United Irishmen Robert Emmet 1878-1803
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Civil Rights
Order 'The Thimbleriggers' by James Kelly - The Dublin Arms Trials of 1970
The Sunday Journal 4 July 2004, Report by Chief Reporter, Donna Deeney
Dublin must come clean demands John Kelly

The Derry-based Captain kelly Justice Campaign is making final preparations for its official launch later this month which will be attended by his widow.

Former Sinn Féin MLA, John Kelly who was co-accused with Capt. Kelly was in Derry this week and in an exclusive interview with the SUNDAY said it was important that people knew about the sham that followed the Dublin Arms Trial.

Charlie Haughey and Neil Blaney and a Belgian hotelier, Albert Lyuxs, were also implicated in the controversy.

Mr. Kelly said: "The culmination of the Civil Rights Campaign resulted in the invasion of Derry and Belfast by loyalist mobs assisted by the B'Specials and RUC.

"There was a feeling of doom within the Nationalist comunities. 3000 people had fled across the border and there was an atmosphere of ethnic cleansing and a feeling that we were going to be annihlated.

"The baricades went up but with very little means of defending these barricades by means of weapons.

"There was a sense of disillusion within the Catholic community that the IRA wouldn't defend them.

"But for the first time since partition there was a coming together by constitutional nationalists and physical force republicanism.

"We were showing a united front to the Dublin Fovernment and a representative group, of which I was part, went and met with Irish ministers, inlcuding Jack Lynch, Charlie Haughey and Neil Blaney.

"The whole purpose of these meetings was not to ask for feeding bottles or blankets, but to impress upon the Dublin government of the need for defence of the Northern nationalists, and that was accepted."

Captain Kelly, an Ulsterman himself, from Cavan, was a high ranking officer in the Irish Army at this time and he was pivotal in setting up these meetings and had come to Derry several times.

He also took part in several training exercises in Donegal.

John Kelly met with Captain Kelly who was there as a representative of the Irish Government to assess the need by Nationalists for arms to defend themselves.

It was agreed, says John Kelly, by the Taoiseach, that a sub-committee would be formed and Neil Blaney, Charlie Haughey along with Capt. Kelly would be part of that sub-committee.

Mr Kelly continues: "I was appointed by the Republican leadership in Belfast to liase with Jum Kelly and so we then embarked on this mission to obtain weapons.

"We made several trips to London, New York and Germany and they were frustrating times because the arms were to come in and they didn't and there were several delays.

"The culmination of it all was, I got up one morning in May 1970 to discover that Charlie Haughey and Neil Blaney has been sacked from the Government and Captain Kelly has been arrested.

"Haughey and Blaney were subsequently arrested and when I went to Dublin to see what had happened I was arrested.

"That began the whole issue of the arms trial but the outcome of it was we were acquited by a jury of our peers.

"The subtext of what happened is historically more important in that for whatever reason Jack Lynch and the Dublin Government had changed their minds on the promises and understandings we had.

"This led to a great sense of betrayal within the Nationalist community. We all felt betrayed by the Irish Government."

It has been widely accepted that Captain Kelly was scapegoated by the Irish Givernment and despite the acquittal he lost his position in the army and was shunned by society.

To date the Irish Government have never accepted the outcome of the trial but John Kelly believes a deal between Jack Lynch and Edward Heath was behind the Irish Government's decision to withdraw their support for Northern nationalists.

However, a Derry-based campaign to clear Captain Kelly's name gathers momentum and Capt. Kelly's widow Sheila, will officially launch the campaign in town later this month.

John Kelly explains the importance of the campaign: "Despite the not guilty verdict the Irish Government have never said sorry, never said these were innocent men.

"In fact they tried to infer that the jury had been intimidated.

"So the whole point of the campaign is that Jim Kelly was entitled to an apology. The Irish Government never attempted to redress the injustices that were done to him.

"When he was found innocent he was entitled to be back in uniform and back in the Irish Army.

"The importance of clearing his name in particular is that he was a representative of the Irish Government and the Irish establishment and the government still refuses to accept the finding of the jury to this day."

A press conference and discussion, organised by the Captain Kelly Justice Campaign will be held in the Alender Suite of the City Hotel on July 16th For further information contact 028-71-286359 after 6 pm or E-mail rights.civil@googlemail.com. The International Petition and other features relating to the CKJCampaign can be viewed on www.captainkelly.org.
Books on the Arms Crisis

Order 'The Thimbleriggers' by James Kelly - The Dublin Arms Trials of 1970
The Arms Conspiracy Trial
The Arms Conspiracy Trial: Ireland 1970

Military Aspects Of Ireland's Arms Crisis Of 1969

August 1969: Ireland's Only Appeal To The United Nations
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