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What was the difference between the Old IRA and the Provisionals?


IrishWelshCelt

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So technology aside with new guns, semtex etc what was the real difference between the two?

Anyone who watched the recent documentary 'In the Name of the Republic' (as biased as it was) will know that the Old IRA were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians perceived as British informants who were buried in unmarked graves up and down the country, likewise the war of independence was used by maNy as an opportunity to settle local feuds and in general was a very dirty war, something which many in modern times chose consciously or unconsciously to ignore. From searching the web a civilian death toll estimate is around 750 from a 3 year war.

If we look at on a purely numbers based there was 1,842 civilians killed (I'm aware that this number includes British killings and those by loyalists as the figure above includes the same factor, minus loyalists obviously) in a 30 year conflict. On a pro rata basis this constitutes only 8% in comparison to the WOI figures. Before anyone mentions it I am aware wars aren't exclusively a death toll game and the human, social and monetary cost are also at play but they're very hard to measure. As the famous phrase goes history is written by the winners so is it merely a case of the Old IRA won thus meaning our modern view of history is somewhat impartial? Is the crux of the difference the fact that there is no living memory of the Old IRA?

The major difference I can see is the IRA activity on mainland Britain but aside from that who did the two differ? Were the Provisionals merely a continuation of the goals/methods used by the Old IRA and indeed those of Hugh O Neill, Wolfe Tone and Pearse?
 


freewillie

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As the War of Indepenence went on support for the IRA increased. That couldnt be said for the Provisionals. As for the British campaign Michael Collins had a team of men in London following British Cabinet ministers and being prepared to assasina them when the order would go through. The Provisionals had a lot of very horrific bombings in the UK. Guildford, Birmingham, Warrington, The Balcombe Street gang had a long list of shoot ups, bombings. It would be hard to see a cabinet of Griffith, DeValera supporting those extremes
 

edwin

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Public support to start with. The original SF won overwhelming backing to form the first Dail. Nobody would touch PSF with a barge pole while the PIRA were running. How about mass gangsterism and corruption in PIRA? PIRA also meekly surrendered their weapons to the British. Killing of children in irresponsible bomb attacks?

There were many good men in PIRA but the shame of their organisations actions is a cruel blight on their name.
 

Hitch 22

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The Provisional IRA was trying to terrorize a clear democratic majority in Northern Ireland into an united Ireland.

The Old IRA was fighting for democratic majority who had voted for an Irish Republic.

In the 1922 general election a clear majority of the people of the 26 counties voted for parties who supported the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Between 1922 and decommissioning in 2005 no IRA or IRA faction armed campaign had any democratic legitimacy whatsoever.

In fact the Provisional IRA refused to recognize the Republic of Ireland and even today SF call it the 26 counties.
 

IrishWelshCelt

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Public support to start with. The original SF won overwhelming backing to form the first Dail. Nobody would touch PSF with a barge pole while the PIRA were running. How about mass gangsterism and corruption in PIRA? PIRA also meekly surrendered their weapons to the British. Killing of children in irresponsible bomb attacks?

There were many good men in PIRA but the shame of their organisations actions is a cruel blight on their name.
They didnt though did they? They were decommissioned and the process oversaw by an independent international commission.
 

Heligoland

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I reckon this thread will soon be drawn to the attention of some of the more active posters on this site.

 

kbcav

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The Old IRA killed far more civilians and informers than the Provos in a much shorter period of time.
 

edwin

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They didnt though did they? They were decommissioned and the process oversaw by an independent international commission.
What a triumph for them! First republicans in history to allow themselves be disarmed in that fashion and all for what they freely now admit to be a glorified county council. Years of fighting to get their hands on some limited power and patronage.
 

edwin

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The Old IRA killed far more civilians and informers than the Provos in a much shorter period of time.
Informers, yes. Easier to do so when the people actually support you.
 
Last edited:

freewillie

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The Old IRA killed far more civilians and informers than the Provos in a much shorter period of time.
I have read a good few statements in the Bureau of Military History and would agree with the above post. The contributors to the Bureau had no qualms about admitting to shooting informers, Unionist Big House supporters etc,
As one man said in Mallow about a local informer "We brought him up the mountain road and shot him" end of story
 

sidney waddell

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I have read a good few statements in the Bureau of Military History and would agree with the above post. The contributors to the Bureau had no qualms about admitting to shooting informers, Unionist Big House supporters etc,
As one man said in Mallow about a local informer "We brought him up the mountain road and shot him" end of story
But they had "public support", so that makes it OK.
 

Dublin 4

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The Provos were mainly tracker knackers who are now shining Peter Rob's shoes in Stormont.

Some decent people got involved with them in Self Defence against Tracker Knackers in smellier Tracksuits - Loyalists.

Most Nordies over Diploma Level seen it as Soccer thugs with guns except they both killed innocent people too.

80% of the Provos were Touts n' Louts...
 

rockofcashel

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Informers, yes. Easier to do so when the people actually support you.
Where did you get the notion that the vast majority of Irish people supported the Old IRA ?

Have you ever bothered to read Dan Breen's book, "My fight for Irish freedom" ?

Breen and his mates had no time whatsoever for SF, because in his own words.. they were only all talk, where he wanted action, because the only language the British understood was violence.

The shootings in Solohead were planned for a few days before, to send a signal to the First Dail, that they were only windbags, and violence was the way forward.

The First Dail condemned the actions of Breens group in Solohead.

Breens men had to walk from Solohead to Cahir to find a safe house to take them in after the shootings.

The Old IRA were no more actively supported in 1919, than the Provo's were in 1979.
 

Hogsback

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The Provisional IRA was trying to terrorize a clear democratic majority in Northern Ireland into an united Ireland.

The Old IRA was fighting for democratic majority who had voted for an Irish Republic.

In the 1922 general election a clear majority of the people of the 26 counties voted for parties who supported the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Between 1922 and decommissioning in 2005 no IRA or IRA faction armed campaign had any democratic legitimacy whatsoever.

In fact the Provisional IRA refused to recognize the Republic of Ireland and even today SF call it the 26 counties.
Epic fail.
You actually managed to get every single point wrong - although I could be pushed to giving you a 0.5 on the last point.
 

freewillie

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Where did you get the notion that the vast majority of Irish people supported the Old IRA ?

Have you ever bothered to read Dan Breen's book, "My fight for Irish freedom" ?

Breen and his mates had no time whatsoever for SF, because in his own words.. they were only all talk, where he wanted action, because the only language the British understood was violence.

The shootings in Solohead were planned for a few days before, to send a signal to the First Dail, that they were only windbags, and violence was the way forward.

The First Dail condemned the actions of Breens group in Solohead.

Breens men had to walk from Solohead to Cahir to find a safe house to take them in after the shootings.

The Old IRA were no more actively supported in 1919, than the Provo's were in 1979.
Was the purpose of Solohead to seize explosives or to kill policemen? Shoot on sight by Breen in 1919 isnt any difference from shoot on sight by the SAS in Gibraltar
 

edwin

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Where did you get the notion that the vast majority of Irish people supported the Old IRA ?

Have you ever bothered to read Dan Breen's book, "My fight for Irish freedom" ?

Breen and his mates had no time whatsoever for SF, because in his own words.. they were only all talk, where he wanted action, because the only language the British understood was violence.

The shootings in Solohead were planned for a few days before, to send a signal to the First Dail, that they were only windbags, and violence was the way forward.

The First Dail condemned the actions of Breens group in Solohead.

Breens men had to walk from Solohead to Cahir to find a safe house to take them in after the shootings.

The Old IRA were no more actively supported in 1919, than the Provo's were in 1979.
I hope you don't actually believe that. Google the results of the 1919 election. A vote for SF then was very much a vote for the IRA in the sense a vote for PSF circa 1979 was a vote for PIRA even if they didn't accept the linkage publicly. This thread is yet another sad attempt at Provo rehabilitation. See through as usual.
 

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