Previously confidential state files show that the government considered banning Sinn Féin when electoral support for the party started to grow.
The state papers from 1983 also name Gerry Kelly, now a Sinn Féin MLA, as the IRA inmate who shot a prison officer during the Maze jail escape.
Mr Kelly was later charged with the shooting but found not guilty.
More than 1,000 documents have been published by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).
However, 225 have been kept secret.