At a time when dissident Irish republican violence appears to be gaining momentum and forcing its way on to the Northern Irish political agenda, this is the first book to examine the phenomenon as it has developed over the last two decades. It does so by putting the recent activities of groups like the Real IRA, Continuity IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann back into their broader political and historical context. It examines the evolution of dissident republican opposition to the Good Friday Agreement, exploring the contours of the creed, its strengths and weaknesses, decline and resurgence.
By taking an in-depth look at the thinking that inspires its adherents, Legion of the Rearguard shows why the flame of militant, violent Irish republicanism still burns. It is also the first book to explore newer dissident manifestations such as eirigi and the Republican Network for Unity. It shows how, even though such groups proclaim their opposition to violence in the present, they often contribute to an ideological hinterland that sustains more militant forms of Irish republicanism.
To this end, the author has conducted interviews with leading members of several dissident groups. He has made extensive use of the speeches, publications and propaganda that they issue, as well as assessments of them from government and security sources. The result is a book that will be of interest to students of British and Irish history - as well as those tasked with understanding the peace process in Northern Ireland and the current challenges faced by that process.