Results of the talks would be put to referendums in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. 1995, former US senator George Mitchell was brought in to serve as mediator for the peace talks. 1996 recommended the gradual disarmament of the IRA during the course of the talks, thus breaking the deadlock caused by the IRA's refusal to disarm.On June 10, 1996, multiparty peace talks opened in Belfast.The other 6 counties of Ulster made up Northern Ireland, which remained part of the United Kingdom.In 1949 the Irish Free State became an independent republic.The Act was accepted by Ulster Protestants and rejected by southern Catholics, who continued to demand total independence for a unified Ireland.Following a period of guerrilla warfare between the nationalist Irish Republican Army (IRA) and British forces, a treaty was signed in 1921 creating the Irish Free State from 23 southern counties and 3 counties in Ulster.
In a dual referendum held on May 22, 1998, Northern Ireland approved the accord by a vote of 71% to 29%, and the Irish Republic by a vote of 94%.Although armed hostilities between Catholics and Protestants largely subsided after the 1921 agreement, violence erupted again in the late 1960s; bloody riots broke out in Londonderry in 1968 and in Londonderry and Belfast in 1969.British troops were brought in to restore order, but the conflict intensified as the IRA and Protestant paramilitary groups carried out bombings and other acts of terrorism.The talks were to be held in three phases involving the political parties of Northern Ireland, the Irish government, and the British government.The talks would focus on the establishment of a form of self-government for Northern Ireland and the formation of Irish-Northern Irish "cross-border" bodies that would be set up to oversee such domestic concerns as agriculture, tourism, and health.
This continuing conflict, which lingered into the 1990s, became known as "the Troubles." Despite efforts to bring about a resolution to the conflict during the 1970s and 80s, terrorist violence was still a problem in the early 90s and British troops remained in full force.