Belfast Telegraph

A beginner's guide to the IRA . . .

By Lindy McDowell

Back in the day there was the IRA (henceforth referred to as the old IRA.)

The 70s saw the establishment of a new IRA which soon split into two IRAs - the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA.

When the Official IRA called a ceasefire, the Provisional IRA then became officially the main IRA until they too called a ceasefire a couple of decades later.

But this in turn led to the establishment of a Continuity IRA and a Real IRA.

And now we are told there's another IRA made up former members of the Provisional IRA. These people say they are the real IRA. Not to be confused with the Real IRA.

Other former members of the Provisional IRA insist, however, that these people are not the real IRA. There is, they say, no longer any IRA.

The action of the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA and the new IRA (and any other IRAs out there) is, says Martin McGuinness (former IRA commander) "futile, stupid and selfish".

He should know.

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