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Inside the IRA

Dissident Republicans and the War for Legitimacy

Andrew Sanders

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Would the 'real' IRA please stand up? Why, and how, the IRA splintered

The Real IRA, the Continuity IRA, the Irish National Liberation Army, the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA have all assumed responsibility for the struggle for Irish freedom over the course of the late-20th century. Yet as recently as 1969 there was only one Irish Republican Army trying to unify Ireland using physical force.

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List of Abbreviations
1. The Origins of Division: The Republican Movement in the 20th century, 1916 - 1962
2. The Movement Divides: The 1960s
3. The Split and its Aftermath: The 1970s
4. The American Dimension: How Support from America Directed the Path of Irish Republicanism
5. Prison, Politics and Violence: The 1980s
6. Irish-America in the 1980s
7. Changed Priorities: The 1990s
8. The 21st Century

About the Author

Andrew Sanders is John Moore Newman Research Fellow, UCD Clinton Institute for American Studies at University College Dublin. He is the author of Inside the IRA: Dissident Republicans and the War for Legitimacy (Edinburgh University Press, 2011)


A compelling study of one of the most important themes in modern Irish politics. The question of schism and re-born militancy remains potent in contemporary Irish republicanism, and Sanders' historically informed analysis represents a significant, illuminating interpretation.
- Richard English, author of Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA

Inside the IRA triumphs in its attempts to provide a consistent narrative and analysis of what is a complex and often controversial era of history … Sanders’ work currently stands alone in this field and is a testament to thorough scholarship and cogent historical reasoning.

- British Politics and Policy at LSE Blog

A one-stop-shop for those who want a comprehensive overview of the republican family ... there is still a place for books that take the longer and broader view, and Sanders makes a solid contribution to the genre.

- Henry Patterson, University of Ulster, Irish Political Review
Inside the IRA: Dissident Republicans and the War for Legitimacy challenges Irish historians to seek both an internal analysis and an external observation to frame the pattern of Irish republican factionalisation … The sweeping rigor of this book provocatively offers a frank discussion of the controversial concept of republican revisionism that is based upon the author’s attentive scholarship.
- Margaret Keiley-Listermann, Georgia Gwinnett College, The Journal of British Studies

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