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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
suaimhneas síoraí agus rath Dé
ar anam dílis Jim.
Kelly Justice Campaign