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The Irish Republican Army: Before and After 1968

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The Irish Republican Army: Before and After 1968 Nationalist terrorist groups are one of the many forms of terrorism found in modern days. The definition of "terrorism" is difficult due to its changing nature and the many forms in which terrorism manifests itself as. Nationalist terrorism is one such form. Nationalist terrorism is seen to be practiced by groups of individuals that belong to an organization with a well-defined structure, together with clear political, social or economic objectives and an ideology behind it. There have been quite a number of nationalist terrorist groups. Some of the more well-known ones include the ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna), one of the world's oldest separatist armed groups seeking an independent socialist Basque state, and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) which would be discussed in more depth in this paper. The IRA has been in existence for decades, during which it has many ups and downs. The main body of this essay would look at the failures of the IRA during its years of campaigns from 1955-62, which had since then gone into demise, re-emerging again in1969 only to get involved in another wave of violence. ...read more.


The Catholic community had suffered from poor housing; high unemployment and institutionalized discrimination under the Unionist government. The marchers in the first march held by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) in Dungannon on 24 August 1969 confronted Stormont, demanding for rights such as one man, one vote in council elections11. Other demands included the removal of gerrymandered electoral boundaries; anti-discriminative laws by public authorities; fair allocation of public housing; repeal of Special Powers Act and disbanding of the Royal Ulster Constabulary backed by the B Specials, a predominantly Protestant auxiliary police force.12 Yet the intended peaceful march by the Catholics had been viewed by the Protestants as being a threat to them and the Unionist government. Furthermore, due to the violent history of Ireland, the authorities and Protestants were skeptical to see people protesting peacefully on the streets. The history of violent resistance against the state had probably led to the government's undertaking of extreme measures against the peaceful protesters who had neither the influence of the IRA nor weapons. However, the protestors demonstrating for changes were attacked by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) ...read more.


110. 5 D.G. Boyce, "The Irish Question and British Politics, 1868-1996", (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire : Macmillan Press ; New York : St. Martin's Press, 1996), p. 106, quoted from D.G. Boyce, "Ulster: Some Consequence of Devolution", Planet, 13 (August/September 1972), p.6. 6 Boyce, The Irish Question and British Politics", p. 107. 7 Bell, "The Gun in Politics", p.127. 8 Some members have espoused a social radicalism which moved them to the ideological left. 9 Bell, "The Gun in Politics", p.109. 10Paul Arthur, The IRA & Sinn Fein, 20 March 2004, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ira/conflict/ 11 Dermot Keogh, "Twentieth Century Ireland: Nation and State", (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994), p. 301. 12BBC, Wars and Conflict: Northern Ireland's Civil Rights Movement, 20 March 2004, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/troubles/origins/nicivil.shtml 13 J. Bowyer Bell, "The Secret Army: the IRA, 1916-1979", (Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT Press, 1980), p. 365. 14Roy Garland, Some Fine Day Civil Rights 30 Years On, 20 March 2004, http://www.irishnews.com/civilrights/civil12.html 15 Bell, "The Gun in Politics", p. 108-123. 16 http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/troubles/origins/pira.shtml 17 Harold J. Vetter, "Perspectives on Terrorism", (Pacific Grove, California: Brooks/Cole Pub., 1991), p. 251. 18 Ibid, p.11-13 19 The Catholics of Belfast had assumed that the IRA could defend them in August 1969 but in reality, no such armed underground army existed except in popular imagination. In the Belfast riots, six people were shot to death. ...read more.

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