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Continuity Irish Republican Army

The Continuity Irish Republican Army (who claim for themselves the title "Óglaigh na hÉireann", (gaelic for 'Volunteers of Ireland', a title also used by the Provisional IRA but which legally belongs to the defence forces of the Republic of Ireland) split from the Provisional IRA after the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in 1986, when SF decided to take their seats, if elected to Dáil Éireann (the parliament of the Republic of Ireland). Until that time, Sinn Féin had refused to participate in any government that did not cover the whole island of Ireland.

Deposed Sinn Féin president Ruairí Ó Brádaigh[?], Daithi Ó Conaill[?] and others walked out of the Ard Fheis and reconvened as Republican Sinn Féin, remaining true in their eyes to what they claimed was a basic Republican principle of abstentionism. They stressed that the split was not as a result of the signing of the Belfast Agreement (variously known as the "Good Friday" Agreement or Stormont Agreement), and that they are not connected to the self-styled "Real" IRA, which they predate.

The CIRA does not support the current political process, and continues to fight against the Union of Northern Ireland with Great Britain, which they denounce as British rule in Ireland. The CIRA has not called a ceasefire nor has it decommissioned any of its weapons. Tommy Crossan, senior CIRA prisoner in Maghaberry Prison, Co. Antrim is campaigning for political status for the CIRA prisoners.

CIRA claim to be the true inheritors of the Irish Republican tradition, because of their refusal to accept the existence of partition on even a temporary basis, and because Commandant-General Tom Maguire of the IRA, the last surviving member of the 2nd (All-Ireland) Dáil Éireann (the Second Dáil was elected in 1921 and replaced by the Third Dáil in 1922), recognised the Continuity Executive and the Continuity Army Council as the lawful Executive and Army Council respectively of the Irish Republican Army, in what the CIRA perceived as a sort of "apostolic" succession. However few people in Ireland, north or south accept this claim. Over ninety-five per cent of voters in the Republic of Ireland and a clear majority in Northern Ireland in referenda on the Good Friday Agreement endorsed the peace process and disowned any organisation purporting in the name of Ireland to wage war.


See pages on Irish political parties and movements; Provisional IRA, Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Dáil Éireann, Republic of Ireland, The Irish Constitution, Anglo-Irish Treaty, Irish Free State, President of Ireland.

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