Irish People's Liberation Organization

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Irish People's Liberation Organization
Fullname: Irish People's Liberation Organization
Alias: IPLO
Origin: Ireland
Foundation: 1986
Commanders: Martin O'Prey
Gerard Steenson
Jimmy Brown
Goals: Eliminate the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (failed)
Crimes: Mass murder
Drug trafficking
Arms trafficking

The Irish People's Liberation Organization, or IPLO, was a small paramilitary group in Ireland during The Troubles. It was formed by ex-members of the Irish National Liberation Army who came together after the INLA supergrass trials. According to the Sutton database of deaths at the University of Ulster's CAIN project, the IPLO was responsible for 22 killings before the Irish Republican Army forcibly disbanded them.


The IPLO was formed by Tom McAllister, Jimmy Brown, Gerard Steenson and Martin O'Prey after the INLA was virtually dissolved when three of its members died in a hunger strike and many of its other members were convicted by INLA supergrass Harry Kirkpatrick. One of its primary goals was to eliminate the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (despite itself following revolutionary socialism) and was therefore involved in a feud with the remnants of the INLA until 1987.


Due to their feud, most of the early attacks by the IPLO were against the INLA. These included the murders of INLA leaders John O'Reilly and Thomas Power in the Rosnaree Hotel shooting and the killing of numerous INLA volunteers. During the feud, the INLA shot dead Gerard Steenson, who was still the leading member of the IPLO, forcing Brown to take over as leader.

As a republican group, the IPLO also waged war on the Ulster Loyalist terror groups known as the Ulster Defence Association, or UDA, and the Ulster Volunteer Force, or UVF. In 1987, the IPLO killed suspected UVF member George Seawright, who was known for being an extreme anti-Catholic.

Many innocent people were also killed by the IPLO. For example, in 1991 they perpetrated the Donegall Arms shooting, when two civilians were killed in an indiscriminate attack on a Protestant-owned pub.

Internal feud

The IPLO fell out of favour with the more mainstream republican terror group, the Irish Republican Army, after its members were accused of being involved in the Illegal Drug Trade and some of gang raping a woman in Belfast. This weakened the IPLO's presence in Belfast and allowed low-level member Sammy Ward to break away from and attack the main faction. This caused a feud between the "Belfast Brigade", led by Ward, and the "Army Council", which was the rest of the organization. This feud eventually led to the 3000th killing of the Troubles, a 21-year-old "Army Council" man, and the assassination of Jimmy Brown.


The internal feud allowed the IRA to strike. In Belfast, IRA volunteers killed Sammy Ward and launched an offensive on clubs that IPLO members frequently visited, kneecapping several members in what was known as the "Night of the Long Knives" (not to be confused with the other event of the same name), ending all IPLO presence in Belfast. On 2 November 1992, the IPLO surrendered.