West Telegraph, June 30, 2004
Widow seeks justice for Irish army captain Officer
'unfairly shamed' in trials
Report by Brian Hutton
THE WIDOW of an Irish army captain accused of plotting to ship guns into
Northern Ireland is to officially launch a campaign to clear his name in
Derry this month.
Sheila Kelly, the widow of Captain James Kelly, will mark the first
anniversary of her husband's death calling on the Irish government to
rectify a "national shame".
Captain Kelly was a central figure in the Dublin Arms Trial of 1970 and is
widely regarded as having been scapegoated by the then government for
plotting to pass guns to northern nationalists at the beginning of the
Following his death last year, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern remarked that Captain
Kelly "had acted on what he believed were proper orders", adding:
"Personally I have no reason to doubt his integrity."
Although the trial acquitted Captain Kelly, and three others, his army
career and reputation was irreparably damaged.
The Derry-based Captain Kelly Justice Campaign is behind the petition
calling on Mr. Ahern's government to publicly exonerate the deceased army
Former Sinn Fein MLA John Kelly, then government ministers, Charles Haughey
and Neil Blaney and a Belgian hotelier, Albert Lyuxs, were also implicated
in the controversy.
Both John Kelly and Neil Blaney's nephew, Niall Blaney TD, will join Mrs.
Kelly at the official launch of the petition at a city centre hotel on July
An existing online petition has already secured the signatures of a number
of high-profile British and Irish politicians, including Ken Livingstone,
Kevin McNamara MP, Ruairi Quinn TD, and Michael D. Higgins TD.
Former MP Tony Benn described the Captain Kelly plight as "an extraordinary
story of injustice".