For more than 25 years the British have been trying to find a way to stop the bombs, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips
. But it was the revulsion over the killing of 28 people in Omagh last month by the self-proclaimed "Real IRA" that may have finally turned the path of Irish history away from the bombmakers and toward the peacemakers.
Republican leader Gerry Adams this week delivered his strongest condemnation of violence ever, saying it was "over, done with, gone." On Wednesday, he even assigned a member of his Sinn Fein party to discuss turning in IRA arms.
To put further pressure on the renegade bombers, the British and Irish parliaments were recalled Wednesday to pass some of the strongest anti-terrorist measures ever.
"These people are about to learn a lesson that will teach them to respect the strength of irish democracy," said Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.
Under the new laws, members of outlawed terrorist groups like the "Real IRA" could be convicted largely on the word of a single senior police officer. Still, some fear that could leave the justice system open to police abuse and play into the terrorists' hands.
However, there are plenty of votes to get this legislation through and it will pass. The hope is that the stick of the tough new laws and the carrot of the peace process will finally take the gun and the bomb out of Irish politics.
Reported by Mark Phillips
©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved
© 1998 CBS. All rights reserved.