leaders issued a third joint statement.

Sunday 21 November 1993
item mark A rally in support of the Hume-Adams Initiative was held on the Falls Road in west Belfast. Approximately 2,000 attended the event.

Monday 22 November 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, gave a speech at the Queen's University of Belfast in which he stated that the British government would not talk with Sinn Féin (SF) until the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had ended its campaign of violence. item mark The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) stated that it was earnestly seeking peace. The CLMC also warned that the Loyalist paramilitary groups were preparing for war in case peace was "bought at any price". [An insight into these preparation was obtained on 24 November 1993.]

Wednesday 24 November 1993
item mark A consignment of arms that was being shipped to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was intercepted by British police at Teesport, England. The arms contained 300 assault rifles, thousands of bullets, 4,400 pounds of explosives, and detonators, and had originated in Poland.
item mark Representatives of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) held a meeting at Downing Street, London, with John Major, then British Prime Minister.

Thursday 25 November 1993
item mark The Irish Times (a Republic of Ireland newspaper) carried a report of an interview with an Irish Republican Army (IRA) spokesperson. The IRA declared that there would be no unilateral cessation of violence.

Saturday 27 November 1993
item mark The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) held its annual conference in Cookstown, County Tyrone. In his address John Hume, then leader of the SDLP, stated that John Major, then British Prime Minister, held "the key to peace". item mark The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) held its annual conference at Castlereagh in Belfast. Ian Paisley, then leader of the DUP, told delegates that Northern Ireland faced "the greatest threat to the Union since the Home Rule Crisis".

Sunday 28 November 1993
Secret Talks Between British and Republicans

item mark The nature and extent of a series of secret talks between the British Government and the Republican Movement was revealed by the Observer (a British Newspaper). The report indicated that a secret channel of communication had existed between the British government and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for three years and the two sides had been in regular contact since February 1993. Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, claimed that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had initiated the contacts with an oral message on 22 February 1993 that stated: "The conflict is over but we need your advice on how to bring it to a close. We wish to have an unannounced cease-fire in order to hold dialogue leading to peace." [Sinn Féin (SF) denied that it had sent the message. The Observer carried a report on 28 June 1998 in which it claimed that Denis Bradley, a former Catholic priest, had acted as a means of contact between the Republican movement and the British and Irish governments over a 20 year period. The report also claimed that Bradley was responsible for the message of 22 February 1993.]

Monday 29 November 1993
item mark Sinn Féin (SF) publicly released a number of documents that provided details of the party's secret talks with the British government. Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), stated that the message of the 22 February 1993 was a fake and he accused the British of "counterfeiting their own documents to meet their current needs". item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, speaking in the House of Commons gave the British version of the secret contacts with the Republican Movement. [There were differences between the two sets of accounts. On 1 December 1993 Mayhew admitted there were 22 errors in the documents he had presented.] item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), was ordered to leave the Commons after he had accused Mayhew of telling a lie.

December 1993

Wednesday 1 December 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated that there had been 22 errors in the documents he released on secret talks between the British government and the Republican Movement. [The documents had been released by Mayhew on 29 November 1993.]

Thursday 2 December 1993
item mark Sinn Féin (SF) publicly released more information on the secret talks between the British government and the Republican Movement. Martin McGuinness, the Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), claimed that the British government had begun the contacts in 1990.

Friday 3 December 1993
item mark The Irish Times (a Republic of Ireland newspaper) reported the results of a poll on the options for a political settlement in Northern Ireland. Among Catholic respondents 33 per cent favoured the option of joint authority while 32 per cent wanted to see a United Ireland. Of those Protestants asked 35 per cent favoured closer integration with the United Kingdom (UK).

Sunday 5 December 1993
item mark Two Catholic civilians were shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), in Ligoniel, Belfast.
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Friday 10 December 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, held a meeting with Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), at a European Community summit in Brussels. John Smith, then leader of the Labour Party, paid a visit to Derry during which he said that Sinn Féin (SF) could enter all-party talks after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had ended its campaign of violence.

Saturday 11 December 1993
item mark The Irish Times (a Republic of Ireland newspaper) reported the results of a poll on Anglo-Irish relations. Of those questioned 59 per cent were in favour of talks between John Major, then British Prime Minister, and Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). The figure for Catholic respondents was 88 per cent in favour while the figure for Protestants was 37 per cent.

Sunday 12 December 1993
item mark Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The two officers were travelling in an unmarked car in Main Street, Fivemiletown, County Tyrone.
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Tuesday 14 December 1993
item mark Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, revealed that he had offered to resign over the errors in the documents dealing with the British government's contacts with the Republican movement. [The documents were released on 29 November 1993.]

Wednesday 15 December 1993
Downing Street Declaration

item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, and Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), issued a joint Declaration from 10 Downing Street, London (the document became known as the Downing Street Declaration). The main aim of the two leaders was stated as: "to foster agreement and reconciliation, leading to a new political framework founded on consent and encompassing arrangements within Northern Ireland, for the whole island, and between these islands". Later in the House of Commons Major tried to address Unionist concerns about the Declaration by drawing attention to the matters that were not in the document: "What is not in the Declaration is any suggestion that the British government should join the ranks of the persuaders of the value or legitimacy of a united Ireland". Speaking in the Dáil (the Irish parliament) Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), said that paramilitary groups would have to hand over their weapons following the end of violence.

Thursday 16 December 1993
item mark Tony Newton, then leader of the House of Commons, announced the decision to create a cross-party parliamentary committee at Westminster on Northern Ireland affairs.

Saturday 18 December 1993
item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), announced that he would organise a series of rallies against the Downing Street Declaration.

Monday 20 December 1993
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held a meeting with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), and decided to meet again when SF had considered its response to the Downing Street Declaration. item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), gave a radio interview in which he argued that the Downing Street Declaration was not a "sell out" of Unionists.

Tuesday 21 December 1993
item mark Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), called for "direct and unconditional dialogue" with the two governments. Adams also stated that the Downing Street Declaration needed to be clarified. [The matter of clarification was one that was to resurface frequently during 1994.]

Wednesday 22 December 1993
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, travelled to Northern Ireland and held a series of meetings with the leaders of the main constitutional parties.
item mark Ulster Marketing Surveys carried out a poll of opinion in Northern Ireland on the Downing Street Declaration. The poll was conducted on behalf of Independent Television News (ITN). Of those questioned 56 per cent said that they were in favour of the declaration.

Thursday 23 December 1993
item mark Two British Army marines were acquitted of the murder of Fergal Caraher (20) on 30 December 1990. Caraher was a Sinn Féin (SF) member at the time he was killed was shot dead while travelling in a car in Cullyhanna, County Armagh. The marines were acquitted on the grounds of "reasonable doubt".
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced that there would be a three-day ceasefire beginning at midnight.

Tuesday 28 December 1993
item mark Republicans held a meeting at Loughmacrory, County Tyrone, to consider the Downing Street Declaration. It was reported that many people were critical of the Declaration.

Thursday 30 December 1993
item mark A British Army soldier on patrol in Crossmaglen, County Armagh, was shot dead by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) sniper.
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item mark The IRA released a 'new year' message.
item mark The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) said that it did not feel threatened by the Downing Street Declaration and would not support another "publicity stunt" by Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

 


Sources
item mark This chronology has been compiled from a number of sources:
  • Bew, P. and Gillespie, G. (1999) Northern Ireland A chronology of the Troubles 1968-1999. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan Ltd.
  • Elliott, S. and Flackes, W.D. (1999) Northern Ireland A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: The Blackstaff Press.
  • Fortnight Magazine's monthly chronology of 'the Troubles'.
  • Sutton, M. (1994) An Index of Deaths from the Conflict in Ireland 1969-1993. Belfast: Beyond the Pale Publications. The Sutton Index of Deaths 1969-2001 - see in particular the list of deaths for 1993.
  • Various newspapers
  • For a full list of, and links to, on-line sources see the Guide to the Internet.

    Notes
    item mark Each entry contains information, where relevant, on the following topic areas:

  • Major security incidents
  • Political developments
  • Policy initiatives
  • Economic matters
  • Other relevant items
    Information contained within square brackets [   ] may contain commentary or information that only became publicly available at a later date. Any piece of information which is followed by a question mark in parenthesis (?) is a best estimate while awaiting an update.

    A Chronology of the Conflict - 1968 to the Present 1968 1969
    1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
    1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
    1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
    2000 2001 2002 2003            

  • CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
    CAIN is based within the University of Ulster.

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