Pressure on Ahern to give Kelly family apology Arms book
plan 'was shelved'.
By Brian Hutton
14 February 2005
Plans by a London-based publisher to release a tell-all book by an Irish
army captain accused of importing arms for the IRA were abandoned following
approaches by the Government, according to newly released records.
The revelation has led to renewed calls for Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to issue
an apology to the family of Captain James Kelly.
The issue resurfaced following a public apology issued by Prime Minister
Tony Blair last week to the members of the Guildford Four.
Capt James Kelly - a central figure in the notorious Dublin Arms Trial in
1970 - was told that the Home Office warned the publisher about "interfering
in Irish affairs", it is claimed.
Government records, marked confidential and seen by the Belfast Telegraph,
reveal that in 1971 Taoiseach Jack Lynch raised concerns about the book with
the then British Ambassador in Dublin, Sir John Peck.
The ambassador said Mr Lynch claimed the book "was going to be full of
damaging material about the involvement of the whole Irish government (in
the arms scandal)".
In a communication, to the Western European Department of the Foreign and
commonwealth Office in London, Sir John warns: "If the book exhibits the
same level of veracity as Kelly's statements made so far, I would advise
Collins to scrutinise it very carefully indeed, as otherwise it may come a
bit expensive, and they might also be well advised to wait until all the
evidence in the Public Accounts Committee enquiry has appeared."
Further correspondence between London and the Dublin embassy reveal that a
British civil servant contacted the publisher about the book and later
contacted Dublin to confirm that Collins dropped the book .
Captain Kelly's wife Sheila said that her husband, who died in July 2003,
was told by the publisher, Mark Collins, that the Home Office had warned him
about "interfering in Irish affairs".
Captain Kelly and four others - former Sinn Fein MLA John Kelly, then
government ministers Charlie Haughey and Neil Blaney and Belgian hotelier
Albert Lyuxs stood trial for plotting to pass guns to northern nationalists
at the beginning of the troubles.
Although all were acquitted, Captain Kelly's army career and reputation was