The Good Friday Peace process in Northern Ireland was collapsing. David Trimble, who won the Nobel Peace Prize and was elected the first minister of the fragile new government there, resigned in disgust. Britain threatened to pull the plug from the power-sharing experiment that brought home rule to the war-weary Protestants and Catholics.
Then, on October 23 the Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced the long-awaited disposal of a significant amount of the paramilitary group’s weapons and an independent international disarmament commission confirmed that guns, ammunition, and explosives were extinguished.
Trimble, long beleaguered over the arms impasse, smiled broadly after seeing the proof: “This is the day we were told would never happen.”
Trimble was restored as leader of the majority Protestant government. Catholics, including Sinn Fein, the IRA representative, joined him to continue hammering out a lasting peace within a representative government. (Oct. 2001)