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Inside the IRADissident Republicans and the War for Legitimacy$
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Andrew Sanders

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748641123

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641123.001.0001

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Prison, Politics and Violence: The 1980s

Prison, Politics and Violence: The 1980s

(p.130) Chapter 5 Prison, Politics and Violence: The 1980s
Inside the IRA

Andrew Sanders

Edinburgh University Press

Irish republicanism during the 1980s is inextricably linked to the hunger strikes of 1981, the culmination of five years of protest inside Northern Irish prisons as a result of the 1976 normalisation policies that the British government introduced as a means to de-legitimise the republican struggle. The prison campaign had massive ramifications domestically and internationally, as republicans in the United States enjoyed something of a renaissance during the early 1980s. With the strategic focus of the movement now firmly on the political arena, the American dimension evolved similarly as prominent political figures exerted increasing influence on the Northern Irish situation. This chapter re-evaluates the period in light of the considerable dissent that has fermented against the Provisional republican leadership.

Keywords:   hunger strike, Irish republicanism, Northern Irish prisons, British government, Provisional republican leadership

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