chapter  14
68 Pages

The Border Campaign, 1953–62

WithSeán McConville

Saor Uladh’s activities brought great pressure on the Irish Republican Army (IRA) leadership, and it was obvious that this was not going to lessen in any way. In the view of RUC Special Branch, this realisation led to the launching of the IRA Border Campaign (known as Operation Harvest) on 12 December 1956. An Army Convention met in June 1959 in which a new army council was elected, dominated by men who had conceived and initiated the Border Campaign. The release of men from the Curragh had been something of a blood transfusion. It was presented as a government backdown in the face of public pressure, and it certainly allowed a number of experienced men to get back into circulation. In 1960, Manus Canning was framed agent of the Irish government and a Communist, Cronin’s lustre had gone and his commitment was blunted; he resigned from the Army Council. The campaign was truly dead by now.