From the Loyalist blog It's Still Only Thursday, a third piece in a series looking at 'legitimate targets' during the North's politically violent conflict.
For an overview of the ‘Killing by Numbers’ series, please see Part 1.
OIRA, INLA & IPLO
The ‘Official IRA’
In early 1970, the organisation which styled itself as the ‘Irish Republican Army’ broke into two acrimonious factions- the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA.
The Officials, or ‘Stickies’ as they became known, had in fact a greater claim to be the ‘inheritors‘ of the title of ‘IRA’, since they retained as members most of those who had been active during the abortive ‘Border Campaign’ (Operation Harvest) of 1956-62.
Under their Dublin based leadership, the Officials adopted a Marxist-Leninist ideology, through which they sought to unify the working classes of Northern Ireland, both Catholic and Protestant, overthrow the state of Northern Ireland (and the Irish Republic) and thereafter establish a unified, 32 county communist state.
Because of their doctrinaire Marxism and their stated aim of unifying the working class, the Official IRA are widely regarded as being much less sectarian and markedly more cautious than either their Provisional IRA rivals or the splinter groups (INLA/IRSP and IPLO) which would later emerge from within the ‘Stickies’ own ranks.
This is somewhat borne out by the statistics, however, those statistics are skewed by the fact that the Official IRA largely abandoned violence in 1973/74 and thereafter engaged in violence only sporadically.
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