Irish Republican Army

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For other groups who claim the name, see IRA (disambiguation).
Irish Republican Army
Flag of Ireland.svg
Existence 1916–1922
Type paramilitary, volunteer army
Position Irish republicanism
Irish nationalism
Location Ireland
Affiliation Irish Republican Brotherhood
Sinn Féin
Fianna Éireann
Cumann na mBan
Leader Cathal Brugha
Richard Mulcahy
Eoin O'Duffy

The Irish Republican Army (Irish: Óglaigh na hÉireann), also known as the IRA and later as the Old IRA, was the military arm of the unilaterally declared Irish Republic, founded in 1916 at the Easter Rising. It was formed by the Irish Volunteers (heavily influenced by the Irish Republican Brotherhood) and the much smaller Irish Citizen Army. The Irish Republican Army was reaffirmed by the democratically elected Dáil Éireann in 1919 as the legitimate army of the Irish Republic. They were in conflict with the British Empire during the Tan War.

Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, the people who supported it became the National Army of Ireland following Michael Collins, sometimes known as the Free State Army. Those who opposed them were known as the anti-Treaty IRA and the two sides came into conflict in the Irish Civil War. The majority of republicans of the anti-Treaty tradition followed Éamon de Valera into Fianna Fáil in the 1930s and the other various organisations which claim descent from the anti-Treatyites have never attained widespread support, with the possible exception of the Provisional Irish Republican Army in the Province of Ulster.



I don't make any bones about killing. Anyone who comes into my house and my country and tries to take over by force, I'm going to kill him and I'll use any and every means to do it. And I am not one bit sorry for it, to any man or God.

Dan Breen, IRA volunteer, 1967.

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