Irish Republican Army referat

Irish Republican Army (IRA)


The Irish Republican Army (IRA), is an  Irish underground paramilitary organisation founded to promote Irish nationalism and fight British tyrannical rule in Ireland. It is also known as the Provisional IRA, PIRA, the Provos, Irish Volunteers and, in Irish, as Óglaigh na hÉireann.

The IRA has never been used as the official name of the organisation - they still use the name Óglaigh na hÉireann as their official name the adoption of the name Irish Republican Army was actually turned down by the organisation during the war of independence.

Provisional IRA

In the late 1960s Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland began a forceful campaign for improved economic and political status. Support for the IRA grew, and clashes between the IRA and Protestant activists and the British army escalated. Disagreement in 1969 over use of fight tactics led to a split into two groups: a radical group, the Provisional IRA, which carried out assassinations; and the original group, the Official IRA, which declined in importance.  Militants from the Belfast and Derry ghettos rather than the people from the south of Ireland became the driving force in the Provisional IRA. This marked a turning point for Irish Republicanism and signified the failure of the old IRA to defend the nationalist communities in the North.

Cease Fire

On August 31, 1994, after 25 years of fighting, the IRA declared an unconditional ceasefire, promising to suspend military operations in favour of peace talks. However, IRA disenchantment with the resulting negotiations led to a resumption of violence in 1996 and 1997, following its refusal to consider a surrender of arms as part of the negotiation process.  

The ceasefire cessation was marked by an explosion on February 9, 1996, at Canary Wharf, in London's Docklands, killing 2 people and injuring over 100, and by a bomb attack which devastated Manchester city centre on June 15, 1996. After Sinn Féin (Sinn Fein is Ireland's oldest political movement ) was included in the Northern Ireland peace talks on September 15, 1997, the ceasefire was resumed. 

A number of IRA attacks in England and Northern Ireland in 1997 and 1998 are thought to be the work of a breakaway faction, Continuity IRA, and dissidents who left the IRA in October 1997. This fragmentation within the republican movement can be traced back to 1986, when Republican Sinn Féin and Continuity IRA were formed after Sinn Féin and the IRA voted to allow republicans to take seats in the Irish parliament.  

Sinn Féin may be barred from taking ministerial posts in the Northern Ireland devolved executive, to be set up under the Stormont agreement of Good Friday, April 10—which Sinn Féin accepted—if the IRA does not disarm first. IRA demands for early prisoner releases and Ulster ministerial posts for Sinn Féin will depend on the outhanding of weapons, to be overseen by an International Commission on Arms. Following referendums held on May 22, in which majorities in the North and South voted in favour of the Stormont agreement, the commission head, General John de Chastelain, emphasised that the handing in of weapons would not be public or equal to surrender.  

An IRA statement in early May, insisting that no weapons would be handed over, was followed by one from the breakaway group threatening renewed attacks. The bomb attack in Omagh in August 1998 by the so-called Real IRA brought condemnation from the IRA itself, however, as well as from more mainstream figures. The IRA refused to accept the blueprint for arms decommissioning agreed between the British and Irish governments in April 1999.

Methods of Attack

IRA operations have centred on bombings and shootings aimed at the security forces and British troops in Northern Ireland, and have included attacks on civilian targets, such as shopping centres, railway stations, and motorway bridges, and specific assassination targets, such as Members of Parliament. The most notable of these assassinations was that of Louis Mountbatten, who was killed along with three others when his boat was blown up by an IRA bomb at Mullaghmore, Country Sligo, Republic of Ireland, on August 27, 1979.

Although many of the bombs used have been small enough to be planted manually, the car bomb became a preferred weapon in the 1970s, reaching a peak of destruction in July 1974 when more than 20 car bombs exploded in one day in Belfast. From 1974 the bombing campaign was extended to mainland Britain and included a series of attacks in pubs, railway stations, carshops (such as Harrods in London), and shopping centres. Coded warnings to newspapers and other organisations were sometimes used.

Massive economic disruption was wrought in 1992 and 1993, when several vast car bombs were detonated in London. One of these destroyed the Baltic Exchange in the City of London on April 10, 1992, killing three people. The IRA is regarded as the world's most experienced bombing organisation; it has used bombs ranging from small handheld incendiary devices to Truck bombs weighing hundreds of pounds, such as the 230 kg (500 lb) bomb exploded at Canary Wharf.

Nitrobenzene and fertiliser are used in large bombs designed to blow up buildings or in smaller devices designed to be thrown at the Northern Ireland security forces. Home-made weapons have included the nail bomb and the 'drogue' bomb, an anti-vehicle grenade consisting of about 230 g (506 lb) of explosive packed into a tin attached to a throwing handle.

Home-made explosives are made of fertiliser and diesel-oil mix. The largest of these weapons was the vast bomb, containing 907 kg (1 ton) of fertiliser explosives, which was detonated on April 24,1993, at Bishopsgate in London. One person was killed and 30 injured; damage to buildings amounted to £600 million. (909 mio Euro)

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