chapter  Chapter 28
The Provisional IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY
ByJohn F. Morrison
Pages 11

The provisional Irish republican army (PIRA) mounted a sustained terrorist campaign with the nominal aim of bringing about a 32-county united socialist Ireland, independent of the United Kingdom. The Provisionals' campaign was one with the stated aim of fighting for, and protecting, the republican and nationalist communities of Northern Ireland. However, the victims of their violence consistently came from within these very same communities they claimed to both represent and protect. Parallel to the internal debates within the Provisionals, the civil rights movement was emerging across Northern Ireland. Provisional violence within the nationalist and republican population was not solely directed against organisational rivals. When the British soldiers arrived in Northern Ireland in 1969, the Catholic minority initially welcomed them, as they were seen as potential protection against loyalist mobs. With no immediate end to the armed campaign in sight, the PIRA leadership adopted 'the long war' strategy.