The PIRA - English Army conflict

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The PIRA - English Army conflict

Post by ''X'' » 04 Mar 2007 21:12 ... %80%931997


The Bogside Artists mural depicting of the Battle of the BogsideIn the early days of the Troubles from around 1969-71, the Provisional IRA was very poorly armed, having available only a handful of old fashioned weapons left over from the IRA's Border campaign of the 1950s. The IRA had split in December 1969 into the Provisional IRA and Official IRA factions, in part over the failure of the IRA to defend nationalist areas of Belfast from loyalist attack - leading to the burning of many Catholic homes during the Battle of the Bogside in Derry and in Belfast during the Northern Ireland riots of August 1969. In the first years of the conflict, the Provisionals' main activity was providing firepower to support nationalist rioters, and as they saw it, to defend nationalist areas against attacks from loyalists, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the B-Specials.

In contrast to the IRA's relative inaction during the rioting of 1969, Provisional IRA members in the summer of 1970 mounted determined armed defences of the nationalist areas of Belfast against loyalist attackers, killing a number of loyalists in the process. The most notable example of this came on June 27, 1970, when the IRA killed seven Protestants in rioting Belfast. Three Protestants were shot in Ardoyne in north Belfast after gun battles broke out during an Orange Order parade. When loyalists retaliated by attacking the nationalist enclave of Short Strand in east Belfast, Billy McKee, the Provisional's commander in Belfast, occupied St Mathew's Church and defended it in a five hour gun battle with the loyalists. One of his men was killed and he was badly wounded. Four Protestants were also killed. The Provisional IRA gained much of its support from these activities, as they were widely perceived within the nationalist community as being defenders of Irish nationalist and Catholic people against aggression

Early campaign 1970-1980

In the early 1970s, the IRA imported large quantities of modern weapons and explosives, primarily from supporters in the United States and Libya.

The Armalite AR-18 -obtained by the Provisional IRA from the US in the early 1970s and an emotive symbol of its armed campaign.
As the conflict escalated in the early 1970s, the numbers recruited by the IRA mushroomed, in response to the nationalist community's anger at events such as the introduction of internment without trial and Bloody Sunday (1972) when the Parachute Regiment of the British army shot dead 13 unarmed civil rights marchers in Derry. The IRA leadership took the opportunity to launch an Offensive, believing that they could force a British withdrawal from Ireland by inflicting severe casualties, thus undermining public support in Britain for its continued presence.

The first half of the 1970s was the most intense period of the Provisional IRA campaign. About half the total of 500 or so British soldiers to die in the conflict were killed in the years 1971-1973 [3]. In 1972 alone, the IRA killed 100 British soldiers and wounded 500 more. In the same year, they carried out 1,300 explosions and lost over 90 guerrillas killed themselves [4]. Up to 1972, The Provisionals controlled large urban areas in Belfast and Derry, but these were eventually re-taken by a major British operation known as Operation Motorman. Thereafter, fortified Police and military posts were built in republican areas throughout Northern Ireland. During the early 1970s, a typical IRA operation involved sniping at British patrols and engaging them in fire-fights in urban areas of Belfast and Derry. They also killed local police and soldiers when off-duty. These tactics produced many casualties for both sides and for civilian by-standers.

Another element of their campaign was the bombing of commercial targets such as shops and businesses. The most effective tactic the IRA developed for its bombing campaign was the car bomb, where large amounts of explosives were packed into a car, which was driven to its target and then exploded. The most spectacular example of the Provisionals' commercial bombing campaign was Bloody Friday in July 1972 in Belfast city centre, where 22 bombs were exploded, nine people were killed and 130 injured [5]. While most of the IRA's attacks on commercial targets were not designed to cause casualties, on many occasions they killed civilian bystanders. Other examples include the bombing of the Abercorn restaurant in Belfast in 1972, where two people were killed and 130 wounded [6] and the La Mon Restaurant Bombing in county Down in February 1977, where 12 customers were killed by an incendiary bomb [7].

In rural areas such as South Armagh (which is a majority Catholic area near the border with the Irish Republic), the IRA units most effective weapon was the "culvert-bomb" - where explosives were planted under drains in country roads. This proved so dangerous for British army patrols that all troops in the area had to be transported by helicopter, a policy which they have continued down to 2006, when the last British Army base was closed in South Armagh. The highest military death toll from an IRA attack came in August 1979, at Warrenpoint, County Down, when 18 British soldiers from the Parachute Regiment were killed by two "culvert bombs" placed by the Provisional IRA South Armagh Brigade. On the same day the IRA killed one of their most famous victims, the uncle of Prince Philip, Lord Louis Mountbatten, assassinated along with two minors (aged 14 and 15) and The Dowager Baroness Brabourne on 27 August 1979 in County Sligo, by a bomb placed in his boat. Another very effective IRA tactic devised in the 1970s was the use of home-made mortars mounted on the back of trucks that were fired at police and army bases. These mortars were first tested in 1974 but did not kill anyone until 1979. The most lethal of these attacks came in February 1985, when 9 RUC officers were killed by mortar rounds fired at a police station in Newry. As in Warrenpoint, the South Armagh IRA unit was responsible.

Overall, the years 1976 to 1979 that mark the stewardship of Northern Ireland by Roy Mason, Merlyn Rees' replacement as the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, are characterised by a falling death rate as he developed a policy that rejected a political or military solution in favour of treating paramilitary violence 'as a security problem'. In 1976 there were 297 deaths in the province; in the next three years the figures were 112, 81, 113 and it was an IRA man who acknowledged that "we were almost beaten by Mason". Martin McGuinness commented, "Mason beat the shit out of us".

Accusations of sectarian attacks

The IRA has always argued that its campaign was aimed not at the Protestant/Unionist community, but at the British presence in Ireland, manifested in the British Army and the Northern Ireland security forces. However, many Unionists believe that the IRA's campaign was sectarian and there are many incidents where the organisation targeted Protestant civilians.

The 1970s were the most violent years of the Troubles. As well as its campaign against the security forces, the IRA became involved, in the middle of the decade, in a "tit for tat" cycle of sectarian killings with loyalist paramilitaries. The worst examples of this occurred in 1975 and 1976. In September 1975, for example, IRA members machine-gunned an Orange Hall in Tullyvallen, killing five Protestants. On January 5 1976, an IRA unit in Armagh shot dead ten Protestant building workers at Kingsmills, in reprisal for Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) killings of six Roman Catholics the previous day [12]. In similar incidents, the IRA deliberately killed 91 Protestant civilians in 1974-76 (CAIN). The IRA did not officially claim the killings, but justified them in a statement on January 17 1976, "The Irish Republican Army has never initiated sectarian killings ...[but] if loyalist elements responsible for over 300 sectarian assassinations in the past four years stop such killing now, then the question of retaliation from whatever source does not arise" [13]. In late 1976, the IRA leadership met with representatives of the loyalist paramilitary groups and agreed to halt random sectarian killings and car bombings of civilian targets. The loyalists revoked the agreement in 1979, after the IRA killing of Lord Mountbatten but the pact nevertheless halted the cycle of sectarian revenge killings until the late 1980s, when the loyalist groups began killing Catholics again in large numbers [14].

As the IRA campaign continued through the 1970s and 1980s, the organisation increasingly targeted RUC officers and Ulster Defence Regiment servicemen—including when they were off duty. Because these men were largely Protestant and unionist, these killings were also widely portrayed (and perceived in unionist circles) as a campaign of sectarian assassination. A former IRA member of the East Tyrone Brigade, Vincent McKenna, has claimed that Jim Lynagh's military tactics of creating "sanitised zones"—expelling members of the UDR from their farms to gain territory "a field at a time"—was "sectarian".[15] Former Unionist MP and a major in the UDR, Ken Maginnis, compiled a record of IRA attacks on the UDR and claimed from this that the IRA's campaign was sectarian and genocidal in that the eldest sons and breadwinners were especially targeted in order to ethnically cleanse Protestants from their farms and jobs west of the River Bann[16].

Despite the fact that most of the IRA's Security Force victims by the late 1980s were locally recruited RUC or UDR personnel, the Provisional leadership maintained that the British Army was their preferred target. Gerry Adams in an interview given in 1988, said it was, "vastly preferable" to target the British Army as it "removes the worst of the agony from Ireland" and "diffuses the sectarian aspects of the conflict because loyalists do not see it as an attack on their community" [17].

Another example of an IRA sectarian attack happened in 1987, when the IRA placed a bomb near a Remembrance Day service in Enniskillen, killing eleven, mostly Protestant, by-standers. (See Remembrance Day Massacre).

Towards the end of the troubles, the Provisionals widened their campaign even further, to include the killing of people who worked in a civilian capacity with the RUC and British Army. The bloodiest example of this came in 1992, when an IRA bomb killed eight Protestant building workers who were working on a British Army base at Teebane. Again, since Protestants and Unionists were more likely to work for the British Army and police, this was widely seen as part of a campaign against Protestants.

For the IRA, such attacks may have been counter-productive, as incidents such as these facilitated the British Government's aims to "criminalise" the IRA and portray the conflict as one between sectarian gangs, and itself as a neutral arbiter

[edit] War with British special forces

Despite the relative failure of the "Tet offensive" the IRA campaign continued up to 1994. However the costs of this campaign for both the Provisional IRA and the community which supported the Provisional IRA were increased by the actions of British special forces units and the loyalist paramilitaries.

The IRA suffered some heavy losses at the hands of British special forces like the SAS (Special Air Service), the most spectacular being the ambush and killing of eight armed IRA members at Loughgall in 1987 as the IRA gunmen attempted to destroy Loughgall police station and kill the policemen stationed there. The Provisional IRA East Tyrone Brigade was particularly hard hit by British killings of their volunteers in this period, losing 28 members killed by British forces in the period 1987-1992, out of 53 dead in the whole Troubles. [32]. In many of these cases, Provisional IRA members were lured into ambushes by British forces and then killed[citation needed]. Republicans alleged that this amounted to a campaign of targeted assassination on the part of state forces (see shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland).

Another high profile incident took place in Gibraltar in March 1988, when three unarmed IRA volunteers were shot dead by an SAS unit while scouting out a bombing target [33] (See also Operation Flavius). The subsequent funerals of these IRA members in Belfast were attacked by loyalist gunman Michael Stone. At a funeral of one of Stone's victims, two un-uniformed British Army corporals were lynched [34]. See also Corporals killings. This kind of reactions, both in the increasing level of violence and in the propaganda front, exposed that the use of preventive killings of republicans were counterproductive to both the British and Unionist interests ... %80%931997


Last edited by ''X'' on 04 Mar 2007 21:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by ''X'' » 04 Mar 2007 21:16

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Post by ''X'' » 04 Mar 2007 21:29

''Bandit Country''

County Armagh (Contae Ard Mhacha in Irish) is a county in Ulster. It is the smallest of the six counties that form Northern Ireland. County Armagh is known by some as the Orchard County because the land is so fertile for apple-growing. Its main town is Armagh, in the middle of the county, although Lurgan at the extreme north-east has a larger population.

The county borders Lough Neagh to the north, County Down to the east, County Tyrone to the north-west, and counties Louth and Monaghan, both in the Republic of Ireland, to the south and south-west respectively.

The South of Armagh was the most militarised region in Western Europe due to the history of the Troubles. The region has been a stronghold of support for the IRA, earning it the nickname "Bandit Country". South Armagh is predominantly nationalist, with most of the population being opposed to any form of British presence, especially that of a military nature


A view of South Armagh

[/b]Provisional IRA South Armagh Brigade

The Provisional IRA South Armagh Brigade was a Provisional Irish Republican Army brigade which operated during the Troubles in south County Armagh, a predominantly Nationalist area along the border with the Republic of Ireland. It was organised into two battalions, one around Jonesboro and another around Crossmaglen. By the 1990s the South Armagh Brigade was thought to consist of about 40 members.It has allegedly been commanded since the 1970s by Thomas 'Slab' Murphy who is also alleged to be a member of the IRA's Army Council. As well as paramilitary activity, the IRA South Armagh Brigade has also been widely accused of smuggling across the Irish border. Unlike many other IRA command areas, the South Armagh Brigade has not been extensively penetrated by informers or British Army agents. Between 1970 and 1997 the brigade was responsible for the deaths of 165 members of British security forces (123 British soldiers and 42 RUC officers). A further 75 civilians have been killed in the area in the conflict.During this period 10 IRA South Armagh brigade members were killed. Far more however were imprisoned as a result of policing operations.

The 1970s

South Armagh has a long Irish Republican tradition. Many men in the area served in the Fourth Northern Division of the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) and on the republican side in the Irish Civil War (1922-23). Men from the area also took part in IRA campaigns in the 1940 and 1950s.

At the beginning of the Northern Ireland Troubles in August 1969, rioters, led by IRA men, attacked the RUC barracks in Crossmaglen, in retaliation for the attacks on Catholic and nationalist areas in Belfast in the Northern Ireland riots of August 1969. After the split in the IRA in that year, the South Armagh unit sided with the Provisional IRA rather than the Official IRA. The following August, two RUC constables were killed by a bomb in Crossmaglen. A week later, a British soldier was killed in a firefight along the border.

However, the IRA campaign in the area did not begin in earnest until 1971. In August of that year, two South Armagh men were shot and one killed by the British Army in Belfast, having been mistaken for gunmen. This caused outrage in the South Armagh area, provided the IRA with many new recruits and created a climate where local people were prepared to tolerate the killing of security force members.

During the early 1970s the brigade was mostly engaged in ambushes of British Army patrols. In one such ambush in August 1972, a British Army Ferret armoured car was destroyed by a 600lb landmine, killing one soldier. There were also frequent gun attacks on British foot patrols. Travelling overland in South Armagh eventually became so dangerous that the British Army began using helicopters to transport troops and supply its bases - a practice that had to be continued until the late 1990s. A noted IRA commander at that time was the commanding officer of the first battalion, captain Michael McVerry. He was eventually killed during an attack on the RUC barracks in Keady in November 1973. Around this time IRA engineers in south Armagh pioneered the use of home-made mortars which were relatively inaccurate but highly destructive.

In 1975 and 1976, as sectarian violence increased in Northern Ireland, the South Armagh Brigade, allegedly under the cover-name of the South Armagh Republican Action Force carried out two attacks against Protestants. In September 1975 an IRA unit attacked an Orange Lodge in Newtownhamilton killing five Orangemen. Then, in January 1976, after a series of loyalist UVF attacks in the border areas that had killed six Catholics the previous day, the IRA shot and killed ten Protestant workmen at the "Kingsmill massacre" near Bessbrook. The worker's bus was stopped and the one Catholic worker taken aside before the others were killed.As a response to this attack, the British Government dispatched the Special Air Service to south Armagh. According to Willie Frazer, a local Unionist, the cycle of sectarian attacks was brought to an end after Kingsmill by a deal between the IRA and UVF. "The IRA agreed, 'we'll leave the ordinary Prods [Protestants] alone if you leave the Catholics alone'".

By the end of the 1970s the IRA in most of Northern Ireland had been restructured into a cell system. South Armagh, however, where the close knit rural community and family connections of IRA men diminished the risk of infiltration, retained its larger "Battalion" structure. In August 1979 the IRA South Armagh active service unit killed 18 British soldiers in an ambush near Warrenpoint. This was the biggest single loss of life inflicted on the British Army in its deployment in Northern Ireland.

A number of South Armagh IRA members were imprisoned by the end of the 1970s and took part in the blanket protest and Dirty protest in pursuit of political status for IRA prisoners. Raymond McCreesh a South Armagh man, was among the ten republican hunger strikers who died on hunger strike in 1981 for this goal. The South Armagh Brigade retaliated for the deaths of the hunger strikers by killing five British soldiers with a mine that destroyed their armoured vehicle near Bessbrook.

[..] ... gh_Brigade


IRA signs in south Armagh


Army watchtower in south Armagh

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Post by ''X'' » 04 Mar 2007 21:40 ... RA_actions

Chronology of Provisional IRA actions


26 June, 1970: Three IRA members and two young girls killed when a bomb being assembled explodes accidentally in the Creggan, Derry.
27 June, 1970: IRA men use firearms to defend Clonard monastery in west Belfast, the Short Strand in east Belfast and other nationalist areas from attack by loyalist mobs. Eight people (one Catholic and five Protestants) are killed in gun battles.[1]
3-5 July, 1970: Falls Curfew Official IRA and Provisional IRA fight three day gun battle with 3,000 British troops imposing a curfew on the Lower Falls area of Belfast, over 1,500 rounds fired by British troops. Four civilians are killed.[2]
6 February, 1971: British soldier on security duties, Gunner Robert Curtis, killed by the IRA in gun battle in North Belfast. One IRA man and one Catholic civilian also killed in shooting.[3]
February 1971: Three off duty British soldiers abducted and shot and killed by IRA, it denies responsibility.
25 May, 1971: A bomb is thrown into Springfield Road police station in Belfast, killing army Sergeant Michael Willetts as he shielded civilians from the blast with his body. He was posthumously awarded the George Cross.
9 August, 1971: Internment introduced. Around 350 republican suspects detained. 17 people are killed in gun battles in the next two days between IRA and British Army. Between 1971 and 1975, 1,981 people were detained; 1,874 were Catholic/Republican, while 107 were Protestant/Loyalist.
23 October, 1971: Two female members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Maura Meehan (30) and Dorothy Maguire (19), were shot and killed by the British Army (BA) in the Lower Falls area of Belfast
11 December, 1971: IRA killed four Protestant civilians in a bomb attack on a furniture shop on the Shankill Road in Belfast. Two of those who were killed in the explosion were children
4 December, 1971: The McGurk's Bar bombing kills 15 people. Although the IRA are initially blamed, it later emerges that the Ulster Volunteer Force is responsible.
1972:Bloodiest year of PIRA campaign, over 100 British soldiers killed, 500 shooting attacks and 1,300 bombing attacks. 94 IRA members die in this year.
January 1972: Bloody Sunday Unrest in Derry culminates in action by British Paratroopers. The shooting by the soldiers resulted in the deaths of fourteen unarmed protestors, thirteen died on the day, and one died later of wounds sustained. The resulting outrage gains the PIRA support from much more of the nationalist community than it previously enjoyed.
4 March, 1972: The Abercorn Restaurant in Belfast was bombed without warning. Two Catholic civilians were killed and over 130 people injured. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) did not claim responsibility for the bomb but were universally considered to have been involved
11 June, 1972: There was a gun battle between Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries in the Oldpark area of Belfast. There were shooting incidents in other areas of Belfast and Northern Ireland. In all, two Catholics, a Protestant, and a British soldier were shot and killed.
24 June, 1972: The IRA killed three British Army soldiers in a land mine attack near Dungiven, County Londonderry.
26 June-8 July 1972: IRA ceasefire and talks with British government
14 July, 1972: Six people were shot and killed in separate gun battles between IRA and British Army in Belfast. Three were British Army soldiers, two were members of the IRA and one was a Protestant civilian.
21 July, 1972: On "Bloody Friday" 22 bombs kill nine and seriously injure 130. 30 years later the IRA would officially apologise for this set of attacks.
December 1972: Mother of ten, Jean McConville, is abducted and killed by the Provisional IRA, allegedly for informing the British Army of IRA activities, although her family contend that she was killed for comforting a wounded British soldier. The IRA would deny any involvement in the killing until the 1990s, when it would acknowledge its action and attempt to locate the body.
31 July, 1972: Three car bomb explode in the Claudy bombings, in which nine people are killed on Claudy High Street near Derry. The IRA have always denied involvement, but neutral observers believe they were responsible.
31 July, 1972: Operation Motorman, British Army uses 12,000 troops to take IRA held "no go areas" in Belfast and Derry.
22 August, 1972: A bomb that was being planted by the IRA exploded prematurely at a customs post at Newry, County Down. Nine people, including three members of the IRA and five Catholic civilians, were killed in the explosion.
8 March, 1973: IRA exploded two car bombs in London and killed one person and injured over 200 people.
17 May, 1973: The IRA carried out a booby-trap bomb attack on five members of the British Army who were off duty at the time. The attack occurred in Omagh, County Tyrone. Four soldiers were killed on the day and the fifth soldier died on 3 June 1973.
31 October, 1973: IRA use a hijacked helicopter to free three of their members from the exercise yard of Mountjoy Prison, Dublin. On of those who escaped was Seamus Twomey, then Chief of Staff of the IRA. Twomey was recaptured in December 1977.
4 February, 1974: M62 Coach Bombing: A bomb planted on a coach carrying British Army personnel and their wives and families explodes as it is travelling along the M62 motorway at Birkenshaw. Twelve people are killed; nine soldiers and the wife and two young sons of one of them.
October 5, 1974: The Guildford pub bombing kills five and injures 182. The motive for the bombing was that the pub attacked was frequented by off-duty, unarmed soldiers. Four people, dubbed the "Guildford Four", would be convicted for the bombing and imprisoned for life. Fifteen years later Lord Lane of the Court of Appeal would overturn their convictions noting "the investigating officers must have lied". Some had spent the entire fifteen years in prison, years after the IRA men who carried out the attacks admitted them to British police. No police officer was ever charged.
November 7, 1974: Two people are killed when a nail bomb containing 6lb of gelignite is thrown through the window of the Kings Head pub in Woolwich
November 21, 1974: In the Birmingham Pub Bombings bombs in two pubs kill 19. The "Birmingham Six" would be tried for this and convicted. Many years later, after new evidence of police fabrication and suppression of evidence, their convictions would be quashed and they would be released.
1974: In December a bomb explodes on the first floor of Harrods department store in Knightsbridge. Part of the store is gutted but there are no injuries.
22 December, 1974: IRA leadership declare a temporary ceasefire, pending talks with British government officials,
21 January, 1975: There was a series of bomb explosions in Belfast in attacks carried out by the IRA. Two members of the IRA were killed when a bomb they were transporting by car exploded in Victoria Street, Belfast.
10 February, 1975: The IRA leadership declare a truce. The ceasefire was to last officially until 23 January 1976, however it was not respected by all IRA units and violence continues throughout the year.
February 27, 1975: Off-duty police officer Stephen Tibble is shot and killed[1] as he joins in the chase of a suspect on his motorbike in Barons Court, London. The suspect had been spotted by a detective coming out of a house which was later discovered to be an IRA bomb factory.
17 July, 1975: The IRA killed four British soldiers in a remote controlled bomb attack near Forkhill, County Armagh
13 August, 1975: The IRA carried out a bomb and gun attack on the Bayardo Bar, Shankill Road, Belfast killing five people and injuring 40 others. One of those killed was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) the other four were Protestant civilians
27 August, 1975: Caterham pub bombing.
1 September, 1975: Five Protestant civilians died and seven were injured as a result of an attack on an Orange Hall in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by a group called the South Armagh Republican Action force (SARAF) which was considered by many commentators to be a covername for members of the IRA.
29 October, 1975: The IRA shot and killed Robert Elliman (27), then a member of the Official IRA (OIRA), in McKenna's Bar in the Markets area of Belfast. Between 29 October 1975 and 12 November 1975, 11 people were to die in the continuing feud between the two wings of the IRA. Most of those killed were members of the 'official' republican movement.
3 November, 1975: Several people were injured by a car bomb planted by the Provisional IRA in Connaught Square, London W2.
November 27, 1975: The killing[2] of businessman and TV personality Ross McWhirter, who with his brother Norris McWhirter, had offered reward money to anyone who would inform on the IRA.
December 7–12, 1975: The Balcombe Street Siege.
January 5, 1976: IRA kills ten Protestant workers in the Kingsmill massacre, county Armagh in retaliation for loyalist killings of Catholics.
23 January, 1976: IRA ceasefire officially called off.
1 March, 1976: End of Special Category Status Prisoners. Merlyn Rees, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that those people convicted of scheduled terrorist offences would no longer be entitled to special category status. In other words they were to be treated as ordinary criminals
July 21, 1976: An IRA landmine kills Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the newly appointed British ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, resulting in the declaration of a State of Emergency in the Republic. His secretary, Judith Cook (25), was also killed in the explosion.
14 September, 1976: Blanket protest Begun by IRA prisoners (starting with Kieran Nugent) protesting at the loss of political status.
2 February, 1977: Jeffrey Agate (59), then Managing Director of the American Du Pont factory in Derry was shot and killed by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) outside his home at Talbot Park, Derry. This killing marked the beginning of a series of attacks on businessmen. There were further killings on 2 March 1977 and 14 March 1977.
2 June, 1977: Three members of an Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol were shot and killed by Irish Republican Army (IRA) snipers near Ardboe, County Tyrone. Part of ongoing attacks on Police and Army.
17 February, 1978: La Mon Restaurant Bombing-Twelve people, all Protestant civilians, were killed and 23 badly injured when an IRA incendiary bomb exploded at the restaurant of the La Mon House Hotel, Gransha, near Belfast.
20 June, 1978: Three members of the IRA and a passing Protestant civilian were shot and killed by undercover members of the British Army during an attempted bomb attack on a Post Office depot, Ballysillan Road, Belfast
14 November, 1978: The IRA carried out a number of bomb attacks in towns across Northern Ireland. Serious damage was caused in attacks in Armagh, Belfast, Castlederg, Cookstown, Derry and Enniskillen. Thirty-seven people were injured in the attacks. [This series of bomb attacks represented a renewed bombing campaign and over 50 bombs were exploded in the following week.]
5 January, 1979: Two members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were killed in a car in Ardoyne, Belfast, when the bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely.
4 February, 1979: Patrick MacKin (60), a former Prison Officer, and his wife Violet (58), were both shot and killed by the IRA at their home in Oldpark Road, Belfast. Part of an escalating campaign against prison officers, co-inciding with the Dirty protest and Blanket protest in the Maze prison.
22 March, 1979: Members of the IRA killed Richard Sykes (58), then British Ambassador to the Netherlands, and also his Dutch valet Krel Straub (19), in a gun attack in Den Haag, Netherlands. The IRA carried out a series of attacks across Northern Ireland with 24 bombs exploding on same day.
17 April, 1979: Four Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were killed when the IRA exploded an estimated 1,000 pound van bomb at Bessbrook, County Armagh. This was believed to be the largest bomb used by the IRA to this date.
2 August, 1979: Two British soldiers were killed by the IRA in a landmine attack at Cathedral Road, Armagh. These deaths brought the total number of British Army soldiers killed in Northern Ireland since 1969 to 301.
August 27, 1979: An IRA bomb kills Earl Mountbatten of Burma at Mullaghmore, County Sligo, the British Queen's first cousin, as well as The Dowager Baroness Brabourne, Mountbatten's elder daughter's mother-in-law (aged 83), The Hon. Nicholas Knatchbull, Mountbatten's elder daughter's fourth son (aged 14) and Paul Maxwell, a 15 year old Protestant youth from County Fermanagh who was working as a crew member. On the same day the IRA kill 18 British soldiers at Narrow Water, near Newry, County Down; in an attack described by the British government as "a classic guerrilla attack", they first plant one bomb, which kills six, and then begin firing with sniper rifles at soldiers, driving them to cover at a nearby gate where a second bomb explodes, killing 12 others. During an Irish visit, Pope John Paul II calls for the IRA campaign of violence to come to an end. The IRA rejected his advice and declared that it had widespread support and that Britain would only withdraw from Northern Ireland if forced to do so: "force is by far the only means of removing the evil of the British presence in Ireland ... we know also that upon victory the Church would have no difficulty in recognising us".
16 December, 1979: Four British soldiers were killed by a landmine bomb planted by the IRA at Ballygawley Road, near Dungannon, County Tyrone. Another soldier was killed by a booby-trap bomb at Forkhill, County Armagh. James Fowler, a former member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), was shot and killed by the IRA in Omagh, County Tyrone.


18 January 1980: An IRA bomb detonates prematurely on a train near Dunmurry, resulting in three deaths including that on one of the bombers.
1981: IRA prisoner Bobby Sands, imprisoned in connection with his involvement in an attack involving a bomb and subsequent gun battle, is elected Member of Parliament at Westminster for the Northern Ireland constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone in a by-election. The moderate nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party decides not to run a candidate (which would have split the nationalist vote), in protest of the British government's handling of the protest. This left Sands as the main nationalist candidate. Sands had been on a hunger strike for "Prisoner of War" or Special Category Status for 41 days prior to being elected. He died 23 days later. It was estimated that 100,000 people attended his funeral. IRA prisoners were ultimately de facto awarded political status by Margaret Thatcher's government, after nine more deaths by hunger strike. [Northern Ireland]
1981: The PIRA kill Ulster Unionist Party Belfast MP Rev Robert Bradford along with the caretaker of a community centre. Irish Taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald and former taoiseach and opposition leader Charles Haughey condemn the killings in Dáil Éireann. SDLP party leader John Hume accuses the Provisionals of waging a campaign of "sectarian genocide". [Northern Ireland]
10 October 1981: a bomb blast on Ebury Bridge Road in London kills two people and injures 39. [England]
26 October 1981: a bomb explodes at a Wimpy Bar in Oxford Street London killing the bomb disposal officer trying to defuse it. [England]
20 July 1982: The Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings: In Hyde Park, a bomb kills two members of the Household Cavalry performing ceremonial duties in the park. Seven of their horses are also killed. The deaths of the horses received almost as much coverage in the English tabloids as those of the men. On the same day another device kills seven bandsmen the Royal Green Jackets as it explodes underneath the bandstand in Regents Park as they played music to spectators. [England]
1983: A Harrods department store bomb planted by the IRA during Christmas shopping season kills six (three police) and wounds 90. [England]
September 25, 1983: 38 IRA prisoners escape from the maximum security Long Kesh prison. One guard dies of a heart attack during the escape.
December 26, 1983: The IRA is blamed for a bombing in London which later is revealed to be the result of the Abu Nidal Organisation.
1984: In the Brighton hotel bombing a bomb in the Grand Hotel kills five in a failed attempt to assassinate members of the British cabinet. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher narrowly escapes. Five people are killed, and one woman permanently disabled. [England]
1985 February, IRA mortar attack on RUC police station in Newry kills 9 Police Officers
1987: The SAS ambush two IRA cells as they attempted to attack an Royal Ulster Constabulary police station in Loughgall. Eight IRA men are killed. Sinn Féin later claim that they were "brutally executed without the right to a trial". [Northern Ireland]
1987: In the Enniskillen "Massacre" the IRA bombing of a Remembrance Day parade kills 11 civilians and injures 63. Among the dead is nurse Marie Wilson, whose father, Gordon Wilson, would go on to become a leading campaigner for an end to violence in Northern Ireland. The IRA would later state that their target was a colour guard of British soldiers, and stand down the local brigade. On Remembrance Day 1997 the leader of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, formally apologised for the bombing. [Northern Ireland]
1988: The SAS attack an IRA cell that were planning to detonate a bomb near a public military parade in Gibraltar. Two men, Daniel McCann and Sean Savage, and a woman Mairead Farrell, all unarmed, were killed. Although initial reports claimed the three terrorists had been shot and killed when about to set off a massive car bomb, within 24 hours the Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe, was forced to admit this was not the case. However, a car used by the bombers was found in Marbella two days after the killings containing 140 lb of Semtex, timed to go off during the changing of the guard. [Gibraltar]. At the funeral of the three IRA volunteers, Michael Stone, a member of the Ulster Freedom Fighters(UFF), launched hand grenades during the graveside oration, killing a further three people. One week later, two British soldiers, Howes & Woods, in civilian clothes who drove too close to an IRA funeral were killed because the mourners believed them to be launching an attack like Michael Stone's [3]. 15 June 1988: 6 off duty members of the British Army, were killed by a Provisional Irish Republican Army booby trap bomb attached to their minibus, Market Square, Lisburn after a local fun run.
1989: Ten Royal Marine bandsmen are killed and 22 injured in the bombing of their base in Deal in Kent. [England]

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British army on patrol in South Armagh


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