The Sunday Journal, 13th Feb. 2005: Report by Michael Mc Monagle, Derry
“Now apologise to Captain Kelly’s family” – PM told
The campaign manager of the Captain Kelly Justice Campaign has called for
the Taoiseach to make a public apology to the Kelly family.
Derry Civil Rights veteran Fionnbarra O’Dochartaigh made the call after
British Prime Minister Tony Blair publicly apologised to the Conlon and
Maguire families who were falsely imprisoned over the Guildford and Woolwich
pub bombings in the 1970’s. He said the Kelly family should also hear such a
Mr. O’Dochartaigh revealed that documents have been unearthed under the
newly introduced Freedom of Information Act which show that the British and
Irish governments tried to suppress the publication of Captain Kelly’s book,
“Orders for the Captain”, which details his account of the Arms Trial. He
said that the documents, released by the Irish National Archive and the
British Home Office, reveal that officials in both countries were monitoring
the progress of the book closely.
“Correspondence between the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in
London and the British Embassy in Dublin, in January 1971, show that British
officials were trying to get an advance copy of the book before it was
published to see if they had any grounds for suppression.
“The document shows that officials from the Home Office were in talks with a
London publisher, Mark Collins, who was looking at the manuscript at the
Mr. O’Dochartaigh said that in a document from the British Embassy in
Dublin, dated January 11th 1971, reference is made to conversations with the
Taoiseach of the day, Jack Lynch, about the release of Captain Kelly’s book.
The document also suggested that the book should be suppressed saying:”If
the book exhibits the same level of veracity as Kelly’s statements so far, I
would advise Collins to scrutinise it very carefully indeed, as otherwise it
might come a bit expensive, and they might also be well advised to wait
until all the evidence in the Public Accounts Committee enquiry has
Mr. O’Dochartaigh said he was “shocked” by the documents.
Speaking to the SUNDAY he said:”Over the course of the campaign we have come
across a vast number of documents relating to this case. The 30 year rule in
the South and the new Freedom of Information Act has helped us considerably
in our investigations.
“What we are hoping for now is for Bertie Ahern to meet the Kelly family and
apologise. We have been calling for this for some time now. Now that the
British prime Minister has apologised to the Conlon family, we want Bertie
to do the same for the Kelly family. They know the truth, and the people of
Ireland deserve to know the truth,” he said.