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The I.R.A. and its EnemiesViolence and Community in Cork, 1916-1923$
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Peter Hart

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208068

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208068.001.0001

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(p.226) 11 Guerrillas
The I.R.A. and its Enemies

Peter Hart

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the varieties of commitment and participation within the I.R.A. Distinctions between nominal, reliable, and active volunteers were recognized in every I.R.A. unit in Cork. Sinn Fein suffered a more precipitate decline than the Volunteers in 1920. Within the movement, organizational boundaries and roles were indistinct. Organizational labels were irrelevant as long as everyone shared a sense of identity and purpose. For many Volunteers, their first encounters with the police and prisons defined the British state as violent, repressive, and beatable. With the consolidation of some army and Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C.) detachments in late 1921, the guerrillas became cocky and aggressive. Confrontations with policemen or soldiers became more common. The guerrillas thought of themselves as sovereign, having organized and armed themselves in their own way. Meanwhile, there was little difference between Sinn Fein, Irish Volunteers, and guerrillas according to the Cork R.I.C.

Keywords:   Sinn Fein, Irish Volunteers, guerrillas, Royal Irish Constabulary

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