Irish People's Liberation Organisation

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Irish People's Liberation Organisation
Participant in the Troubles
IPLO2.jpg
IPLO volunteers at the funeral of Martin O'Prey
Active 1986 – May 1992
Ideology Irish republicanism
Left-wing nationalism
Revolutionary Socialism
Anti-imperialism
Groups Republican Socialist Collective (political wing)
Leaders Jimmy Brown, Gerard Steenson
Area of operations Northern Ireland
Size 150 - 200 between 1986 - 1992
Originated as Irish National Liberation Army
Opponents United Kingdom
Royal Ulster Constabulary
British Army
Ulster Defence Association
Red Hand Commando
Ulster Volunteer Force
Irish National Liberation Army (1986-1987)
Provisional IRA (1992)

The Irish People's Liberation Organisation was a small Irish republican paramilitary organisation which was formed in 1986 by disaffected and expelled members of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) whose factions coalesced in the aftermath of the supergrass trials. It developed a reputation for intra-republican and sectarian violence and criminality, before being forcibly disbanded by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1992.

Some of the IPLO's most notable attacks during its short existence (compared to other paramilitary groups in Ireland during The Troubles) were:

The IPLO remains a Proscribed Organisation in the United Kingdom under the Terrorism Act 2000.[2]

Foundation

The IPLO emerged from a split within the INLA. After the 1981 Irish hunger strike, in which three of its members died, the INLA began to break apart. The INLA virtually dissolved as a coherent force in the mid-1980s.[citation needed] Factions associated with Belfast and Dublin fell into dispute with each other. When INLA man Harry Kirkpatrick turned supergrass, he implicated many of his former comrades in various activities and many of them were convicted on his testimony.

Members both inside and out of prison broke away from the INLA and set up the IPLO.[citation needed] Some key players at the outset were Tom McAllister, Gerard Steenson, Jimmy Brown and Martin 'Rook' O'Prey. Jimmy Brown formed a minor political group, known as the Republican Socialist Collective, which was to act as the political wing of the IPLO.[3]

The IPLO's initial priority was to forcibly disband the Irish Republican Socialist Movement from which it had split, and most of its early attacks reflected this, being more frequently against former comrades than on the security forces. The feud with the INLA lasted from 1986 to 1987 and resulted in the deaths of 12 people including IPLO leader Gerard Steenson who was shot in March 1987.[4]


Internal feud

The IPLO was accused of becoming involved in the illegal drug trade, especially in ecstasy. Some of its Belfast members were also accused of the prolonged gang rape of a North Down woman in Divis Flats in 1990.[5] Many of its recruits had fallen out of favour with the IRA and the portents for its future were not good. Sammy Ward, a low-level IPLO member, broke away from the main body of the organisation with a few supporters when the IPLO were severely depleted and weak in Belfast. His faction attacked the rest of the IPLO, culminating in the killing of Jimmy Brown. A full-scale feud followed between two factions terming themselves "Army Council" (led by Jimmy Brown) and "Belfast Brigade" (led by Ward), which led to the 3000th killing of the Troubles, Hugh McKibben, a 21-year-old "Army Council" man. Brown had been the previous victim when he was shot dead in West Belfast on 18 August 1992.[6] This feud was described by the IPLO's critics as a lethal squabble over money and drugs.

Disbandment

The Provisional IRA – by far the largest armed republican group in Ireland – decided this was an opportunity to attack and remove the IPLO given the IPLO's involvement in the drug trade. They mounted an operation to wipe out the IPLO. On Saturday 31 October 1992, in an event that was later dubbed "Night of the Long Knives" by locals in Belfast,[7] the IRA attacked the two IPLO factions in Belfast, killing the breakaway Belfast Brigade leader Sammy Ward in the Short Strand.[8] There were also raids on pubs and clubs where IPLO members were kneecapped. On 2 November 1992 the second-in-command of the IPLO Belfast Brigade formally surrendered to the Provisional IRA Belfast Brigade adjutant, which brought an end to the group in Belfast.[9]

Outside Belfast the IRA did not attack any IPLO units and issued statements absolving the IPLO units in Derry, Newry and Armagh from any involvement in the drugs trade that was alleged against those in Belfast. In Dublin the IRA reprieved the IPLO Chief of Staff in return for surrendering a small cache of arms held in Ballybough.[10]

Casualties

According to the Sutton database of deaths at the University of Ulster's CAIN project, the IPLO was responsible for 22 killings during the Troubles. Among its victims were twelve civilians, six INLA members, two loyalist paramilitary figures and two members of the British security forces, a Royal Navy reservist and a Royal Ulster Constabulary constable.

List of attacks/actions

  • 1986

Autunm 1986 - Former INLA Volunteers broke away to form the Irish People's Liberation Army (IPLA) which was later renamed the Irish People's Liberation Organisation (IPLO). They also set up a small political wing called the Republican Socialist Collective (RSC). [11]

10 November - Off-duty RUC officer Derek Patterson was shot dead by the IPLO [12]

29 November - The IPLO launched a hand grenade attack on Queens Street RUC station in Belfast injuring six officers. [13]

21 December - Thomas McCartan (31), a member of the INLA, was shot dead by the Irish People's Liberation Organisation in Andersonstown, Belfast. This was the first killing in an INLA / IPLO feud that was to last until March 1987. [14] [15]

  • 1987

20 January - The IPLO killed two members of the INLA (Thomas Power & John O'Reilly),they shot them inside a hotel in Drogheda, Co. Louth. [16]

18 February - The IPLO shot dead INLA Volunteer Michael Kearney near his home in Ballymurphy, Belfast.[17]

21 March - The IPLO shot dead a Catholic INLA Volunteer Emmanuel Gargan on the Ormeau Road in Belfast.[18]

22 March - The IPLO shot dead INLA Volunteer Kevin Duffy. His body was found in the playground of St. Brigid's School, Nursery Road, Armagh. This was the last killing of the IPLO/INLA feud. [19]

19 November - George Seawright an extreme Loyalist activist known for his anti-Catholic views was shot by the IPLO and he died of his wounds on the 3 December 1987. [20]

  • 1988

9 August - The IPLO sent a parcel bomb to the home of Unionist politician William McCrea but the bomb was defused. [21]

12 August - A bomb exploded near the law courts in Belfast. Later a bomb was defused in East Belfast. [22]

19 August - A parcel bomb was sent to the home of Unionist MP Ken Maginnis [23]


7 September - UDA Volunteer William Quee was shot and killed by the IPLO at his shop in Oldpark Road, Belfast.[24]

3 October - The IPLO shot dead Henry McNamee at his girlfriends home at Lenadoon Avenue, Belfast. The IPLO claimed he was an informer. [25]

  • 1989


18 February - Orange Cross Social Club shooting The IPLO attacked a Protestant pub, killing RHC Volunteer Stephen McRea & injuring several people. [26] [27]

6 November - Catholic civilian Robbert Burns was shot dead by the IPLO near his home in Milltown Avenue, Co. Antrim, mistaken for a security forces member. [28]

  • 1990

14 March - The IPLO launched a gun attack on RUC officers home in West Belfast. Later on in East Belfast an assassination attempt failed. Nobody was hurt in either attack. [29]

20 March - William McClure a Protestant civilian was shot dead at his Belfast home by an IPLO hit squad.[30]

28 March - The IPLO became a proscribed organization in Northern Ireland. [31]

18 April - An IPLO unit was ambushed by undercover British soldiers as they tried to attack a local RUC man in South Armagh. A gun battle ensued and the commander of the IPLO unit & former Provisional IRA volunteer Martin Corrigan was killed in the gun battle. [32]

15 July - The IPLO shot dead William Sloss a Protestant civilian in his home in Lisburn, Belfast[33]

1 August - An IPLO unit tried to kill leading Loyalist "Chuck" Berry but failed. [34]

11 September - The IPLO was behind the shooting and injuring of a Protestant civilian on the Shankill Road, Belfast. [35]

  • 1991

20 April - An IPLO Volunteer lost three fingers after a botched hand grenade attack on Bessbrook RUC station. [36]

5 June - An IPLO hit team tried to assassinate Eddie McIlwaine, a member of the notorious Shankill Butchers, McIlwaine survived his injuries. [37]

18 July - The IPLO shot dead an off duty member of the Royal Navy at his shop in Church Lane, Belfast.[38]

3 September - The IPLO shot and wounded a Protestant civlian in North Belfast. [39]

7 October - An IPLO unit fired shots into a Protestant owned bar with a machine gun in south Belfast injuring 2 people. [40] [41]

10 October - An IPLO active service unit carried out a gun attack on the Diamond Jubilee Bar on the Shankill Road Belfast, killing a UDA Volunteer Harry Ward & injuring several people. Later that night the IPLO shot and injure a Protestant civilian in Newry. [42] [43] [44]

12 December - the IPLO carried out a firebombing attack on a veterinary surgery in Newry claiming it served the British Army. The claim was denied. [45]

15 December - The IPLO shot dead a Catholic civilian Colm Mahon at his workplace on Little Donegal Street, Belfast [46]

21 December - The IPLO shot dead two Protestant civilians Barry Watson & Thomas Gorman during a gun attack carried out on the Donegall Arms pub in Roden Street, Village, Belfast. [47] [48]

  • 1992

17 February - The IPLO shot dead a Protestant civilian at his work place in Upper Crumlin Road, Belfast.[49]

5 May - The IPLO shot dead a Protestant civilian during a gun attack on the Mount Inn pup, North Queen Street, Belfast. The IPLO claimed the attack was revenge for the killing of one of their own Volunteers six days earlier by the Ulster Volunteer Force. [50]

June - An armed IPLO unit lead by Sammy Ward burst into a pub in Belfast on the Antrim Road and read out a statement which said in part "the IPLO would not take Provo aggression lying down". Several members of the IRA were drinking in the pub at the time. This led to further tension between the IPLO & the PIRA [51]

18 August - Leading IPLO member Jimmy Brown was shot dead by the IPLO Belfast Brigade. This was the start of an internal IPLO feud. [52]

20 August - The IPLO shot and seriously injured a security guard at his home in Bessbrook. [53]

27 August - Hugh McKibben, a member of the IPLO Army Council, was shot dead at the Lámh Dhearg GAA social club on the outskirts of Belfast. His was killed by the IPLO Belfast Brigade during an internal IPLO feud. Two other men were wounded in the attack. [54] [55]

1 September - Michael Macklin an IPLO member was shot dead in the Whiterock area of west Belfast. A Dublin-based IPLO faction accused him of being involved in the ‘Belfast Brigade of the IPLO’ a breakaway faction responsible for the killing of both Hugh McKibben and Jimmy Brown. [56]

11 September - The IPLO shot dead a Catholic civilian in Ballymurphy, Belfast [57]

22 September - The IPLO firebombed a pub in Belfast City Centre. The pub was firebombed because it failed to pay money to the IPLO through extortion. [58]

  • 1997

21 April - A Group of men claiming to be from the IPLO carried out a robbery on a Credit Union in Newry. [59]

Sources

References

  1. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch87.htm#Nov
  2. ^ Schedule 2, Terrorism Act 2000, Act No. 11 of 2000
  3. ^ Irish Nationalist & Irish Republican political groups
  4. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/terrorists-split-could-erupt-into-bloody-feud-violence-in-northern-ireland-1541791.html
  5. ^ Ballymurphy and the Irish War by De Baroid p. 331
  6. ^ INLA – Deadly Divisions by Holland and McDonald, Torc (1994), p. 334
  7. ^ INLA Deadly Divisions Jack Holland p. 342
  8. ^ INLA Deadly Divisions Jack Holland p. 341
  9. ^ INLA Deadly Divisions Jack Holland p. 343
  10. ^ INLA Deadly Divisions Jack Holland p. 343
  11. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994
  12. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/victims/humanface/alpha/P.html
  13. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 279
  14. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=21&month=12&year=1986
  15. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch86.htm#Dec
  16. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=20&month=01&year=1987
  17. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1987.html
  18. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1987.html
  19. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1987.html
  20. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=3&month=12&year=1987
  21. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 310
  22. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 367
  23. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 367
  24. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1988.html
  25. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1988.html
  26. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1989.html
  27. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 314
  28. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1989.html
  29. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 367
  30. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1990.html
  31. ^ http://www.uklaws.org/statutory/instruments_05/doc05058.htm
  32. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 315
  33. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1990.html
  34. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 367
  35. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 367
  36. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 368
  37. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 368
  38. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1991.html
  39. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 368
  40. ^ https://books.google.ie/books?id=aKzB6O2Nli8C&printsec=frontcover&dq=isbn:1780578164&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjex42ljIjRAhWGBsAKHf6TDBwQ6AEIIDAA#v=onepage&q=iplo&f=false
  41. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 368
  42. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1991.html
  43. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=10&month=10&year=1991
  44. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 368
  45. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 368
  46. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1991.html
  47. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1991.html
  48. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=21&month=12&year=1991
  49. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1992.html
  50. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1992.html
  51. ^ https://books.google.ie/books?id=hseNDAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover
  52. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1992.html
  53. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 368
  54. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 368
  55. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1992.html
  56. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, 1994, p. 368
  57. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/1992.html
  58. ^ http://play.tojsiab.com/OURSSWl3SGU3Z28z
  59. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch97.htm
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