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A secret organization in Ireland that originally fought for Irish independence from Britain. After the division of Ireland in the early twentieth century into Northern Ireland, which remained united with Britain, and the Irish Free State, now called the Republic of Ireland, the IRA took as its goal the uniting of the entire island under the Republic. The IRA continues to pursue this goal; membership, however, is illegal in the Republic, and the IRA's Provisional Wing has practiced terrorism. (See Sinn Fein.)