The peace process of the 1990s appeared to offer the best chance yet of ending violent conflict in Northern Ireland. If a temporary peace did not arrive until 1994, the gestation of the peace process occured from the mid-1980s onwards. The very term ‘peace process’ is controversial. Critics might argue that the process was a sham, based upon a tactical repositioning of republicanism which proved extremely short-lived. Supporters of the peace process argue, often from different political perspectives, that it provided a framework for reconciliation or even conflict resolution.