Northern Ireland comprised six north eastern counties of Ireland in the province of Ulster. [337] The IRA received support from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1970s, attending training camps in the Middle East. [n 20][268] Before 1969 conventions met regularly, but owing to the difficulty in organising such a large gathering of an illegal organisation in secret,[n 21][270] while the IRA's armed campaign was ongoing they were only held in September 1970,[270] October 1986,[270] and October or November 1996. In August 1969, a confrontation between Catholic residents of the Bogside and police Londonderry ollowing an Apprentice Boys of Derry march led to a large communal riot now referred to as the Battle of the Bogside – three days of fighting between rioters throwing stones and petrol bombs and police who saturated the area with CS gas. [335][336] In 1973 it was accused by the Spanish police of providing explosives for the assassination of Spanish prime minister Luis Carrero Blanco in Madrid, and the following year an ETA spokesman told German magazine Der Spiegel they had "very good relations" with the IRA. [259] Of these, 1,009 (about 59%) were members or former members of the British security forces, while 508 (about 29%) were civilians. [175] In addition, the leaders of the political wings of the respective Irish republican and Basque separatist movements have exchanged visits on several occasions to express solidarity with each other’s cause. Before 1969, GACs met regularly. In certain cases, for persistent offenders the IRA would intimidate the individual into leaving the country; this was known as being “put out” of the community/country, and the clear message given to individuals served with these notices was that if they returned to the community/country they would be killed. [48] The first “Provisional” Army Council was composed of Seán Mac Stíofáin, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Paddy Mulcahy, Sean Tracey, Leo Martin, and Joe Cahill,[49] and issued their first public statement on 28 December 1969, stating: We declare our allegiance to the 32 county Irish republic, proclaimed at Easter 1916, established by the first Dáil Éireann in 1919, overthrown by forces of arms in 1922 and suppressed to this day by the existing British-imposed six-county and twenty-six-county partition states. [89], The Armalite AR-18, obtained by the IRA from an IRA member in the United States in the early 1970s, was an emotive symbol of its armed campaign, An AK-47 assault rifle (over 1,000 of which were donated by Muammar Gaddafi to the IRA in the 1980s), Heckler & Koch G3. While others canvassed support throughout Ireland, Mac Stíofáin was a key person making a connection with the Belfast IRA under Billy McKee and Joe Cahill, who had refused to take orders from the IRA’s Dublin leadership since September 1969, in protest at their failure to defend Catholic areas in August. [165] In October 1984 they carried out the Brighton hotel bombing, an assassination attempt on British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, whom they blamed for the deaths of the ten hunger strikers. Northern Ireland is a region of scenic beauty, rich culture and Celtic charm – but its recent history has been marred by political tension, sectarianism and terrorism. [86] £100,000 was donated by the Fianna Fáil-led Irish government in 1969 to "defence committees" in Catholic areas, some of which ended up in the hands of the IRA. For this reason the Armagh IRA unit is often referred to as the South Armagh Brigade. [260][261] Overall, the IRA was responsible for 87–90% of the total British security force deaths, and 27–30% of the total civilian deaths. The dead included around 1,100 members of the British security forces, and about 630 civilians. Donaldson had been entrusted by Gerry Adams with the running of Sinn Féin’s operations in the US in the early 1990s. [161], A process called “Criminalisation” was begun in the mid-1970s as part of a British strategy of “Criminalisation, Ulsterisation, and Normalisation”. [212] The IRA invited two independent witnesses to view the secret disarmament work, Catholic priest Father Alec Reid and Protestant minister Reverend Harold Good. The conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century is known as the Troubles. [148] In later years, the IRA’s strength has been somewhat weakened by members leaving the organisation to join hardline splinter groups such as the Continuity IRA and the Real IRA. [69], Following the violence of August 1969, the IRA began to arm and train to protect nationalist areas from further attack. The Troubles had begun a year before, when a Catholic, nonviolent civil rights campaign was met with violence from both Ulster loyalists and the police, culminating in the August 1969 riots and deployment of British troops. [31][32] The organisation remains classified as a proscribed terrorist group in the UK and as an illegal organisation in the Republic of Ireland. [208] When asked whether he felt Donaldson’s role as an informer in Sinn Féin was significant, the IRA double agent using the pseudonym “Kevin Fulton” described Donaldson’s role as a spy within Sinn Féin as “the tip of the iceberg”. If you are feeling generous and would like to make a small (or Large ) donation then please don’t let me stop you. Among the weaponry estimated (by Jane’s Information Group) to have been destroyed as part of this process were: A “Sniper at Work” sign in Crossmaglen. [19][20], In the United States in November 1982, five men were acquitted of smuggling arms to the IRA after they claimed the Central Intelligence Agency had approved the shipment, although the CIA denied this. [72] The Provisional IRA, by contrast, was primarily an urban organisation, based originally in Belfast and Derry. [310][311][312] The IRA has also been described as a "private army". December 11th: Northern Ireland prime minister Terence O’Neill meets the Republic of Ireland Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, at Stormont. On the other hand, public speeches from two Northern Ireland Secretaries of State, Peter Brooke[85] and Patrick Mayhew[86] hint that, given the cessation of violence, a political compromise with the IRA was possible. This demand was quickly dropped after the May 1997 general election in the UK. [n 7][92] The IRA adopted the phoenix 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. Prime Minister James Callaghan decided that there should be “positive rejection” of the approach on the basis that the republicans were not serious and “see their campaign as a long haul”. Danny Morrison summed up this policy at a 1981 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis (annual meeting) as a “ballot paper in this hand and an Armalite in the other”. The IRA’s primary goal was to force the British to negotiate a withdrawal from Northern Ireland. However, he went on to say “we refuse to criminalise those who break the law in pursuit of legitimate political objectives”. [388] Scappaticci denies being Stakeknife, and involvement in IRA activity. In 1992, many of them voted for SDLP West Belfast candidate Joe Hendron rather than a unionist candidate to make sure Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin lost his seat in the constituency. [301], The IRA is a proscribed organisation in the United Kingdom under the Terrorism Act 2000,[22] 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. [25][73] The traditionalists argued strongly against the ending of abstentionism, and the official minutes report the resolution passed by twenty-seven votes to twelve. This descent into violence precipitated the need for armed forces on both sides. The IRA have had contacts with foreign governments and other illegal armed organisations. The conflict began in the late 1960s and is usually deemed to have ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. [231][232] 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, M60 machine guns, ArmaLite AR-18, FN FAL, AKM and M16 rifles, DShK heavy machine guns, LPO-50 flamethrowers, and Barrett M90 sniper rifles. Volunteers living in one area formed a company as part of a battalion, which could be part of a brigade, although many battalions were not attached to a brigade. [238] Mortars were useful to the IRA as they could hit targets at short range, which could lead to effective attacks in built-up urban areas. [81], The success of the 1981 Irish hunger strike in mobilising support and winning elections led to what was referred to by Danny Morrison as, “the Armalite and ballot box strategy” with more time and resources devoted to political activity. [418] Also in 2008, Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) was formed in Derry. [40] Although the pro-Goulding commander Billy McMillen stayed in command, he was told it was only for three months and he was not to have any communication with the IRA’s Dublin based leadership. To understand the Northern Ireland conflict, you need to know a little history. However, this is the first time in Irish republicanism that any organisation has voluntarily decided to dispose of its arms. [289] In late 1973 the Belfast Brigade restructured, introducing clandestine cells named active service units, consisting of between four and ten members. In addition, they recruited many young nationalists from the north, who had not been involved in the IRA before, but had been radicalised by the communal violence that broke out in 1969. [229], In the early days of the Troubles the IRA was poorly armed, in Derry in early 1972 the IRA's weaponry consisted of six M1 carbines, two Thompson submachine guns, one or two M1 Garand rifles, and a variety of handguns. [136][137] The IRA was also involved in tit for tat sectarian killings of Protestant civilians, in retaliation for sectarian killings by loyalist paramilitaries. [168], An IRA wall mural in Coalisland, County Tyrone. As noted above, the IRA seeks to draw a direct descendancy from the original IRA and those who engaged in the Irish War of Independence. [400][401] The IRA usually killed informers with a single shot to the head,[402] and left many of their bodies in public to deter other informers. Journalists Eamonn Mallie and Patrick Bishop estimate in their book The Provisional IRA that 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 (senior officers are required to surrender their post after being arrested), retiring from the armed campaign or “disillusionment”. [19] It was the most active republican paramilitary group during the Troubles. This policy involved recruitment of volunteers, increasing after the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident, in which the British military killed unarmed protesters, and launching attacks against British military and economic targets. [citation needed], Another categorisation avoids the terms “guerrilla” or “terrorist” but does view the conflict in military terms. The number of people injured has been variously reported as 70. The US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations in its report of 24 April 2002 concluded “Neither committee investigators nor the Colombians can find credible explanations for the increased, more sophisticated capacity for these specific terror tactics now being employed by the FARC, other than IRA training”. [352] 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. Since 1969, there have only been two, in 1970 and 1986, owing to the difficulty in organising such a large gathering of an illegal organisation in secret. [52], There are allegations that the early Provisional IRA received arms and funding from the Fianna Fáil-led Irish government in 1969, resulting in the 1970 “Arms trial” in which criminal charges were pursued against two former government ministers. [51][52], Following partition Northern Ireland became a de facto one-party state governed by the Ulster Unionist Party, in which Catholics viewed themselves as second-class citizens. The GAC was the IRA’s supreme decision-making authority. [252][253] Premature explosions were another cause of civilian deaths, such as the Remembrance Day bombing which killed eleven people including ten civilians,[254][255] and the Shankill Road bombing which killed ten people including eight civilians. Ulster Defence Association – Hunting The IRA (Documentary), From 1973, the IRA started to move away from the larger conventional military organisational principle owing to its security vulnerability. [354] 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. He said the arms had been “put beyond use” and that they were “satisfied that the arms decommissioned represent the totality of the IRA’s arsenal.”, The IRA permitted two independent witnesses, including a Methodist minister, Rev. Some areas along the new border such as Derry City and South Armagh/South Do… [n 22][1][280] Any vacancies on the Executive would then be filled by substitutes previously elected by the convention. [100][101][102], In mid-July 2013, the Gardaí displayed arms and explosives (Semtex) recently recovered from dissident republicans in the Dublin area. 1 review. [295], The IRA's goal was an all-Ireland democratic socialist republic. For the association of physics education professionals and enthusiasts, see, For a detailed breakdown of casualties caused by and inflicted on the IRA, see, Support from other countries and organisations. The history of Northern Ireland can be traced back to the 17th century, when the English finally succeeded in subduing the island after successfully putting down a number of rebellions. [n 23][23] 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. [359] The chief of the RUC's 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. In addition to bombings and occasional gun attacks in England, the IRA also used hoax, In addition to the scheduled General Army Conventions, the Executive, by a, Delegates might spend over a day travelling to the General Army Convention, due to the elaborate security and, The Executive and Army Council elected in September 1970 remained in place until 1986, filling vacancies by, Prior to May 1972 IRA volunteers in the Republic of Ireland were tried in normal courts. [185][186][187], On 25 September 2005, international weapons inspectors supervised the full disarmament of the IRA, a long-sought goal of Northern Ireland’s peace process. The IRA embraced, facilitated and supported the peace process. [55] In January 1967 the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was formed by a diverse group of people, including IRA members and liberal unionists. [30], This is not the first time that organisations styling themselves IRA have issued orders to dump arms. [197][199] 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. Protests and riots organised by NICRA in support of the Bogsiders began elsewhere in the Province sparking retaliation by Protestant mobs; the subsequent burning, damage to property and intimidation largely against the minority community forced 1,505 Catholics from their homes in Belfast in what became known as the Northern Ireland riots of August 1969, with over 200 Catholic homes being destroyed or requiring major repairs[14] and a number of people were killed on both sides, some by the forces of law and order. Purges against these individuals, whom the IRA considered traitors to their own community and to the cause of nationalism, were most prevalent when the IRA found itself persistently vulnerable to infiltration. The IRA’s initial strategy was to use force to cause the collapse of the government of Northern Ireland and to inflict enough casualties on British forces that the British government would be forced by public opinion to withdraw from the region. [192] However the IMC report also noted that following decommissioning, the IRA still retained a considerable amount of weaponry beyond what was needed for self-defence. 10 ] it was also used by various paramilitary organisations active during the 1940s in... Years, there have been given a punishment beating, or volunteer for its.. ) Agreement and publicity campaigns part of a renewed IRA campaign, IRA. Were entitled to send delegates to IRA activity either buried or, in. Late 1960s, the pseudonym “ s located in Armagh, Belfast:,... 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