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Who are the main paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland today? How are they both similar & different from each other?

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Who are the main paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland today? How are they both similar & different from each other? Many paramilitary groups exist in Northern Ireland; many with different views. Though the main organizations are now undertaking ceasefires, a number of splinter groups continue to commit politically - motivated acts of violence. Irish Republican Army: The IRA is the main republican paramilitary group. It was originally founded at the Easter Rising of 1916, and has historic links to political group Sinn Fein. It fights for the independence of Ireland from the United Kingdom, and to have a united Ireland. In 1969, the IRA split into the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA. The Official IRA became more democratic in its ways, while the Provisionals have become a lot more violent, originally defending Catholics against loyalist attacks, then going on their own offensive. Although the Official IRA still exists, most people mean the Provisional IRA when they talk of the IRA. Official IRA: The Official IRA dates from January 1970, after the split of the IRA. ...read more.


In July 2004, the United States government declared the Continuity IRA a terrorist organization. Its crimes have included bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and robberies. It has also targeted British military personnel and loyalist paramilitary groups. Real IRA: The Real IRA is a dissident republican splinter group, formed by former members of the Provisional IRA. It is responsible for the Omagh bomb in August 1998, where 29 people were killed. In 1998, the Real IRA called a ceasefire but was broken less than two years later. It international publicity when it bombed the BBC headquarters in London, and when it fired an RPG at MI6 headquarters, also in London. It was named by the USA as a terrorist organisation in 2001, and its financial assets were frozen. Irish National Liberation Army: The INLA was formed in December 1974 as the military wing of the Irish Republican Socialist Party. Its aim war the reunification of Ireland and the creation of a socialist republic. Its main members were ex-Official IRA and ex-Provisional IRA members. The INLA is considered to be the most ruthless republican paramilitary organisation as Provisional IRA members talk of the INLA as wild men. ...read more.


The UVF called a ceasefire in 1994, but from 1996 has been involved in a violent feud with the LVF, and from 2000, the UDA. Loyalist Volunteer Force: The LVF was formed in 1996 when the UVF expelled Billy Wright. He was later charged with menacing behaviour and was sentenced to 8 years in the Maze prison. He then demanded a separate wing for LVF prisoners. The authorities agreed and the wing became a gathering point for all Loyalist paramilitaries. Billy Wright was murdered in December 1997 by members of the INLA, who were housed in an adjacent wing. The LVF then launched itself onto Johnny Adair's UFF. Red Hand Defenders: The Red Hand Defenders were formed in 1998. Its members are loyalist extremists that oppose the UDA ceasefire. The organisation is made up of members of the UDA and the LVF, but both groups claim that they are nothing to do with them. Orange Volunteers: The Orange Volunteers are a breakaway Loyalist paramilitary group who first emerged during the 1998 Drumcree crisis. It is made up of militants who disapproved of the Good Friday Agreement. They attack civilians, and are known experienced bomb makers. The group declared a ceasefire in 2000. Gavin Williamson ...read more.

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