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List of organisations known as the Irish Republican Army: Wikis


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Irish Political History series

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– in Ireland
– in Northern Ireland
Irish republican legitimatism
Physical force republicanism
See also List of IRAs
for organisations claiming that name.

Key documents

Proclamation of the Republic
Declaration of Independence
Message to Free Nations
Democratic Programme
Dáil Constitution
Anglo-Irish Treaty
External Relations Act 1936
Constitution of Ireland
Republic of Ireland Act 1948
The Green Book
New Ireland Forum Report
Belfast Agreement
Articles 2 & 3

Parties & Organisations

Aontacht Éireann
Cairde na hÉireann
Clan na Gael
Clann na Poblachta
Communist Party of Ireland
Connolly Association
Cumann na mBan
Cumann na Poblachta
Cumann Poblachta nahÉ
Córas na Poblachta
Fenian Brotherhood
Fianna Éireann
Fianna Fáil · Ind Fianna Fáil
Irish Anti-Partition League
Irish Citizen Army
Irish Independence Party
Irish National Congress
Irish National Invincibles
Irish Republican Army
Anti-Treaty IRA
Continuity IRA
Official IRA
Provisional IRA
Real IRA
Irish Republican Brotherhood
Northern Council for Unity
Northern Resistance Movement
Official Sinn Féin
Red Republican Party
Republican Congress
Republican Labour Party
Republican Sinn Féin
Saor Éire
Saor Uladh · Fianna Uladh
Sinn Féin
Socialist Republican Party
United Irishmen
Troops Out Movement
Wolfe Tone Society
Workers Party of Ireland
Young Ireland
See also: Party youth wings


An Phoblacht · Daily Ireland
Irish Freedom · Irish Press ·
Sunday Press · Republican News ·
Saoirse Irish Freedom · The Nation ·
United Irishman · Wolfe Tone Weekly


Éire Nua
Armalite and Ballot Box
New Departure


Irish Tricolour
Starry Plough
Sunburst flag
Easter Lily

Other movements

Anarchism {{IrishA}}
Loyalism {{IrishL}}
Monarchism {{IrishM}}
Nationalism {{IrishN}}
Unionism {{IrishU}}


The IRA (Irish Republican Army) is a name used to describe several armed movements in Ireland in the 20th and 21st centuries, though the first known use of the term occurred in the Fenian raids on Canada in the 1860s.

All claim descent from the original Irish Republican Army, which was formed from the Irish Volunteers. It was the army of the Irish Republic, declared by Dáil Éireann in 1919. Most Irish people dispute the claims of more recently created organizations that insist that they are the only legitimate descendants of the original IRA, often referred to as the "Old IRA".

The playwright and former IRA member Brendan Behan once said that the first issue on any IRA agenda was "the split".[1] For the IRA, that has constantly been the case. The first split came after the signature of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, with supporters of the Treaty forming the nucleus of the National Army while the anti-treaty forces continued to use the name Irish Republican Army. After the end of the Irish Civil War, the IRA was around in one form or another for forty years, when it split into the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA in 1969. The latter then had its own breakaways, namely the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, each claiming to be the true successor of the Army of the Irish Republic.

  • The original IRA (in later years, known as the "Old" IRA), recognised by the First Dáil as the legitimate army of the Irish Republic in April 1921, split into pro-Treaty forces (the National Army, also known as the Government forces or the regulars) and anti-Treaty forces (the Republicans, irregulars or Executive forces) after the Treaty.
  • The Irish Republican Army (1922-1969) - the anti-treaty IRA which fought and lost the civil war and which thereafter refused to recognise either the Irish Free State or Northern Ireland, deeming them both to be creations of British imperialism. It existed in one form or another for over 40 years before splitting in 1969.
  • The Official IRA (OIRA), the remainder of the IRA after the 1969 split with the Provisionals; led by Cathal Goulding and primarily Marxist in its political orientation. It is now inactive in the military sense, while its political wing, Official Sinn Fein, became the Workers Party of Ireland.
  • The Provisional IRA (PIRA), which broke from the OIRA in 1969 over the latter's failing to protect Catholic communities in Northern Ireland. Though strongly opposed to the OIRA's Marxism, it also has a left-wing orientation and increasing political activity. Since the decline of the OIRA in the mid 1970's, the term 'IRA' (without qualifiers) is now used exclusively to denote this particular group.
  • The Continuity IRA (CIRA), broke from the PIRA in 1986 because the latter ended its policy on abstentionism (thus recognising the authority of the Republic of Ireland).
  • The Real IRA (RIRA), a 1997 breakaway from the PIRA consisting of members opposed to the peace process.

Genealogy of the IRA and its splits

Here in more detail is a representation[1] of a genealogical tree of Irish nationalist movements derived from the original IRA:

See also

^  For a diagrammatic version of this, see Genealogy of the IRA.


  1. ^ - The Irish Times - Mon, Feb 28, 2005 - Primates' creative ambiguity averts schism


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