Provos: Born Again

Where does one begin with the IRA? In the 17th century with the first Protestant settlers in the Northeast of Ireland? With Patrick Pearse’s seizure of the GPO building in Dublin in 1916? With the Partition of Ireland in 1921? With the bombing campaign of the 1950s? In 1968 with the first civil rights marches? With the arrival of British troops on the streets of Belfast and Derry in 1969?

Any one of these flash points could have served as a starting point for Peter Taylor’s remarkable book – and indeed he pays more than lip service to their importance in Irish history. Yet he wisely chooses to make the events of 1970 to the present day his main focus, because despite what took place before, these are the years that will determine the shape of the new Ulster.

In 1970, the IRA was largely held to be a spent force. The Loyalists were running riot in Northern Ireland, while the IRA had largely forsaken nationalism in favor of extreme left-wing politics. They saw the upper classes as the oppressors of the Irish people and held that the Catholic and the Protestant working class should join together against the prevailing system and thus advocated a non-violent response to their Protestant comrades.

Whatever the merits of this analysis – and there were and are some – this wasn’t quite how the Catholic working class of Ulster saw the situation. They saw they were living in worse accommodation, they saw that the political system was gerrymandered to prevent change and they saw that Catholic unemployment ran significantly higher than Protestant unemployment. So to the Catholics the IRA came to stand for “I Ran Away”.

Join The Conversation

12 Comments / User Reviews

Leave Your Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I’m not 100% sure what this is about but can someone tell me? My guess is britan wants to rule the whole of Ireland and the Irish have had enough? If the Irish run Ireland, will both catholics and protestants be able to practise their own religions? That’s the way it SHOULD be, freedom of speech and religion.

  2. I learned they are the the number one brand for scars!

  3. In reply to cashlin,belfast bay and wee john.The IRA were the ONLY protectors of the Irish catholics and dont fuckin forget it.If it wasn’t for these brave soldiers the fuckin unionist/dup/tuv/uup and every other fuckin ‘u.p’ would have trampled on the rights of the catholic population got it.And remember the murderin brit bastard udr (they dont even deserve capital letters) remember their crimes and murders.
    The IRA deserve a fuckin bravery medal for the war they fought.Bobby Sands,Dominic McGlinchey and the rest of the hunger strikers died for OUR freedom.R.I.P
    Now fuck off back to england you brit bastards because this country of Ireland is OUR COUNTRY.You want to be british then live in britain you bastards.

    Tiocfaidh ar la
    Suas an IRA

  4. Irish Freedom Fighters against an illegal occupation.

    God Bless the IRA!

  5. Good job boys, Bobby Sands RIP

  6. Tiocfaidh ár lá

  7. whats the difference in the brits coming over and killing people who were just protesting than the IRA fighting back and doing what had to be done to defend ourselfs!! tell me who is there scum! it was a dirty but isnt all war? now our voices are heard and we are not 2nd class!! a job well done boys!
    but lets all just enjoy the peace together and never look back!

    • “a job well done boys” .. Like the murders of inncocent men, women and children at Enniskillen?

      You will rot in hell along with your muderous IRA brethern.

    • You have no idea about the history of Ulster.

      The IRA were not ‘fighting back’ they were murderous gangsters.

      The British Army was sent into Ulster to protect the Catholic minority of Ulster from the actions of extremists from Protestants majority of Ulster.

  8. Agree with you there Wee John … evil thugs, lowest of scum.

    Strange times we live in:

    In the 1970s & 1980s Americans funded these terrorists, and gave them legal protection from being extradited to a democratic, allied country for fair trials on charges of mass murder.

    Now this democratic country cooperates with the US to illegally imprison and torture individuals whom have been convicted of nothing.

  9. thugs and scum