Tiocfaidh ár Mná: Women in the Provisional Irish Republican Army

Authored by: Mia Bloom, Paul Gill, and John Horgan

Categories: Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: National Security Forces and Armed Groups
Country: Ireland
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2012
Citation: Bloom, Mia, Paul Gill, and John Horgan. "Tiocfaidh ár Mná: Women in the Provisional Irish Republican Army." Behavorial Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 4, no. 1 (2012): 60-76.

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This article seeks to answer the question of who were the women of the Provisional IRA and to assess any demographic patterns of PIRA involvement. We use a multi-method approach to describe the many roles and functions of female members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army from 1970 to 1998. Drawing on a sample of 61 convicted or deceased PIRA members, we outline the shifting socio-demographic and operation profile of these women and how structural, tactical and strategic needs of PIRA accounted for those changes. Women in the Provisional IRA played crucial operational roles throughout the period both front-line and behind the scenes. From the outset of the conflict, women consistently took part in violent operations. We also provide a historical case study of Mairéad Farrell’s PIRA career to provide further illustrations of these themes in greater detail.