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Order 'The Thimbleriggers' by James Kelly - The Dublin Arms Trials of 1970
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 irreparably damaged.
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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