Ulster Unionist peer, Lord Empey, has stated that the significance of the IRA ceasefire 20 years ago, was that it represented their acceptance that their campaign had failed.
Lord Empey said:
“At the time of the ceasefire the Ulster Unionist Party was extremely suspicious.
“We assumed - based on the evidence of previous encounters between the Government and the IRA such as in 1972 – that it was probably politically driven and the product of some kind of deal.
“There was also a suspicion that the IRA was using the ceasefire as a political bargaining tool and to some extent this notion was justified when the IRA breached their ceasefire in 1996 with bomb attacks on Canary Wharf in February and Manchester in June.
“In retrospect we hadn’t appreciated the extent to which the IRA had become infiltrated by the security services and its capacity to conduct its terror campaign degraded.
“With hindsight, the ceasefire’s significance was that it represented the IRA’s acceptance that their campaign had failed and they realised there was no point in continuing.”