Irish Republican Army
Comes in two distinct flavours:
The 'Old' or 'Original' IRA
These were the original old boyos: dressed in flat caps & raincoats and armed with nicked .303s that they'd had away from the various armouries and Royal Irish Constabulary stations that they regularly attacked. With the onset of The Troubles, they were deemed too 'old school' and not nearly nails enough to make an impact. That said, this doesn't mean they were all pink & fluffy in their heyday. They weren't. In the rural areas of the isle, they really did run the roost - much to the chagrin of the British Army and the auxiliaries.
The Provisional IRA (PIRA)
The word 'provisional' is a bit misleading as it infers that they are a lead in to the old brigade - a bit like having to pass your part one license. Not so. For provisional read splinter group.
PIRA were/are a nasty terrorist group that did/does not take too kindly to North/South Irish divide and used to spend their time attacking British forces and the RUC over the water with things from 1000 pound fertiliser-based explosives to the good old SA80.
Now they have moved to politics, and got all their prisoners released under the Good Friday Agreement they tend to keep their heads down - apart from the occasional bank robbery... but that's never been proven!
Sometimes you may see Gerry Adams or Martin McGuiness on a warm sunny day. If you look carefully at their shadow you will be able to make out the silhouette of an AK47 quite clearly, or an SLP they just keep for 'personal protection'.
Recent revelations in the press and courts have suggested that it's possible every member of the IRA was actually under the control of MI5, MI6, Special Branch, the Mail on Sunday, Watchdog and MTV's PUNKED.
Other splinter factions
Other splinter groups sharing similar aims include the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), the Real IRA (RIRA) and Continuity IRA (CIRA). The last two organisations are believed to be responsible for recent murders of off-duty soldiers in Antrim and a police officer in Craigavon, respectively.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that upon gaining sufficient promotion to warrant increased interest being paid by THEM, members of any or all of these factions would be advised to get themselves a dog - preferably a big, scary looking Land Shark. The idea was to keep it hungry, leave it outside in the cold and rain, and poke it with a stick every so often to ensure it would be permanently pissed-off. However, this tactic backfired when they visited under cover of darkness while the owner was out, and fed, walked, and generally befriended the beasts so they sometimes turned on their masters. Good boy, Rex!