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The Kelly Affair


Liam O Comain • 25 July 2004

There appears to be a form of censorship being placed around those who agree with Johnny White's action at the press conference in Derry re Captain Kelly's behaviour as an agent of the Dublin Government in the north. The pursuit of truth and the cause of the Kelly family can not be served by such censorship. That is why I support the imminent Derry journalist Frank Curran's call for a public inquiry to be set up in order to obtain the truth. I for one have a contribution to make to such an inquiry if called to attend.

There is no doubt that Captain Kelly was used and eventually thrown on the heap by the southern Government of the time and since. As a result his family has been shabbily treated by the southern authorities and they have my sympathy in this matter and I believe for the family's sake that the Government should come clean and exonerate Captain Kelly who after all was second in command of the southern intilligence services at the time.

This does not mean however that there does not exist truth in the allegations made by Johnny White that he as OC of the Derry Brigade of the IRA was offered money by Captain Kelly to get rid of certain republicans at the time. For let us recall that the birth and development of extra-parliamentary activity in the north in the late nineteen sixties and early seventies helped as a catalyst to plant hope in the nationalist people.

Even those republicans who did not support or were half hearted towards the movement for civil rights eventually began to see the potential for a renewed armed struggle arising from the mass of the nationalist peoples participation in the CR marches and protests. Some of the latter who relished the fruit but harboured a distaste for the sowing founded the Provisional Movement later. However for sometime prior to the formation of the Provisionals officers of the southern Irish Army, southern politicians, and certain Civil Servants of the Dublin Administration - in particular Captain Kelly- were known to have made contact with members of the Republican Movement who later formed the Provisionals and certain northern Fianna Fail sympathisers, some of whom later became members of the Defence
Committees in the north.

As recent southern state papers and other sources reveal Captain Kelly's mandate was to split the Republican Movement in order to disable its more progressive elements and via the dissenters to manipulate the movement in the north. The southern political sources saw this as a means of bringing to an end the increasing agitation in relation to housing, ground rents, etc., in the south.

In fact, within a four month period in 1969 secretaries in governmental departments in Leinster House had communicated twice to the Cabinet that they were extremely concerned about the progress and the activity of the Republican Movement both north and south.

In one of the latter communications, it records decisions taken at the IRA Army Convention held that year which imply that an informer or informers were present at the convention. The latter could have been recruited by any of the southern governments representatives but more likely by Captain Kelly who because of his title and role was the main source or filter of information coming from the Republican Movement to the Cabinet.

I was a delegate of the IRA Headquarters Staff at that convention and I witnessed some in attendance who later helped to form the Provisionals and I have no doubt that Captain Kelly was in contact with them. In fact some of the latter were not active in the struggle since the end of the 56' to 62 Border Campaign and were coaxed into possible action by the promise of training at Army Barracks in the south and the supply of weapons. Some republicans were trained in southern Barracks at the time and one of the politicians who attended the Kelly press conference in Derry offered a few dozen bullets to the OC of an IRA Brigade in Co. Derry. The latter incident became a source of much amusement in the IRA after it had occurred.

Aside from the humour and there was much the southern authorities were worried about the threat coming from republicans under the leadership of Cathal Goulding and Tomas MacGiolla at the time and that is the cause of the so called arms crisis and Captain Kelly's involvement not as an innocent but as a committed agent of the southern state. A leader in a body wich used state funds to buy what would serve the interests of the state, the latter is nothing new in Ireland for after all the Brits have M this and M that and we are aware of their black activity.

As stated I have a contribution to make to such an inquiry and in any case what I have arising from meetings with Captain Kelly and the secretary of a southern state department in County Monaghan may well via publication precede such an inquiry. Time will tell.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent


Historians and economists {subsidized by governments} are very good at creating and perpetuating myths that justify increasing the power placed in the hands of government.
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Index: Current Articles

26 July 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Joe Cahill - Provisional Republican Veteran
Anthony McIntyre

Meet Sean Keenan
Kathleen O Halloran

Captain James Kelly - A Brief Biography
Members of the Kelly Family

The Kelly Affair
Liam O Comain

Kelly Detractors Challenged
Darinagh Boyle

Hope Floats
Mary La Rosa

23 July 2004

I Once Knew a Boy. . .
Dolours Price

Out of the Ashes Arose the um, ah, Equality Agenda
Mags Glennon

New Sinn Fein and the Schomberg Society
Martin Cunningham

A Few Questions for a Hollowed Guest
John O Farrell

Support the Vacumm
Pauline Hadaway

The Rwandan Holocaust and Western Indifference
Anthony McIntyre

Empire-Speak: A Primer in Practical Translation
Toni Solo


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