A. Plan of Investigation
Word Count: 134

The purpose of this investigation is to examine the extent to which the actions of the Irish Republican Army reflect the goals and policies of Sinn Fein in the late 1960’s. The body of the investigation will provide a history of the IRA’s violence during the late 60’s and how Sinn Fein reacted to it. It will also include context of what Sinn Fein’s goals were in this time period, as well as the IRA’s. The two sources being evaluated in this investigation are A Secret History of the IRA and Behind the Mask: The IRA and Sinn Fein. These sources will be evaluated of their origins, purpose, values and limitations and will assist in analyzing information and drawing a conclusion to how accurate the actions of the IRA reflect Sinn Fein’s policies.


B. Summary of Evidence
Word Count: 523

In the late 1960’s, Sinn Fein was the largest group in the Republican wing of Irish nationalism and was closely associated with the IRA. Although they were closely associated with one another, they took different “converging roles in the war of national liberation. The Irish Republican Army [waged] an armed campaign” while Sinn Fein believed propaganda war could drive the movement (O’Brien 128). The 1969 split of Sinn Fein resulted in closer ties between the party and the army.The public perception of the IRA had long been that the IRA was a dangerous terrorist group. In June of 1970, IRA volunteers used firearms to defend Clonard monastery in west Belfast, the Short Strand in east Belfast and other nationalist areas from attack by loyalist mobs. Six people were killed in gun battles. (Peter 74-77). Days later, during the Falls Curfew, the Official IRA and Provisional IRA fought a three day gun battle with 3,000 British troops who imposed a curfew on the Lower Falls area of Belfast leaving four civilians dead (Taylor 78-83). Violence from the IRA persisted throughout the year, and well into 1971 and 1972. The Irish Republican movement against the partioning of Ireland had started in 1970 – two years prior to the event known as Bloody Sunday. After twenty-six unarmed civil rights protesters were shot by the British army on January 30, 1970, public view of the army changed drastically. The recruitment of the IRA soared, however, violence began to emerge as well. Although the IRA used violence as their voice for the movement, Sinn Fein took a different approach. The party maintained the belief that unity of Ireland could be achieved through using a political approach through propaganda. Sinn Fein did not promote violence in the 1970’s, however the party did not speak out against the IRA’s violence from 1970-1972 or make any attempt to stop them. Historians take different approaches as to whether or not Sinn Fein can be blamed for the murders carried out by Sinn Fein – while some argue that the two were separate entities that achieved their goals in different ways, others argue that Sinn Fein was well aware of the events taking place and by staying silent, they advocated violence. The IRA officially declared ceasefire in late 1975; this event gave Sinn Fein a more prominent presence in Ireland. A great decline in violence followed the ceasefire.

C. Evaluation of Sources