IRA refers to Irish Republican Army, a nationalist organization that was committed to uniting of Ireland as a whole and independent entity. The Irish republican army was organized by Michael Collins from the leftovers of rebel units detached after the Easter insurgence in 1916 and it was composed of the many soldiers of the Irish volunteers and this made it to become the military arm of the Sinn Fein social gathering (White, 18).

In 1969 the Irish republican army separated into two factions consisting of the officials who were also mainstreams and the provisionals. The former championed for an integrated communist Ireland and disavowing terrorist actions, while the latter advocated for terrorism claiming it was the only necessary means of speeding up confederation of Ireland. The provisionals the started organized terrorism crusade in Northern Ireland. In the process the British legislature passed the prevention of terrorism act declaring IRA an illegal movement in Britain.   

According to White (23) a number of factors contributed to the rejuvenation of the IRA. In 1994 affirmed cease fire and this brought about hopes of peace. The political arm of the IRA started taking part in talks with British government in 1995, later barred from the mid-1996 talks due to reemergence of terrorism activities by the IRA.  Following its second cease fire in 1997, its political arm was given a go ahead to take part in the negotiations that took place in September of that year which lead to a treaty that facilitated for new northern Ireland  assembly  comprising of Catholics and the protestants and remarkable harmony between the Northern Ireland and the Irish state. The enactment of the new treaty though faced by challenges that included IRA'S refusal to disarm, led to the diplomats of the IRA's political wing to take part in the new Northern Irish government establishment in December 1999. The British government's sanctions on the new government following the IRA's refusal to disarm made this nationalist organization to begin disarming though this was done confidentially.

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The unionist paramilitary groups are of two types, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defense Association (UDA). Their response to the IRA was by carrying out attacks that accounted for 30% of the deaths in Northern Ireland clash. in 1966 the UVF shot four catholics,1969 bombing of power post near Belfast, the UDA'S October 1993 machine-gun assault on a bar in northern Ireland civic of Greysteel among many others (White, 40).

The unionist paramilitary groups also responded through staging of harassment, intimidation and religious violence, this was done by staunch Protestants who targeted the Catholics. In their response, the military groups also targeted the civilians more regularly than they did to the IRA (White, 45). They killed more catholic civilians compared to the protestant civilians killed by their counterparts, the IRA. The military groups were believed to act out of religious odium, while the IRA mostly targeted the British government military.

In conclusion the IRA is a nationalist's organization in Northern Ireland whose objective was the political growth and ejection of British rule from their land. They were pro-Catholics. Along the way the IRA faced the challenge of the loyalist paramilitary groups who were pro the British government and of course protestant affiliated. This led to power struggle between the two that later resulted onto random attacks leading to big loses in the lives of both the civilians and the army.

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