|Provisional Irish Republican Army Constitution
|Source: Maloney, E. The Secret History of the IRA. pp 602-608.|
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The Provisional Irish Republican Army Constitution, post-1996.
- 1 Title
- 2 Membership
- 3 Objects
- 4 Means
- 5 Army Control
- 6 General Army Convention
- 7 Duties and Powers of the Executive
- 8 Duties and Power of the Army Council
- 9 Selection of Delegates
- 10 Changes to the Constitution
The army shall be known as Oglaigh na hEireann
a. Enlistment in Oglaigh na hEireann shall be open to all those over the age of 17 who accept its objects as stated in the constitution and who make the following pledge;
“I…(name)…promise that I will promote the objects of Oglaigh na hEireann to the best of my knowledge and ability and that I will obey all orders and regulations issued to me by the army authority and by my superior officer.”
b. Participation in Stormont or Westminster and in any other subservient parliament, if any, is strictly forbidden.
c. Enlistment shall be at the discretion of the Army Authority.
a. To guard the honour and uphold the sovereignty and unity of the Irish republic as declared by the First Dail.
b. To support the establishment of an Irish socialist republic based on the 1916 Proclamation.
c. To support the establishment of, and uphold, a lawful government in sole and absolute control of the 32 county Irish republic as constituted by the First Dail.
d. To secure and defend civil and religious liberties and equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens.
e. To promote the revival of the Irish language as the everyday language of the people.
a. To organise Oglaigh na hEireann for victory.
b. To build on a spirit of comradeship.
c. To wage revolutionary armed struggle.
d. To encourage popular resistance, political mobilisation and political action in support of these objectives.
e. To assist, as directed by the Army Authority, all organizations working for the same objectives.
a. The General Army Convention shall be the Supreme Army Authority.
b. The Army Council shall be the Supreme Authority when a General Convention is not in session.
c. The Army Council, only after Convention, shall have power to delegate its powers to a government which is actively endeavouring to function as the de facto government of the Republic.
d. When a government is functioning as the de facto government of the Republic, a General Army Convention shall be convened to give the allegiance of Oglaigh na hEireann to such a government.
e. All personnel and all armaments, equipment and other resources of Oglaigh na hEireann shall be at the disposal of and subject to the Army Authority, to be employed and utilised as the Army Authority shall direct.
General Army Convention
a. (i) A General Army Convention of Delegates (selected and set out hereinafter) shall meet every four years unless the majority of these delegates notify the Army Council that they deem it better for military purposes to postpone it. When a General Army Convention is postponed, it must be summoned to meet not later than twelve months after postponement (as soon as the majority of the delegates shall notify the Army Council that they deem it advisable).
(ii) A Convention must be called within fifteen months of a cessation being declared.
b. An Extraordinary General Army Convention shall be called when a majority of the executive so decide.
c. That should it be necessary to summon an Extraordinary General Army Convention and that the urgency of the issue for the convention does not permit of the selection of delegates as prescribed, that the delegates to the previous General Army Convention constitute the Extraordinary General Army Convention. When for any reason a delegate to the previous General Army Convention has become ineligible, or is not available, the Battalion Council shall elect a delegate in his/her stead. Every active Volunteer in the Battalion shall be eligible to stand as a delegate.
d. An Executive of twelve members shall be elected by the ballot at the General Army Convention: at least eight of these members shall be delegates to the Convention: Four members may be elected from active Volunteers who are not delegates. The next six in line shall, however, be eligible as substitutes to the Executive in order of their election. The Executive shall always have six substitutes in readiness.
e. No member of the Executive may also be a member of the Army Council and members of the Executive subsequently elected to the Army Council will resign from the Executive. Vacant positions on the executive arising in such a way shall be filled by those substitutes next in line from the Convention delegates.
f. The following shall be entitled to attend and vote at the General Army Convention:
Delegates selected by Battalion Convention.
Delegates selected by General Headquarters Staff and Staffs of Brigades, Divisions and Commands.
Two members of the Executive.
All members of the Army Council.
The Chief of Staff, the Adjutant-General and the Quartermaster-General.
g. Only Volunteers on the Active List shall be eligible as delegates to the General Army Convention.
h. A majority of the General Army Convention may invite anyone whom they wish to attend to speak.
i. The Chairperson of the General Army Convention shall be chosen by the General Convention.
Duties and Powers of the Executive
a. The Chairperson of the General Army Convention or his/her representative shall, within forty-eight hours of the termination of the Convention, summon a meeting of the Army Executive over which he/she shall preside during the election of a Chairperson and Secretary. The Army Executive shall then proceed with the election of an Army Council of seven members.
b. The Army Executive shall meet at least every three months. The Secretary of the Executive shall be responsible for the summoning of the members. The Chairman of the Army Council and the Chief of Staff attend all meetings of the executive with the right to speak but without voting rights.
c. It shall be the duty of the Executive to advise the Army Council on all matters concerning the Army. This includes ratifying any cessation within four months of its declaration and two further extensions of four months.
d. The Executive shall have powers, by a majority vote, to summon an Extraordinary General Army Convention.
e. A member of the Executive who, for any reason, ceases to be an active member of Oglaigh na hEireann shall cease to be a member of the Executive.
f. Casual vacancies on the Executive shall be filled by co-option after any substitutes that may be elected by the General Army Convention have been exhausted. Vacancies shall be filled within a period of one month.
g. The Executive shall hold office until the General Army Convention shall elect a new Executive.
h. An extraordinary meeting of the Executive shall be summoned by the Secretary of the Executive when a majority of the Army Council or a majority of the Executive so decide.
i. Two-thirds of the available members shall constitute a quorum of the Executive, for co-option purposes only. Full Executive powers shall not be vested in less than five members.
j. The Army Executive are the custodians of the constitution and have the right to rule and arbitrate or rule on policy matter which may infringe the constitution and Volunteers have the right to petition the Executive on such matters.
Duties and Power of the Army Council
a. (i) The chairperson of the Army Executive or his/her representative shall, as soon as possible after the election of the Army Council, summon a meeting of the Army Council, over which he/she shall preside, until a Chairperson and Secretary have been elected.
(ii) The Army Council shall meet at least once a month.
(iii) Vacancies occurring in the Army Council shall be filled from the substitutes elected by the Executive or co-opted by the Army Council in advance. Co-options by the Army Council must be ratified by the Executive at its next meeting.
(iv) Any active Volunteer shall be eligible for membership of the Army Council.
The Army Council shall
1) Maintain the organisational integrity and cohesion of Oglaigh na hEireann until the objectives have been achieved.
2) Maintain the political and military strengths and capabilities of Oglaigh na hEireann until the objectives have been achieved.
b. (i) The Army Council shall have power to conclude peace or declare war when a majority of the council so decide. The final conclusion of peace must be ratified by a convention.
(ii) The Army Council shall have power to appoint a Chief of Staff and ratify all appointments to the commissioned ranks.
(iii) The Army Council shall have power to make regulations regarding organisation, training, discipline, equipment and operations, such as will ensure that the Army will be as efficient as possible.
(iv) The Army Council shall have power to take all necessary steps to secure co-ordination with other republican organisations.
(v) The Army Council shall have power to keep in touch with all foreign organisations and countries which may help the Army in any way.
(vi) The Army Council shall have the power to arrange for the care of wounded Volunteers and their dependants and the dependants of the Volunteers killed, imprisoned or on active-service.
(vii) The Chief of Staff, Adjutant-General and Quartermaster-General shall be entitled to attend and speak at all meetings of the Army Council but not be entitled to vote unless they are members of the Army Council.
(viii) Four members shall constitute a quorum of the Army Council for co-option purposes only. Full power shall not be vested in less than five members.
(ix) A member of the Army Council who, for any reason, ceases to be an active Volunteer, shall cease to be a member of the Army Council.
(x) The Army Council shall appoint a commission which sites every two years to ascertain the views and opinions of Volunteers at all levels in the Army.
Selection of Delegates
Delegates to the Command Conventions shall be elected by the ballot as follows
a. At each parade called for the purpose, each unit in Command Area shall elect a delegate to attend the Command Convention.
b. One member of the Command Staff, elected by the Staff at a special meeting called for the purpose.
c. The Command OC shall be entitled to attend and vote at the Command Convention.
d. Each Command Convention shall meet when instructed by the Army Authority and elect one delegate when the total number of volunteers who parade for Unit Conventions do not exceed twenty, and two when the number of Volunteers does not exceed fifty, and one delegate for each twenty additional Volunteers on parade at Unit Conventions.
Where the Independent Unit is a Brigade, a Brigade Convention may be held consisting of the delegates elected by the Units, Battalion Staffs and the Brigade Staff, with the power to pass or reject any resolution brought forward by these delegates. The delegates from each Battalion shall each elect their own delegates to the Army Convention.
Election of Brigade, Divisional and Command Staff delegates to the General Army Convention
Two delegates shall be elected at a meeting of General Headquarters Staff officers, with the exception of the Chief of Staff, Adjutant-General and Quartermaster-General.
Resolutions to General Army Convention
Command Conventions and the meetings of GHQ Staff for the election of delegates to General Army Convention shall have power to discuss any matter relating to the Army or to the Nation and to pass resolutions regarding such matters. These resolutions shall be forwarded to GHQ with the time specified by the Army Authority and shall appear on the agenda for the General Army Convention.
Changes to the Constitution
It shall require a two-thirds majority of a General Army Convention to the articles in this Constitution.