In the late 1960s Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland began a forceful
campaign for improved economic and political status. Support for
the IRA grew, and clashes between the IRA and Protestant activists
and the British army escalated. Disagreement in 1969 over use of
fight tactics led to a split into two groups: a radical group, the
Provisional IRA, which carried out assassinations; and the original
group, the Official IRA, which declined in importance.
The Provisionals took their name from the declaration made during
the April 24, 1916, Easter Rising in Dublin when the insurrectionists
proclaimed a provisional government.
Militants from the Belfast and Derry ghettos rather than the people
from the south of Ireland became the driving force in the Provisional
IRA. This marked a turning point for Irish Republicanism and signified
the failure of the old IRA to defend the nationalist communities
in the North.