'Peaky Blinders': Season 5 might see Thomas Shelby go back to his hometown allies, the Irish Republican Army
Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy), the patriarch of the Shelby family and 'Peaky Blinders' wouldn't have been able to keep his hold on Small Heath had it not been for the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Coming from creator Steven Knight, BBC One's 'Peaky Blinders' has not only brought up the tumultuous history of gang wars in an Inter-War Britain, but has also considered several other issues such as the discrimination against the Irish, the arms race, and other issues, in order to tell the story of 'Peaky Blinders'. However, the Irish and their history in Britain plays a crucial role in the series since Thomas and his men are originally Irish people who migrated to Britain after The Great War.
Although he never became an active member of the Irish Republican Army, Thomas always maintained good relations with them, until the mysterious disappearance of a crate full of Lewis machine guns, ammunition, semi-automatic rifles, and pistols with shells. We were introduced to the Peaky Blinders in Season 1 when they were trying to figure out how their men picked up a crate full of weapons, instead of a barrel full of gin. In Episode 1, tension rose as the Peaky Blinders began to doubt Thomas' involvement in the case, and soon we see Polly (Helen McCrory) passively asking Thomas to hand over the weapons to whoever it belongs. This is where the chase of Season 1 begins, as many other gangs begin to blame the Peaky Blinders for taking possession of what is not theirs.
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However, Inspector Campbell (Sam Neil) along with other Protestants moved the blame onto the Irish Republican Army, notoriously known for their trade in weapons during the Inter-War period. In a brief account stated by historian Brian Hanley, a Research Fellow at the School of Classics, History and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, it is stated that the IRA, who were chiefly formed to free the Irishmen from the rule of the British monarch, would often resort to arm themselves with heavy weapons through all the help from their Irish diaspora. They would often purchase weapons from sailors in Petticoat Lane for barely two to four pounds.
However, they would never keep the weapons with themselves. The weapons would be wrapped in secret hideouts and later sent to fake addresses across Kilkenny and other towns, where their informants would be prepared to take charge of them. However, it didn't last long and we get a hint of it in 'Peaky Blinders' when Campbell arrests one of the IRA men who had actually attempted to smuggle weapons to other towns. The revolutionaries' urge to keep their steady supply of arms flowing took them all over Britain and then to New York where they shook hands with the mafias and the Tongs.
Time and again we have seen Thomas make use of his Irish connections, and when the Peaky Blinders had to face off against the Sabinis — who in reality were close customers of the IRA for weapons — we know who helped out with the right kind of guns. Now, that Thomas is a Member of the Parliament and he is also the President of the Communist Party, chances are he will once again seek help from the IRA. The IRA and the Communists have been close allies, and several prominent IRA figures were also members of the Communist party. It is questionable just for how long Thomas will be able to maintain his dubious nature among all the uprising. 'Peaky Blinders' returns this year in Spring on BBC One.
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