an underground Irish nationalist organization founded to work for Irish independence from Great Britain: declared illegal by the Irish government in 1936, but continues activity aimed at the unification of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Abbreviation: IRA, I.R.A.
a militant organization of Irish nationalists founded with the aim of striving for a united independent Ireland by means of guerrilla warfare IRA
Irish Republican Army (IRA)

A secret organization in Ireland that originally fought for Irish independence from Britain. After the division of Ireland in the early twentieth century into Northern Ireland, which remained united with Britain, and the Irish Free State, now called the Republic of Ireland, the IRA took as its goal the uniting of the entire island under the Republic. The IRA continues to pursue this goal; membership, however, is illegal in the Republic, and the IRA’s Provisional Wing has practiced terrorism. (See Sinn Fein.)


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