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Provisional IRA: War, ceasefire, endgame?
Intro
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
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Total deaths
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profiles
Profiles:
Denis Bradley

Former priest, IRA go-between

Former Derry priest Denis Bradley is one of the most pivotal figures of the Troubles. For years he secretly passed communications between senior IRA figures and London via MI6. The link eventually ended, but Bradley’s work helped the IRA move towards ceasefire and the British closer to negotiating with republicans.

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1976 Long war

The 1970s marked the bloodiest years of the Troubles with atrocities carried out by paramilitaries from both sides of the sectarian divide.

A number of IRA attacks sparked particular outrage and have stayed in the public consciousness. Its firebombing of the La Mon House Hotel near Belfast in February 1978 killed 12 people in horrific circumstances.

A year later, it killed 18 soldiers at Warrenpoint and, on the same day, Lord Mountbatten and guests aboard his holiday yacht off the County Sligo coast in the Republic of Ireland.

The 1975 ceasefire hit IRA morale as London dragged out its offer of negotiations. More importantly, the security forces began to clamp down increasingly on paramilitaries.

The IRA concluded that to survive it would need to fight a "long war" and reorganised its paramilitary units in to small underground cells. But in reducing the visible presence of the IRA, it moved to increase republican presence elsewhere. It sanctioned the first moves to develop Sinn Fein as a radical, agitating political force working within nationalist communities, seeeking to build support for republican causes.

Audio
Warrenpoint bombing: "Twenty minutes and 300 yards separated two huge explosions."
The death of Lord Mountbatten: "The explosion, violent in the extreme, was heard two miles away"

Open Quotes
Sinn Fein should should agitate about social and economic issues. It should have a big role in publicity and propaganda. It gains the respect of the people, which in turn leads to increased support for the cell
IRA Strategy Document, 1977
Close Quotes

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