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If decommissioning is an obstacle to peace, then why doesn't the IRA decommission its arms?

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Patrick Brosnan GCSE History Coursework Question 2. If decommissioning is an obstacle to peace, then why doesn't the IRA decommission its arms? The IRA is the Irish Republican Army. They want a united Ireland and are prepared to use violence to try and gain this. The IRA feels they have a responsibility towards protecting their community (the Catholics). If they gave up their weapons they would be unable to do this. However there are many "splinter" groups from the IRA e.g. the Real IRA. They all see things differently. Some would settle for peace but others don't want it. Decommissioning by the IRA would require a great deal of trust towards the British Government and the Unionists. ...read more.


Margaret Thatcher and the British Government abolished the 'special category' and then refused to give in to Bobby Sands hunger demonstration. These angered the Roman Catholic community and the IRA, they have bad memories of the past and some of the IRA's violence could be blamed on them seeking revenge for these above incidents. The IRA have always been able to rely on their weapons. The mainland bomb attacks are proof of this. If the IRA want something they can use major violence. If they decommission they will not have this option, this again would weaken the IRA. Some members of the IRA see decommissioning as surrender. The IRA does not want to surrender until they have gained a united Ireland. ...read more.


Some people don't know any other way of life. Some people see violence as normal because of the way they have been brought up. They think that decommissioning is a stupid and foolish thing to do. Some people earn their living from the IRA. To decommission would possibly mean a lack of income. The IRA needs weapons for a number of important reasons. It is not as simple as some make it out to be. There are many dangers and risks involved. To give up their weapons would leave the IRA in a precarious position and would be a major sacrifice. I think the major point to why the IRA do not decommission is because of the lack of trust between the IRA, the republicans and the British Government. ...read more.

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