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Cumann na mBan and the acceptance of woman in the provisional IRA: An oral history study of Irish republican women in the early 1970s

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posted on 2019-08-20, 09:38 authored by Dieter Reinisch
In autumn 1968 the General Army convention of the IRA carried a motion to allow the membership of women. This decision was reconfirmed, following the republican split in 1969, by the Provisional Army Council. The move was heavily criticised by members of the republican women's organisation Cumann na mBan themselves. Based on 25 interviews conducted with fromer female activists of the Provisional Republican Movement between 2009 and 2011 the reasons why cumann na mBan opposed the decision are examined from the perspective of the female activists themselves. The findings show that those women who vigorously opposed the move came from atraditional republican bacground and held conservative social and religious views. Whereas those women who were in favour of joining the IRA were young and new recruits who joined the Republican Movement following the outbreak of armed conflict in August 1969.The Results of the study contradict the existing picture of Cumann na mBan as an organisation subordinated under a male IRA. Instead it depicts an independent women's organisation actively involved in the republican movement.

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Publication

Socheolas;5(1), pp.115-134

Publisher

Department of Sociology, University of Limerick

Note

peer-reviewed

Language

English

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