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18 September 2014
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Recent History - Northern Ireland: The

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Fact Files

Brief guides to the political parties and paramilitaries of Northern Ireland.
Political Parties
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Political Parties Paramilitaries
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Provisional IRA

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In 1969, the IRA split into the 'Official' IRA and the 'Provisional' IRA. Both organisations opposed partition and refused to recognise the governments of either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

The Official IRA saw its role as purely defensive and pursued a policy of creating a socialist Ireland by largely policies means.

By contrast, the Provisionals (whose name is derived from the 'Provisional Government' of all Ireland proclaimed during the 1916 Easter Rising) advocated violent confrontation, consisting of bombings, shootings and beatings.

Between 1969 and the Provisionals' declaration of a permanent end to their 'armed struggle' in July 2005, the organisation killed more people than any other in Northern Ireland.

The Provisional IRA's campaign, which included some of the worst atrocities committed in Northern Ireland, claimed in excess of 1,800 lives from all sides of the conflict - marginally less than 50% of all those killed in the Troubles.

At the same time as the Provisional IRA split from the Official IRA, its political wing, Provisional Sinn Fein, split from the Official Sinn Fein.

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