'The affirmation of Behan?' : an understanding of the politicisation process of the Provisional Irish Republican Movement through an organisational analysis of splits from 1969 to 1997
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One of the foremost reasons for the success of the Northern Irish Peace Process has been the ability of the national leadership of the Provisional Republican Movement to bring the majority of their membership away from the armed campaign and towards the acceptance of peaceful politics. This dissertation analyses how they were able to achieve this. This is carried out by considering the processes of the four major splits in modern day Irish republicanism from 1969 to 1997. Each split was analysed so as to derive why the split took place and why one side was more successful than the other in the aftermath. The cases were used to test a stage-based process model of split designed by the author. The data from thirty-eight semi-structured interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). This analysis treated the three Provisional splits as three micro-processes within the macro-process of Provisional Republican involvement in the ‘Troubles’, as it did the two Official splits with respect to the Official macro-process of involvement. The results of the analysis showed that the success of the later Provisional leadership was significantly tied to their method of changing strategies, tactics and policies one step at a time rather than by attempting to implement a variety of substantial changes within a short space of time as the leadership of the 1960s endeavoured to. This research outlines how the acceptance of peaceful politics for a terrorist organisation is a gradual stage-based process and that in order to be successful the significant changes must be implemented in a patient manner.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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