Irish National Liberation Army

The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA, Irish: Arm Saoirse Náisiúnta na hÉireann)[4] is an Irish republican socialist paramilitary group formed on 10 December 1974, during "the Troubles". It seeks to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and create a socialist republic encompassing all of Ireland. It is the paramilitary wing of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP).

  • Irish National Liberation Army
  • (Arm Saoirse Náisiúnta na hÉireann)
Dates of operationDecember 1974 – 2009 (on ceasefire since 1998, formally ended armed campaign in 2009)[1]
Split fromOfficial Irish Republican Army
Active regions Continental Europe
SizeUnknown, at least 80 members at first meeting in December 1974
Estimated to have 100 active members in June 1983[2]
AlliesOther Marxist Guerrilla organisations in Europe like
Catalan Liberation Front
and Action directe[3]
Opponents United Kingdom

Republic of Ireland

Ulster loyalist paramilitaries Official Irish Republican Army

Irish People's Liberation Organisation
Battles and warsThe Troubles

The INLA was founded by former members of the Official Irish Republican Army who opposed that group's ceasefire. It was initially known as the "People's Liberation Army" or "People's Republican Army". The INLA waged a paramilitary campaign against the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in Northern Ireland. It was also active to a lesser extent in the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and mainland Europe.[5] High-profile attacks carried out by the INLA include the Droppin Well bombing, the 1994 Shankill Road killings and the assassinations of Airey Neave in 1979 and Billy Wright in 1997. However, it was smaller and less active than the main republican paramilitary group, the Provisional IRA. It was also weakened by feuds and internal tensions. Members of the group used the covernames People's Liberation Army, People's Republican Army,[6] and Catholic Reaction Force[7] for attacks its volunteers carried out but the INLA did not want to claim responsibility for.[8] The INLA became a proscribed group in the United Kingdom on 3 July 1979 under the 1974 Prevention of Terrorism Act.[9]

After a 24-year armed campaign, the INLA declared a ceasefire on 22 August 1998.[10] In August 1999, it stated that "There is no political or moral argument to justify a resumption of the campaign".[11] In October 2009, the INLA formally vowed to pursue its aims through peaceful political means[1] and began decommissioning its weapons.

The IRSP supports a "No First Strike" policy, that is allowing people to see the perceived failure of the peace process for themselves without military actions.[12]

The INLA is a Proscribed Organisation in the United Kingdom under the Terrorism Act 2000 and an illegal organisation in the Republic of Ireland.[13][14]