The IPLO was a small splinter group of the INLA which was founded by expelled or disaffected members following the Supergrass Trials of the mid-80’s.
From the late 1970’s (following the assassination of Seamus Costello), the INLA had become factionalised, lacking a national command structure. This resulted in small units based in Belfast, Strabane, Derry, Armagh, Dublin and Portadown acting almost independent of each other. In 1986, under the leadership of Jimmy Brown and Gerard Steenson the IPLO broke away from the INLA taking weapons and volunteers with them. The IPLO was alligned politically to the Republican Socialist Collective (RSC).
After breaking away the IPLO attempted to wipe out the IRSP & INLA in order to assert itself as the dominant republican-socialist group in the country. A bloody feud which lasted until 1987, when Gerard Steenson was killed, left around a dozen people dead.
Following a truce with the INLA in 1987 the IPLO went about recruiting new members Including people who were disliked by the IRA. In the early 1990’s a small group of IPLO members broke away and another feud ensued with the breakaway faction killing Jimmy Brown.
On Halloween night, 1992 the IRA decided it was time to wipe out the IPLO. IRA Volunteers mounted a massive operation in Belfast using the sound of fireworks to mask gunfire, the IRA shot dead the breakaway groups leader and shot a number of other members in the knees and only sparing their lives on condition of the unconditional surrender and hand over of weapons by both factions – this happened within days.
Many members of the IPLO units in Armagh and Dublin rejoined the INLA.
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Irish Republican History & Remembrance.
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