‘1974 – Year of Liberty’?
The Provisional IRA and Sunningdale
in Sunningdale, the Ulster Workers’ Council strike and the struggle for democracy in Northern Ireland
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Towards the end of 1973 republicans were forecasting that 1974 would be the ‘Year of Liberty’ and mark the defeat of British imperialism. In a little over a year the Provisionals agreed a truce with the British. This chapter will examine the strategy of the republican movement in this period . It will consider the thesis put forward by Ed Moloney in history of the IRA that this period was characterised by the organisation being on the military defensive while it was deeply divided over the possibility of negotiations with the British. It will argue that by this time although the IRA was on the defensive in Belfast, its position in rural and border areas, sustained by a developed infrastructure of support in the rest of Ireland made it a more formidable threat than the Moloney thesis allows.

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