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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent


Sept. 27, 1969
Prepared for the office of the Irish army's Chief-of-Staff:
Copy No.1

Submitted by Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

Interim Report of Planning Board on Northern Ireland Operations


1. To report on the feasibility of the Defence Forces undertaking military combat or support operations in Northern Ireland, including the nature and implications of such operations.

2. Limitations on object.

a. The board would have liked a clearly defined political objective.
In the absence of such an objective the board considered a number of political situation each of which might suggest military interventions.

b. Psychologically the Defence Forces are orientated on defence (including defensive operations).

c. There is no precise knowledge available at this stage to the Board as to what the reaction of public opinion would be either North or South of the Border to offensive action on the part of the Defence Forces in Northern Ireland. Such reaction was not therefore considered as a factor though it could have considerable influence on the outcome of any operations so undertaken.

d. All situations visualised assume that military action would be taken unilaterally by the Defence Forces and would meet with hostility from Northern Ireland Security Forces.

Situations considered.

3. The following political situations were considered.

a. Attacks on the Catholic minority By Protestant extremists with which the Northern Ireland Security Forces cannot cope. (SITUATION A).

b. Conflict between the Catholic minority and the Northern Ireland Security Forces on Civil Rights issues. (SITUATION B).

c. Conflict between Republican - Nationalist elements (possibly supported by illegal elements from South of the Border) and the Northern Ireland Security Forces. (SITUATION C).

d. Conflict between Protestant extremists and Northern Ireland Security Forces not directly involving the minority. (SITUATION D).

Summary of conclusions drawn from a consideration of the factors bearing on our objective.

4. As a basis for the development of feasible courses of action the following conclusions were drawn from a study of the factors bearing on our objective.

N.B. First page: As reproduced by the Irish News, Monday, August 16, 2004.
Caption read: EVIDENCE: A document obtained by the family of Captain James Kelly which they say shows that the Irish government of 1969 considered sending troops into the north.
The following is a shortened version of an article, by Seamus McKinney, which accompanied a photograph of the above first page of the 'Secret' document.

Widow's bid to clear Captain Kelly's name
Captain James Kelly, who was accused of conspiring to illegally smuggle arms into the north, always maintained his innocence- Seamus McKinney reports.
SHEILA Kelly, the widow of former Irish army intelligence officer Captain James Kelly, gave her husband an undertaking on his deathbed that she would continue a campaign to clear his name.
That campaign brought her to Derry's City Hotel last month where a petition was launched calling on the Irish government to restore Captain Kelly's "good name" and to vindicate him as a soldier and human rights activist.
For more than 30 years Captain Kelly has been a thorn in the Irish government's side. His case refuses to go away.
Born in Baileborough, Co. Cavan, in 1929, he joined the Irish army in 1949. He trained as a cadet at the Curragh military college and was commissioned as a subaltern in the Fifth Infantry Battalion (Dublin) in 1951.
Rising through the ranks he became training officer with the Boyne Foras Cosanta Aitiula (the Republic's equivalent of the Territorial Army) in 1956 and remained there for four years. He came to military intelligence at the Irish army general headquarters in Phoenix Park in 1960.
Between 1963 and 1965 he served as an observer in Palestine.
In his book about the arms trial, Thimble Riggers, he recounted hiding on the Golan Heights with an Italian colleague to shelter from heavy gunfire between the Israelis and Syrians.
After 1965 he returned to his work as an Irish army intelligence officer and when the Troubles broke out in Northern Ireland he worked solely on the northern issue.
In 1970, believing himself to be in danger of court marshal after receiving conflicting orders from his superior officer and the then defence minister, Jim Gibbons, Captain Kelly retired from the Irish army. The following day he was arrested under the Offences Against the State Act.
It was claimed that with senior government ministers, Neil Blaney and Charles Haughey, Belfast republican John Kelly and Belgian businessman Albert Luykx, that Captain Kelly arranged to bring arms into Ireland to arm northern nationalists.
Neil Blaney and Charles Haughey were sacked from the Cabinet.
The case against Neil Blaney was not pursued at the Dublin District Court and he was released but the four others were returned for trial.
At the trial in October the same year the four men were acquitted. Taoiseach Jack Lynch's reaction to the acquittal gave an indication of what was to come for Captain Kelly. At a press conference in New York, while not commenting on the four men who had been acquitted, he said he still believed that there had been an attempt to import arms illegally into Ireland.
Since then Captain Kelly fought a battle to have his innocence recognised by the Irish establishment until the day he died from cancer on July 16, 2003.
Following his death Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said Captain Kelly had acted on "what he believed were proper orders".
He added, "personally I have no reason to doubt his integrity".
At a press conference last week Sheila Kelly said the "spin" against her husband started almost immediately with claims that the arms trial jury was got at. She said these claims were made by leading figures in the Irish political establishment.
Mrs Kelly also said there was documentary evidence of a campaign against Captain Kelly.
In his own writings Captain Kelly claimed that the establishment made every effort to silence him.
His attempts to publish his account of the arms trial in 1971 in Orders for the Captain were, he alleged, delayed when publishers and printers who first undertook to publish the book withdrew under establishment pressure. He eventually published the book himself.
Mrs. Kelly said: "The worst thing to happen was what happened to Jim and his family. Jim could get no job. He was a social pariah.
"His friends crossed the street when they would see him coming, people would blow their noses and look into shop windows. He was treated as if he had done something terribly dishonourable."
Mrs Kelly said her family wanted an official apology from the Irish government and an acknowledgement that a "grave injustice" was done to her husband.
She also said she wanted a plaque in his memory erected at Irish army headquarters in Phoenix Park.
Derry civil rights' veteran Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh, who is co-ordinating the Captain Kelly Justice Campaign, has written to Mr. Ahern and asked him to intervene.
He has received an acknowledgement of his letter.
Mr. Ó Dochartaigh told The Irish News that if the Taoiseach failed to respond fully, an open letter from the Kelly family would be sent to Mr. Ahern and all members of the Oireachtas, the media and leading clerics.

View Capt. Kelly Justice Campaign website





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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

12 September 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Standing Down
Mick Hall

Life in the Party
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Is There a Peaceful Way to a Peoples Republic?
Liam O Comain

Rising to the Top of the Hate List
Fred A. Wilcox

Books Not Bombs
Mary La Rosa

Fighting for the Right to be a British Drug Dealer
Anthony McIntyre

Document Stamped 'Secret'
submitted by Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

The Final Insult
Starry Plough Editorial Collective

Tensions Escalate as Loyalists March Through the Ardoyne
Paul Mallon

6 September 2004

Not In Our Name
Fred A Wilcox

Child Murderers
Anthony McIntyre

32 CSM Urges Russian Government: Recognize Chechen Independence
Sean Burns

Who is Really to Blame?
George Young

Resistance, by ANY Means.
David A' Gardner

Reality Check
Patrick Lismore

Fairy Cleansing
Seaghán Ó Murchú

The Culture of Lies and Deceit
Liam O Comain

Labour Steps Up Pressure on IRA to Disband
Paul Mallon



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