chapter  6
50 Pages

The Inter-War Years in the South

WithSeán McConville

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) military defeat, culminating in the ceasefire and dump-arms order of 24 May 1923, began half a century of sporadically interrupted decline and isolation from the mass of the Irish people. Throughout the post-Civil War years and in the 1930s, attacks on organisations with British connections, cultural, political, economic or other, were a prominent part of the IRA’s repertoire. The IRA’s 1926 upsurge in activities was, in truth, little more than revolutionist’s make-work. Groups of young men had been brought together, introduced to weapons and schooled in a few key concepts, such as the IRA’s apostolic authority, the outlines of its doctrines, the chain of command. The legislature had authorised coercive and deterrent measures giving this more determined government a freer hand to secure order and control. At the same time, it deflected accusations of backsliding on its own republican agenda.