On August 31, 1994, the Provisional IRA (PIRA) declared a cessation of military operations. For the past thirty years, the conflict in Northern Ireland has been raging almost without pause.1 British security forces have attempted to control the violence by establishing road blocks, conducting house searches, altering the judicial system to allow conviction on informant testimony, instituting internment without trial for paramilitary suspects, garrisoning over thirty thousand British soldiers in Northern Ireland, instituting broadcasting bans of Sinn Féin, and conducting intensive interrogation of suspects. Despite the best attempts of the British government over the past few decades to thwart PIRA, the conflict persisted. To sustain a low-intensity war under these conditions requires more than guns and ammunition; it requires the support of a political community, extensive organization of economic resources, and cultural values that give meaning to the conflict.

Author Bio(s)

Montgomery Sapone received a Ph. D. from Yale University in 1994 in cultural anthropology. In 1997, she completed a J.D. from Harvard Law School. While in law school, she worked at the Arms Project of Human Rights Watch in Washington, DC and at the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Squad of the US Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts. Currently, she is working as a freelance journalist in Europe.


ceasefire, Irish Republican culture and history, Northern Ireland, Republican political identity

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