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Irish Republican Army


Formed in 1917 from the remnants of the Easter

at the IRA convention in Dublin
Military wing of Sinn Fein
Organized by Michael Collins

Goal: to end British rule and

unite Ireland as one single,
sovereign nation.
Irish War of independence
Became involved in the Irish War of Independence by
forming a guerrilla unit
Had approximately 15,000 volunteers
Conducted raids on British barracks
Eventually organized full assaults
on British troops
Irish War of independence

By 1921, the IRA was near

Over 5,000 IRA members
Approximately 500 IRA members killed

War ended in the summer of 1921

anglo-irish treaty
IRA President amon de Valera and General Macready
agreed to terms on July 11, 1921

IRA was allowed to keep arms

British troops were to remain in
Abolished Irish Republic

Established Irish Free State

Free state

free Free stat

Irish Free State officially established in 1922

Majority of IRA leadership was

against the Irish Free State

April 2, 1923
Leaders of the IRA, re-instituted
allegiance to the Irish Republic
Division of IRA leadership over
Treaty lead to Irish Civil War
Irish civil war
June 1922 - May 1923

The IRA divided into two factions

Pro-Treaty Anti-Treaty
Supported the Swore to defend the Irish
decision of the treaty Republic
with Britain

Primarily in south
North Ireland
and west Ireland
End of Civil WAr
IRA leader Eamon de
May 24, 1923 Valera instructed anti-treaty
members to dump arms
The IRA had shrunk to
1930 approximately 2,000

Civil War was never brought to end by formal

IRA: Post civil War to 1969
Former IRA
leader Eamonn
de Valera
Became leader of Free State
Government in 1932
Encouraged IRA members to join the Irish
Defence Forces

Remaining IRA members adopted

many socialist beliefs

Influenced by left wing ideas

IRA: Post civil War to 1969
During World War II
IRA leaders first
sought support from
Germany against

Purchased arms from


Attempted to start an armed

campaign in North Ireland
The split of the IRA
After a shift towards a Marxist viewpoint by a
number of IRA leaders, the IRA officially split into
two factions in 1969
Officials Provisionals
Advocated a
united socialist
terrorism was a
Ireland but
catalyst for
Official IRA
Associated with the Sinn Fein or Workers Party of

Characterized violence as

More restrictive on
activities than the Provo
Official IRA
After British military was brought in to arrest
paramilitary members, the Official IRA was involved in
numerous gun battles
Following the events of Bloody Sunday on January 30,
1972, the Official IRA launched an offensive against
the British
Numerous politically damaging armed actions led the
Official IRA to declare a formal ceasefire in 1972

As of February 2010 the Official IRA was completely

Provisional IRA
Sought to remove Northern Ireland form the United
Strategy was to cause
enough casualties to force
the British to withdraw
Funded and supplied by Libya
Provisional IRA
Used bombs in public transportation and
remote car bombs to cause mass

Assassinations, kidnappings,
extortion, and robberies were
used to force a withdraw due to
public opinion.
Provisional IRA
British sought to engage the Provos in politics
The politics ended when they saw the British were
not interested in terms

The Provos decided to switch tactics and launch into a

war of attrition
This continued until 1994
Provisional IRA
Talks of a ceasefire
The Provos and the British entered into
talks of a ceasefire in 1994

The Provos made it

known that Sinn Fein
would be involved in
all political
Provisional IRA
Talks of a ceasefire
Ceasefire was broken from February 1996 - July 1997
after the British refused to negotiate with Sinn Fein

The string of violence

that followed included the
Manchester and
Dockland Bombings
Provisional IRA
Once Sinn Fein was allowed into the talks, the Provos
reinstated the ceasefire

The Belfast Agreement in 1998 was the result of these talks

On July 28, 2005 the IRA council stated they would

seek to reach their goals by purely political and
democratic means
After decommissioning
Although both the Provisional IRA and Official IRA have
been officially decommissioned as of February 2010
There are still groups who claim to be descendants of the
original IRA

These groups refuse to

acknowledge the Belfast
Agreement and continue
to attack British targets

Dwyer, T. Ryle (1999). Big Fellow, Long Fellow: A Joint

Biography of Collins and De Valera. St Martins Press. pp. 782.

Hopkinson, Irish War of Independence, p.204.

Tim Pat Coogan, The I.R.A., 1970