History and Government Faculty Publications

Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Document Type

Encyclopedia Entry

Publication Date


Journal Title

The Handbook of Homeland Security



Article Number

Chapter 56




This chapter introduces the Irish Republican Army (IRA) by providing a historical background before describing the evolution of the organization. It discusses the organizational strategy and terrorist tactics of the IRA. In recent history, the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) is discussed with relevant impacts on the IRA. The chapter describes the role of the United States as linked to the IRA, the GFA, and the British and Irish governments. The IRA opposed the 1920 Anglo-Irish Treaty dividing Ireland, in alignment with major Irish political parties like Fianna Fail but in contrast to Fine Gael—two of Ireland’s prominent political parties that oppose and support the treaty, respectively. The IRA was particularly active during The Troubles between 1968 and 1998. During a time of heightened conflict between the British states and the peoples of Northern Ireland, the IRA conducted hundreds of terrorist attacks. The GFA of 1998 brought a formal end to the conflict—The Troubles—with a peaceful resolution.


IRA, terrorism, politics