Irish Republican ArmyIn 1969 the IRA split into two groups, the majority, or “officials,” advocating a united socialist Ireland but disavowing terrorist activities, and the “provisionals,” claiming terrorism as a necessary catalyst for unification. The “provisionals” then began a systematic terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland. In 1972 the “provisionals” extended their terrorism to England, where it culminated in the bombing (1974) of a Birmingham pub that killed 19 persons. In response the British parliament passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act, outlawing the IRA in Britain. The IRA assassinated (1979) Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and unsuccessfully tried to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Brighton, England.In 1994 hopes for peace were raised when the IRA declared a cease-fire. Its legal political arm (Sinn Féin) began participating in talks with Britain in 1995, but the party was barred from the mid-1996 negotiations because of renewed terrorist bombings by the IRA. Following the IRA's
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