Episode 188: IRA–Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?

On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the Irish Republican Army. This group considers itself a militant Irish nationalist group that is willing to use “political violence” to achieve its goal of an independent Northern Ireland. To some Irish, the IRA is a group that represents independence and freedom. To the US and UK governments, however, it is considered one of the most active terrorist organizations in the world.

Founded in 1917 as a volunteer army of Irish citizens who refused to enlisted in World War One and fight for the British, it has had a very violent history. The Army reformed 1919 and fought the Irish War of Independence against Britain. This bloody internal conflict freed all but Northern Ireland from British rule. However, with Northern Ireland not being truly “free,” the group kept evolving and fighting back through bombings, murders, and other acts of violence.

The modern Army is hard to define, since there are several splinter groups such as the Official IRA, the Provisional IRA, the Continuity IRA, and the Real IRA. The Provisional IRA is considered to be the largest and has alleged ties to the political organization called Sinn Fein. This group is a large political force in Ireland and Europe, and its current president Gerry Adams was on the US terrorist watch list until 2006. The connection between a terrorist organization and a massive political party has many people in the UK worried (and even led to its leaders being banned from ever being broadcast on British TV and radio).

The IRA trains its members according to the codes and philosophies laid out in their secretive publication known as the Green Book. It talks about what it takes to be a member of the Irish Republican Army, and it even suggests what weapons to acquire and how to resist interrogation. Through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, the IRA waged a war against Britain called “The Troubles.” In this thirty year period, 3600 were people killed and 50,000 more injured through bombings and attacks. From bombings to murder, and from gun running, to bank robbing, assassination, and death by hit men, this episode covers a lot of ground. Listen, laugh, learn.

Here is a link to the notorious Green Book: https://tensmiths.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/15914572-ira-green-book-volumes-1-and-2.pdf

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