Peter Henderson wrote:The IRA were evil bastards but they were a response to genuine injustice and discrimination
The Civil Rights movement was a response to genuine injustice and descrimination, not the provisional IRA. The injustices applied across the religious divide. For example, the one man one vote campaign benefited both Unionist and Nationalist There was no justification for the IRA campaign, none. By the mid 1980's virtually all the demands for civil rights had been met.
I agree with you on that one, Peter, and the evidence seems to me very simple. They lost.
But the game had been up for generations. Whatever one criticises the Republic of Ireland for, it broke the power of the IRA in the Irish civil war. It had to.
Sinn Fein and the IRA simply did not grasp in the early eighties that it couldn't gain power by a combination of both the ballot box and the Armalite. It was either one, or the other. They were mutually exclusive. That it chose both was a sign of desperate failure even then. It had already lost the "war". It was also hopelessly out of touch with political reality in Europe. Both Ireland and the UK had become EU (then EC) members and that was conditional on them both being democracies - solving political conflicts by the ballot box, negotiation and debate, not by the gun.