Official Irish Republican Army

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The Official Irish Republican Army or Official IRA (informally "the Officials" or "the Stickies") is an Irish republican paramilitary group whose goal was to create a "32-county workers' republic" in Ireland.[1] It emerged from a split in the Irish Republican Army in December 1969, shortly after the beginning of "The Troubles". The other group emerging from this split was the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Both groups continued to refer to themselves as the Irish Republican Army and rejected the political legitimacy of the other. It engaged in military action against the British Army until May 1972.[2] Since then it has engaged in feuds with both the Provisional IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army,[3] a radical splinter group formed in 1974. In later years, it was accused of involvement in organised crime.

The Official IRA was associated with Official Sinn Féin, later renamed Sinn Féin the Workers Party and then The Workers' Party, and now known as the Workers' Party of Ireland.

Contents

The split in the Republican movement, 1969–1970

The shift to the left

The split in the Irish Republican Army, soon followed by a parallel split in Sinn Féin, was the result of the dissatisfaction of more traditional and militant republicans at the political direction taken by the leadership. The particular object of their discontent was Sinn Féin's ending of its policy of abstentionism in Ireland. This issue is a key one in republican ideology, as traditional republicans regarded the Irish state as illegitimate and maintained that their loyalty was due only to the Irish Republic declared in 1916 and in their view, represented by the IRA Army Council.[4]

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