The Provos: The IRA and Sinn Fein

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These talks led to the announcement of an IRA cease-fire in and, through several setbacks, to a peace pact. In April , former U.

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Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell helped broker the Good Friday accord, a landmark agreement among most of the main political parties in Northern Ireland, including Sinn Fein, and the British and Irish governments. Its signatories renounced violence, established a new Northern Ireland legislative body, increased cross-border ties, and freed prisoners.

Reacting to accusations by the British and Irish governments that it was involved in a December Belfast bank robbery, the IRA withdrew its disarmament offer in February , but reinstated it in July Two months later, an independent arms decommissioning body verified that the IRA had, in its view, put all its weapons beyond use.

In July , the British and Irish governments indicated that they believed that the IRA had ceased all centrally organized criminal activities, and subsequent reports indicate that the IRA is continuing to take steps to wind down, and even oppose, its paramilitary operations stemming from its splinter groups.

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This publication is now archived. What is the Irish Republican Army? More From Our Experts. Bruce Hoffman. The Domestic U. Terror Threat: What to Know. Farah Anwar Pandith.

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How We Win. Raymond W. The United Kingdom is set to crash out of the European Union on October 31 without an arrangement for what comes next. The United States and UK have few options to prevent cyber-facilitated disruption. For many policymakers, economic sanctions have become the tool of choice to respond to major geopolitical challenges such as terrorism and conflict.

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The Trump administration has declared China a currency manipulator, but what that means for the ongoing trade war is far from clear. The IRA was created in as a successor to the Irish Volunteers , a 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 Collins , employed guerrilla tactics—including ambushes, raids, and sabotage—to force the British government to negotiate. The resulting settlement established two new political entities: the Irish Free State, which comprised 26 counties and was granted dominion status within the British Empire ; and Northern Ireland, made up of six counties and sometimes called the province of Ulster, which remained part of the United Kingdom.

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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 and 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. After the withdrawal of Ireland from the British Commonwealth in , the IRA turned its attention to agitating for the unification of the predominantly Roman Catholic Irish republic with predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland.

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.


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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 and , the IRA killed about 1, people, including approximately civilians. The fortunes of the IRA waxed and waned after 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.

Provos: The IRA & Sinn Fein

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 Agreement , which 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.