DETAILED minutes of "a moment in history" which saw exploratory dialogue between the British government and Sinn Féin following the 1994 IRA ceasefire reveal a "stand-off on arms" as the central hurdle.
Secretary of state Patrick Mayhew was remarkably optimistic about the 1994 IRA ceasefire and the possibility of a permanent peace according to a private letter written by him in files declassified today in Belfast.
THE NIO regarded former UDP leader Gary McMichael as a "weak" figure, but found the PUP's David Ervine an "impressive performer", as the British government embarked on exploratory dialogue with loyalist political parties.
The famous public hand-clasp of Taoiseach Albert Reynolds with the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and the SDLP leader John Hume at Government Buildings in Dublin on September 6, 1994 irritated the NIO.
GARDAÍ launched an investigation after claims that renowned poet Patrick Kavanagh was taking unusual steps to promote one of his books, according to an 80-year-old file released by the Republic's Department of Justice.
A top American politician attempted to introduce legislation directly aimed at a Belfast company which would prevent it from receiving US contracts over its religious imbalance, newly released government papers have revealed.