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The Irish Republican Army (The IRA)
The IRA is a paramilitary organisation which was created in 1919. Also known as the
Provisional Irish Republican Army, it sought to establish a republic and to end the
British rule in Northern Ireland. Between the years of 1919 and 1921, the War of
Independence was fought in order to challenge British rule in the whole of Ireland. The
warfare ended with the creation of the Irish Free State. Nevertheless, in exchange for
this independence, the old IRA's leadership allowed Britain to remain in control of the
six northern counties of Ireland ­ known as Ulster or Northern Ireland. Unfortunately,
there were significant members of the IRA which refused to accept it. For this matter,
a split occurred within the IRA and the protreaty Irish National Army and antitreaty
IRA forces were formed causing a civil war to break out in 1922, amidst the former
comrades which was ultimately won by the protreaty Irish forces.
Although the civil war ceasedfire in 1923, there were still members who remained part
of the antitreaty IRA group and refused to accept the legitimacy. Violence continued,
but it was not until 1931 that the IRA was declared illegal. The IRA became a
lowprofile campaign that aimed to reunite Ireland as an independent country, and by
the 1960s its activities had decreased drastically.
After the declaration of the Republic of Ireland and its departure from the
commonwealth in 1949, the IRA focused their activity on Northern Ireland which gained
popular support. It wasn't until 1994, that the IRA started to show signs of ending their
terrorist tactics. It was this year that they declared a ceasefire, and four years later,
they signed an agreement to decommission (disarm). The following years after saw
the IRA destroying some of its weapons but they resisted decommissioning its
complete armoury. In 2005, the IRA announced that it was ending its armed campaign
and would try to resolve problems by ensuing peaceful means.


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