Security Regional command Republican colour party in Dublin — March
Beginnings[ edit ] In the early days of the Troubles —72the Provisional IRA was poorly armed, with only a handful of old weapons left over from the IRA's Border campaign of the s.
In the first years of the conflict, the Provisionals' main activities were defending Irish nationalist areas from attacks. When loyalists retaliated by attacking the nationalist enclave of Short Strand in east Belfast, Billy McKeethe Provisionals' commander in Belfast, occupied St Matthew's Church and defended it in a five-hour gun battle with the loyalists, in what became known as the Battle of St Matthew's.
One of his men was killed, he was badly wounded, and three loyalists were also killed. The Army was soon discredited in the eyes of many nationalists by incidents such as the Falls Curfew of Julywhen 3, British troops imposed martial law conditions on the nationalist lower Falls area of west Belfast.
The first soldier to die was gunner Robert Curtis, killed by Billy Reid in a gun battle in February Charlie Hughes, commander of the Provisionals' D Company in the Lower Falls, was killed before a truce was brokered between the two factions.
About half the total of British soldiers to die in the conflict  were killed in the years — In the same year, they carried out 1, bomb attacks and 90 IRA members were killed. Thereafter, fortified police and military posts were built in republican areas throughout Northern Ireland. During the early s, a typical IRA operation involved sniping at British patrols and engaging them in fire-fights in urban areas of Belfast and Derry.
These tactics produced casualties for both sides and for many civilian bystanders. The British Army study of the conflict later described this period —72as the 'insurgency phase' of the IRA's campaign.
The most effective tactic the IRA developed for its bombing campaign was the car bombwhere large amounts of explosives were packed into a car, which was driven to its target and then detonated.
From the tactical point of view, it tied down a great number of British troops in Belfast and other cities and major towns across Northern Ireland. Strategically, it hampered the British administration and government of the country, striking simultaneously at its economic structure. Examples include the bombing of the Abercorn restaurant in Belfast inin which two young Catholic women were killed and people injured, attributed to the IRA, which never acknowledged responsibility, as well as the bombing of the La Mon restaurant in County Down in Februarywhich resulted in the deaths of twelve Protestant civilian customers, and others maimed and injured.
This proved so dangerous for British Army patrols that virtually all troops in the area had to be transported by helicopter,  a policy which continued untilwhen the last British Army base was closed in South Armagh.
The British government held secret talks with the Provisional IRA leadership in to try and secure a ceasefire based on a compromise settlement within Northern Ireland. The IRA leaders refused to consider a peace settlement that did not include a commitment to British withdrawal to be completed bya retreat of the British Army to barracks and a release of republican prisoners.
The British refused and the talks ended. The republicans believed initially that this was the start of a long-term process of British withdrawal. However, after several months, many in the IRA came to believe that the British were trying to bring the Provisional movement into peaceful politics without giving them any guarantees.
By earlythe IRA leadership, short of money, weapons and members, was on the brink of calling off the campaign. Between and3, people were charged with "terrorist offences". Instead, smaller but more specialised groups carried out sustained attritional attacks.
In response to the ceasefire and the arrest of many IRA volunteers in its aftermath, the Provisionals re-organised their structures in into small cell-based units.
While these were harder to infiltrate, the greater secrecy also caused a distance to develop between the IRA and sympathetic civilians.
They also embarked on a strategy known as the "Long War" — a process of attrition based on the indefinite continuation of an armed campaign until the British government grew tired of the political, military and financial costs involved in staying in Northern Ireland.
Another effective IRA tactic devised in the late s was the use of home-made mortars mounted on the back of trucks which were fired at police and army bases.
These mortars were first tested in but did not kill anyone until However, many unionists argue that the IRA's campaign was sectarian and there are many incidents where the organisation targeted Protestant civilians.
The s were the most violent years of the Troubles. As well as its campaign against the security forces, the IRA became involved, in the middle of the decade, in a "tit for tat" cycle of sectarian killings with loyalist paramilitaries.
The worst examples of this occurred in and The IRA did not officially claim the killings, but justified them in a statement on 17 January"The Irish Republican Army has never initiated sectarian killings The loyalists revoked the agreement inafter the IRA killing of Lord Mountbatten, but the pact nevertheless halted the cycle of sectarian revenge killings until the late s, when the loyalist groups began killing Catholics again in large numbers.
Most of these were Protestant and unionist, thus the killings were portrayed and perceived by many as a campaign of sectarian assassination.
Boyle and Hadden argue that the allegations do not stand up to serious scrutiny,  while nationalists object to the term on the grounds that it is not used by unionists to describe similar killings or expulsions of Catholics in areas where they form a minority.
These workers were mostly, but not exclusively, Protestant. Patrick Gillespie, killed by proxy bomb in Coshquinwas Catholic, as were several judges, magistrates, and contractors assassinated by the IRA.
However, the Army Council did not consent to a bombing campaign in England until earlyafter talks with the British government the previous year had broken down. The team were reported[ who?The first Irish Republican Army fought the British in the Irish War of Independence.
The Anglo-Irish treaty concluding the war divided Ireland into a Catholic Irish Free State and Protestant Northern Ireland, which became the British province, Ulster.
The bulk of the text is devoted to the origins and history of the Provisional IRA and thus concerned with developments after The first two chapters succinctly and skillfully provide an analytical narrative of physical force republicanism since the Easter Rising of Description.
The Volunteer: Uniforms, Weapons and History of the Irish Republican Army, by James Durney.
Many rare and archival photographs are included in this book. He was murdered four years ago at age 79 by members of the Irish Republican Army who planted a bomb in his sailboat off the Irish coast.
It blew up when he went fishing with his grandchildren. April Easter Rising, Dublin: This is led by Patrick Pearse, who proclaims the "Irish Republic." War of Independence & .
Irish republicanism (Irish: This was a turning point in Irish history, Nowadays the term 'Irish Republican Army' almost always denotes the Provisional IRA.