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'Clear my name' says dying Kelly - Sunday Indo

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  • 'Clear my name' says dying Kelly - Sunday Indo


    JAMES Kelly, the former Irish Army officer implicated in the 1970 Arms Trial, is taking the the State to court in a final attempt to vindicate his good name before his imminent death.

    Captain Kelly, 73, has just days to live after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer and is currently in the Hospice in Harold's Cross in Dublin.

    On Thursday, Mr Kelly's lawyers began High Court proceedings to force the State to admit he was wrongly accused of conspiracy to import arms to the North in what became the biggest political trial in the history of the State.

    His legal team are seeking a declaration stating he should never have been prosecuted, as any arms importations "were known and approved by the then Minister for Justice" Jim Gibbons.

    Cpt Kelly's wife Sheila has begged Justice Minister Michael McDowell to "take off his legal wig" and "act like an ordinary human being" before her husband's death.

    James Kelly obtained two versions of a crucial witness statement, one of which was altered significantly before being used against him in court. The original statement from the former head of Military Intelligence, Colonel Michael Hefferon, seems to show that the then Justice Minister Jim Gibbons was fully aware of attempts to import arms destined for the North.

    That original states: "Around this particular time Captain Kelly told him [Gibbons] that he might have to go to Germany again in connection with the arms and ammunition for the North."

    However, the altered version reads "Captain Kelly told me [Hefferon]".

    The crucial difference is that the first statement appears to back up the defendant's case that the Government "knew and approved" of the attempted gun running, while the second version puts the Army in the frame and protects Mr Gibbons.

  • #2
    I Wonder........

    I read his version of events surrounding the Arms Trial, a book called "Orders For The Captain" - quite an eye opener for me at the time, who hadn't heard a great deal about those events in 1971.

    Surely the 30 Year rule on classified documents has long expired?
    If one was to go digging for info on it under FOI legislation, then things could become very interesting indeed......:flagwave:
    "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"


    • #3
      I am prety sure that the reports where declassified a long time ago
      I can remember a big news report on the reports on rte when they where declassified


      • #4
        The reports were de-classified a couple of years ago, and yes there was a lot of contraversy about it. It started his campaign again to clear his name.


        • #5
          Capt James Kelly dies of prolonged cancer

          Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has paid tribute to the late Captain James Kelly, who died today at the age of 74.


          • #6
            Why Couldn't this have been said a couple of days ago? Bit late now?

            Capt James Kelly dies aged 74

            July 16, 2003

            (22:31) Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has paid tribute to the late Captain James Kelly, who died today at the age of 74.

            Mr Ahern said that as far as the State was concerned, Captain Kelly, who came to prominence during the Arms Trial in 1970, was innocent of all charges put to him during that time.

            He paid tribute Captain Kelly's integrity, saying he acted on what he believed were the proper orders of his superiors.

            Mr Kelly oversaw the procurement of an arms consignment from Germany, which prompted the arms trial.

            He always claimed he had government authorisation for the mission.

            Last May, he received €70,000 in damages from the High Court and an apology after he took a libel action against authors of a book which examined the historic trial.

            The Taoiseach had been urged by Mr John Bruton to make immediate moves to clear Capt. Kelly's name before he died.

            John Costello, Justice Spokesperson with the Labour Party, also backed the call.

            Earlier, Mr Kelly's daughter Suzanne said that her father had made it his life's work to clear his name and told journalists that he was holding on to get an apology from the State on his deathbed.


            • #7
              May his soul rest in peace


              • #9
                Let no one forget, that the politicians, that are now so supportive of justice for Capt. Kelly, have all been in Government since the "Arms Trial" and did nothing for Capt. Kelly - same as they did nothing for the Defence Forces.

                It's great being in opposition!



                • #10
                  Capt Kelly buried in Glasnevin

                  Capt Kelly buried in Glasnevin

                  The Irish Independent

                  THE recent statement by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern after the death of Captain James Kelly was a "significant step on the road to justice", but the truth about the 1970 Arms Crisis "will out in the end", his brother said yesterday.

                  Fr Martin Kelly told mourners that Capt Kelly had survived the aftermath of the 1970 Arms Trial, which saw him on the dole at one stage and being treated as a social pariah, because he was a man of great heart, spirit and resilience.

                  Pall-bearers from the Army's 2nd infantry battalion carried his coffin before it was brought to Glasnevin Cemetery where the graveside oration was given by Tim Pat Coogan.


                  • #11
                    To 'clear' the name of Captain Kelly would be a travesty of truth

                    To 'clear' the name of Captain Kelly would be a travesty of truth
                    Eoghan Harris
                    The Irish Independent

                    LONG ago, I bought a small, wooden, second-hand sailing boat, for about the price of a banger, from Ronnie Good of Rineen near Castletownshend. A few years later I remarked to Ronnie that the running repairs on the Nancy were inimical to financial rectitude. To which Ronnie replied with a West Cork Protestant relish for telling home truths: "You must pay for your pleasure, boy".

                    Like an individual, a society too must pay for its pleasures. For the past 30 years, Irish society constantly indulged itself in our greatest national addiction - ambivalence about the IRA and its irredentist campaign to bully one million Protestants into the Irish Republic, a campaign which could only have ended in civil war. And the supreme symbol of Irish ambivalence was the Arms Trial of 1970.

                    That is why I am baffled by Conor Cruise O'Brien and John Bruton calling on the Irish government to "clear Captain Kelly's name". Because to "clear" Captain Kelly of any political (as distinct from legal) wrongdoing, will (and I use the word advisedly) be a travesty of the truth, and will end inevitably with Fianna Fail "clearing" Haughey, Blaney and Boland of any political wrongdoing. All of which will give comfort to those whose business is to spread ambivalence.

                    Conor Cruise O'Brien has come out in support of the campaign to "clear" Captain Kelly's name, based on his belief that Kelly's actions were authorised by the Lynch government, and that Lynch himself was party to a cover up. Conor will find (for perhaps the first time in his life ) that he is part of a comfortable consensus stretching from Provisional Sinn Fein to Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. Contrary to what Conor seems to believe, Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fail will find no difficulty in doing this even if it means dumping Jack Lynch or Desmond O'Malley, who were never seen as real republicans in the Fianna Fail sense.

                    Naturally I would prefer to be part of a majority consensus than on the receiving of the republican vitriol which will follow this column. Also, I admired Captain Kelly who had great guts, and was famously a good husband and father. But if I supported the campaign to "clear" Captain Kelly's name in a political, as distinct from a professional sense, I would be concealing my beliefs in four areas.

                    First, I believe that Jack Lynch and his government in general, as distinct from the Northern sub-committee controlled by Haughey and Blaney, and backed by Kevin Boland, did not know in any detail what Captain Kelly was doing, and that if they did they would have stopped him.

                    Second, I believe the campaign to "clear" Captain Kelly's name will be used by the Phoenix faction in the media who have been conducting a campaign to discredit Desmond O'Malley and Jack Lynch.

                    Third, I believe it will be used by Fianna Fail to bring the historical Haughey, Blaney and Boland back to the fold.

                    Finally, I believe it will add to ambivalence about the IRA.

                    The first of these is by far the most important. Like Conor Cruise O'Brien, I was around at the time of the Arms Trial. In 1969-70, I was a political associate of Cathal Goulding, who at that time was backing the Civil Rights campaign and trying to get the IRA away from the gun. As a working journalist, I took a close interest in what Blaney's agents were doing to split Sinn Fein.

                    No matter what some in the WP may now say in pursuit of agendas against O'Malley, back in 1969-70 it was clear to most Republicans that Captain Kelly and his associates were actively attempting to split the IRA against Goulding, and were doing so with the backing of Haughey, Boland, and above all, Blaney (so much so that IRA men who supported violence were called Blaney's Fusiliers). The most famous graphic from the United Irishman at the time simply featured Haughey, Blaney and Boland in a shamrock with the addition: "He Knows". I never heard it suggested that Jack Lynch had authorised these agents' actions.

                    If I were to support the campaign to "clear" Kelly's name, I would have to believe that Jack Lynch authorised the Minister for Defence, Jim Gibbons to order Colonel Hefferon, the Director of Intelligence, to order Captain Kelly to spend the Northern fund to attempt to bribe Goulding to lay off socialism in the South, get stuck into armed struggle in the North, finance a faction that would become the Provisional IRA, and attempt to arm "Catholics" who would turn into the hawks who became Provisional IRA.

                    It simply beggars belief that Jack Lynch, who was the most peaceable of men, and James Gibbons, the least militarist man I ever met, gave Colonel Hefferon and Kelly the go-ahead to set up an Oliver North-style operation in Northern Ireland. The commonsense consensus among journalists at the time still rings true. And is worth recording before the revisionists remove it.

                    The Troubles in 1969 gave three Ministers, Haughey, Blaney and Boland, a chance to act out armchair republican fantasies and, at the same time, try to topple Jack Lynch whom they rightly regarded as not a real republican. Meantime, down on the ground, Captain Kelly, who came from a strongly nationalist Border background, was anxious to arm Catholics to protect themselves.

                    Kelly's superior, Colonel Hefferon, who was also a strong nationalist, supported him in this, and probably told Jim Gibbons, in the most general terms, that they were doing stuff to defend Catholics. And I have no doubt that Gibbons was too weak to want to know the details. But it must be doubted that Hefferon ever stepped into Gibbons's office, saluted, and said: "By the way Minister, is it OK if we spend some of the Northern money in splitting the IRA and arming some hard men?"

                    The proper business of Irish Army Intelligence is not to help the IRA but to smash it. That is what Colonel Dan Bryan and Army Intelligence did in the Second World War. That is what Captain Kelly (and Colonel Hefferon) should have been doing in 1970.

                    Instead Kelly took sides in the internal splits in the IRA, hung out with hard-line self-declared Provos like John Kelly of Belfast and, most imprudently for an Army officer trying to clear his name, joined the party of armchair republicans called Aontacht Eireann.

                    In sum, I am convinced that Captain Kelly, who had the courage of his convictions, acted much as I am convinced Andrew Gilligan of the BBC did, and pushed the envelope for his own political ends. Gilligan got the backing of the BBC. By contrast, the armchair generals of FF failed to protect Captain Kelly when their armchair collapsed.

                    But it is they, the Haughey-Blaney-Boland faction, and not Jack Lynch and Dessie O'Malley, who deserve to be in the dock.


                    • #12
                      Well, that would be Eoghan for you. Don't dare ever try and impeach the name of his beloved Jack Lynch. And don't ever, EVER even suggest that Lynch was in cahoots with Haughy.

                      As usual, he works in the "West Cork Protestant" and evey angle. Sheesh.


                      • #13
                        Family vow new fight to clear captain's name
                        The Irish Independent
                        Kathy Donaghy

                        THE family of Army Captain James Kelly has pledged to continue to fight to clear their father's name over his involvement in the 1970 arms crisis.

                        Jacqui Kelly, a daughter of Capt Kelly, who was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery on Saturday after a funeral at the Church of Mary Immaculate in Rathmines, said they would use whatever mechanisms they could to finish their father's fight for justice.

                        Ms Kelly confirmed this may mean proceedings in the High Court over the claim their father's right to a fair trial was breached at the original trial.

                        From the day he was accused of conspiracy to import arms to the North, Capt Kelly maintained his involvement was at all times approved by then Minister for Defence Jim Gibbons.

                        While Capt Kelly was acquitted of involvement in importation of arms, Ms Kelly said he should never have been prosecuted. "He wanted the State to acknowledge that the prosecution should not have been brought against him in the first place," she said. "We will do whatever we can. We haven't yet brought closure to this campaign. We feel we owe it to him to continue and we will use whatever means we can to do that."

                        The family welcomed the Taoiseach's statement paying tribute to Capt Kelly's integrity, but it was, Ms Kelly said, a personal statement - not a vindication or an acknowledgment the State did Capt Kelly a great injustice. A public apology was necessary, she said - even if it undermined certain politicians' reputations.

                        At a packed funeral on Saturday, Capt Kelly's brother Fr Michael Kelly - parish priest in Portaferry, Co Down - said Mr Ahern's statement was "a significant step on the road to justice". Leading political, law, arts and journalism figures attended Capt Kelly's funeral, at which pall bearers from the Army's 2nd Infantry Battalion carried his coffin before it was brought to Glasnevin Cemetery.

                        Former Tanaiste John Wilson, former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and MEP Niall Andrews were present. The Army was represented by Lieutenant Colonel John Joe O'Reilly from Cathal Brugha Barracks, while Army chaplain Fr Eoin Thynne officiated at the funeral mass.

                        Fr Kelly said his brother survived because of his great resilience. "Well-known distributors refused to handle his books. His children suffered verbal abuse," Fr Kelly said.

                        Eulogies read at the mass included one by RTE journalist Michael Heney, producer of last year's arms crisis documentaries. Capt Kelly's daughter Sheila read a poem starting with the words "Stand up and be counted", while historian Tim Pat Coogan gave the graveside oration. Capt Kelly is survived by wife Sheila, four daughters, two sons and nine brothers and sisters.


                        • #14
                          The truth is that if Lynch knew nothing then at the very least he should have resigned for being ineffective. The buck should have stopped with him.

                          But all those involved are dead, the truth will never come out, and in death the man was treated with the dignity he so rarely recieved in life.


                          • #15
                            Captain Kelly was a soldier and did as his superiors told him.That is the life of a soldier.You swear to uphold the law and government of the day.If they say go to the north with so many firearms you do it,whether you like it or not.
                            As it happens,I agree with the decision.