This book looks at the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Sinn Féin during the time between the 1956–1962 ‘border campaign’ and 1969. It examines developments within the Irish republican movement with regard to internal structural and ideological changes, but also in relation to the movement's relationship with Irish society at a time of rapid social and economic change, and the reaction of the two Irish states and Britain towards any potential threat posed by militant republicanism. The book argues that not only was the republican movement in Northern Ireland not a key factor in bringing about what happened after 1969, much less a conscious instigator of the crisis, but that radical republicanism was a marginal force carried along for a time on the tide of events beyond its control. It also suggests that the movement was primarily occupied with politics in the twenty-six rather than the ‘Six Counties’. Moreover, it explores the content of traditional republican ideology and the influence of Catholic social teaching as interpreted as part of a radical critique of the Irish state.
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