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Defying the IRA?$
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Brian Hughes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382974

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382974.001.0001

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date: 25 June 2018



(p.205) Conclusion
Defying the IRA?

Brian Hughes

Liverpool University Press

Examining the grass-roots dynamics of the Irish Revolution emphasises the difficulty of defining revolutionary activity in neat or binary terms. Only a small minority operated at either end of a scale of allegiance or compliance while the majority are to be found in a massive and fluid middle-ground. The IRA surely relied on the support of the general population in conducting its guerrilla campaign (whether that support came actively or passively, willingly or unwillingly) but if taken too generally the idea of widespread civilian assistance becomes an oversimplification, missing many of the complexities and nuances inherent in individual and communal behaviour. Civilian behaviour was regularly motivated by concerns over personal safety or economic survival and could also be influenced by greed, jealousy, or rivalry. Minority groups were not necessarily targeted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) specifically as a result of identity markers like religion, politics, or social standing but these remained important identifiers, variously competing with or complementing other local and national factors.

Keywords:   Irish Revolution, Irish Republican Army, irregular war, communities, civilians

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