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Thread: What was the difference between the Old IRA and the Provisionals?

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    Politics.ie Member IrishWelshCelt's Avatar
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    Default What was the difference between the Old IRA and the Provisionals?

    So technology aside with new guns, semtex etc what was the real difference between the two?

    Anyone who watched the recent documentary 'In the Name of the Republic' (as biased as it was) will know that the Old IRA were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians perceived as British informants who were buried in unmarked graves up and down the country, likewise the war of independence was used by maNy as an opportunity to settle local feuds and in general was a very dirty war, something which many in modern times chose consciously or unconsciously to ignore. From searching the web a civilian death toll estimate is around 750 from a 3 year war.

    If we look at on a purely numbers based there was 1,842 civilians killed (I'm aware that this number includes British killings and those by loyalists as the figure above includes the same factor, minus loyalists obviously) in a 30 year conflict. On a pro rata basis this constitutes only 8% in comparison to the WOI figures. Before anyone mentions it I am aware wars aren't exclusively a death toll game and the human, social and monetary cost are also at play but they're very hard to measure. As the famous phrase goes history is written by the winners so is it merely a case of the Old IRA won thus meaning our modern view of history is somewhat impartial? Is the crux of the difference the fact that there is no living memory of the Old IRA?

    The major difference I can see is the IRA activity on mainland Britain but aside from that who did the two differ? Were the Provisionals merely a continuation of the goals/methods used by the Old IRA and indeed those of Hugh O Neill, Wolfe Tone and Pearse?
    "Against brute force and injustice the people will have the last say, that of victory" - Commandante Che Guevara

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    50 years round about is the main difference

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    As the War of Indepenence went on support for the IRA increased. That couldnt be said for the Provisionals. As for the British campaign Michael Collins had a team of men in London following British Cabinet ministers and being prepared to assasina them when the order would go through. The Provisionals had a lot of very horrific bombings in the UK. Guildford, Birmingham, Warrington, The Balcombe Street gang had a long list of shoot ups, bombings. It would be hard to see a cabinet of Griffith, DeValera supporting those extremes

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    Public support to start with. The original SF won overwhelming backing to form the first Dail. Nobody would touch PSF with a barge pole while the PIRA were running. How about mass gangsterism and corruption in PIRA? PIRA also meekly surrendered their weapons to the British. Killing of children in irresponsible bomb attacks?

    There were many good men in PIRA but the shame of their organisations actions is a cruel blight on their name.

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    The Provisional IRA was trying to terrorize a clear democratic majority in Northern Ireland into an united Ireland.

    The Old IRA was fighting for democratic majority who had voted for an Irish Republic.

    In the 1922 general election a clear majority of the people of the 26 counties voted for parties who supported the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

    Between 1922 and decommissioning in 2005 no IRA or IRA faction armed campaign had any democratic legitimacy whatsoever.

    In fact the Provisional IRA refused to recognize the Republic of Ireland and even today SF call it the 26 counties.

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    Politics.ie Member IrishWelshCelt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwin View Post
    Public support to start with. The original SF won overwhelming backing to form the first Dail. Nobody would touch PSF with a barge pole while the PIRA were running. How about mass gangsterism and corruption in PIRA? PIRA also meekly surrendered their weapons to the British. Killing of children in irresponsible bomb attacks?

    There were many good men in PIRA but the shame of their organisations actions is a cruel blight on their name.
    They didnt though did they? They were decommissioned and the process oversaw by an independent international commission.
    "Against brute force and injustice the people will have the last say, that of victory" - Commandante Che Guevara

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    Politics.ie Member Heligoland's Avatar
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    I reckon this thread will soon be drawn to the attention of some of the more active posters on this site.


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    The Old IRA killed far more civilians and informers than the Provos in a much shorter period of time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IrishWelshCelt View Post
    They didnt though did they? They were decommissioned and the process oversaw by an independent international commission.
    What a triumph for them! First republicans in history to allow themselves be disarmed in that fashion and all for what they freely now admit to be a glorified county council. Years of fighting to get their hands on some limited power and patronage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kbcav View Post
    The Old IRA killed far more civilians and informers than the Provos in a much shorter period of time.
    Informers, yes. Easier to do so when the people actually support you.
    Last edited by edwin; 19th April 2013 at 07:03 PM. Reason: clarification

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