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.
Limitations on object.
The board would have liked a clearly defined political
In the absence of such an objective the board considered
a number of political situation each of which might
suggest military interventions.
Psychologically the Defence Forces are orientated
on defence (including defensive operations).
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.
All situations visualised assume that military action
would be taken unilaterally by the Defence Forces
and would meet with hostility from Northern Ireland
The following political situations were considered.
Attacks on the Catholic minority By Protestant extremists
with which the Northern Ireland Security Forces
cannot cope. (SITUATION A).
Conflict between the Catholic minority and the Northern
Ireland Security Forces on Civil Rights issues.
Conflict between Republican - Nationalist elements
(possibly supported by illegal elements from South
of the Border) and the Northern Ireland Security
Forces. (SITUATION C).
Conflict between Protestant extremists and Northern
Ireland Security Forces not directly involving the
minority. (SITUATION D).
of conclusions drawn from a consideration of the
factors bearing on our objective.
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.
First page: As reproduced by the Irish News, Monday,
August 16, 2004.
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.
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
James Kelly, who was accused of conspiring to illegally
smuggle arms into the north, always maintained his
innocence- Seamus McKinney reports.
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.
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.
more than 30 years Captain Kelly has been a thorn
in the Irish government's side. His case refuses
to go away.
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)
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.
1963 and 1965 he served as an observer in Palestine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blaney and Charles Haughey were sacked from 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.
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
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.
his death Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said Captain Kelly
had acted on "what he believed were proper
added, "personally I have no reason to doubt
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.
Kelly also said there was documentary evidence of
a campaign against Captain Kelly.
his own writings Captain Kelly claimed that the
establishment made every effort to silence him.
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.
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.
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
Kelly said her family wanted an official apology
from the Irish government and an acknowledgement
that a "grave injustice" was done to her
also said she wanted a plaque in his memory erected
at Irish army headquarters in Phoenix Park.
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.
has received an acknowledgement of his letter.
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