Provos: The Secret War

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”.

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  1. How can you call me a terrorist while you look down your gun

  2. I love how the UVF hav’nt been mentioned once in all these comments, I’m from Dublin living in Philadelphia and none of the “Irish” know they are either. Let us not forget the development of the IRA had alot to do with circumstances around them, originally they targeted police and army, men with the means to defend themselves and the idea of this possibility when they joined, in retalition to these acts loyalists had no Catholics in such positions to seeksuch retribution so instead they burned Catholic people’s houses down with women and children inside, this was the one and only reason the IRA went from and army as it was in the 1910’s and 20’s to the infamous organization they are now, I won’t condone a single act they’ve performed but I will advertise the fact there are 2 sides to this very old dirty battered coin and the last people to blame for any of this are the brits, to all loyalists your own people have played their part and to all catholics, I think the Irish civil war showed us just how good we are at turning our guns at each other so I’d give the brit bashing a rest if I was you

  3. up the IRA!!!!!!!
    Im an Australian with irish ancestery,and like you niall i only saw and read the properganda on the news that the english wanted us to know,to find the real truth i had to dig much deeper than bbc news or rte news.but i did find out the truth and like brian said(including myself)those who know little or nothing about it really shouldnt niall,why dont we both relax in our nice safe homes and leave the comments to those who actually live there and know something about it.

  4. Tiocfaidh ár lá

  5. the english murdered more people than the ira ever did,so who are the real terrorists? ireland only had a population of 4 million in the 80s so it was impossible to fight the brits in open handed combat,the only way to defeat these cowards was through gureilla warfare which is what the ira achieved. its true the brits came over to protect the catholics living in northern ireland initially but they proved themselves to be murdering scum like the rest of the brits so we had to fight back,(.e bloody sunday). without the ira forceing the english to sit down and have negotiations there would be no peace there today. the brits sat down with the ira and gave in to the majority of there demands and the ira having achieved there goal went on ceasefire. the ultimate goal will be a united ireland and every year the polls are showing the percentage of voters are getting closer tothat every the comments above the inbred mentality of the english shines. and yes i am irish.

    • “so who are the real terrorists?” It is the IRA.

      “so we had to fight back,(.e bloody sunday).” Interesting, so you admit armed members of the IRA attended a civil rights and hijacked its democratic right to protest?

      “without the ira forceing the english to sit down and have negotiations there would be no peace there today.” Without the IRA there woudl have been peace throught the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s & beyond. Without the IRA there would be many more people alve today. Without the IRA N.Ireland would not have suffered decades of strife, murder & social deprevation.

      “the ira having achieved there goal” Errr, such as united Northern Ireland with The Republic of Ireland? This hasn’t happened.

      “a united ireland and every year the polls are showing the percentage of voters are getting closer tothat every year” So you admit the majority want to remain part of the UK.

      “yes i am irish.” You may be, although you are also an apologist for murdeering gangsters.

      • well it was recently proven that the british actions in bloody sunday were wrong and they apologised for it,and since none of those shot were armed,some were shot in the back,others as they lay down,that was indeed an act of terrorism.
        second idiot,after the peacefull protest,irish had to join the ira and fight back as the peacefull protest didnt work,even the english admitted there actions on bloody sunday was a huge victory to the ira.
        thirdly idiot,even before the ira got big in the 80s there was no peace in northern ireland cos of the way irish were treated(hence the need to protest in the first place)
        forthly idiot,ira achieved part of there goal by achieving power shareing,new police force made up of equal number of irish/english,and numerous admendants to the constiutution that are obviously above your intelligence to understand.
        fifthly idiot i never said the majority currently there want to be part of ireland,i said the numbers were getting closer to the goal.
        and lastly idiot your a disgrace to call yourself irish,you know as much about the troubles in northern ireland as a dog knows about his father,untill you have lived there keep out of things you know nothing about.

  6. British scum. Get out of Ireland.

    • PS no one calls Ireland Eire…

    • Da\ – you are an ignorant fool. The British are not in Ireland.

      Eire (S.Ireland) is an idenpendent country.

      Ulster (N.Ireland) is part of The UK, which is an acronym for “United Kingdon of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. Have a look at the wording of the name.

      The majority of the people of Ulster want to be in the UK … as polls have shown on multiple occasions.

      The only people who want Ulster to no longer be in the UK are:
      (1) a minority of residents (and many in the IRA & INLA are more concerned about the money spinning gangster activites than politics.)
      (2) Ignorant foreigners such as yourself.
      (3) Foreigners whose ancestors originated from Ireland who still believe they are Irish depsite being born in another country, have never visited Eire or Ulster, and have no understanding of the politics or beliefs of the people of Ulster. (The group of people are known as “Plastic Paddies” in both Eire or Ulster.)

      • Never heard of the term Plastic paddys? anyway politics is always a fun conversation, dont you think! The truth is always appricated. The people should make the final decision on who should govern their land… peace

        • “Never heard of the term Plastic paddys” So what? Mnay people use the term for foreigners who just because some of their ancestors hailed from the place tinks it gives the insight or even a right to meddle in the politics.

          “The people should make the final decision on who should govern their land” You are correct, and this is the case and has always been the case in NI: the majority have always wanted to remain part of the UK.

  7. From your use of language, such as “patriot”, I assume you are American. If so you should keep out of matters which are of no concern of yours, just like NorAid should.

    Whatever your nationality you should study NI history, you would then learn that troops were sent into Northern Ireland to protect the Catholic community from being attacked by a minority of extremists. You would also learn that the majority of Northern Ireland residents have always, and continue, wanted to be part of the United Kingdom.

    • mani didnt the english do a great job of protecting the catholics in bloody sunday!!! murdering english scum.

      • Bloody Sunday was a disaster, but it doesn’t alter the factsabout why British soliders were sent into NI in thefirst place … please have a look at the history before posting

  8. When your government fails to act for the majority and starts to act in spite of them, it is your duty to rise up and form a new government. Thus is the principle of Democracy. There is a fine line between a patriot and a traitor.

    • Well done, your first sentence has shown your complete lack of knowledge and understanding. The majority of people in Ulster have aways wanted to remain as part of the UK: and this is still correct … as poll upon poll testifies.

      It is ignorant fools such as yourself who do not live there, who have no involvment and simply believe the lies of gangsters who have contributed to decades of turmoil and countless acts of violence & murder.

      Keep out of subjects of which do not involve you.

  9. Evil, murdering scum

  10. Evil, murdering cunts