Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
The IRA Border Campaign 1956

The IRA Border Campaign 1956

Ratings: (0)|Views: 19|Likes:
Published by Martin O Regan

More info:

Published by: Martin O Regan on Jan 03, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOCX, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

01/03/2011

pdf

text

original

 
The IRA Border Campaign 1956-1962In the years following Independance the anti treaty IRA was consigned toincreasing irrelevance and isolation. It refused to rcognise both states on theisland seeing them as a betrayal of the 1916 ideal. By the 1940 the IRA had seena brutal suppression by the Fianna Fail governmant during World War Two.Fianna Fail would not tolerate the IRA drawing the ire of an embattled Britian onIreland. De Valera didnt finch from interning IRA men during WWII.The oldergeneration that saw the war of independence was now beyond action. They wereseen as ideologues without any real impact on the Ireland of the time.This began to change with the influx of young idealistic men in the republicanmovement. This new influx brought new ideas and the desire to do somethingpractial about British Rule in Northern Ireland.The partition of the country wastheorised as a sore on the whole country. This sore was the sole cause of economic stagnation in Ireland. If an united Ireland was a achieved then that would solve our problems. The economic policies of successive Irish government were not consided to have played a part in these problems. The presence of theBritish state in the north eastern part of the island was seen purely as a act of British aggression against Ireland. An imperial entity that acted as way of mantaining imperial control over not just northern Ireland but the whole Island.It was held against the will of the majority of the people of the island. That wasthe essiencial point for the IRA. The presense of the convinced unionists in thenorthern Ireland didnt enter the thinking of the IRA all that much. The britisharmy was an occuping force and so it should be driven out. Unionist being in IRAideology Irishmen should stand aside to leave them drive a foreign aggressiorout of the Island.The birth of the new era in the IRA was the succession of the three Macs to theleadership. Tomas Mac Curtain, Tony Magan and Padraig McLogan. Tony Maganwas elevated to the Army Council in September 1948. He was a bachelor farmerfrom County Meath. He had characteristics common in many IRA men from theera. He was sincerely Catholic and a fluent Irish speaker. His devotion to thecause was such that he sold his farm. The money from this sale was seed fund forthe border Campaign or Operation Harvest as it was called by the IRA.Tomas MacCurtain was the son of Tomas MacCurtain the lord mayor of Cork whomurdered during the war of independence. MacCurtain was a devotedrepublican. He had refused to recognise the Irish Free State. He was fined 40shilling for violently protesting the visit of WT Cosgrave to the Cork. He lived bythe belief that no State on the Island of Ireland was an inheritor of the truerepublicanism. He had been on hunger strike and refused to wear prisonersclothes. MacCurtain had been convicted of the murder of Detective Garda JohnRoche. This won he no sympathy for Irish people in the Republic.The Third Mac was Padraig McLogan. McLogan was not on the Army Council hewas a from Armagh. He had been on hungery strike. He was on the Armyexecutive from 1925-1938. He was an absentionait MP in the Stormont Parliment in the Thirties. He was link between the older war of independencegeneration and the younger generations.Under the three Macs the IRA moved away from attacking the Irish Free State. In1949 the IRA appealed for funds. The appeal stated that the primary object of the IRA was a successful military campaign against the British Army of 
 
Occupation in the Six Counties. The IRA was signaling that it was preparing for arenewed campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland. The Irish Rupublicwould no longer be subjected to IRA subversion. In view of the fact that anydisturbance in the 26 counties area would hinder the achieving of this object theArmy has definately ruled out any kind of aggressive military action in the 26counties
1
The note continues to annouce an appeal for funds to undertake thisgoal. The MacCurtain appeal was a sign of things to come. Army Order No. 8 in1954 committed the IRA to waging war solely against Northern Ireland.The IRA were not the only ones in mid-century Ireland thinking about partition.It was the constant policy of Irish governments to lobby in international forumsagainst partition. Both the strongly republican Fianna Fail and moderate FineGeal governments made the ending of parition their primary foreign policy. Thiswas the political consesus in Dublin at the time. There was a mass meeting on the13 May 1949 where all the party leaders spoke in protest at the Ireland Act 1949.The Ireland Act was passed in Westminister after the declaration of the Republic.It gave Irish citizans the de facto rights of a commonwealth citizen. But it reafirmed the status of Northern Ireland in the UK. This was the definativeaffirmation of partition that was unacceptable to all Irish parties.As part of the this campiagn against partition propraganda films were shot insecret. One film compares two street in Fintona Co. Tyrone. Mill street ispopulated with nationalist families. The voiceover tells us that most the familiesare large and the houses small. Two thirds of the town are nationalist we aretold. Mill street is contrasted with Craigavon Park. It is unionist and unionist it must stay the voice over tells us. Not one house went to a nationalist. The housesare modern semi-detached houses. The neat gardens of the Craigavon Park areconstrasted with rutted street the nationalists live on. The film makes the point that partition is unnatural, undemocratic and discriminatory. The film was madeto educate the public about the evils of partition. But it is at pains to to say that it does not want to rouse sectarian hatreds.
2
 The IRA was also outraged by the sealing of partition. They applyed their ownlogic to the situation and decided that the only course of action was armed assult on the northern state. They like the government propragandists were anxious tomake distincions between been anti partition and being sectarian. Theirmanifesto of 1949 reaffirms the traditional republican thinking. It emphatisesthat the partition of the country occured in Westminster without therepresentation of the Irish MPs. They are asserting their belief that partition isundemocratic. The illegistmacy of both states on the island is reaffirmed. Whileany sod of Irish territory remains occupied by the army of a foreign country, it cannot be truthfully stated the Republic of Ireland has been restored
3
. The focusis every much on driving out the British from Northern Ireland. The IRA belief that sitting Dail was illegitmate is down played. True republican will fight on todrive out foreign rule from the country.In forties and fifties the IRA had an influx of new recruits. They were inspired bythe recollections of the war of independence that appeared in the press and in
1
Brian Hanley,
The IRA: A documentary History 1916-2005 
(Dublin: Gill &Macmillian, 2010), 121
2
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=#769950 
3
Hanley,
The IRA,
123
 
books. The government propreganda that was produced at the time made beinganti partition a moral issue. These young men reasoned that politics havingfailed the logic of nationalism meant that the only way to remedy the evil of partition was physical force against an imperialist army. Republican publicationsfrom the time emphatise the skill with which the IRA carred out the operation.Great credit is due to the men who planned and carried out the operation for theforesight and efficiency displayed throughout
4
. The raid was a publicity coup forthe IRA. They stole weapons without the authorities being aware of the raid. Theraid was, for an republican, a satisfying sign of opposition to the British state.The officer in change in charge of the operation expressed regret that he hadomitted to leave a note of thanks to their Most Gracious Majesties for their kindco-operation, by causing large numbers of the Crown forces to be drafted fromDerry to Belfast thus facilitating him in making [...] the only effective protest that can be made to England
5
[.]The second raid was on Armagh. An IRA man Leo McCormack discovered that the sentry had no unloaded gun. The IRA sent Sean Garland to join the RoyalIrish Fusiliers at Gough. Garland then supplied information to the IRA. Garlandwas skillful spy. He was promoted to the rank of colour sergeant. The raidhappened in broad daylight. It was compleated in under half an hour. The unitedIrishman was quick to emphatise the raid that had such amazing coolness that the routine life of the Armagh City went on undisturbed. The raid was anothergreat propaganda boast for the IRA. They received an influx of new recruits firedup by the romanticism of attacking the empire. The was an extended trainingcamp in the Wicklow mountains in the summer of 1954. These summer campstook place under the nose of the Irish authorities. The Garda in practise turned ablind eye to IRA activities. Eamonn Boyce the leader of the raid was changedwith treason felony. This was antiquated law from the 19th century. Boycethough it was a ludicrous. I am a Dublin man, and as far as I am concerned, youhave no right to change me with treason
6
. The raid lead to an wave of support for the IRA. Philip Clark and Tom Mitchell were elected to the House of Commons. The IRA had engaged in first gun battle with the British army formany years.The Arbourfield Raid was the most daring. Volunteers with to Britain separatelyand raided an army camp. They managed to escape the camp with guns and50000 rounds of ammunition. These were recaptured. Ruairi O Bradaigh in hisaccount of the raid speaks of his joy that at last he was fighting the English. Herelished physically attacking British soldiers. The raid was a failure as far asgetting arms. Three volunteers were sentanced to life in prison. The IRA couldargue that the British were being vindicative. No one was killed. The three menwere martyrs for the cause.During the 1950s the IRA began rearming. Raids were undertaken in Derry.Omagh Essex Berkshire and Armagh. The first of these arms raids was at Derry.The British royals were visiting northern Ireland and the IRA chose to mark it byshowing that the British Army were less than diligent at guarding their barracks.
4
Hanley,
The IRA,
124
5
Ibid.
6
Hanley,
The IRA,
125
 

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->