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Will the real IRA stand up?
Eventually, the moderate IRA won & a political solution was reached

Way back in 1922 in Ireland, then a part of the British Empire, if you were a Brit and found out that there was an ‘Irregular’ in the vicinity, it did not mean that the person needed lessons on better behaviour. It actually meant you needed to run for your life pronto! For ‘Irregulars’ was the name given to the extremist wing of the dreaded Irish Republican Army (IRA) at that time, formed with the aim of militarily freeing Ireland from the British Empire.

The original IRA’s (formed in 1919) life was short; as the Britishers hastened towards a treaty with it that led to the formation of the Irish Free State (with dominion status under the British) and Northern Ireland (to remain a part of UK). IRA was split on the issue of accepting the agreement. The breakaway group, the ‘Irregulars’ under Eamon de Valera, fought another war with the Empire from 1922-1923 when they were defeated; but they continued their extremist activities and also continued a political course through their party Sinn Féin. Once Republic of Ireland came out of Commonwealth, IRA’s genda shifted to unification with the Northern Ireland. IRA split again in 1979 into Official & Provisional IRA on the issue of whether or not to use violence. Since the 1960s, IRA has killed about 1,800 people. In 1990s, IRA began talks with British government and called for ceasefire after a power sharing agreement. The Republicans agreed to allow Northern Ireland to remain under UK till popular mandate in that country favoured it (Belfast Agreement of 1998). Now a few disintegrate groups – mainly Real & Continuity IRA have continued the violent legacy. But so far, taking the political route has been a blessing for both sides. One hopes that it stays like that forever.

By:- Sray Agarwal

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