The Provisional IRA is a Northern Irish paramilitary organisation that seeks to bring about a unified Ireland and end British rule. In 1969 the original IRA were split ideologically over how to deal with the bloody violence against the nationalists, who in their demands for civil rights in 1968, had angered the unionists and authorities, bringing about the 1969 Northern Ireland riots.
In response the breakaway faction, calling themselves the Provisional IRA, conducted an armed campaign on home soil and in England that lasted until 1997. Over 1,800 people are believed to have died in their terrorist attacks. If the deaths of civilians, members of the IRA themselves and British security forces are combined, the number rises to 10,000.
In 2005 the IRA Army Council announced an official ceasefire claiming their armed campaign, already dormant, was at an end. However, in late 2008, a senior Garda intelligence official was quoted in The Sunday Times as saying the IRA still recruited, still held arms and was being maintained in “shadow form”.
In 2010 Dominic Bradley, leader of Northern Ireland’s Social Democratic and Labour Party said that the IRA were still active, claiming they were responsible for incidents in his constituency including a punishment shooting and an armed robbery during which firearms were used.