A Profile of the Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army refers to two historically related groups, which include Official IRA and Provisional IRA.The Irish Republican Army is an organization founded in 1919…
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Irish Volunteers used to be a militant nationalist group, which came into being in 1913. IRA claimed to represent the nationalist, Catholic community in Northern Ireland. The group is linked with the political party Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein was formed in 1905 at Ireland. It is the oldest political party, whose name originates from the Irish Gaelic phrase for “We Ourselves.” Since its foundation, the party has strived for the right of Irish nationals aiming at attaining national self determination (Derkins 2002, p. 20).
The Provisional Irish Republican Army was instituted in 1969 as the covert armed division of Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein was a lawful political movement committed to confiscating British army from Northern Ireland and uniting Ireland. The group used violence as the tool of removing British authorities from Ireland. The differences arose within IRA regarding the widespread use of violence. As a result of the Sinn Fein conference in Dublin, in 1969, the IRA was split into two, Provisional and Official divisions (Derkins 2002, p. 22).
Although both wings were dedicated to a unified socialist republic of Irish, the Official favored parliamentary strategies and shunned violence after 1972. On the other hand, Provisionals supposed that violence, especially terrorism, was a crucial component of the struggle to remove United Kingdom from Ireland. The group has received assistance from a range of organizations and states. The group has received substantial training and weapons from Libya and Palestine Liberation Organization. As a result of the similarities of IRA operations, there is the probability of links between IRA and Basque militant organization, ETA, and guerrillas FARC in Colombia (Shanahan 2009, p.12). Aims and Ideology As Derkins (2002, p. 32) observes, the main aims of the group were to establish an Irish republic, ending the British rule in Northern Ireland and the reunion of Ireland. This would then lead to establish a democratic socialist republic. The group claimed to be the Catholic republicans fighting for the rights of the Catholics. The IRA purpose was to employ military to make British ruling in Ireland unsuccessful. This would then assist in attaining the broader goal of an independent republic, which Sinn Fein was pursuing at the political level. Since its formation, the group has functioned independently of political power. However, its membership overlaps with that of Sinn Fein. During the Anglo-Irish War, from 1919 to 1921, the IRA, under the direction of Michael Collins, used guerilla tactics, comprising raids, sabotage and ambushes, to force negotiations with the British government. The war led to an agreement that established two new political units; the Irish Free State and the Northern Ireland. The Irish Free State consisted of 26 counties and was given dominion status inside the British Empire. Northern Ireland, also known as a province of Ulster, comprised of 6 counties, and it remained a fraction of the U.K. Significant elements within IRA rejected this partition and started a civil war, eventually triumphed by the pro-treaty Irish army (Tugwell 1981, p. 13). In the 1970s, the relationship between Britain and Free State remained chilly. The old IRA sustained a low degree of campaign of violence intended at reuniting Ireland. However, in 1960s, its activities had diminished significantly. The developments in Northern Ireland, in the late 1960s, accelerated the diminishing influence of IRA. Civil rights activists engaged in civil defiance in reaction to discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland. The activists claimed discrimination in housing, employment, and voting by the dominant Protestant administration and population (Shanahan 2009,
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