The Provisional IRA

The Provisional IRA : From Insurrection to Parliament

4.05 (36 ratings by Goodreads)
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This book analyses the underlying reasons behind the formation of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), its development, where this current in Irish republicanism is at present and its prospects for the future.

Tommy McKearney, a former IRA member who was part of the 1980 hunger strike, challenges the misconception that the Provisional IRA was only, or even wholly, about ending partition and uniting Ireland. He argues that while these objectives were always the core and headline demands of the organisation, opposition to the old Northern Ireland state was a major dynamic for the IRA's armed campaign. As he explores the makeup and strategy of the IRA he is not uncritical, examining alternative options available to the movement at different periods, arguing that its inability to develop a clear socialist programme has limited its effectiveness and reach.

This authoritative and engaging history provides a fascinating insight into the workings and dynamics of a modern resistance movement.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 132 x 212 x 16mm | 340.19g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 12 figures
  • 0745330746
  • 9780745330747
  • 441,936

Table of contents


Introduction: From Orange State to Sectarian State

1. Police Batons Answer Demand for Civil Rights

2. Unionist Determination to Deny Democracy

3. The Violent Storms of August '69

4. Widespread Conflict Looms

5. An Emerging Force

6. Training People for Insurrection?

7. Attempting to Quell the Insurgency by Bloodshed and Blandishment

8. Republicanism in Ireland and its Relationship to Class

9. Political and Military Strategy of the Provisional IRA

10. The War in England

11. Britain's Response

12. Reviewing Strategy in the Mid-1970s

13. The Gradual Adoption of Parliamentarianism

14. Options and Opportunities

15. The Road Less Travelled: The Left Alternative

16. Parliamentary Sinn Fein, Surrender and Re-grant

17. From Armalites to Populist Conformity

18. General Election Upset in South

19. The End of a journey

20. A New Republic and a Relevant Republicanism


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Review quote

'A reminder, whether agreeing with the arguments presented or otherwise, of the need for debate concerning the past, the present and the future' -- Pete Shirlow, School of Law, Queen's University Belfast 'If we had to choose one person who served in the ranks of the IRA to contextualise the organisation's development from revolution to reform it would be Tommy McKearney' -- Anthony McIntyre, former IRA volunteer and ex-prisoner 'One of those 'must read' books for anyone interested either in the struggle within Northern Ireland itself or in the overall relationship between England and Ireland' -- Tim Pat Coogan, former editor of the Irish Press and author of The I.R.A (1970; 2000).
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About Tommy McKearney

Tommy McKearney was a senior member of the Provisional IRA from the early 1970s until his arrest in 1977. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he served 16 years during which time he participated in the 1980 hunger strike in the Maze. He is now a freelance journalist and an organiser with the Independent Workers Union and the author of The Provisional IRA (Pluto, 2011).
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Rating details

36 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 28% (10)
4 58% (21)
3 8% (3)
2 3% (1)
1 3% (1)
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