Timothy Shanahan

in The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780748635290
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652884 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


This chapter examines the morality of terrorism and counter-terrorism, and evaluates related republican claims about the Provisional IRA's armed struggle. The ‘total pacifist’ claims that violence is never morally justified, even in the pursuit of worthy political goals. The proponent of ‘total realpolitik’ maintains that violence is morally justified whenever it will be or has been effective in achieving the desired political goal. The ‘moderate moralist’ answer has the virtue of attempting to find a middle ground between the extremes of ‘never’ and ‘always’. The second section of the chapter looks at Britain's extensive experience in combating terrorism in Northern Ireland for lessons that could be applied to counter-terrorism efforts in other contexts.

Keywords: counter-terrorism; terrorism; Provisional IRA; moral justification; morality; pacifist; realpolitik; Britain

Chapter.  2800 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.