The Irish Republican Army (IRA; ), also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and informally as the Provos, was an Irish republican
A paramilitary is an organization whose structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but is not part of a country's official or legitimate armed forces. Paramilitary units carr ...
organisation that sought to end British rule in
Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
, facilitate Irish reunification
and bring about an independent,
Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ... republic
A republic () is a "state in which power rests with the people or their representatives; specifically a state without a monarchy" and also a "government, or system of government, of such a state." Previously, especially in the 17th and 18th ...
encompassing all of
Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the s ...
. It was the most active republican paramilitary group during
The Troubles ( ga, Na Trioblóidí) were an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to 1998. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "i ...
. It saw itself as the army of the all-island
The Irish Republic ( ga, Poblacht na hÉireann or ) was an unrecognised revolutionary state that declared its independence from the United Kingdom in January 1919. The Republic claimed jurisdiction over the whole island of Ireland, but by ...
and as the sole legitimate successor to the original IRA
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence () or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army (IRA, the army of the Irish Republic) and British forces: the British Army, along with the quasi-mi ...
. It was designated a terrorist organisation
in the United Kingdom and an unlawful organisation in the
Republic of Ireland
Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland (), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern side of the island. ...
, both of whose authority it rejected.
The Provisional IRA emerged in December 1969, due to a split within the previous incarnation of the IRA
and the broader Irish republican movement
. It was initially the minority faction in the split compared to the
The Official Irish Republican Army or Official IRA (OIRA; ) was an Irish republican paramilitary group whose goal was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and create a " workers' republic" encompassing all of Ireland. It emerge ...
, but became the dominant faction by 1972. The Troubles had begun
shortly before when a largely Catholic, nonviolent civil rights campaign
was met with violence from both Ulster loyalists
Royal Ulster Constabulary
The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2001. It was founded on 1 June 1922 as a successor to the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)Richard Doherty, ''The Thin Green Line – The History of the Roya ...
(RUC), culminating in the August 1969 riots
and deployment of British soldiers
. The IRA initially focused on defence of Catholic areas, but it began an offensive campaign in 1970
that was aided by weapons supplied by
, image = Irish ancestry in the USA 2018; Where Irish eyes are Smiling.png
, image_caption = Irish Americans, % of population by state
, caption = Notable Irish Americans
, population =
36,115,472 (10.9%) alone ...
sympathisers and Libyan leader
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, . Due to the lack of standardization of transcribing written and regionally pronounced Arabic, Gaddafi's name has been romanized in various ways. A 1986 column by '' The Straight Dope'' lists 32 spellin ...
. It used guerrilla
tactics against the
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British Armed Forces along with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. , the British Army comprises 79,380 regular full-time personnel, 4,090 Gurkh ...
and RUC in both rural and urban areas, and carried out a bombing campaign in Northern Ireland and England against military, political and economic targets, and British military targets in Europe.
The Provisional IRA declared a final ceasefire in July 1997, after which its political wing
Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The original Sinn Féin organisation was founded in 1905 by Arthur Gr ...
was admitted into multi-party peace talks on the future of Northern Ireland. These resulted in the 1998
Good Friday Agreement
The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of The Troubles, a political conflict in No ...
, and in 2005 the IRA formally ended its armed campaign and decommissioned its weapons
under the supervision of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning
. Several splinter group
s have been formed as a result of splits within the IRA, including the Continuity IRA
The Real Irish Republican Army, or Real IRA (RIRA), is a dissident Irish republican paramilitary group that aims to bring about a United Ireland. It formed in 1997 following a split in the Provisional IRA by dissident members, who rejected t ...
, both of which are still active in the dissident Irish republican campaign
. The IRA's armed campaign, primarily in Northern Ireland but also in England and mainland Europe, killed over 1,700 people, including roughly 1,000 members of the British security forces, and 500–644 civilians. In addition 275–300 members of the IRA were killed during the conflict.
The original IRA
was formed in 1913 as the
The Irish Volunteers ( ga, Óglaigh na hÉireann), sometimes called the Irish Volunteer Force or Irish Volunteer Army, was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists and republicans. It was ostensibly formed in respo ...
, at a time when all of Ireland was part of the
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and ...
The Volunteers took part in the
The Easter Rising ( ga, Éirí Amach na Cásca), also known as the Easter Rebellion, was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week in April 1916. The Rising was launched by Irish republicans against British rule in Ireland with the ...
against British rule
in 1916, and the
War of Independence
This is a list of wars of independence (also called liberation wars). These wars may or may not have been successful in achieving a goal of independence.
* Lists of active separatist movements
* List of civil wars
* List ...
that followed the
Declaration of Independence
A declaration of independence or declaration of statehood or proclamation of independence is an assertion by a polity in a defined territory that it is independent and constitutes a state. Such places are usually declared from part or all of the ...
by the revolutionary parliament
Dáil Éireann ( , ; ) is the lower house, and principal chamber, of the Oireachtas (Irish legislature), which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann (the upper house).Article 15.1.2º of the Constitution of Ireland reads: ...
in 1919, during which they came to be known as the IRA.
Ireland was partitioned
into Southern Ireland
Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
Government of Ireland Act 1920
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. 67) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill ...
, and following the implementation of the
The 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty ( ga , An Conradh Angla-Éireannach), commonly known in Ireland as The Treaty and officially the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was an agreement between the government of the ...
in 1922 Southern Ireland, renamed the
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state established in December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. The treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between th ...
, became a self-governing
The term ''Dominion'' is used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire.
"Dominion status" was first accorded to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, and the Irish Free State at the 1926 I ...
while Northern Ireland chose to remain under
Home rule is government of a colony, dependent country, or region by its own citizens. It is thus the power of a part ( administrative division) of a state or an external dependent country to exercise such of the state's powers of governance wi ...
as part of the United Kingdom. The Treaty caused a split in the IRA, the pro-Treaty IRA were absorbed into the National Army
, which defeated the anti-Treaty IRA
A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same state (or country).
The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change government policie ...
Subsequently, while denying the legitimacy of the Free State, the surviving elements of the anti-Treaty IRA focused on overthrowing the Northern Ireland state and the achievement of a
United Ireland, also referred to as Irish reunification, is the proposition that all of Ireland should be a single sovereign state. At present, the island is divided politically; the sovereign Republic of Ireland has jurisdiction over the ma ...
, carrying out a bombing campaign in England in 1939 and 1940
, a campaign in Northern Ireland in the 1940s
, and the Border campaign of 1956–1962
. Following the failure of the Border campaign, internal debate took place regarding the future of the IRA. Chief-of-staff Cathal Goulding
wanted the IRA to adopt a
Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
agenda and become involved in politics, while traditional republicans such as Seán Mac Stíofáin
wanted to increase recruitment and rebuild the IRA.
Following partition, Northern Ireland became a de facto one-party state
governed by the
Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland. The party was founded in 1905, emerging from the Irish Unionist Alliance in Ulster. Under Edward Carson, it led unionist opposition to the Irish Home Rule mov ...
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended because of its inability to restore or ...
, in which Catholics viewed themselves as second-class citizen
Protestantism is a branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that began seeking to reform the Catholic Church from within in the 16th century against what its followers perceived to ...
s were given preference in jobs and housing, and local government constituencies
in places such as
Derry, officially Londonderry (), is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland and the fifth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name ''Derry'' is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name (modern Irish: ) meaning 'oak grove'. Th ...
Policing was carried out by the armed
Royal Ulster Constabulary
The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2001. It was founded on 1 June 1922 as a successor to the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)Richard Doherty, ''The Thin Green Line – The History of the Roya ...
(RUC) and the B-Specials
, both of which were almost exclusively Protestant. In the mid-1960s tension between the Catholic and Protestant communities was increasing.
In 1966 Ireland celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising, prompting fears of a renewed IRA campaign. Feeling under threat, Protestants formed the
Ulster Volunteer Force
The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group. Formed in 1965, it first emerged in 1966. Its first leader was Gusty Spence, a former British Army soldier from Northern Ireland. The group undertook an armed campaig ...
A paramilitary is an organization whose structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but is not part of a country's official or legitimate armed forces. Paramilitary units carr ...
group which killed three people in May 1966, two of them Catholic men.
In January 1967 the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association
(NICRA) was formed by a diverse group of people, including IRA members and liberal unionists
Civil rights marches by NICRA and a similar organisation, People's Democracy
, protesting against discrimination were met by
A counter-protest (also spelled counterprotest) is a protest action which takes place within the proximity of an ideologically opposite protest. The purposes of counter-protests can range from merely voicing opposition to the objective of the oth ...
s and violent clashes with
Loyalism, in the United Kingdom, its overseas territories and its former colonies, refers to the allegiance to the British crown or the United Kingdom. In North America, the most common usage of the term refers to loyalty to the British Cro ...
, including the Ulster Protestant Volunteers
, a paramilitary group led by Ian Paisley
Marches marking the Ulster Protestant celebration
The Twelfth (also called Orangemen's Day) is an Ulster Protestant celebration held on 12 July. It began in the late 18th century in Ulster. It celebrates the Glorious Revolution (1688) and victory of Protestant King William of Orange over ...
in July 1969 led to riots and violent clashes in
Belfast ( , ; from ga, Béal Feirste , meaning 'mouth of the sand-bank ford') is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdo ...
, Derry and elsewhere. The following month a three-day riot began in the Catholic Bogside
area of Derry, following a march by the Protestant
Apprentice Boys of Derry
The Apprentice Boys of Derry is a Protestant fraternal society with a worldwide membership of over 10,000, founded in 1814 and based in the city of Derry, Northern Ireland. There are branches in Ulster and elsewhere in Ireland, Scotland, Engl ...
Battle of the Bogside
The Battle of the Bogside was a large three-day riot that took place from 12 to 14 August 1969 in Derry, Northern Ireland. Thousands of Catholic/Irish nationalist residents of the Bogside district, organised under the Derry Citizens' Defence ...
caused Catholics in Belfast to riot in
''Solidarity'' is an awareness of shared interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies creating a psychological sense of unity of groups or classes. It is based on class collaboration.''Merriam Webster'', http://www.merriam-webster.com/dicti ...
with the Bogsiders and to try to prevent RUC reinforcements being sent to Derry, sparking retaliation by Protestant mobs. The subsequent arson attack
s, damage to property and intimidation forced 1,505 Catholic families and 315 Protestant families to leave their homes in Belfast in the Northern Ireland riots of August 1969
The riots resulted in 275 buildings being destroyed or requiring major repairs, 83.5% of them occupied by Catholics.
A number of people were killed on both sides, some by the police, and the British Army were deployed to Northern Ireland
The IRA had been poorly armed and failed to properly defend Catholic areas from Protestant attacks, which had been considered one of its roles since the 1920s. Veteran republicans were critical of Goulding and the IRA's Dublin leadership which, for political reasons, had refused to prepare for aggressive action in advance of the violence. On 24 August a group including
Joe Cahill ( ga, Seosamh Ó Cathail; 19 May 1920 – 23 July 2004) was a prominent figure in the Irish republican movement in Northern Ireland and former chief of staff of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). He joined a junior-republican ...
Seamus Twomey ( ga, Séamus Ó Tuama; 5 November 1919 – 12 September 1989) was an Irish republican activist, militant, and twice chief of staff of the Provisional IRA.
Born in Belfast on Marchioness Street,Volunteer Seamus Twomey, 1 ...
, Dáithí Ó Conaill
Billy McKee ( ga, Liam Mac Aoidh; 12 November 1921 – 11 June 2019) was an Irish republican and a founding member and leader of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.
McKee was born in Belfast on 12 November 1921, and joined the Iri ...
, and Jimmy Steele
came together in Belfast and decided to remove the pro-Goulding Belfast leadership of Billy McMillen
and Jim Sullivan
and return to traditional militant republicanism.
On 22 September Twomey, McKee, and Steele were among sixteen armed IRA men who confronted the Belfast leadership over the failure to adequately defend Catholic areas.
A compromise was agreed where McMillen stayed in command, but he was not to have any communication with the IRA's Dublin based leadership.
The IRA split into "Provisional" and "Official"
factions in December 1969,
after an IRA convention was held in Boyle, County Roscommon
, Republic of Ireland.
The two main issues at the convention were a resolution
to enter into a "National Liberation Front" with radical left-wing groups, and a resolution to end
Abstentionism is standing for election to a deliberative assembly while refusing to take up any seats won or otherwise participate in the assembly's business. Abstentionism differs from an election boycott in that abstentionists participate in ...
, which would allow participation in the British
, and Northern Ireland parliaments.
Traditional republicans refused to vote on the "National Liberation Front" and it was passed by twenty-nine votes to seven.
The traditionalists argued strongly against the ending of abstentionism, and the official minutes
report the resolution passed by twenty-seven votes to twelve.
Following the convention the traditionalists canvassed support throughout Ireland, with IRA director of intelligence Mac Stíofáin meeting the disaffected members of the IRA in Belfast. Shortly after, the traditionalists held a convention which elected a "Provisional" Army Council
, composed of Mac Stíofáin, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
, Paddy Mulcahy
, Sean Tracey
, Leo Martin
, Ó Conaill, and Cahill.
The term provisional was chosen to mirror the 1916 Provisional Government of the Irish Republic
and also to designate it as temporary pending
Ratification is a principal's approval of an act of its agent that lacked the authority to bind the principal legally. Ratification defines the international act in which a state indicates its consent to be bound to a treaty if the parties inte ...
by a further IRA convention.
Nine out of thirteen IRA units in Belfast sided with the "Provisional" Army Council in December 1969, roughly 120 activists and 500 supporters. The Provisional IRA issued their first public statement on 28 December 1969,
We declare our allegiance to the 32 county Irish republic, proclaimed at Easter 1916, established by the first Dáil Éireann in 1919, overthrown by force of arms in 1922 and suppressed to this day by the existing British-imposed six-county and twenty-six-county partition states... We call on the Irish people at home and in exile for increased support towards defending our people in the North and the eventual achievement of the full political, social, economic and cultural freedom of Ireland.
The Irish republican political party
Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The original Sinn Féin organisation was founded in 1905 by Arthur Gr ... split along the same lines on 11 January 1970 in Dublin, when a third of the delegates walked out of the party's highest deliberative body, the ard fheis, in protest at the party leadership's attempt to force through the ending of abstentionism, despite its failure to achieve a two-thirds majority vote of delegates required to change the policy. The delegates that walked out reconvened at another venue where Mac Stíofáin, Ó Brádaigh and Mulcahy from the "Provisional" Army Council were elected to the Caretaker Executive of "Provisional" Sinn Féin. Despite the declared support of that faction of Sinn Féin, the early Provisional IRA avoided political activity, instead relying on physical force republicanism. £100,000 was donated by the Fianna Fáil-led Irish government
The Government of Ireland ( ga, Rialtas na hÉireann) is the cabinet that exercises executive authority in Ireland.
The Constitution of Ireland vests executive authority in a government which is headed by the , the head of government. The gove ... in 1969 to "defence committees" in Catholic areas, some of which ended up in the hands of the IRA. This resulted in the 1970 Arms Crisis where criminal charges were pursued against two former government ministers and others including John Kelly, an IRA volunteer from Belfast. The Provisional IRA maintained the principles of the pre-1969 IRA, considering both British rule in Northern Ireland and the government of the Republic of Ireland
Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland (), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern side of the island. ... to be illegitimate, and the Army Council to be the provisional government
A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency governmental authority set up to manage a political transition generally in the cases of a newly formed state or f ... of the all-island Irish Republic
The Irish Republic ( ga, Poblacht na hÉireann or ) was an unrecognised revolutionary state that declared its independence from the United Kingdom in January 1919. The Republic claimed jurisdiction over the whole island of Ireland, but by .... This belief was based on a series of perceived political inheritances which constructed a legal continuity from the Second Dáil of 1921–1922. The IRA recruited many young nationalists from Northern Ireland who had not been involved in the IRA before, but had been radicalised by the violence that broke out in 1969. These people became known as "sixty niners", having joined after 1969. The IRA adopted the phoenix
Phoenix most often refers to:
* Phoenix (mythology), a legendary bird from ancient Greek folklore
* Phoenix, Arizona, a city in the United States
Phoenix may also refer to:
Greek mythological figures
* Phoenix (son of Amyntor), ... as the symbol of the Irish republican rebirth in 1969, one of its slogans was "out of the ashes rose the Provisionals", representing the IRA's resurrection from the ashes of burnt-out Catholic areas of Belfast.
In January 1970, the Army Council decided to adopt a three-stage strategy; defence of nationalist areas, followed by a combination of defence and retaliation, and finally launching a guerrilla campaign against the British Army.
The Official IRA was opposed to such a campaign because they felt it would lead to sectarian conflict, which would defeat their strategy of uniting the workers from both sides of the sectarian divide. The Provisional IRA's strategy was to use force to cause the collapse of the Northern Ireland government and to inflict such heavy casualties on the British Army that the British government would be forced by public opinion to withdraw from Ireland. Mac Stíofáin decided they would "escalate, escalate and escalate", in what the British Army would later describe as a "classic insurgency
An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion against authority waged by small, lightly armed bands who practice guerrilla warfare from primarily rural base areas. The key descriptive feature of insurgency is its asymmetric nature: small irreg ...". In October 1970 the IRA began a bombing campaign against economic targets; by the end of the year there had been 153 explosions. The following year it was responsible for the vast majority of the 1,000 explosions that occurred in Northern Ireland. The strategic aim behind the bombings was to target businesses and commercial premises to deter investment and force the British government to pay compensation, increasing the financial cost of keeping Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. The IRA also believed that the bombing campaign would tie down British soldiers in static positions guarding potential targets, preventing their deployment in counter-insurgency
Counterinsurgency (COIN) is "the totality of actions aimed at defeating irregular forces". The Oxford English Dictionary defines counterinsurgency as any "military or political action taken against the activities of guerrillas or revolutionar ... operations. Loyalist paramilitaries, including the UVF, carried out campaigns aimed at thwarting the IRA's aspirations and maintaining the political union with Britain. Loyalist paramilitaries tended to target Catholics with no connection to the republican movement, seeking to undermine support for the IRA.
As a result of escalating violence, internment without trial was introduced by the Northern Ireland government on 9 August 1971, with 342 suspects arrested in the first twenty-four hours. Despite loyalist violence also increasing, all of those arrested were republicans, including political activist
A political movement is a collective attempt by a group of people to change government policy or social values. Political movements are usually in opposition to an element of the status quo, and are often associated with a certain ideology. Som ...s not associated with the IRA and student civil rights leaders. The one-sided nature of internment united all Catholics in opposition to the government, and riots broke out in protest across Northern Ireland. Twenty-two people were killed in the next three days, including six civilians killed by the British Army as part of the Ballymurphy massacre on 9 August, and in Belfast 7,000 Catholics and 2,000 Protestants were forced from their homes by the rioting. The introduction of internment dramatically increased the level of violence, in the seven months prior to internment 34 people had been killed, 140 people were killed between the introduction of internment and the end of the year, including thirty soldiers and eleven RUC officers. Internment boosted IRA recruitment, and in Dublin the Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government, or prime minister, of Ireland. The office is appointed by the president of Ireland upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Oireachtas, Ireland's national legislature) and the office ..., Jack Lynch, abandoned a planned idea to introduce internment in the Republic of Ireland. IRA recruitment further increased after Bloody Sunday in Derry on 30 January 1972, when the British Army killed fourteen unarmed civilians during an anti-internment march. Due to the deteriorating security situation in Northern Ireland the British government suspended the Northern Ireland parliament and imposed direct rule in March 1972. The suspension of the Northern Ireland parliament was a key objective of the IRA, in order to directly involve the British government in Northern Ireland, as the IRA wanted the conflict to be seen as one between Ireland and Britain. In May 1972 the Official IRA called a ceasefire, leaving the Provisional IRA as the sole active republican paramilitary organisation. New recruits saw the Official IRA as existing for the purpose of defence in contrast to the Provisional IRA as existing for the purpose of attack, increased recruitment and defection
In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state in exchange for allegiance to another, changing sides in a way which is considered illegitimate by the first state. More broadly, defection involves abandoning a person, c ...s from the Official IRA to the Provisional IRA led to the latter becoming the dominant organisation.
On 22 June the IRA announced that a ceasefire would begin at midnight on 26 June, in anticipation of talks with the British government. Two days later Ó Brádaigh and Ó Conaill held a press conference in Dublin to announce the Éire Nua (New Ireland) policy, which advocated an all-Ireland federal republic, with devolved governments and parliaments for each of the four historic provinces of Ireland
There have been four Provinces of Ireland: Connacht (Connaught), Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. The Irish word for this territorial division, , meaning "fifth part", suggests that there were once five, and at times Meath has been considered .... This was designed to deal with the fears of unionists over a united Ireland, an Ulster
Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label= Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces. It is made up of nine counties: six of these constitute Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kin ... parliament with a narrow Protestant majority would provide them with protection for their interests. The British government held secret talks with the republican leadership on 7 July, with Mac Stíofáin, Ó Conaill, Ivor Bell
Ivor Malachy Bell (born 1936/1937) is an Irish republican, and a former volunteer in the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) who later became Chief of Staff on the Army Council.
Bell was involved with the ..., Twomey, Gerry Adams
Gerard Adams ( ga, Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh; born 6 October 1948) is an Irish republican politician who was the president of Sinn Féin between 13 November 1983 and 10 February 2018, and served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Louth from 2011 to 202 ..., and Martin McGuinness
James Martin Pacelli McGuinness ( ga, Séamus Máirtín Pacelli Mag Aonghusa; 23 May 1950 – 21 March 2017) was an Irish republican politician and statesman from Sinn Féin and a leader within the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) during ... flying to England to meet a British delegation led by William Whitelaw. Mac Stíofáin made demands including British withdrawal, removal of the British Army from sensitive areas, and a release of republican prisoners and an amnesty for fugitives. The British refused and the talks broke up, and the IRA's ceasefire ended on 9 July. In late 1972 and early 1973 the IRA's leadership was being depleted by arrests on both sides of the Irish border, with Mac Stíofáin, Ó Brádaigh and McGuinness all imprisoned for IRA membership. Due to the crisis the IRA bombed London in March 1973, as the Army Council believed bombs in England would have a greater impact on British public opinion. This was followed by an intense period of IRA activity in England that left forty-five people dead by the end of 1974, including twenty-one civilians killed in the Birmingham pub bombings.
Following an IRA ceasefire over the Christmas period in 1974 and a further one in January 1975, on 8 February the IRA issued a statement suspending "offensive military action" from six o'clock the following day. A series of meetings took place between the IRA's leadership and British government representatives throughout the year, with the IRA being led to believe this was the start of a process of British withdrawal. Occasional IRA violence occurred during the ceasefire, with bombs in Belfast, Derry, and South Armagh. The IRA was also involved in tit for tat sectarian killings of Protestant civilians, in retaliation for sectarian killings by loyalist paramilitaries. By July the Army Council was concerned at the progress of the talks, concluding there was no prospect of a lasting peace without a public declaration by the British government of their intent to withdraw from Ireland. In August there was a gradual return to the armed campaign, and the truce effectively ended on 22 September when the IRA set off 22 bombs across Northern Ireland. The old guard leadership of Ó Brádaigh, Ó Conaill, and McKee were criticised by a younger generation of activists following the ceasefire, and their influence in the IRA slowly declined. The younger generation viewed the ceasefire as being disastrous for the IRA, causing the organisation irreparable damage and taking it close to being defeated. The Army Council was accused of falling into a trap that allowed the British breathing space and time to build up intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. More generally, it can be de ... on the IRA, and McKee was criticised for allowing the IRA to become involved in sectarian killings, as well a feud with the Official IRA in October and November 1975 that left eleven people dead.
The "Long War"
Following the end of the ceasefire, the British government introduced a new three-part strategy to deal with the Troubles; the parts became known as Ulsterisation, normalisation, and criminalisation.
Ulsterisation involved increasing the role of the locally recruited RUC and Ulster Defence Regiment
The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was an infantry regiment of the British Army established in 1970, with a comparatively short existence ending in 1992. Raised through public appeal, newspaper and television advertisements,Potter p25 their off ... (UDR), a part-time element of the British Army, in order to try to contain the conflict inside Northern Ireland and reduce the number of British soldiers recruited from outside of Northern Ireland being killed. Normalisation involved the ending of internment without trial and Special Category Status, the latter had been introduced in 1972 following a hunger strike led by McKee. Criminalisation was designed to alter public perception of the Troubles, from an insurgency requiring a military solution to a criminal problem requiring a law enforcement solution. As result of the withdrawal of Special Category Status, in September 1976 IRA prisoner Kieran Nugent began the blanket protest in the Maze Prison, when hundreds of prisoners refused to wear prison uniforms.
In 1977 the IRA evolved a new strategy which they called the "Long War", which would remain their strategy for the rest of the Troubles. This strategy accepted that their campaign would last many years before being successful, and included increased emphasis on political activity through Sinn Féin. A republican document of the early 1980s states "Both Sinn Féin and the IRA play different but converging roles in the war of national liberation. The Irish Republican Army wages an armed campaign... Sinn Féin maintains the propaganda war and is the public and political voice of the movement". The 1977 edition of the '' Green Book'', an induction and training manual used by the IRA, describes the strategy of the "Long War" in these terms:
# A war of attrition against enemy personnel ritish Armywhich is aimed at causing as many casualties and deaths as possible so as to create a demand from their he Britishpeople at home for their withdrawal.
# A bombing campaign aimed at making the enemy's financial interests in our country unprofitable while at the same time curbing long-term investment in our country.
# To make the Six Counties... ungovernable except by colonial military rule.
# To sustain the war and gain support for its ends by National and International propaganda and publicity campaigns.
# By defending the war of liberation by punishing criminals, collaborators and informers
An informant (also called an informer or, as a slang term, a “snitch”) is a person who provides privileged information about a person or organization to an agency. The term is usually used within the law-enforcement world, where informan ....
The "Long War" saw the IRA's tactics move away from the large bombing campaigns of the early 1970s, in favour of more attacks on members of the security forces. The IRA's new multi-faceted strategy saw them begin to use armed propaganda, using the publicity gained from attacks such as the assassination of Lord Mountbatten and the Warrenpoint ambush to focus attention on the nationalist community's rejection of British rule. The IRA aimed to keep Northern Ireland unstable, which would frustrate the British objective of installing a power sharing government as a solution to the Troubles.
The prison protest against criminalisation culminated in the 1981 Irish hunger strike, when seven IRA and three Irish National Liberation Army
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA, ga, Arm Saoirse Náisiúnta na hÉireann) is an Irish republican socialist paramilitary group formed on 10 December 1974, during the 30-year period of conflict known as "the Troubles". The group seeks ... members starved themselves to death in pursuit of political status. The hunger strike leader Bobby Sands
Robert Gerard Sands ( ga, Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh; 9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981) was a member (and leader in the Maze prison) of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) who died on hunger strike while imprisoned at HM Prison Maze ... and Anti H-Block activist Owen Carron
Owen Gerard Carron (born 9 February 1953) is an Irish republican activist who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Fermanagh and South Tyrone from 1981 to 1983.
Carron was born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. He qualified as a teache ... were successively elected to the British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ..., and two other protesting prisoners were elected to Dáil Éireann. The electoral successes led to the IRA's armed campaign being pursued in parallel with increased electoral participation by Sinn Féin. This strategy was known as the "Armalite and ballot box strategy", named after Danny Morrison's speech at the 1981 Sinn Féin ard fheis:
Who here really believes that we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if with a ballot paper in this hand and an Armalite in this hand we take power in Ireland?
Attacks on high-profile political and military targets remained a priority for the IRA.
The Chelsea Barracks bombing in London in October 1981 killed two civilians and injured twenty-three soldiers; a week later the IRA struck again in London by an assassination attempt on Lieutenant General Steuart Pringle, the Commandant General Royal Marines
The Commandant General Royal Marines is the professional head of the Royal Marines. The title has existed since 1943. The role is held by a General who is assisted by a Deputy Commandant General, with the rank of brigadier. This position is not t .... Attacks on military targets in England continued with the Hyde Park and Regent's Park bombings in July 1982, which killed eleven soldiers and injured over fifty people including civilians. In October 1984 they carried out the Brighton hotel bombing, an assassination attempt on British prime minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the first female British prime ..., whom they blamed for the deaths of the ten hunger strikers. The bombing killed five members of the Conservative Party attending a party conference including MP Anthony Berry
Sir Anthony George Berry (12 February 1925 – 12 October 1984) was a British Conservative politician. He served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Enfield Southgate and a whip in Margaret Thatcher's government.
Berry served as an MP for nearl ..., with Thatcher narrowly escaping death. A planned escalation of the England bombing campaign in 1985 was prevented when six IRA volunteers, including Martina Anderson and the Brighton bomber Patrick Magee, were arrested in Glasgow. Plans for a major escalation of the campaign in the late 1980s were cancelled after a ship carrying 150 tonnes of weapons donated by Libya was seized off the coast of France. The plans, modelled on the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War (also known by other names) was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam a ..., relied on the element of surprise which was lost when the ship's captain informed French authorities of four earlier shipments of weapons, which allowed the British Army to deploy appropriate countermeasures. In 1987 the IRA began attacking British military targets in mainland Europe, beginning with the Rheindahlen bombing, which was followed by approximately twenty other gun and bomb attacks aimed at British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces, also known as His Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military forces responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. They also promote the UK's wider interests, ... personnel and bases between 1988 and 1990.
By the late 1980s the Troubles were at a military and political stalemate, with the IRA able to prevent the British government imposing a settlement but unable to force their objective of Irish reunification. Sinn Féin president Adams was in contact with
Social Democratic and Labour Party
The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) ( ga, Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre) is a social-democratic and Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland. The SDLP currently has eight members in the Northern Ireland ... (SDLP) leader John Hume and a delegation representing the Irish government, in order to find political alternatives to the IRA's campaign. As a result of the republican leadership appearing interested in peace, British policy shifted when Peter Brooke, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
A secretary, administrative professional, administrative assistant, executive assistant, administrative officer, administrative support specialist, clerk, military assistant, management assistant, office secretary, or personal assistant is a w ..., began to engage with them hoping for a political settlement. Backchannel diplomacy between the IRA and British government began in October 1990, with Sinn Féin being given an advance copy of a planned speech by Brooke. The speech was given in London the following month, with Brooke stating that the British government would not give in to violence but offering significant political change if violence stopped, ending his statement by saying:
The British government has no selfish, strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland: Our role is to help, enable and encourage ... Partition is an acknowledgement of reality, not an assertion of national self-interest.
The IRA responded to Brooke's speech by declaring a three-day ceasefire over Christmas, the first in fifteen years. Afterwards the IRA intensified the bombing campaign in England, planting 36 bombs in 1991 and 57 in 1992, up from 15 in 1990. The
Baltic Exchange bombing
The Baltic Exchange bombing was an attack by the Provisional IRA on the City of London, Britain's financial centre, on 10 April 1992, the day after the General Election which re-elected John Major from the Conservative Party as Prime Minister. ... in April 1992 killed three people and caused an estimated £800 million worth of damage, £200 million more than the total damage caused by the Troubles in Northern Ireland up to that point. In December 1992 Patrick Mayhew
Patrick Barnabas Burke Mayhew, Baron Mayhew of Twysden, (11 September 1929 – 25 June 2016) was a British barrister and politician.
atrick’s father, George Mayhew, was a decorated army officer turned oil executive; his mother, S ..., who had succeeded Brooke as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, gave a speech directed at the IRA in Coleraine
Coleraine ( ; from ga, Cúil Rathain , 'nook of the ferns'Flanaghan, Deirdre & Laurence; ''Irish Place Names'', page 194. Gill & Macmillan, 2002. ) is a town and civil parish near the mouth of the River Bann in County Londonderry, Northern I ..., stating that while Irish reunification could be achieved by negotiation, the British government would not give in to violence. The secret talks between the British government and the IRA via intermediaries continued, with the British government arguing the IRA would be more likely to achieve its objective through politics than continued violence. The talks progressed slowly due to continued IRA violence, including the Warrington bombing in March 1993 which killed two children and the Bishopsgate bombing a month later which killed one person and caused an estimated £1 billion worth of damage. In December 1993 a press conference was held at London's Downing Street
Downing Street is a street in Westminster in London that houses the official residences and offices of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Situated off Whitehall, it is long, and a few minutes' walk f ... by British prime minister John Major
Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997, and as Member of Parliament (MP) for Huntingdon, formerly Hunting ... and the Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. They delivered the Downing Street Declaration
Downing may refer to:
* Downing, Missouri, US, a city
* Downing, Wisconsin, US, a village
* Downing Park (Newburgh, New York), US, a public park
* Downing, Flintshire, Wales
* Downing Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Aus ... which conceded the right of Irish people to self-determination
The right of a people to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law (commonly regarded as a ''jus cogens'' rule), binding, as such, on the United Nations as authoritative interpretation of the Charter's norms. It stat ..., but with separate referendums in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In January 1994 The Army Council voted to reject the declaration, while Sinn Féin asked the British government to clarify certain aspects of the declaration. The British government replied saying the declaration spoke for itself, and refused to meet with Sinn Féin unless the IRA called a ceasefire.
On 31 August 1994 the IRA announced a "complete cessation of military operations" on the understanding that Sinn Féin would be included in political talks for a settlement. A new strategy known as "TUAS" was revealed to the IRA's rank-and-file following the ceasefire, described as either "Tactical Use of Armed Struggle" to the Irish republican movement or "Totally Unarmed Strategy" to the broader Irish nationalist movement. The strategy involved a coalition including Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Irish government acting in concert to apply leverage to the British government, with the IRA's armed campaign starting and stopping as necessary, and an option to call off the ceasefire if negotiations failed. The British government refused to admit Sinn Féin to multi-party talks before the IRA decommissioned its weapons, and a standoff began as the IRA refused to disarm before a final peace settlement had been agreed. The IRA regarded themselves as being undefeated and decommissioning as an act of surrender, and stated decommissioning had never been mentioned prior to the ceasefire being declared. In March 1995 Mayhew set out three conditions for Sinn Féin being admitted to multi-party talks. Firstly the IRA had to be willing to agree to "disarm progressively", secondly a scheme for decommissioning had to be agreed, and finally some weapons had to be decommissioned prior to the talks beginning as a confidence building measure. The IRA responded with public statements in September calling decommissioning an "unreasonable demand" and a " stalling tactic" by the British government.
On 9 February 1996 a statement from the Army Council was delivered to the Irish national broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann announcing the end of the ceasefire, and just over 90 minutes later the Docklands bombing killed two people and caused an estimated £100–150 million damage to some of London's more expensive commercial property
Commercial property, also called commercial real estate, investment property or income property, is real estate (buildings or land) intended to generate a profit, either from capital gains or rental income. Commercial property includes office bu .... Three weeks later the British and Irish governments issued a joint statement announcing multi-party talks would begin on 10 June, with Sinn Féin excluded unless the IRA called a new ceasefire. The IRA's campaign continued with the Manchester bombing on 15 June, which injured over 200 people and caused an estimated £400 million of damage to the city centre. Attacks were mostly in England apart from the Osnabrück mortar attack on a British Army base in Germany. The IRA's first attack in Northern Ireland since the end of the ceasefire was not until October 1996, when the Thiepval barracks bombing killed a British soldier. In February 1997 an IRA sniper team killed Lance Bombadier Stephen Restorick, the last British soldier to be killed by the IRA.
Following the May 1997 UK general election Major was replaced as prime minister by Tony Blair
Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He previously served as Leader of the ... of the Labour Party. The new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam
Dr Marjorie "Mo" Mowlam (18 September 1949 – 19 August 2005) was a British Labour Party politician. She was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Redcar from 1987 to 2001 and served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mi ..., had announced prior to the election she would be willing to include Sinn Féin in multi-party talks without prior decommissioning of weapons within two months of an IRA ceasefire. After the IRA declared a new ceasefire in July 1997, Sinn Féin was admitted into multi-party talks, which produced the Good Friday Agreement
The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of The Troubles, a political conflict in No ... in April 1998. One aim of the agreement was that all paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland fully disarm by May 2000. The IRA began decommissioning in a process that was monitored by Canadian General John de Chastelain's Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), with some weapons being decommissioned on 23 October 2001 and 8 April 2002. The October 2001 decommissioning was the first time an Irish republican paramilitary organisation had voluntarily disposed of its arms. In October 2002 the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly
sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie
, legislature = Seventh Assembly
, coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg
, coa_res = 250px
, house_type = Unicameral
, house1 =
, leader1_type = ... was suspended by the British government and direct rule returned, in order to prevent a unionist walkout. This was partly triggered by Stormontgate—allegations that republican spies were operating within the Parliament Buildings and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)—and the IRA temporarily broke off contact with de Chastelain. However, further decommissioning took place on 21 October 2003. In the aftermath of the December 2004 Northern Bank robbery, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Michael McDowell stated there could be no place in government in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland for a party that supported or threatened the use of violence, possessed explosives or firearms, and was involved in criminality. At the beginning of February 2005, the IRA declared that it was withdrawing a decommissioning offer from late 2004. This followed a demand from the Democratic Unionist Party
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a unionist, loyalist, and national conservative political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, who led the party for the next 37 years. Currently led by ..., under Paisley, insisting on photographic evidence of decommissioning.
End of the armed campaign
On 28 July 2005, the IRA, with a statement read to the media by Séanna Walsh,
declared an end to the armed campaign, affirming that it would work to achieve its aims solely through peaceful political means and ordering volunteers to end all paramilitary activity. The IRA also stated it would complete the process of disarmament as quickly as possible. The IRA invited two independent witnesses to view the secret disarmament work, Catholic priest Father Alec Reid and Protestant minister Reverend Harold Good. On 26 September 2005, the IICD announced that "the totality of the IRA's arsenal" had been decommissioned. Jane's Information Group
Jane's Information Group, now styled Janes, is a global open-source intelligence company specialising in military, national security, aerospace and transport topics, whose name derives from British author Fred T. Jane.
Jane's Informati ... estimated that the IRA weaponry decommissioned in September 2005 included:
* 1,000 rifles
* 2 tonnes of the plastic explosive Semtex
Semtex is a general-purpose plastic explosive containing RDX and PETN. It is used in commercial blasting, demolition, and in certain military applications.
Semtex was developed and manufactured in Czechoslovakia, originally under the name B 1 ...
* 20–30 heavy machine gun
A heavy machine gun (HMG) is significantly larger than light, medium or general-purpose machine guns. HMGs are typically too heavy to be man-portable (carried by one person) and require mounting onto a weapons platform to be operably stable or ...s
* 7 surface-to-air missiles
A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles. It is one type of anti-aircraft syst ...
* 7 flamethrower
A flamethrower is a ranged incendiary device designed to project a controllable jet of fire. First deployed by the Byzantine Empire in the 7th century AD, flamethrowers saw use in modern times during World War I, and more widely in Worl ...s
* 1,200 detonators
* 11 rocket-propelled grenade
A rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) is a shoulder-fired missile weapon that launches rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. Most RPGs can be carried by an individual soldier, and are frequently used as anti-tank weapons. These warheads are a ... launchers
* 90 handgun
A handgun is a short-barrelled gun, typically a firearm, that is designed to be usable with only one hand. It is distinguished from a long gun (i.e. rifle, shotgun or machine gun, etc.), which needs to be held by both hands and also braced aga ...s
* 100+ hand grenade
A grenade is an explosive weapon typically thrown by hand (also called hand grenade), but can also refer to a shell (explosive projectile) shot from the muzzle of a rifle (as a rifle grenade) or a grenade launcher. A modern hand grenade gener ...s
Having compared the weapons decommissioned with the British and Irish security forces' estimates of the IRA's arsenal, and because of the IRA's full involvement in the process of decommissioning the weapons, the IICD concluded that all IRA weaponry had been decommissioned. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain
Peter Gerald Hain, Baron Hain (born 16 February 1950), is a British politician who served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2005 to 2007, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2007 to 2008 and twice as Secretary of Stat ..., said he accepted the conclusion of the IICD. Since then, there have been occasional claims in the media that the IRA had not decommissioned all of its weaponry. In response to such claims, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) stated in its 10th report that the IRA had decommissioned all weaponry under its control. The report stated that if any weapons had been kept they would have been kept by individuals and against IRA orders.
In February 2015, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan stated that the Republic of Ireland's police service, the Gardaí, have no evidence that the IRA's military structure remains operational or that the IRA is engaged in criminal activity. In August 2015, George Hamilton, the PSNI chief constable, stated that the IRA no longer exists as a paramilitary organisation. He added that some of its structure remains, but that the group is committed to following a peaceful political path and is not engaged in criminal activity nor directing violence. He pointed out, however, that some of its members have engaged in criminal activity or violence for their own, individual ends. The statement was made in response to the killings of former Belfast IRA commanders Kevin McGuigan and Gerard Davison. McGuigan was shot dead in what was believed to be a revenge killing by former IRA members over the shooting death three months earlier of Davison. [The PSNI eventually revealed that McGuigan had been "spoken to" by the police as part of the Davison investigation but only "as a potential witness, not a suspect". A 2021 inquest hearing was told that detectives had not considered Mr McGuigan a suspect in Mr Davison’s murder, though the inquest's report added that “others” did. McGuigan's son Pearse subsequently insisted that had "the police acted and published the information they have, it would have dispelled the rumours in the community and saved my father’s life." See] The Chief Constable stated there was no evidence that the killing of McGuigan was sanctioned by the IRA leadership.
Kevin McGuigan's son claims his father 'exonerated' over Gerard 'Jock' Davison murder
, '' Irish News'', 10 January 2022.
Also in response, the British government commissioned the Assessment on Paramilitary Groups in Northern Ireland. The assessment, concluded in October 2015, was that "all the main paramilitary groups operating during the Troubles
The Troubles ( ga, Na Trioblóidí) were an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to 1998. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "i ... are still in existence, including the Ulster Volunteer Force
The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group. Formed in 1965, it first emerged in 1966. Its first leader was Gusty Spence, a former British Army soldier from Northern Ireland. The group undertook an armed campaig ..., the Red Hand Commando, the Ulster Defence Association
The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) is an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland. It was formed in September 1971 as an umbrella group for various loyalist groups and undertook an armed campaign of almost 24 years as one of ..., the Provisional IRA, and Irish National Liberation Army
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA, ga, Arm Saoirse Náisiúnta na hÉireann) is an Irish republican socialist paramilitary group formed on 10 December 1974, during the 30-year period of conflict known as "the Troubles". The group seeks ...." But, it added, "the leaderships of the main paramilitary groups ncluding the IRA'sare committed to peaceful means to achieve their political objectives."
Weaponry and operations
In the early days of
The Troubles ( ga, Na Trioblóidí) were an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to 1998. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "i ... the IRA was poorly armed, in Derry in early 1972 the IRA's weaponry consisted of six M1 carbine
The M1 carbine (formally the United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1) is a lightweight semi-automatic carbine that was a standard firearm for the U.S. military during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The M1 carbine was produced ...s, two Thompson submachine gun
The Thompson submachine gun (also known as the "Tommy Gun", "Chicago Typewriter", "Chicago Piano", “Trench Sweeper” or "Trench Broom") is a blowback-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed selective-fire submachine gun, invented by United Sta ...s, one or two M1 Garand
The M1 Garand or M1 rifleOfficially designated as U.S. rifle, caliber .30, M1, later simply called Rifle, Caliber .30, M1, also called US Rifle, Cal. .30, M1 is a semi-automatic rifle that was the service rifle of the U.S Army during World War ... rifles, and a variety of handgun
A handgun is a short-barrelled gun, typically a firearm, that is designed to be usable with only one hand. It is distinguished from a long gun (i.e. rifle, shotgun or machine gun, etc.), which needs to be held by both hands and also braced aga ...s. As a result of black market arms deals and donations from sympathisers, the IRA obtained a large array of weapons such as surface-to-air missiles
A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles. It is one type of anti-aircraft syst ...; M60 machine gun
The M60, officially the Machine Gun, Caliber 7.62 mm, M60, is a family of American general-purpose machine guns firing 7.62×51mm NATO cartridges from a disintegrating belt of M13 links. There are several types of ammunition approved f ...s; ArmaLite AR-18
The ArmaLite AR-18 is a gas-operated assault rifle chambered for 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. The AR-18 was designed at ArmaLite in California by Arthur Miller, Eugene Stoner, George Sullivan, and Charles Dorchester in 1963 as an alternative ..., FN FAL
The FAL (a French acronym for (English: "Light Automatic Rifle")), is a battle rifle designed in Belgium by Dieudonné Saive and manufactured by FN Herstal (simply known as FN).
During the Cold War the FAL was adopted by many countries of the ..., AKM
The AKM () is an assault rifle designed by Soviet small arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1959. It is the most ubiquitous rifle of the Kalashnikov rifles. It was developed as a replacement to the AK-47 introduced a decade prior.
Introduced ... and M16 rifle
The M16 rifle (officially designated Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16) is a family of military rifles adapted from the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle for the United States military. The original M16 rifle was a 5.56×45mm automatic rifle with a 20-roun ...s; DShK
The DShK 1938 (Cyrillic: ДШК, for russian: Дегтярёва-Шпагина Крупнокалиберный, Degtyaryova-Shpagina Krupnokaliberny, links=no, "Degtyaryov-Shpagin large-calibre") is a Soviet heavy machine gun with a V-shaped but ... heavy machine guns; LPO-50
The LPO-50 (Lyogkiy Pyekhotnyy Ognyemyot (Легкий Пехотный Огнемет), "Light Infantry Flamethrower") is a Soviet flamethrower.
Developed in 1953 to replace the ROKS-2/3 flamethrowers used during World War Two, it was kept in t ... flamethrowers; and Barrett M90 sniper rifles. The IRA also used a variety of bombs during its armed campaign, such as car and truck bombs, time bombs, and booby trap
A booby trap is a device or setup that is intended to kill, harm or surprise a human or another animal. It is triggered by the presence or actions of the victim and sometimes has some form of bait designed to lure the victim towards it. The trap m ...s, using explosives including ANFO
ANFO ( ) (or AN/FO, for ammonium nitrate/fuel oil) is a widely used bulk industrial explosive. It consists of 94% porous prilled ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) (AN), which acts as the oxidizing agent and absorbent for the fuel, and 6% number 2 fuel ..., gelignite, and the plastic explosive
Plastic explosive is a soft and hand-moldable solid form of explosive material. Within the field of explosives engineering, plastic explosives are also known as putty explosives
Plastic explosives are especially suited for explo ... Semtex. The IRA's engineering department also manufactured a series of improvised mortars, which by the 1990s were built to a standard comparable to military models. The IRA's development of mortar tactics was a response to the heavy fortifications on RUC and British Army bases, as IRA mortars generally fired indirectly they were able to bypass some perimeter security measures. The mortars used a variety of different firing mechanisms including delay timers, this combined with the disposable nature of the weapons allowed IRA volunteers to reduce the risk of being arrested at the scene.
The IRA was mainly active in Northern Ireland, although it also attacked targets in England and mainland Europe, and limited activity also took place in the Republic of Ireland. The IRA's offensive campaign mainly targeted the British Army (including the UDR) and the RUC, with British soldiers being the IRA's preferred target. Other targets included British government officials, politicians, establishment
Establishment may refer to:
* The Establishment, a dominant group or elite that controls a polity or an organization
* The Establishment (club), a 1960s club in London, England
* The Establishment (Pakistan), political terminology for the military ... and judicial
The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and applies the law ... figures, and senior British Army and police officers. The bombing campaign principally targeted political, economic and military targets, and was described by counter-terrorism expert Andy Oppenheimer as "the biggest terrorist bombing campaign in history". Economic targets included shops, restaurants, hotels, railway stations and other public buildings. The IRA was blamed for the Abercorn Restaurant bombing in March 1972, when a bomb exploded without warning killing two women and injuring many people. Due to negative publicity after the Abercorn bombing, the IRA introduced a system of telephoned coded warnings to try and avoid civilian casualties while still causing the intended damage to properties and the economy. Civilian deaths were counter-productive to the IRA, as they provided the British with propaganda
Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to influence or persuade an audience to further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loa ... coups and affected recruitment and funding. Despite this IRA bombs continued to kill civilians, generally due to IRA mistakes and incompetence or errors in communication. These included the Donegall Street bombing which killed seven people including four civilians, and Bloody Friday, when nine people, five of them civilians, were killed when twenty-two bombs were planted in a one-mile radius of Belfast city centre. Premature explosions were another cause of civilian deaths, such as the Remembrance Day bombing which killed eleven people including ten civilians, and the Shankill Road bombing which killed ten people including eight civilians.
The IRA was responsible for more deaths than any other organisation during the Troubles. Two detailed studies of deaths in the Troubles, the
Conflict Archive on the Internet
CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) is a database containing information about Conflict and Politics in Northern Ireland from 1968 to the present. The project began in 1996, with the website launching in 1997. The project is based within U ... (CAIN), and the book '' Lost Lives'', differ slightly on the numbers killed by the IRA and the total number of conflict deaths. According to CAIN, the IRA was responsible for 1,705 deaths, about 48% of the total conflict deaths. Of these, 1,009 (about 59%) were members or former members of the British security forces, while 508 (about 29%) were civilians. According to ''Lost Lives'', the IRA was responsible for 1,781 deaths, about 47% of the total conflict deaths. Of these, 944 (about 53%) were members of the British security forces, while 644 (about 36%) were civilians (including 61 former members of the security forces). The civilian figure also includes civilians employed by British security forces, politicians, members of the judiciary, and alleged criminals and informers
An informant (also called an informer or, as a slang term, a “snitch”) is a person who provides privileged information about a person or organization to an agency. The term is usually used within the law-enforcement world, where informan .... Most of the remainder were loyalist or republican paramilitary members, including over 100 IRA members accidentally killed by their own bombs or shot for being security force agents or informers. Overall, the IRA was responsible for 87–90% of the total British security force deaths, and 27–30% of the total civilian deaths. During the IRA's campaign in England it was responsible for at least 488 incidents causing 2,134 injuries and 115 deaths, including 56 civilians and 42 British soldiers. Between 275 and 300 IRA members were killed during the Troubles, with the IRA's biggest loss of life in a single incident being the Loughgall ambush in 1987, when eight volunteers attempting to bomb a police station were killed by the British Army's Special Air Service
The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army. It was founded as a regiment in 1941 by David Stirling and in 1950, it was reconstituted as a corps. The unit specialises in a number of roles including counter-ter ....
All levels of the organisation were entitled to send delegates to General Army Conventions.
The convention was the IRA's supreme decision-making authority, and was supposed to meet every two years, or every four years following a change to the IRA's constitution in 1986. Before 1969 conventions met regularly, but owing to the difficulty in organising such a large gathering of an illegal organisation in secret, while the IRA's armed campaign was ongoing they were only held in September 1970, October 1986, and October or November 1996. After the 1997 ceasefire they were held more frequently, and are known to have been held in October 1997, May 1998, December 1998 or early 1999, and June 2002. The convention elected a 12-member Executive, which selected seven members, usually from within the Executive, to form the Army Council. Any vacancies on the Executive would then be filled by substitutes previously elected by the convention. For day-to-day purposes, authority was vested in the Army Council which, as well as directing policy and taking major tactical decisions, appointed a chief-of-staff from one of its number or, less often, from outside its ranks.
The chief-of-staff would be assisted by an adjutant general
An adjutant general is a military chief administrative officer.
In Revolutionary France, the was a senior staff officer, effectively an assistant to a general officer. It was a special position for lieutenant-colonels and colonels in staf ... as well as a General Headquarters (GHQ) staff, which consisted of a quartermaster general, and directors of finance, engineering, training, intelligence, publicity, operations, and security. GHQ's largest department, the quartermaster general's, accounted for approximately 20% of the IRA's personnel, and was responsible for acquiring weapons and smuggling them to Ireland where they would be hidden in arms dumps, and distributed them to IRA units as needed. The next most important department was engineering, which manufactured improvised explosive device
An improvised explosive device (IED) is a bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action. It may be constructed of conventional military explosives, such as an artillery shell, attached to a detonating mechan ...s and improvised mortars. Below GHQ, the IRA was divided into a Northern Command and a Southern Command. Northern Command operated in Northern Ireland as well as the border
Borders are usually defined as geographical boundaries, imposed either by features such as oceans and terrain, or by political entities such as governments, sovereign states, federated states, and other subnational entities. Political borders ... counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan
Cavan ( ; ) is the county town of County Cavan in Ireland. The town lies in Ulster, near the border with County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. The town is bypassed by the main N3 road that links Dublin (to the south) with Enniskillen, Bally ..., Monaghan, and Louth, while Southern Command operated in the remainder of Ireland. In 1977, parallel to the introduction of cell structures at the local level, command of the "war-zone" was given to the Northern Command, which facilitated coordinated attacks across Northern Ireland and rapid alterations in tactics. Southern Command consisted of the Dublin Brigade and a number of smaller units in rural areas. Its main responsibilities were support activities for Northern Command, such as importation and storage of arms, providing safe houses, raising funds through robberies, and organising training camps. Another department attached to GHQ but separate from all other IRA structures was the England department, responsible for the bombing campaign in England.
The IRA referred to its ordinary members as volunteers (or ''óglaigh'' in Irish), to reflect the IRA being an irregular army which people were not forced to join and could leave at any time. Until the late 1970s, IRA volunteers were organised in units based on conventional military structures. Volunteers living in one area formed a company
A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity representing an association of people, whether natural, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Company members share a common purpose and unite to achieve specific, declared ... as part of a battalion
A battalion is a military unit, typically consisting of 300 to 1,200 soldiers commanded by a lieutenant colonel, and subdivided into a number of companies (usually each commanded by a major or a captain). In some countries, battalions are ..., which could be part of a brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that typically comprises three to six battalions plus supporting elements. It is roughly equivalent to an enlarged or reinforced regiment. Two or more brigades may constitute a division.
Br ..., such as the Belfast Brigade, Derry Brigade, South Armagh Brigade, and East Tyrone Brigade. In late 1973 the Belfast Brigade restructured, introducing clandestine cells named active service units, consisting of between four and ten members. Similar changes were made elsewhere in the IRA by 1977, moving away from the larger conventional military organisational principle owing to its security vulnerability. The old structures were used for support activities such as policing nationalist areas, intelligence-gathering, and hiding weapons, while the bulk of attacks were carried out by active service units, using weapons controlled by the brigade's quartermaster
Quartermaster is a military term, the meaning of which depends on the country and service. In land armies, a quartermaster is generally a relatively senior soldier who supervises stores or barracks and distributes supplies and provisions. In .... The exception to this reorganisation was the South Armagh Brigade, which retained its traditional hierarchy and battalion structure. Only a handful of volunteers from the South Armagh Brigade were convicted of serious offences, and it had fewer arrests than any other area, meaning that the security forces struggled to recruit informers.
The IRA's goal was an all-Ireland
Democratic socialism is a left-wing political philosophy that supports political democracy and some form of a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy, and workers' self-management withi ... republic. Richard English, a professor at Queen's University Belfast
, mottoeng = For so much, what shall we give back?
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, parent = ..., writes that while the IRA's adherence to socialist goals has varied according to time and place, radical ideas, specifically socialist ones, were a key part of IRA thinking. Former IRA volunteer Tommy McKearney states that while the IRA's goal was a socialist republic, there was no coherent analysis or understanding of socialism itself, other than an idea that the details would be worked out following an IRA victory. This was in contrast to the Official IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army, both of which adopted clearly defined Marxist
Marxism is a left-wing to far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand class relations and social conflict and a diale ... positions. Similarly, the Northern Ireland left-wing politician Eamonn McCann has remarked that the Provisional IRA was considered a non-socialist IRA compared to the Official IRA.
During the 1980s, the IRA's commitment to socialism became more solidified as IRA prisoners began to engage with works of political and Marxist theory
Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are works in philosophy that are strongly influenced by Karl Marx's materialist approach to theory, or works written by Marxists. Marxist philosophy may be broadly divided into Western Marxism, which drew fro ... by authors such as Frantz Fanon
Frantz Omar Fanon (, ; ; 20 July 1925 – 6 December 1961), also known as Ibrahim Frantz Fanon, was a French West Indian psychiatrist, and political philosopher from the French colony of Martinique (today a French department). His works have be ..., , Antonio Gramsci
Antonio Francesco Gramsci ( , , ; 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxist philosopher, journalist, linguist, writer, and politician. He wrote on philosophy, political theory, sociology, history, and linguistics. He was a fou ..., Ho-Chi Minh, and General Giap. Members felt that an Irish version of the Tet Offensive could possibly be the key to victory against the British, pending on the arrival of weapons secured from Libya. However, this never came to pass, and the fall of the Berlin wall
The fall of the Berlin Wall (german: Mauerfall) on 9 November 1989, during the Peaceful Revolution, was a pivotal event in world history which marked the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the figurative Iron Curtain and one of the series of ev ... in 1989 brought a dogmatic commitment to socialism back into question, as possible socialist allies in Eastern Europe wilted away. In the years that followed, IRA prisoners began to look towards South African politics and the example being set by the African National Congress
The African National Congress (ANC) is a social-democratic political party in South Africa. A liberation movement known for its opposition to apartheid, it has governed the country since 1994, when the first post-apartheid election install .... Many of the imprisoned IRA members saw parallels between their own struggle and that of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; ; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid activist who served as the first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the ... and were encouraged by Mandela's use of compromise following his ascent to power in South Africa to consider compromise themselves.
The IRA is a proscribed organisation in the United Kingdom under the
Terrorism Act 2000
The Terrorism Act 2000 (c.11) is the first of a number of general Terrorism Acts passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It superseded and repealed the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 and the Northern Ireland (Em ..., and an unlawful organisation in the Republic of Ireland under the Offences Against the State Acts, where IRA volunteers are tried in the non-jury Special Criminal Court
The Special Criminal Court (SCC; ga, Cúirt Choiriúil Speisialta) is a juryless criminal court in Ireland which tries terrorism and serious organised crime cases.
Article 38 of the Constitution of Ireland empowers the Dáil .... A similar system was introduced in Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973, with a Diplock court consisting of a single judge and no jury. The IRA rejected the authority of the courts in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and its standing orders did not allow volunteers on trial in a criminal court to enter a plea
In legal terms, a plea is simply an answer to a claim made by someone in a criminal case under common law using the adversarial system. Colloquially, a plea has come to mean the assertion by a defendant at arraignment, or otherwise in response ... or recognise the authority of the court, doing so could lead to expulsion from the IRA. These orders were relaxed in 1976 due to sentences in the Republic of Ireland for IRA membership being increased from two years to seven years imprisonment. IRA prisoners in the UK and the Republic of Ireland were granted conditional early release as part of the Good Friday Agreement. IRA members were often refused travel visa
A visa (from the Latin ''charta visa'', meaning "paper that has been seen") is a conditional authorization granted by a polity to a foreigner that allows them to enter, remain within, or leave its territory. Visas typically include limits on t ...s to enter the United States, due to previous criminal convictions or because the Immigration and Nationality Act bars the entry of people who are members of an organisation which advocates the overthrow of a government by force.
American TV news broadcasts used terms such as "activists" and "guerrillas" to describe IRA members, while British TV news broadcasts commonly used the term "terrorists", particularly the BBC #REDIRECT BBC #REDIRECT BBC #REDIRECT BBC
Here i going to introduce about the best teacher of my life b BALAJI sir. He is the precious gift that I got befor 2yrs . How has helped and thought all the concept and made my success in the 10th board ex ... as part of its editorial guidelines published in 1989. Republicans reject the label of terrorism, instead describing the IRA's activity as war, military activity, armed struggle or armed resistance. The IRA prefer the terms freedom fighter
A resistance movement is an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to withstand the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability. It may seek to achieve its objective ..., soldier, activist
Activism (or Advocacy) consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct or intervene in social, political, economic or environmental reform with the desire to make changes in society toward a perceived greater good. Forms of activism range f ..., or volunteer for its members. The IRA has also been described as a " private army
A private army (or private military) is a military or paramilitary force consisting of armed combatants who owe their allegiance to a private person, group, or organization, rather than a nation or state.
Private armies may form when ...". The IRA saw the Irish War of Independence as a guerrilla war
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which small groups of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars, use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tac ... which accomplished some of its aims, with some remaining "unfinished business".
An internal British Army document written by General Sir Mike Jackson and two other senior officers was released in 2007 under the Freedom of Information Act. It examined the British Army's 37 years of deployment in Northern Ireland, and described the IRA as "a professional, dedicated, highly skilled and resilient force", while loyalist paramilitaries and other republican groups were described as "little more than a collection of gangsters".
Strength and support
It is unclear how many people joined the IRA during the Troubles, as it did not keep detailed records of personnel.
Journalists Eamonn Mallie and Patrick Bishop state roughly 8,000 people passed through the ranks of the IRA in the first 20 years of its existence, many of them leaving after arrest, retirement or disillusionment. McGuinness, who held a variety of leadership positions, estimated a total membership of 10,000 over the course of the Troubles. The British Army estimates the IRA had 500 volunteers in July 1971, 130 in Derry and 340 in Belfast, journalist Ed Moloney states by the end of the year the IRA in Belfast had over 1,200 volunteers. After the late 1970s restructure, the British Army estimated the IRA had 500 full-time volunteers. A 1978 British Army report by Brigadier James Glover stated that the restructured IRA did not require the same number of volunteers as the early 1970s, and that a small number of volunteers could "maintain a disproportionate level of violence". Journalist Brendan O'Brien states by the late 1980s the IRA had roughly 300 active volunteers and 450 more in support roles, while historian Richard English states in 1988 the IRA was believed to have no more than thirty experienced gunmen and bombers, with a further twenty volunteers with less experience and 500 more in support roles. Moloney estimates in October 1996 the IRA had between 600 and 700 active volunteers. [ ]
Support from other countries and organisations
Libyan leader Colonel
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, . Due to the lack of standardization of transcribing written and regionally pronounced Arabic, Gaddafi's name has been romanized in various ways. A 1986 column by '' The Straight Dope'' lists 32 spellin ..., was a supplier of arms to the IRA, donating two shipments of arms in the early 1970s, and another five in the mid-1980s. The final shipment in 1987 was intercepted by French authorities, but the prior four shipments included 1,200 AKM assault rifles, 26 DShK heavy machine gun
A heavy machine gun (HMG) is significantly larger than light, medium or general-purpose machine guns. HMGs are typically too heavy to be man-portable (carried by one person) and require mounting onto a weapons platform to be operably stable or ...s, 40 general-purpose machine gun
A general-purpose machine gun (GPMG) is an air-cooled, usually belt-fed machine gun that can be adapted flexibly to various tactical roles for light and medium machine guns. A GPMG typically features a quick-change barrel design calibered for ...s, 33 RPG-7
The RPG-7 (russian: link=no, РПГ-7, Ручной Противотанковый Гранатомёт, Ruchnoy Protivotankoviy Granatomyot) is a portable, reusable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank, rocket-propelled grenade launcher. T ... rocket launchers, 10 SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, 10 LPO-50 flamethrowers, and over two tonnes of plastic explosive Semtex.
Another main source of support was from Irish Americans
, image = Irish ancestry in the USA 2018; Where Irish eyes are Smiling.png
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36,115,472 (10.9%) alone ..., who donated weapons and money. The backbone of IRA support in the United States was the Irish Northern Aid Committee, better known as NORAID, who in addition to raising money for the families of IRA prisoners also secretly funneled money and weapons to the IRA. In the United States in November 1982, five men, including Michael Flannery of NORAID and George Harrison
George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician and singer-songwriter who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. Sometimes called "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Indian ..., were acquitted of smuggling arms to the IRA after they claimed the Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA ), known informally as the Agency and historically as the Company, is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, officially tasked with gathering, processing, ... (CIA) had approved the shipment through arms dealer George de Meo, although de Meo denied any connection with the CIA. Harrison's conservative estimate was that he smuggled 2,000–2,500 weapons and approximately 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition to Ireland. Irish American support was weakened by the 11 September 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks, commonly known as 9/11, were four coordinated suicide terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda against the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. That morning, nineteen terrorists hijacked four commerci ... and the subsequent " War on Terror
The war on terror, officially the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), is an ongoing international counterterrorism military campaign initiated by the United States following the September 11 attacks. The main targets of the campaign are militant ...".
The IRA had links with the Basque separatist group ETA
Eta (uppercase , lowercase ; grc, ἦτα ''ē̂ta'' or ell, ήτα ''ita'' ) is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, representing the close front unrounded vowel . Originally denoting the voiceless glottal fricative in most dialects .... Maria McGuire states the IRA received fifty revolver
A revolver (also called a wheel gun) is a repeating handgun that has at least one barrel and uses a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers (each holding a single cartridge) for firing. Because most revolver models hold up to six ro ...s from ETA in exchange for explosives training. In 1973 the IRA was accused by the Spanish police
Spanish might refer to:
* Items from or related to Spain:
**Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain
**Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries
* Spanish, Ontario, Cana ... of providing explosives for the assassination of Spanish prime minister Luis Carrero Blanco
Admiral-General Luis Carrero Blanco (4 March 1904 – 20 December 1973) was a Spanish Navy officer and politician. A long-time confidant and right-hand man of dictator Francisco Franco, Carrero served as the Prime Minister of Spain and i ... in Madrid, and the following year an ETA spokesman told German magazine ''Der Spiegel'' they had "very good relations" with the IRA. In 1977 a representative of the Basque political party Euskal Iraultzarako Alderdia attended Sinn Féin's 1977 ard fheis, and Ó Brádaigh had a close relationship with Basque separatists, regularly visiting the Basque region between 1977 and 1983. The IRA received support from the Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO; ar, منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية, ') is a Palestinian nationalist political and militant organization founded in 1964 with the initial purpose of establishing Arab unity and ... (PLO) in the 1970s, with volunteers attending training camps in the Middle East
The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233: ) is a geopolitical region commonly encompassing Arabia (including the Arabian Peninsula and Bahrain), Asia Minor (Asian part of Turkey except Hatay Province), East Thrace (Europe .... In 1977 a shipment of arms from the PLO was seized in Antwerp
Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ; es, Amberes) is the largest city in Belgium by area at and the capital of Antwerp Province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,, Belgium. The shipment included twenty-nine AK-47
The AK-47, officially known as the ''Avtomat Kalashnikova'' (; also known as the Kalashnikov or just AK), is a gas-operated assault rifle that is chambered for the 7.62×39mm cartridge. Developed in the Soviet Union by Russian small-arms ... assault rifles, twenty-nine French submachine gun
A submachine gun (SMG) is a magazine-fed, automatic carbine designed to fire handgun cartridges. The term "submachine gun" was coined by John T. Thompson, the inventor of the Thompson submachine gun, to describe its design concept as an automati ...s, seven RPG-7 rocket launchers and sixty rocket-propelled grenades, two Bren light machine gun
The Bren gun was a series of light machine guns (LMG) made by Britain in the 1930s and used in various roles until 1992. While best known for its role as the British and Commonwealth forces' primary infantry LMG in World War II, it was also used ...s, mortars, grenade
A grenade is an explosive weapon typically thrown by hand (also called hand grenade), but can also refer to a shell (explosive projectile) shot from the muzzle of a rifle (as a rifle grenade) or a grenade launcher. A modern hand grenade ge ...s and ammunition. PLO leader Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini (4 / 24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat ( , ; ar, محمد ياسر عبد الرحمن عبد الرؤوف عرفات القدوة الحسيني, Mu ... distanced himself from the IRA following the assassination of Lord Mountbatten in 1979.
In May 1996, the Federal Security Service
The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) RF; rus, Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации (ФСБ России), Federal'naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Feder ..., Russia's internal security service, accused Estonia of arms smuggling, and claimed that the IRA had bought weapons from arms dealers linked to Estonia's volunteer defence force, Kaitseliit. In 2001, three Irishmen, known as the Colombia Three, were arrested and accused of training Colombian guerrillas, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army ( es, link=no, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de ColombiaEjército del Pueblo, FARC–EP or FARC) is a Marxist–Leninist guerrilla group involved in the continuing Colombian confl ... (FARC). The Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform stated the IRA was to be paid up to $35 million to train FARC in bomb-making techniques, including shaped charge
A shaped charge is an explosive charge shaped to form an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) to focus the effect of the explosive's energy. Different types of shaped charges are used for various purposes such as cutting and forming metal, init ...s, propane bombs, landmine
A land mine is an explosive device concealed under or on the ground and designed to destroy or disable enemy targets, ranging from combatants to vehicles and tanks, as they pass over or near it. Such a device is typically detonated automatic ...s and the construction of mortars. In 2005 a commander in the National Army of Colombia stated IRA techniques were being used all over Colombia by FARC, and British military experts confirmed bombs used by FARC had previously been used by the IRA. The Colombia Three were acquitted at trial in April 2004, before this was reversed at an appeal court in December 2004 although the men had fled the country and returned to Ireland before the appeal court verdict.
Support for the IRA within nationalist communities and within the Republic of Ireland has fluctuated over the course of the conflict. In September 1979 the Economic and Social Research Institute conducted a wide-ranging survey of attitudes to the IRA in the Republic. Its findings showed that 20.7% broadly supported IRA activities, while 60.5% opposed them. Meanwhile, when respondents were asked whether they sympathised or rejected their motives, 44.8% of respondents expressed some level of sympathy with their motives while 33.5% broadly rejected them.
A study in 1999 showed amongst Catholics in Northern Ireland, 42% of respondents expressed sympathy with republican violence while 52% said they had no sympathy. The same study found 39.7% of respondents in the Republic of Ireland sympathised with republican violence.
The IRA publicly condemned sectarianism and sectarian attacks, however some IRA members did carry out sectarian attacks.
Of those killed by the IRA, Malcolm Sutton classifies 130 (about 7%) of them as sectarian killings of Protestants, 88 of them committed between 1974 and 1976. Unlike loyalists, the IRA denied responsibility for sectarian attacks and the members involved used cover names, such as " Republican Action Force", which was used to claim responsibility for the 1976 Kingsmill massacre
The Kingsmill massacre was a mass shooting that took place on 5 January 1976 near the village of Whitecross, County Armagh, Whitecross in south County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Gunmen stopped a minibus carrying eleven Ulster Protestants, Protes ... where ten Protestant civilians were killed in a gun attack. They stated that their attacks on Protestants were retaliation for attacks on Catholics. Many in the IRA opposed these sectarian attacks, but others deemed them effective in preventing similar attacks on Catholics. Robert White, a professor at the Indiana University, states the IRA was generally not a sectarian organisation, and Rachel Kowalski from the Department of War Studies, King's College London states that the IRA acted in a way that was mostly blind to religious diversity.
Protestants in the rural border areas of counties Fermanagh and Tyrone, where the number of members of the security forces killed was high, viewed the IRA's campaign as ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial, and religious groups from a given area, with the intent of making a region ethnically homogeneous. Along with direct removal, extermination, deportation or population transfe .... Henry Patterson, a professor at the University of Ulster
sco, Ulstèr Universitie
, image = Ulster University coat of arms.png
, caption =
, motto_lang =
, mottoeng =
, latin_name = Universitas Ulidiae
, established = 1865 – Magee College 1953 - Magee Un ..., concludes that while the IRA's campaign was unavoidably sectarian, it did not amount to ethnic cleansing. Although the IRA did not specifically target these people because of their religious affiliation, more Protestants joined the security forces so many people from that community believed the attacks were sectarian. McKearney argues that due to the British government's Ulsterisation policy increasing the role of the locally recruited RUC and UDR, the IRA had no choice but to target them because of their local knowledge, but acknowledges that Protestants viewed this as a sectarian attack on their community.
To fund its campaign, the IRA was allegedly involved in criminal activities such as robberies,
To counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value tha ...ing, protection rackets, kidnapping for ransom, fuel laundering and cigarette smuggling
The illicit cigarette trade is defined as “the production, import, export, purchase, sale, or possession of tobacco goods which fail to comply with legislation” (FATF 2012). Illicit cigarette trade activities fall under 3 categories:
# Cont .... The IRA also raised funds by running legitimate businesses such as taxi firms, nightclubs, offices, and nursing homes. British law enforcement estimated that, by the 1990s, the IRA needed £10.5 million a year to operate. IRA supporters argue that as it was a clandestine organisation it was forced to use extralegal methods of fundraising, which were justified in order to achieve a political goal. However, this activity allowed the British government to portray the IRA as no more than a criminal gang. Armed robberies of banks, trains and small businesses across Ireland were a significant source of funding for the IRA, with over 1,000 raids on post office
A post office is a public facility and a retailer that provides mail services, such as accepting letters and parcels, providing post office boxes, and selling postage stamps, packaging, and stationery. Post offices may offer additional ser ...s in Northern Ireland. The PSNI, the IMC, and the British and Irish governments all accused the IRA of involvement in the biggest bank raid in British history—the 2004 Northern Bank robbery—when £26.5 million was stolen, which the IRA denied.
Generally, the IRA was against drug dealing and prostitution, because it would be unpopular within Catholic communities and for moral reasons. The chief of the RUC Drugs Squad, Kevin Sheehy, said the IRA tried to prevent volunteers being directly involved with drugs, and noted one occasion when an IRA member caught with a small amount of cannabis was "disowned and humiliated" in his local area. The IRA targeted drug dealers with punishment shootings and ordered them to leave Ireland, and some were killed using the covername Direct Action Against Drugs. However, there are claims the IRA "licensed" certain dealers to operate and forced them to pay protection money. Following the murder of Robert McCartney in 2005, the IRA expelled three IRA volunteers. Adams said at Sinn Féin's 2005 ard fheis "There is no place in republicanism for anyone involved in criminality", while adding "we refuse to criminalise those who break the law in pursuit of legitimate political objectives". This was echoed shortly after by an IRA statement issued at Easter, saying that criminality within the ranks would not be tolerated. In 2008, the IMC stated that the IRA was no longer involved in criminality, but that some members have engaged in criminality for their own ends, without the sanction or support of the IRA.
During the Troubles, the IRA took on the role of policing in some nationalist areas of Northern Ireland.
Many nationalists did not trust the official police force—the RUC—and saw it as biased against their community. The RUC found it difficult to operate in certain nationalist neighbourhoods and only entered in armoured convoys due to the risk of attack, preventing community policing
Community policing, or community-oriented policing (COP), is a strategy of policing that focuses on developing relationships with community members. It is a philosophy of full-service policing that is highly personal, where an officer patrols ... that could have occurred if officers patrolled on foot. In these neighbourhoods, many residents expected the IRA to act as a policing force, and such policing had propaganda value for the IRA. The IRA also sought to minimise contact between residents and the RUC, because residents might pass on information or be forced to become a police informer. The IRA set up arbitration
Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that resolves disputes outside the judiciary courts. The dispute will be decided by one or more persons (the 'arbitrators', 'arbiters' or ' arbitral tribunal'), which renders the ... panels that would adjudicate and investigate complaints from locals about criminal or 'anti-social' activities. First time offenders may have been given a warning, or for more serious offences a curfew
A curfew is a government order specifying a time during which certain regulations apply. Typically, curfews order all people affected by them to ''not'' be in public places or on roads within a certain time frame, typically in the evening and ... may have been imposed. Those responsible for more serious and repeat offences could have been given a punishment beating, or banished from the community. Kneecapping was also used by the IRA as a form of punishment. No punishment attacks have been officially attributed to the IRA since February 2006.
The vigilantism of the IRA and other paramilitary organisations has been condemned as " summary justice". In January 1971, the IRA and British Army held secret talks aimed at stopping persistent rioting in Ballymurphy. It was agreed that the IRA would be responsible for policing there, but the agreement was short-lived. During the 1975 ceasefire incident centres were set up across Northern Ireland, staffed by Sinn Féin members who dealt with incidents that might endanger the truce. Residents went there to report crime as well as to make complaints about the security forces. The incident centres were seen by locals as "IRA police stations" and gave some legitimacy to the IRA as a policing force. Following the end of the ceasefire the incident centres remained open as Sinn Féin offices where crime continued to be reported, to be dealt with by the IRA.
Throughout the Troubles, some members of the IRA passed information to the security forces. In the 1980s, many IRA members were arrested after being implicated by former IRA members known as " supergrasses" such as Raymond Gilmour. There have been some high-profile allegations of senior IRA figures having been British informers. In May 2003, an American website named Freddie Scappaticci as being a British spy code-named Stakeknife. Scappaticci was said to be a high-level IRA informer working for the British Army's Force Research Unit, while he was head of the IRA's Internal Security Unit, which interrogated and killed suspected informers.
Scappaticci denies being Stakeknife, and involvement in IRA activity. In December 2005, Sinn Féin member and former IRA volunteer Denis Donaldson appeared at a press conference in Dublin and confessed to being a British spy since the early 1980s. Donaldson, who ran Sinn Féin's operations in New York during the Northern Ireland peace process, was expelled by the party. On 4 April 2006, Donaldson was shot dead by the Real IRA
The Real Irish Republican Army, or Real IRA (RIRA), is a dissident Irish republican paramilitary group that aims to bring about a United Ireland. It formed in 1997 following a split in the Provisional IRA by dissident members, who rejected t ... splinter group at his retreat near Glenties
Glenties () is a town in County Donegal, Ireland. It is situated where two glens meet, north-west of the Bluestack Mountains, near the confluence of two rivers. Glenties is the largest centre of population in the parish of Iniskeel. Glenties ha ... in County Donegal. Other prominent informers include Eamon Collins
Eamon Collins (1954 – 27 January 1999) was a Provisional Irish Republican Army member in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He turned his back on the organisation in the late 1980s, and later co-authored a book called ''Killing Rage'' detailing h ..., Sean O'Callaghan, and Roy McShane, who worked as a driver for the leadership of Sinn Féin including Adams.
The IRA regarded informers as traitors, and a threat to the organisation and lives of its members. Suspected informers were dealt with by the IRA's Internal Security Unit, which carried out an investigation and interrogated the suspects. Following this a court martial
A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court or a trial conducted in such a court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of memb ... would take place, consisting of three members of equal or higher rank than the accused, plus a member of GHQ or the Army Council acting as an observer. Any death sentence
Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state-sanctioned practice of deliberately killing a person as a punishment for an actual or supposed crime, usually following an authorized, rule-governed process to conclude that t ... would be ratified by the Army Council, who would be informed of the verdict by the observer. The original IRA, as well as all the major paramilitary organisations active during the Troubles, also killed alleged informers. The IRA usually killed informers with a single shot to the head, and left many of their bodies in public to deter other informers. There was also a group of sixteen people known as the Disappeared who were secretly buried between 1972 and 1985, which included alleged informers, agents for the security forces, and people that stole IRA weapons and used them in armed robberies. In March 1999 the IRA apologised for the "prolonged anguish" caused to the families of the Disappeared, and stated it had identified the burial places of nine people, including the most high-profile victim, Jean McConville, a Catholic civilian and widowed mother-of-ten. This led to the recovery of three bodies later in 1999, although Jean McConville's body was not recovered until August 2003. As of 2019, the bodies of Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey, and undercover British Army intelligence officer Robert Nairac
Captain Robert Laurence Nairac (31 August 1948 – 15 May 1977) was a British Army officer in the Grenadier Guards who was abducted from a pub in Dromintee, south County Armagh, during an undercover operation and killed by the Provisional Iris ... have yet to be recovered.
Former IRA volunteers are involved in various dissident republican splinter groups, which are active in the low-level dissident Irish republican campaign. The oldest dissident group is the Continuity IRA, which formed in 1986 following a split in the republican movement, over the decision to allow members, if elected, to take seats in Dáil Éireann.
This group was inactive for several years while acquiring weapons and finance, their first attack was in 1994 during the Provisional IRA's first ceasefire. The Real IRA was formed in November 1997 when senior Provisional IRA members, including quartermaster-general Michael McKevitt, resigned over acceptance of the Mitchell Principles. The Real IRA is best known for the 1998 Omagh bombing which killed 29 civilians, and the 2009 Massereene Barracks shooting which killed two British soldiers. In 2005/6 some Provisional IRA members defected and formed Óglaigh na hÉireann
(), abbreviated , is an Irish-language idiom that can be translated variously as ''soldiers of Ireland'', ''warriors of Ireland'', '' volunteers of Ireland''O'Leary, Brendan. ''Terror, insurgency, and the state: ending protracted conflicts''. ..., which became active in 2009. This group also included former members of the Irish National Liberation Army and a faction that splintered from the Real IRA. In 2011 a group calling itself "the IRA" claimed responsibility for the murder of Ronan Kerr, a Catholic member of the PSNI. The group was believed to have formed in 2008, and included former senior Provisional IRA members unhappy at Sinn Féin's direction and the peace process. Also in 2008, Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) was formed in Derry. This vigilante group's membership included former Provisional IRA members and members of other republican groups. RAAD, "the IRA", and some smaller groups merged with the Real IRA in 2012 to form the New IRA
The New Irish Republican Army, or New IRA, is a paramilitary organisation founded in July 2012. It was formed after the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA), Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) and other small Irish republican paramilitary g ....
Notes and references
CAIN (Conflict Archive Internet) Archive of IRA statements
Behind The Mask: The IRA & Sinn Fein
PBS Frontline documentary on the subject
The IRA and American funding
Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
* Bell, J. Bowyer.
Dragonworld (II): Deception, Tradecraft, and the Provisional IRA
" '' International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence''. Volume 8, No. 1., Spring 1995. p. 21–50. Published online 9 January 2008
ResearchGate is a European commercial social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a 2014 study by ''Nature'' and a 2016 article in ''Times Higher Education'' ...
"Operation Banner: An analysis of military operations in Northern Ireland"
1969 establishments in Ireland
1969 establishments in Northern Ireland
Proscribed paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland
Irish republican militant groups
National liberation armies
Organisations designated as terrorist by the United Kingdom
Organizations based in Europe designated as terrorist
Organised crime groups in Ireland
Military wings of political parties