The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Right the Wrong

Oration delivered on July 16th 2006 at the graveside of Capt. James J. Kelly in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, on the Third Anniversary of his death

Harry Boland • 16 July 2006

I was very surprised but greatly honoured when Sheila asked me if I would give a short talk at this, the 3rd Commemoration of Jim Kelly's death and, knowing how Sheila and family and friends have been so loyal and committed to clearing Jim's name for the honourable and loyal person he so definitely was, I said I would do my bit. When I asked what I should say, Sheila said, "what is in your heart", so that is what I'll endeavour to do.

I had no knowledge of Jim's existence until he was catapulted into the national limelight with the scandalous and most unfair "Arms Trial". I knew some of the others accused — C.J. Haughey was in class with me in Joeys and in UCD and we studied for accountancy and set up business together. I first met Neil Blaney at the famous By-Election when he was first elected to replace his late father in Dail Eireann and I accompanied my father to Dun na nGall (Donegal) and said a few words at an "after Mass Meeting". Albert Luyux was a respected neighbour of mine in Sutton. John Kelly I got to know after the Trial, when my friend Gerry Jones was trying to get him started again, and when I was handling a small fund which Gerry Jones and Des McGreevy had set up to assist deserving Republican relatives. Distribution was made through John and the late Independent Republican M.P., Paddy Kennedy.

That left Jim Kelly whose whole performance in the Court I followed — what was reported in the newspapers. After one particular disgraceful episode by the then Minister for Defence, my brother, Kevin, who had been Minister for Defence when first elected to Dail Eireann, was leaving the Court, which he had attended every day, the former Commander-in-Chief, General McEoin, turned to him and said, "Wasn't that nauseating". When I read the detailed account Jim recorded, the whole dreadful plot which was clearly designed to shaft Haughey and Blaney — for different reasons I believe — it became clear to me and the career and good name of a mere lowly Captain was completely disregarded-with tampered evidence — in Colonel Hefferon's case, and as papers since made public, prove that not only politicians but also Civil Servants contributed to the disgraceful performance into which Jim Kelly was wrongly and carelessly drawn.

I was reared in the environment of that wonderful, if comparatively small group of patriotic people who tackled the "Greatest Empire" the world had ever known, who thought and think of themselves as the Master Race, and they almost succeeded in driving them from our small country. They were truly "Politicians by Accident" and even in the sad state of affairs that they inherited, I was always satisfied that their objectives and love for Ireland was sacrosanct.

Then to have to realise that some who succeeded this group could be so self-centred as to concoct a false charge — I found very hard to believe. Even when our Courts of Justice found those wrongly accused people "Not Guilty", we had the unedifying and disgraceful accusation by a Senior Politician that the jury had been "got at". Forcing one unidentified member of that Jury to break silence to deny categorically that any pressure has been put on the Jury — apart of course from the clear evidence produced to it in Court.

Having got to know Jim, I never had any doubt regarding the complete honesty of what he said and did. Indeed I had the great pleasure last September to attend the commissioning of my grandson, Aonghus, in the Irish Navy in Haulbowline when I heard for the first time in detail the Oath sworn on these occasions and this confirmed my strongly held opinion that Jim's behaviour through all that awful episode was positively faithful to that same oath that he had sworn when he was commissioned.

I am pleased that even though it came after Jim's death, that our present Taoiseach publicly stated he was satisfied that Jim had always acted under orders. I feel the full Government apology was not given for political reasons but I sincerely hope that the official Government acknowledgement of this will be issued without further delay, particularly now, based on even further proof, that Sheila, her family and supporters have since unearthed.

Guím suaimhneas síoraí agus rath Dé ar anam dílis Jim.


Capt. Kelly Justice Campaign




























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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

13 August 2006

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Hunger Strike Anniversary
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"Let the Fight Go On"
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Apology Owed
The Family of Volunteer Patsy O'Hara, INLA

Right the Wrong
Harry Boland

It's Who You Talk To
Dr John Coulter

As They Were Made They Were Matched
Liam O Comain

Poacher Turned Gamekeeper
John Kennedy

Criminality Figures Do Not Add Up
David Adams

The Siege of Derry
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Repeat After Me: No Gods, No Masters
Mick Hall

Dual Presidency More Realistic
Nathan Dowds

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 2
Michael Gillespie

Santa Coming Early
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Media Matters
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Light, Freedom & Song: A Cultural History of Modern Irish Writing
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Pass the Gravy
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ILIR is Blowing the Green Card Game for the Irish
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From Belfast to the Middle East
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Manifesto of the Third Camp
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A United Ireland or Nothing
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Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 1
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High Noon
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Chris Petit's Secret History: The Psalm Killer
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Soldier of the Legion of the Rearguard
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Human Rights Forum
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