This period saw a sea-change in the movement, with the political wing increasingly coming to fore of the republican struggle. This led to a rethink on the movement’s policy of abstentionism both within the military and political movements, culminating in the historic overturning of the policy in the Republic.
This growing politicisation supplemented the armed struggle, which saw the most significant arms importations in the IRA’s history take place in the South during the mid-1980s. With the acquisition of an array of new weaponry, the IRA took on larger and more prestigious British targets. The decade also saw a return to attacking commercial targets in Britain in a concerted and systematic strategy for the first time since the mid-1970s.
Outlining the developments year by year, and the Irish state’s attempts to deal with the Provisional IRA, A Broad Church 2 presents a comprehensive and fascinating picture of the evolution of the republican movement.
1. They Made an Awful Lot of Enemies for Themselves: 1980
2. This Is the Real Thing, We Are the IRA: 1981
3. Sticks of Gelignite in Their Lunch Boxes: 1982–83
4. The Rule of Law Must Be Observed: 1984
5. We Will Lead You to the Republic: 1985–86
6. The IRA Could Start a Civil War with That Lot: 1987
7. A Sign of Respect for the Flag: 1988–89
Conclusion: Difficult to Envisage a Military Defeat
Gearóid Ó Faoleán was awarded a PhD in Modern Irish History from the University of Limerick in 2014 and currently works in scholarly publishing in London. He is a member of the Oral History Network of Ireland and The Irish Association of Professional Historians. His first book, A Broad Church: The Provisional IRA in the Republic of Ireland, 1969-1980, was published by Merrion Press in 2019.
|Gearóid Ó Faoleán
|Irish Academic Press
|10 Mar 2023