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See Article History Alternative Titles: The IRA was created in as a successor to the Irish Volunteersa militant nationalist organization founded in From its inception, however, the IRA operated independently of political control and in some periods actually took the upper hand in the independence movement.
During the Anglo-Irish War Irish War of Independence—21 the IRA, under the leadership of Michael Collinsemployed guerrilla tactics—including ambushes, raids, and sabotage—to force the British government to negotiate.
The resulting settlement established two new political entities: These terms, however, proved unacceptable to a substantial number of IRA members. The ensuing Irish civil war —23 ended with the capitulation of the Irregulars; however, they neither surrendered their arms nor disbanded.
Recruiting Terrorism and technology illegal drilling by the IRA continued, as did intermittent acts of violence. The organization was declared illegal in and again in Five IRA leaders were executed, and many more were interned.
Irish civil warScenes of Dublin, including views of the shelled Four Courts building and wounded Free State soldiers, after the start of the Irish civil war in June The situation changed dramatically in the late s, when Catholics in Northern Ireland began a civil rights campaign against discrimination in voting, housing, and employment by the dominant Protestant government and population.
Violence by extremists against the demonstrators—unhindered by the mostly Protestant police force the Royal Ulster Constabulary —set in motion a series of escalating attacks by both sides. Units of the IRA were organized to defend besieged Catholic communities in the province and were sustained by support from units in Ireland.
Conflict over the widespread use of violence quickly led to another split in the IRA. It was estimated that, between andthe IRA killed about 1, people, including approximately civilians. Trainee members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army undergo weapons training at a secret location in the countryside outside the town of Donegal, Ireland, in In light of declining support in the late s, the IRA reorganized in into detached cells to protect against infiltration.
Assisted by extensive funding from some Irish Americans, the IRA procured weapons from international arms dealers and foreign countries, including Libya.
It was estimated in the late s that the IRA had enough weapons in its arsenal to continue its campaign for at least another decade. The IRA became adept at raising money in Northern Ireland through extortion, racketeering, and other illegal activities, and it policed its own community through punishment beatings and mock trials.
In April the participants in the talks approved the Good Friday Agreement Belfast Agreementwhich linked a new power-sharing government in Northern Ireland with IRA decommissioning and other steps aimed at normalizing cross-community relations. Significantly, republicans agreed that the province would remain a part of Britain for as long as a majority of the population so desired, thus undermining the logic of continued military action by the IRA.
Although the IRA subsequently destroyed some of its weapons, it resisted decommissioning its entire armoury, hampering implementation of key parts of the peace agreement.
On July 28,however, the IRA announced that it had ended its armed campaign and instead would pursue only peaceful means to achieve its objectives. The IRA was back in the headlines in when an investigation into the murder of a former IRA leader revealed that at least some of the organizational structure of the Provisional IRA was still in place.Address by the Director General of the Security Service, Andrew Parker, to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) at Thames House, 8 January Online Learning.
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