Project Outline

The IRA announced unilateral permanent end to violence in North Ireland in July 2005. The objective is to make a summary list of major developments in the negations and pronouncements of the IRA, the protestant party and UK govt during the 12 months prior to and following that announcement.

Research information

IRA Pronouncements

IRA statement in full

Thursday, 28 July 2005


The IRA's full statement, in which its leadership ordered members to stop the armed campaign. The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4pm [1600 BST] this afternoon. All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means.

Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever. The IRA leadership has also authorised our representative to engage with the IICD [Independent International Commission on Decommissioning] to complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use in a way which will further enhance public confidence and to conclude this as quickly as possible. The outcome of our consultations show very strong support among IRA Volunteers for the Sinn Féin peace strategy.

We have invited two independent witnesses, from the Protestant and Catholic churches, to testify to this. The Army Council took these decisions following an unprecedented internal discussion and consultation process with IRA units and Volunteers. We appreciate the honest and forthright way in which the consultation process was carried out and the depth and content of the submissions.

We are proud of the comradely way in which this truly historic discussion was conducted. The outcome of our consultations show very strong support among IRA Volunteers for the Sinn Fein peace strategy. There is also widespread concern about the failure of the two governments and the unionists to fully engage in the peace process. We reiterate our view that the armed struggle was entirely legitimate.

This has created real difficulties. The overwhelming majority of people in Ireland fully support this process. They and friends of Irish unity throughout the world want to see the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Notwithstanding these difficulties our decisions have been taken to advance our republican and democratic objectives, including our goal of a united Ireland.

We believe there is now an alternative way to achieve this and to end British rule in our country. It is the responsibility of all Volunteers to show leadership, determination and courage. We are very mindful of the sacrifices of our patriot dead, those who went to jail, Volunteers, their families and the wider republican base. The IRA is fully committed to the goals of Irish unity and independence and to building the Republic outlined in the 1916 Proclamation.

We reiterate our view that the armed struggle was entirely legitimate. We are conscious that many people suffered in the conflict. There is a compelling imperative on all sides to build a just and lasting peace. The issue of the defence of nationalist and republican communities has been raised with us. There is a responsibility on society to ensure that there is no re-occurrence of the pogroms of 1969 and the early 1970s.

There is also a universal responsibility to tackle sectarianism in all its forms. The IRA is fully committed to the goals of Irish unity and independence and to building the Republic outlined in the 1916 Proclamation. We call for maximum unity and effort by Irish republicans everywhere. We are confident that by working together Irish republicans can achieve our objectives.

Every Volunteer is aware of the import of the decisions we have taken and all Oglaigh are compelled to fully comply with these orders. There is now an unprecedented opportunity to utilise the considerable energy and goodwill which there is for the peace process.

This comprehensive series of unparalleled initiatives is our contribution to this and to the continued endeavours to bring about independence and unity for the people of Ireland.

26 September 2005

IRA weapons: Statements in full. General John de Chastelain said IRA weapons were beyond use. The IRA has put all of its weapons beyond use, the head of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) has said. Here are statements from various politicians and groups in response to the announcement made by General John de Chastelain, head of that decommissioning group.

IRA "The leadership of Oglaigh na h-Eireann announced on 28 July that we had authorised our representative to engage with the IICD to complete the process to verifiably put arms beyond use.

"The IRA leadership can now confirm that the process of putting our arms verifiably beyond use has been completed."


"I warmly welcome [Monday's] statement by General de Chastelain on IRA decommissioning and the separate statement by the independent witnesses.

"This is an important development in the peace process and one we have all been waiting for, for a long time.

"The government is very grateful to General John de Chastelain and his colleagues Andy Sens and Tauno Nieminen for their authoritative and effective oversight of this process.

"I particularly welcome General de Chastelain's confirmation that IRA decommissioning is complete and that the amount of arms and material decommissioned by the IRA is consistent with the assessments provided by the security services of the two governments last year.

"Successive British governments have sought final and complete decommissioning by the IRA for over ten years. Failure to deliver it had become a major impediment to 'moving forward the peace process. Today it is finally accomplished.

"And we have made an important step in the transition from conflict to peace in Northern Ireland.

"If the IMC [Independent Monitoring Commission] confirm that all other activity has ceased then that transition, as far as the IRA are concerned, will be complete.

"While recognising the great significance of today's announcement we must always be mindful of the victims of violence whose families continue to live with their pain.

"The true importance of today is that these weapons can never again be used to inflict suffering and create more victims.

"The involvement of representatives of the Protestant and Catholic faiths as independent witnesses in the process is new and significant and should give added confidence to both communities that IRA decommissioning is both complete and permanent."


"The IICD statement that the IRA has met its commitments to put all its arms beyond use is of enormous consequence.

"It is a landmark development, it is of real historic significance, the weapons of the IRA have gone and they're gone in a manner which has been witnessed and verified.

"Many believed that this day would never come, many would say that this should have happened a long time ago but it has now come about.

"We are enormously relieved that we can finally close this difficult chapter of the peace process."


"This afternoon the people of Northern Ireland watched a programme which illustrates more than ever the duplicity and dishonesty of the two governments and the IRA.

"Instead of openness there was the cunning tactics of a cover-up, the complete failure from General John de Chastelain to deal with the vital numbers of decommissioning.

"We do not know how many guns, the amount of ammunition and explosives that were decommissioned. Nor were we told how the decommissioning was carried out.

"The so-called Independent International Commission for Decommissioning could only say to the people of Northern Ireland that the proof that all the guns and material of the IRA were decommissioned was in an assurance given to them by the IRA.

"Not one iota was given to verify that assurance.

"It must be clearly stated that both witnesses were approved by the IRA and therefore were accepted by the IRA and in no way could be independent."

"The fact remains that the promise made by the prime minister, that decommissioning must be transparent and verifiable and must satisfy everyone, was broken.

"There were no photographs, no detailed inventory and no detail of the destruction of these arms.

"To describe today's act as being transparent would be the falsehood of the century."


"I am very proud to be part of this leadership and this Sinn Fein party and I consider this afternoon's announcements to be a very full and a positive and conclusive response to the appeal that I made in April.

"That time you will recall that I called upon the IRA to pursue their goals by purely peaceful and democratic means. And this was in keeping with the Sinn Fein position going back many years.

"I want to commend the leadership of the IRA for moving so decisively. Now I know that today's announcement will be difficult for republicans.

"I saw that myself earlier on as we watched the press conference of the IICD and the two independent witnesses. But this was a very brave and a very bold leap and all of us need to think beyond it. We need to think beyond this moment.

"It's not the leap itself but the place that it takes all of us that is important and for this reason the IRA's courageous decision was the right thing to do. Both governments now need to be decisive, focused and creative.

"They need to implement the Good Friday Agreement as they have promised to do. There has to be progress on equality, on policing, on human rights, on people on the run, on victims and on all the other issues which are outstanding. "There must also be progress on other issues including prisoners and northern representation on the Oireachtas.

"There must be a proper peace dividend to tackle inequality, discrimination, deprivation and sectarianism wherever it exists and the political institutions must be restored."


"Clearly it would appear that a significant development in terms of decommissioning has taken place.

"However we regret that once again, this development has failed to maximise public confidence.

"We will wait and see the outworking of events. It is imperative that not only arms are decommissioned but that the dismantling of the republican movement's criminal empire is also completed.

"In order to restore confidence, we call on the government to immediately publish the estimates that were given to the IICD.

"This move by republicans should illicit a response from loyalist paramilitaries who said that if the IRA decommissioned that they would follow suit."


"The gun is at last being taken out of Irish politics. This vindicates all of us who have always argued for a peaceful way forward.

"Those of us who have always been clear that decommissioning was a requirement of the Good Friday Agreement.

"Just last February, the IRA warned the Irish people not to underestimate the seriousness of the situation. The Irish people didn't. They stood firm for an end to guns. Now their strong stand has been rewarded.

"Today's events also demonstrate the utter futility of violence. Violence never won anything in the north. Violence does not pay. It costs. In lives lost, in economies ruined, in communities wrecked.

"That's something that so many victims of the troubles know too well. Today as we look forward, we must not leave them behind - isolated and forgotten.

"It's something the loyalists need to learn. The best thing they can do now to free their communities of poverty and fear is to give up the drug dealing, the racketeering, intimidation and murder and destroy their guns.


"The focus now turns to the other activities of the republican movement.

"Over the coming months, we will study closely the reports of the Independent Monitoring Commission, as they assess the activities of both unionist and nationalist paramilitaries.

"Some unionists are still refusing to engage in any contact with Sinn Fein, while having no problem in joint activity with loyalist parties, despite the violence on and after September 10."

23 March 2005

In its Easter message the IRA again reiterated its position in relation to the killing of Robert McCartney.

"It was wrong, it was murder, it was a crime. But it was not carried out by the IRA, nor was it carried out on behalf of the IRA.

"The IRA moved quickly to deal with those involved. We have tried to assist in whatever way we can.

"Unfortunately, it would appear that no matter what we do it will never be enough for some."

The republican movement was still under ferocious pressure over the murder and the Northern Bank raid. It was wrong, it was murder, it was a crime. But it was not carried out by the IRA, nor was it carried out on behalf of the IRA statement

Among those leading scathing criticism was the Irish Justice Minister, Michael McDowell. The peace process remained in stalemate and it was accepted that there would be no movement ahead of a spring general election which was anounced for 5 May. During the first week of the campaign, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams made an appeal for the IRA to "fully embrace and accept" peaceful means and to allow politics to move the process forward.

An initial statement from the IRA said it was giving "due consideration" to the appeal and Gerry Adams later said the IRA had begun its process of consultation. The Westminister and local council election results showed an increase in both Sinn Fein and the DUP's vote. Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy took the Newry and Armagh seat from the SDLP. The DUP won four more seats at Westminster including that of the Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble. Mr Trimble announced his resignation and blamed republicans and the two governments for the impasse in the process.

8 March 2005

As the public pressure mounted on republicans to co-operate with the murder investigation into the death of Robert McCartney, the IRA released a further statement.

The five page document gave details of the organisation's internal inquiry into the killing and some detail on a meeting which had been held between its representatives and the McCartney family. The IRA was prepared to shoot the people directly involved in the killing of Robert McCartney

IRA statement

But there was outrage at the paragraph on the third page where the IRA "stated in clear terms that the IRA was prepared to shoot the people directly involved in the killing of Robert McCartney."

The statement made it clear that the McCartney family "did not want physical action taken against those involved.

"They stated that they wanted those individuals to give a full account of their actions in court."

After this statement the McCartney family's campaign continued and became more intense. They were invited to attend the St Patrick's Day celebrations in the White House. Unlike in recent years, Northern Ireland's politicians were left out of the occasion.

25 February 2005

The Robert McCartney murder continued to be a huge embarrassment for the Republican movement as Robert's sisters and partners mounted a high profile campaign to bring those responsible to justice. An IRA statement said: "Following our investigation the IRA leadership, along with the leadership of the Belfast Command, initiated disciplinary proceedings through Court Martial.

"The outcome of the Courts Martial include the dismissal of three volunteers, two of whom were high ranking volunteers." The IRA statement had little impact on the campaign to bring witnesses to Robert McCartney's murder forward. The McCartney family continued to keep the pressure on republicans in the days that followed.

2 February 2005

By now republicans were fire-fighting on several fronts. As the repercussions of the Northern Bank raid continued to affect the political process, the murder of a man outside a Belfast bar made the headlines in January 2005. Robert McCartney was killed on 30 January after he and a friend were involved in a fight with other customers who had returned from a Bloody Sunday commemoration. The IRA would later be forced to admit some of its members were involved after it became apparent that a forensic clean-up operation had taken place and witnesses had been ordered to keep silent by the killers. We are taking all our proposals off the table/

IRA statement

In early February, the IRA said it was withdrawing the offer it had put forward during the political talks.

"In 2004 our leadership was prepared to speedily resolve the issue of arms, by Christmas if possible, and to invite two independent witnesses, from the Protestant and Catholic churches, to testify to this.

"These significant and substantive initiatives were our contributions to the peace process.

"Others, however, did not share that agenda."

The IRA statement was bitterly critical of the Irish and British governments and of the DUP and stated baldly: "We are taking all our proposals off the table."

9 December 2004

By now Sinn Fein and the DUP had come within a whisker of forging an historic agreement. Following key talks at Leeds Castle in September involving all the main parties, delicate negotiations had continued between the DUP and Sinn Fein. These had been conducted through the two governments rather than face-to-face.

These talks eventually foundered on the issue of whether photographic evidence would be made available in the event of full decommissioning. We restate our commitment to the peace process. But we will not submit to a process of humiliation.

IRA statement

In its statement the IRA said: "For his part, Ian Paisley demanded that our contribution be photographed, and reduced to an act of humiliation.

"This was never possible. Knowing this, he made this demand publicly as the excuse for his rejection of an overall agreement to create a political context with the potential to remove the causes of conflict."

The statement went on: "We restate our commitment to the peace process. But we will not submit to a process of humiliation."

There was no hoped-for Christmas breakthrough. The process went into deep freeze again and then was plunged into crisis as the Northern Bank's headquarters in Belfast were robbed on 20 December. A massive £26.5m was seized by the armed gang. Within days the IRA was blamed despite its denials. Politicians angrily denounced Sinn Fein for being in political negotiations while the robbery was being planned. Republicans continued to insist the IRA was not responsible.

Violence In North Ireland

Northern Ireland (UK) Historic declaration by IRA 28 July ending armed campaign and committing to pursue goals through peaceful means. Followed month of violent demonstrations: militant Republicans attacked riot police with homemade grenades and petrol bombs at 12 July Protestant Orange Order parade Belfast, wounding up to 80 police officers; petrol bombs thrown during Londonderry rioting injured 7 police; 2 killed in ongoing Loyalist feud between UVF and LVF. UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to withhold Progressive Unionist Party’s assembly allowances.

“Now, IRA stands for I Renounce Arms”, Source: The Economist, 28. July 2005.

“Baton rounds fired during rioting”, BBC, 13 July 2005.

Baton rounds were fired during rioting in north Belfast for the first time in almost three years in Northern Ireland, it has emerged. The trouble began when nationalists attacked police after an Orange Order parade passed the Ardoyne shops area. Police fired the new baton rounds, known as attenuated energy projectiles, which were introduced last month. About 80 officers were injured, one seriously during Tuesday's trouble in which petrol and blast bombs were used. It is understood dissident republicans linked to the Continuity IRA were responsible for the most serious attacks. Several arrests were made.

The new style baton rounds are intended to present a reduced risk of causing serious or fatal injuries. Baton rounds were last used in Northern Ireland in September 2002. Petrol bombs and three blast bombs, as well as bottles and bricks, were thrown at the police during disturbances on Tuesday. One police officer was seriously injured and has been undergoing surgery in hospital. The extent of his injuries are not clear, but his condition is not believed to be life threatening. The most serious violence against the police was in the Brompton Park area. A car was hi-jacked and burned and police used a water cannon on rioters.

Earlier on Tuesday, in agreement with police, 15 protesters were allowed to stand on a wall overlooking the route as the Orangemen passed holding aloft a banner saying 'make sectarianism history'. We retain the right to use whatever tactics are necessary when we're faced with a lethal threat - Superintendent Gary White.

Dialogue 'fundamental'

Speaking on Wednesday, Sinn Fein North Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly said lives could have been lost in the disturbances and that dialogue was "fundamental". "To take a position as a political leader not to speak and for the Orange Order to take a position not to speak to residents or indeed to political representatives is one way of going absolutely nowhere," he said.

SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood said the police "generally behaved properly and proportionately, faced with blast bombs falling among the media, local representatives and people, and the police themselves".

"This needs to be faced up to, rather than trying to misrepresent the full nature of the police response and the true facts of what transpired after an unwelcome and offensive Orange parade had passed through."

Superintendent Gary White, who was in charge of the police operation, said the violence had clearly been premeditated. "We've used water cannon and various other tactics, and we retain the right to use whatever tactics are necessary when we're faced with a lethal threat," he added.

Local priest Father Aidan Troy, who had worked closely with the police, politicians and community leaders in a bid to avert trouble, said what happened was deeply disappointing. Speaking after Tuesday's rioting, the DUP's North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said republicans either had no control of the situation or no desire to exert that control.

"I have to say that this morning the use of an illegal protest on the street, sanctioned by Sinn Fein, was not a good thing to do because it set the trend for further illegality tonight," he said. In a statement, the Orange Order called on the Parades Commission to ban future protests at Ardoyne.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said an overall solution needed to be found on the parades issue and called on the secretary of state to begin talks in the autumn.

"We can't allow what is an issue of cultural rights to be turned into a political football, and there has to be a consensus on how this is dealt with," he said.

Meanwhile in Londonderry, seven police officers were injured as 52 petrol bombs were thrown during rioting early on Wednesday. Eleven people were arrested by police, who are trying to identify those involved in the trouble in both the Cityside and Waterside areas.

The Twelfth of July Orange Order parades mark the victory of the Protestant Prince William of Orange over the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.


The IRA ends its armed struggle

Jul 28th 2005 From

FOR a group long notorious for its ambiguity and twisted words, the statement could hardly have been clearer: The IRA’s leadership, it said, has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4pm this afternoon. All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All of the IRA’s volunteers, the statement continued, had been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means. The IRA said it now believed it had an alternative way to achieve its goal of ending British rule of Northern Ireland. The IRA might continue to exist, the statement implied—but more as an association of old comrades than a fighting force.

Besides pledging to put more than three decades of bombing and shooting definitively behind it, the IRA’s dramatic announcement, on Thursday July 28th, also ordered militants to cease all other activities—a presumed reference to the IRA’s extensive criminal activities. …


Northern Ireland - the site of a violent and bitter

Northern Ireland has been for many years the site of a violent and bitter ethno-political conflict between those claiming to represent Nationalists who are predominantly Catholic, and those claiming to represent Unionists, who are predominantly Protestant [1] In general, Nationalists want Northern Ireland to be unified with the Republic of Ireland, and Unionists want it to remain part of the United Kingdom. Unionists are in the majority in Northern Ireland, though Nationalists represent a significant minority. In general, Protestants consider themselves British and Catholics see themselves as Irish but there are some who see themselves as both British and Irish. People from Northern Ireland are entitled to both British and Irish citizenship (see Citizenship and Identity [2]). The campaigns of violence have become known popularly as The Troubles. The majority of both sides of the community have had no direct involvement in the violent campaigns waged. Since the signing of the Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement or the G.F.A.) in 1998, many of the major paramilitary campaigns have either been on ceasefire or have declared their war to be over.

The main actors have been the Provisional Irish Republican Army and other republican groups who wish to bring about an end of the union with Great Britain, and various loyalist paramilitary groups who wish to maintain the union. The police force (the Royal Ulster Constabulary) and the British army were charged with maintaining law and order, though were frequently attacked by the nationalist community and republican paramilitaries who claimed that they were protagonists in the conflict.

On 28 July 2005, the Provisional IRA declared an end to its campaign and has since decommissioned what is thought to be all of its arsenal. This final act of decommissioning was performed in accordance with the Belfast Agreement of 1998, and under the watch of the International Decommissioning Body and two external church witnesses. Many unionists, however, remain sceptical. This IRA decommissioning is in contrast to Loyalist paramilitaries who have so far failed to decommission many weapons. It is not thought that this will have a major effect on further political progress as political parties linked to Loyalist paramilitaries do not attract significant support and will not be in a position to form part of a government in the near future.

Activities The IRA has a history of violence including bombings, assassinations, kidnapping, extortion and robberies. Since breaking the cease fire agreement in 1996 the IRA has been on a bombing Campaign against train and subway stations , shopping areas in mainland Britain and military Targets in northern Ireland and the European continent

Strengths The IRA’s active membership is estimated to be several hundred , plus several hundred sympathizers.

External Aid The IRA has received economic aid form Libya , the Palestine liberation organization (PLO) and thousands Of dollars from sympathizers in the US including a US congressman. To Understand the political side of the IRA one must first look at Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein is the oldest political party in Ireland , they take there name from The Irish expression for “We ourselves”. Since being founded in 1905 they Have worked for the rights of the Irish people to attain their independence. Sinn Fein seeks an end to partition which is the cause of conflict, injustice And division in Ireland. Sinn Fein wants the establishment of a new Ireland based on social and economic Development ; genuine democracy , participation , equality and justice at all levels. Sinn Fein is a Irish republican party. There objective is to end British rule in Ireland. They seek national independence of Ireland as a sovereign state. Sinn Fein wants to Transform Irish society into a democratic settlement . “We know that peace is not Simply the absence of violence . real peace –a lasting peace- is based on democracy, Justice, freedom and equality. Enter the IRA. Sinn Fein believes beyond the present conflict, beyond this phase of their history That all people of Ireland will be united .The Sinn Fein vision is one of redistribution Of wealth , for the well-being of the aged, for the advancement of youth , for the Liberation of women and for the protection of there children.

The Sinn Fein party officials do not often comment on the operations of the IRA, but They do say that Sinn Fein is committed to peace . They have sought to construct a Peace process which reaches out and embraces everyone on the Island on the basis of Equality. The Sinn Fein objective is for an agreement that will earn the respect and allegiance of All sections of people . To achieve this and over objective ,Sinn Fein is supporting the Good Friday agreement , which Sinn Fein reached with other northern parties and the British governments following multi-party negotiations in Belfast. Sinn Fein’s peace strategy was supported by a renewal of the 1994 cessation of the armed Struggle by the military wing of Sinn Fein the Irish republican party and was reinstated At this years annual conference called Ard Fheis. Sinn Fein is seeking to build on the success of it’s 1998 election campaigns , which produced Vital gains for the party with voters reelecting Party president Gerry Adams, and Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness.

By Michael Griffin

Source: Wikipedia

Northern Ireland (UK) Historic declaration by IRA 28 July ending armed campaign and committing to pursue goals through peaceful means. Followed month of violent demonstrations: militant Republicans attacked riot police with homemade grenades and petrol bombs at 12 July Protestant Orange Order parade Belfast, wounding up to 80 police officers; petrol bombs thrown during Londonderry rioting injured 7 police; 2 killed in ongoing Loyalist feud between UVF and LVF. UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to withhold Progressive Unionist Party’s assembly allowances.


Mitchell first led a commission which established the principles on non-violence to which all parties in Northern Ireland had to adhere, and subsequently chaired the allparty peace negotiations which led to the Belfast Peace Agreement, signed on Good Friday, 1998.


I must take issue with constant repetition by British people on this thread that America funded and supported the IRA.

The IRA received a proportion of their funding from Irish American sympathisers, not America. The worst accusation British people can possibly level at the US was that they refused to extradite IRA suspects on the run.

If the British had refrained from torturing suspects, often innocent, and imprisoning people without trial, often innocent, maybe they wouldn't have have given the Americans the excuse for refusing extradition.

Apart from that the Americans scored many major successes in disrupting gun running to the IRA - notably in the IRA's efforts to acquire effective surface to air missiles, which undoubtedly saved the lives of many British soldiers in Northern Ireland.

Also, what do those British critics have to say about the proportion of funding for loyalist terrorism in Northern Ireland that was raised among sympathisers in places like Glasgow and Liverpool?

Do we draw the lesson that Britain and the British people in general supported and funded the murder or mutilation of more than 1,000 innocent people in Northern Ireland?

What about the fact that for the duration of the campaign of terrorist violence in Northern Ireland the British never even saw fit to outlaw the largest terrorist organisation in the place - the UDA? Maybe because they never carried out, nor ever intended to carry out an atrocity in London or Birmingham?

Yes indeed, believe it or not, during Margaret Thatcher and John Major's premiership it was entirely possible to openly be a member of a UK based terrorist organisation responsible for the deaths of many innocent people.

Did it ever cause a second thought to the average person on the streets of London or Birmingham?

As someone who grew up in Northern Ireland during this era I find it bizarre that people in Britain are absolving themselves of any involvement in Northern Ireland, an integral part of the UK, and blaming America!!!!!

Posted by Paul on September 12, 2006 9:54 PM Report this comment

The vast majority of American felt sympathy and concern for Britain's plight in those days. Some Irish-American did send money to the IRA, but support for the IRA was never the policy of any U.S. administration in my memory. In fact, it was U.S. senator George Mitchell who went to Northern Ireland to try to put an end to the troubles.

Posted by Bill E. on September 12, 2006 5:29 PM Report this comment


After September 11th WTC tragedy - American Ireland Fund

On September 11, 2001 tragedy struck America in an unprecedented way. The entire country was shaken, with New York City bearing the brunt of the terror through the attack on the World Trade Center.

We at The American Ireland Fund felt that such an unparalleled crisis called for an extraordinary response. While the AIF is proud of its mission to support worthwhile charities throughout Ireland and we look forward to re-focusing our efforts in that direction, we believed that this was the time to give back to the US.

For these reasons, we committed to raising $1 million for the AIF's Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). We determined primarily to aid the poorest of the poor who lost their livelihoods, rather than their lives that day. Many of those whom we are supporting are immigrants; we thought this was only fitting as the AIF is primarily composed of those descended from relatively recent immigrants.

At the same time, we re-committed ourselves to aiding the uniformed emergency service workers who lost their lives in order to save others.


Unemployment and Violence in Northern Ireland

Contrary to the body of literature in political violence, and the rhetoric of many parties of the conflict, time-series models of “the troubles” in Northern Ireland by White(1993) and Thompson(1989) have found no evidence that economic conditions effect the intensity, sources or direction of violence. I show that several methodological flaws exist in previous models. They fail to address the discrete, count nature of the data, the contagion present from aggregation over time, pooling issues from different types of violence, and the over dispersal of deaths. However, the key problem, acknowledged even by the authors themselves, is that all measures of unemployment aggregate

Protestant and Catholic unemployment rates into one single measure. Clearly, Republican paramilitary violence should be caused chiefly by the Catholic unemployment rate rather than the aggregate unemployment rate. Possibly also Loyalist violence may be a result of the Protestant unemployment rate. However, little historical data exists on disaggregated rates of unemployment, thus previous studies forced to use aggregate measures have found no connection between economic conditions and the incidences of violent death. Using a model that combines methods of Multiple Imputation to recover missing data (King Honaker Joseph Scheve 2001) and the literature of models for Ecological Inference problems (especially King 1997) I estimate the disaggregated unemployment rates by religion from the available data. Unemployment is shown to be a leading cause of the violence by Republican factions in Northern Ireland. I also estimate the effectiveness of the various security forces (RUC, UDR, British Army) in lowering the death rate. I show these forces have differential effectiveness depending on both the sectarian source and target of violence using a model of probabilistically distributed lags appropriate for time-series event count data.


The connection between economic conditions and political violence is central to multiple approaches to the study of conflict. For normative policy makers, economic conditions are often the only policy instruments with the prospect of short term manipulation or improvement. For more positivist observers, measures of aggregate economic conditions are often the only variables with consistent explanatory power, other than previous levels of violence.

The Case of Northern Ireland

An important subject of study, in both the qualitative and quantitative fields, has been violence in Northern Ireland. The two most thorough studies, by Thompson (1989) and by White (1993), find little connection between economic conditions and the level of violence, and what little effect they do find is in the wrong direction, with increased unemployment decreasing the level of violence. Republican groups often cast the violence as a fight of Catholics against economic persecution by Protestants. For the last fifty years Northern Ireland has had a significantly higher rate of unemployment, from 2 to 5 times higher, than the rest of the United Kingdom. Moreover the Catholic unemployment rate in Northern Ireland is significantly higher than the Protestant unemployment rate. One longstanding explanation for the difference of unemployment by religion has been economic persecution by the state and by Protestant dominated business and industry. Other commentators attribute the difference to a natural consequence of demographic differences between the two groups, such as fertility, education and socio-economic structure (Compton 1981, Kovalcheck 1987, Eversley 1989, Howe 1990, Sheehan and Tomlinson 1999). This disparity in unemployment is commonly invoked as one of the chief grievances of the Republican paramilitaries.

Monthly data of the aggregate unemployment rate in different government districts in Northern Ireland4 is collected by the Central Statistical Office5. Government census data, collected every decade, also exists describing the composition by religion of these districts. Therefore, in each district we know the total number of Catholics (XC) and the number unemployed (U), but we don’t know the number of Catholics who are unemployed, which is the variable we are interested in. A common perspective on the problem is to lay these terms out in a table and see that we know all the values on the marginals of the table (the Roman Letters) such as the fraction of Catholics, Xc and the unemployment rate, U6. However, the elements inside the table (Greek letters) such as the Catholic and Protestant unemployment rates, βC and βP , need to be estimated. We could construct table 2 for each district, and if we could ascertain the number of unemployed Catholics and Protestants, in each district we then know the Catholic and Protestant unemployment rates in Northern Ireland by the sum of these district values, weighted by the populations of Catholics and Protestants. The three models previously mentioned all propose different methods to estimate these quantities from the known data. Commonly researchers are interested in estimating the elements inside the table for each district, however, we will need only the weighted sum of these individual rates for our final analysis7. That is, we only need the national unemployment rates, not the district unemployment rates.

Source: James Honaker

University of California, Los Angeles†, July, 2005.

Unemployment data among Catholics in North Ireland

In 1998, the respective proportions of Catholics and Protestants in employment were in line with the representation of the two communities in the Northern Ireland workforce. The measured unemployment rate for Catholics was 10% compared with 5% for Protestants whilst 50 % of all Catholic unemployed had been without work for at least a year compared with 37 % of Protestant unemployed. These differences were more marked for males than females.

Unemployment and long-term unemployment Unemployment in Northern Ireland remains above the UK average (ILO) unemployment for the UK is 5.5% and the Claimant Count average for the UK is 3.6% compared with 6.7% and 5.2% in NI). Long-term unemployment as a percentage of total unemployment is extremely significant, with 40% of the ILO unemployed having been so for more than one year in Spring 2000 (Claimant Count long-term unemployment was 30% in July 2000). Although long-term unemployment has also fallen overall, it remains especially high for certain groups and areas, and in NI as a whole it is still much higher than in any other region in the UK (the next highest UK region for LTU is Wales with 34.6%. The UK average is 28.2%). The flows into long-term unemployment also continue to be higher than the UK average. This differential persists for longer durations of unemployment. The proportion of claimants who have been claiming for more than five years is 4.6 percentage points higher in NI than that for the UK as a whole.

Male long-term unemployment

The problem of long-term unemployment particularly affects men. In the period March-May 2000, nearly half of ILO unemployed men (46%) had been out of work and seeking employment for more than one year. Very high proportions of male unemployment and long-term unemployment are also evident in certain districts and parliamentary constituencies. The trends in NI’s labour market (increase in part-time jobs and growth of sectors in which men traditionally are less likely to work) mean that the opportunities for many long-term unemployed men to work without much focused support and reskilling are perceived at least to be few.

Unemployment by Duration (Thousands)
Upto 6 months 6-12 months Over 12 months Over 24 months total Unemployed[3] long term unemployed as % of total
Nov - Jan 2003
Nov - Jan 2004
Nov - Jan 2005
Feb - Apr 2005
May - Jul 2005
Aug - Oct 2005
Nov - Jan 2006
Change on Year

Figures may not sum due to rounding

Latest Period ILO Employment Rate(%)(Unadjusted) Change on year Latest Month Unemployed Rate (%) Change on Year
Jul-Sep 05
Jul-Sep 05
Jul-Sep 05
Czech Republic
Jul-Sep 05
Jul-Sep 05
Jul-Sep 05
Jul-Sep 05
Jul-Sep 05
Jul-Sep 05
Jul-Sep 05
Jul-Sep 05


Trends in donations by Irish Americans to IRA


There are 44 million Irish Americans.


There are actually 17 million Catholic Irish Americans - the other 27 million are Protestant Scots-Irish Americans (Scots-Irish is the US term for Ulster-Scots). Despite being born in the north of Ireland, those of Irish Presbyterian descent are ethnically Scots. The Scotch-Irish were the frontiersmen who carved America out of the wilderness, the Catholic Irish did not arrive until much later, after the Irish potato famine. It is a source of considerable consternation among Northern Ireland's Ulster-Scots population when Scots-Irish Americans celebrate the Irish St Patrick's Day (although St. Patrick predated Roman Catholicism, he was an English slave and therefore not someone people of Scottish descent would likely be celebrating!). Certain US States have taken to holding an annual Scots/Scots-Irish day for the Scots and Scotch-Irish to celebrate their true heritage.


U.S. Policy

The Bush Administration views the Good Friday Agreement as the best framework for a lasting peace in Northern Ireland.” A U.S. representative sits on the Independent Monitoring Commission. U.S. officials have described the IRA’s February 2005 decision to withdraw its decommissioning offer as “unwelcome” and called on the IRA to disband following its March 2005 offer to shoot the McCartney killers. The United States provides aid through the International Fund for Ireland ($8.5 million requested for FY2006) and is an important source of investment.

Recent Legislation

P.L. 108-447 (Dec. 8, 2004) appropriates $18.5 million for the International Fund for Ireland as part of the FY2005 foreign operations spending measure in the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2005. Introduced as H.R. 4818 by Representative Kolbe, July 13,2004.

P.L. 108-449 (Dec. 10, 2004) amends and extends the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act (IPPCTPA) of 1998 through FY2008 to provide job and conflict resolution training to persons from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

H.Con.Res. 267 urges a full and impartial inquiry into the 1989 murder of Belfast attorney Patrick Finucane. Introduced by Representative Payne, July 25, 2003.

P.L. 107-228 (Sept. 30, 2002) authorizes Department of State appropriations for FY2002-2003. Section 701 sets conditions for FBI training of PSNI officers and requires the President to report on decommissioning and the status of several high-profile murder investigations. Introduced as H.R. 1646 by Representative Hyde, Apr. 27, 2001.

U.S. Policy

The U.S. must be involved, Mr. Trimble said, because of the large Irish-American population, but the American government had to discourage money from being sent from the United States to the private armies. It should also list the IRA, as a result of its failure to decommission, as a terrorist organization.

Source: Program Brief

A publication of THE NIXON CENTER

The Irish diaspora, especially those who settled in the United States, have played an intregal part in the Troubles. But their influence, both for good and bad, has generally been exaggerated.

However impressive it sounds to say that there are, according to the 1990 U.S. Census, some 40 million Irish-Americans, the reality is that most of them think IRA stands for an Individual Retirement Account.

It is true that a small portion of Irish-Americans have always supported the Irish Republican Army, but the importance of the money they raised and the weapons they procurred for the republican movement tended to be exaggerated - mostly by the British, Irish and American governments in an attempt to persuade Americans not to contribute to IRA support groups.

For years, republican leaders acknowledged what they really wanted was American political influence to put pressure on the British government to seek a settlement. But that influence, especially in the White House, was withheld as long as the IRA was determined to carry on its violent campaign unconditionally. As the leadership of Sinn Fein sought to distance itself from violence, however, many Irish-American supporters of the IRA remained wedded to the idea that only violence would bring about a united Ireland. As the republican movement became increasingly sophisticated politically, there was no corresponding political change among most of the IRA's traditional supporters in the United States.

For a quarter century, the IRA attracted a core of followers in the United States who were loyal and dedicated but incapable of delivering the kind of political support that came to be seen as essential in bringing about the IRA ceasefires, first in 1994, then in July 1997. Part of the problem is that American supporters were often as right-wing as the Provisionals were left-wing. Bernadette Devlin scandalized IRA supporters in Boston in the early 1970s when she announced that she was more comfortable with blacks in Roxbury than she was with Irish-Americans in South Boston. The domination of the support groups by older, more conservative Irish-Americans made it impossible to form coalitions with younger, more radical activists who worked for groups in Central America and South Africa.

In 1969, as TV images of Catholics being attacked were beamed back to Irish Catholic enclaves in Boston and New York, hats were literally passed around pubs from Southie to Woodside in Queens. Fundraising for the IRA, or at least for IRA prisoners, peaked whenever the British were seen to do something outrageous, such as when British soldiers shot 14 civil rights marchers dead on Bloody Sunday in 1972 or in 1981 when Margaret Thatcher allowed the hunger strikers to die. But the fundraising was dwarfed by the millions that were raised by the mainstream Irish charities, especially the American Ireland Fund. Contrary to popular belief, the IRA didn't rely on American money or weapons. And they couldn't rely on American political support, which was limited at the beginning of the Troubles and continued to shrink as the IRA campaign dragged on and most influential Irish-Americans, especially politicians, distanced themselves from the IRA.

Because many Sinn Fein leaders had served time for IRA activity, most of them were barred from entering the US, meaning the political development of the republican movement progressed at different paces on either side of the Atlantic. But while IRA support groups remained outside the political mainstream, a growing number of Irish-American politicians who were opposed to IRA violence became equally opposed to the status quo. More sophisticated and unwilling to be dismissed as IRA sympathizers, they challenged the British and Irish governments to do something to challenge the paramilitaries to put down their weapons.

At Tip O'Neill's urging, President Ronald Reagan encouraged Margaret Thatcher to try something new. In 1985, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, in which the Dublin government was given a say in the running of Northern Ireland in exchange for accepting that Northern Ireland would remain part of the United Kingdom until a majority living there voted otherwise, became the bedrock on which the current peace process was built.

For a decade, Dublin and London fine-tuned their diplomatic mission, but there was no hope of a settlement until the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries called a ceasefire. American influence was essential in helping to bring it about.

Bill Clinton, the first non-veteran to become president since the end of World War II, brought to his job a post-Cold War vision in which the U.S. State Department's hands-off policy in Northern Ireland, in deference to Britain's role as the U.S.'s most important military ally, didn't hold sway anymore. Clinton took an interest in Northern Ireland because he thought his administration could make a difference, and, of course, reap the political benefits if it did.

With John Hume's approval, Clinton's decision in early 1994 to grant Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, a visa in the face of fierce British opposition convinced many in the IRA leadership that the American card could be played to hold the British to negotiations.

While Adams and other charismatic republicans have gotten most of the attention in America, it is the SDLP leader whose opinion matters the most in the real corridors of power in Washington. It was Hume who assured Ted Kennedy who assured Bill Clinton that the Adams visa would pay off down the road. It appeared to when, in August 1994, the IRA called an unconditional ceasefire. But Protestant unionists in Northern Ireland never believed the IRA was sincere. In fact, the IRA continued to train and target, leading Adams to famously note that, "They haven't gone away." To some, this was a realistic plea for engagement, to others a threat. British Prime Minister John Major, depending on unionist votes to keep his fragile government in power, was never able to convene all-party talks, insisting with the unionists that the IRA had to begin disarming first. Convinced they were being toyed with, and worried about dissidents in its own ranks, the IRA went back to war in February 1996.

When they came to the US after their own ceasefire in October 1994, loyalists were stunned by the welcome they got from Irish Americans. "I thought they were all Provos," Joe English, the former loyalist paramilitary leader admitted at Boston College. He and other loyalists had believed the myth that most Irish Americans were IRA sympathizers. That myth, no doubt delayed by years the development of a real peace process.

Mainstream unionists are more suspicious of American involvement, spotting closet nationalists at every turn. But even they have begun to routinely travel to Washington to seek support. Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble announced that during a White House conversation this month, President Clinton assured him that the IRA would not get a third bite at the apple. But there is a quid pro quo: the White House expects Trimble to stay in the talks and make a good-faith effort to reach a settlement.

Tony Blair's overwhelming majority, and willingness to put arms decommissioning to the side, produced another IRA ceasefire in July, this time with America's influence playing far less of a role. Given that George Mitchell, the former US Senate Majority Leader from Maine, is the chairman of the ongoing talks in Belfast, American influence continues. But diminishing American influence could actually signal a sophistication and maturity to the peace process. In fact, while the Clinton administration has pledged support,

it has acknowledged for the last few years that it is up to the British and Irish governments and the various parties on the ground in Northern Ireland to sort out their differences and reach a compromise. If the Irish, the British and the two traditions in Northern Ireland can demonstrate an ability to carve out a settlement, the Americans will become less relevant, all for the good.

Kevin Cullen has been a reporter for The Boston Globe since 1985. In August 1997 he opened the Globe's Dublin bureau, which marked the first time a major American newspaper has based a staff reporter in Ireland. For more than a decade, Cullen has traveled to Northern Ireland several times each year, writing about the conflict. He has spent more time in, and written more about, Northern Ireland than any reporter for an American newspaper. In 1995, he was awarded a citation of excellence by the Overseas Press Club of America in the interpretive reporting category for his coverage of Northern Ireland.

Cullen is a regular contributor to Fortnight, a Belfast-based magazine on politics and the arts, and is a frequent commentator about Anglo-Irish affairs on National Public Radio and BBC radio. His work on Ireland has appeared in numerous American and European magazines and papers. A Boston native, he was graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and studied at Trinity College, Dublin.


Unemployment data among Catholics in North Ireland from 2000 to 2006

The difference in the unemployment rates for Catholics and Protestants has for decades been used as a key measure of (in)equality in the Northern Ireland labour market. Recently the gap between the groups has narrowed greatly. In line with the wider focus of an international research project, in which the authors are involved, we additionally examine religious group differences in access to the salariat and in labour market earnings. We do this by comparing data from the Continuous Household Surveys in 1985/6 and 2002/3. The class situations of Catholic women have also improved over the period covered. However, we find that Catholic men are still disadvantaged in accessing the salariat and in their labour market earnings. While there is an increase in the absolute numbers of Catholic males working in the professional and managerial posts that make up the salariat in Northern Ireland, relative to Protestant males they appear to be still not achieving a comparable degree of success.

Economic Activity, Unemployment and Occupation of Catholics and Protestants (1985/1986 – 2002/2003)

We start with the economic activity rates among the targeted population of working-age men and women aged 18 to 59, then move to the labour market positions among the economically active, and finally come to the class positions among the employed. At the each level of our analysis, we shall explore where differences lie and what possible factors could account for the differences. We do this for men and for women separately.

Labour market participation

Economic activity, by religion and period: Males

Row percentages

Active Other Inactive Looking After Home Student N

IRA Membership

The name IRA has been in use since the organization was founded in 1921. From 1969 through 1997, the IRA splintered into a number of organizations, all called the IRA. They included:

  • The Official IRA (OIRA)
  • The Provisional IRA(PIRA)
  • The Real IRA (RIRA),And
  • Continuity IRA (CIRA).

Irish Republican Army

A secret organization in Ireland that originally fought for Irish independence from Britain. After the division of Ireland in the early twentieth century into Northern Ireland, which remained united with Britain, and the Irish Free State, now called the Republic of Ireland, the IRA took as its goal the uniting of the entire island under the Republic. The IRA continues to pursue this goal; membership, however, is illegal in the Republic, and the IRA's Provisional Wing has practiced terrorism.

Despite the renewed activity, the organisation became increasingly weaker and infiltration continued. McKevitt was arrested on 29 March 2001 and charged with membership of an illegal organisation and directing terrorism, and remanded into custody.[26] In July 2001, following the arrests of McKevitt and other RIRA members, British and Irish government sources hinted that the organisation was now in disarray.[27] Other key figures were jailed, including the RIRA's Director of Operations, Liam Campbell, who was convicted of membership of an illegal organisation, and Colm Murphy who was convicted of conspiring to cause the Omagh bombing, although this conviction was later overturned on appeal.[28][29][30] On 10 April 2002, Ruairi Convey, from Donaghmede, Dublin was jailed for three years for membership of the RIRA. During a search of his home a list of names and home addresses of members of the Gardai's Emergency Response Unit was found.[31] Five RIRA members were also convicted in connection with the 2001 bombing campaign in England, and received sentences varying from 16 years to 22 years imprisonment.[32] In October 2002, Michael McKevitt and other RIRA members imprisoned in Portlaoise Prison issued a statement calling for the organisation to stand down.[33][34] After a two-month trial, McKevitt was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment in August 2003 after being convicted of directing terrorism.[35]

Formation of Real Irish Republican Army was November 1997.

Type Paramilitary

Membership Approximately 150

Key people Army Council

The RIRA is an illegal organisation under Irish and UK law (section 11(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000) because of the use of 'IRA' in the group's name.[48][49] Membership of the organisation is punishable by a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment under UK law.[50] In 2001 the United States government designated the RIRA as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO). This makes it illegal for Americans to provide material support to the RIRA, requires US financial institutions to freeze the group's assets and denies suspected RIRA members visas into America.


The IRA has always had a relatively small membership, estimated at several hundred members, organized in small, clandestine cells. Its daily operations are organized by a 7-person Army Council.



  1. file;///E:\mss\Research Assignments\ire\Northern Ireland-Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.htm
  2. file;///E:\mss\Research Assignments\ire\Northern Ireland-Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.htm#Citizenship_and_identity#Citizenship_and_identity
  3. includes some who did not state duration of unemployment. – sample size too small for a reliable estimate