After some 35 years of violence, it looks like the Irish Republican Army’s armed struggle against British rule is over. The paramilitary group has announced it has formally ordered all members to lay down their weapons. “The leadership of Oglaigh na h’Eeireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign,” said a spokesman in a recorded video. “This will take effect from 4 o’clock this afternoon. All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means.” The IRA said it would engage with an independent arms decommissioning body but gave no date for completion. The news had been expected as the IRA’s political ally Sinn Fein had been intensifying pressure on the group to embrace democracy, as had the British and Irish governments. It is hoped the statement will provide a breakthrough in the deadlocked peace process in the province. Power sharing between Republican and Unionist parties was suspended after a spying scandal in 2002.