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Date Posted: 06:32:45 07/03/04 Sat
Author: N-W Telegraph
Subject: Widow seeks Justice

Widow seeks justice for Irish army captain
Officer 'unfairly shamed' in trials

North West Telegraph, June 30, 2004 Report by Brian Hutton


THE WIDOW of an Irish army captain accused of plotting to ship guns into Northern Ireland is to officially launch a campaign to clear his name in Derry this month.

Sheila Kelly, the widow of Captain James Kelly, will mark the first anniversary of her husband's death calling on the Irish government to rectify a "national shame".

Captain Kelly was a central figure in the Dublin Arms Trial of 1970 and is widely regarded as having been scapegoated by the then government for plotting to pass guns to northern nationalists at the beginning of the Troubles.

Following his death last year, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern remarked that Captain Kelly "had acted on what he believed were proper orders", adding: "Personally I have no reason to doubt his integrity."

Although the trial acquitted Captain Kelly, and three others, his army career and reputation was irreparably damaged.

The Derry-based Captain Kelly Justice Campaign is behind the petition calling on Mr. Ahern's government to publicly exonerate the deceased army captain.

Former Sinn Fein MLA John Kelly, then government ministers, Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney and a Belgian hotelier, Albert Lyuxs, were also implicated in the controversy.

Both John Kelly and Neil Blaney's nephew, Niall Blaney TD, will join Mrs. Kelly at the official launch of the petition at a city centre hotel on July 16.

An existing online petition has already secured the signatures of a number of high-profile British and Irish politicians, including Ken Livingstone, Kevin McNamara MP, Ruairi Quinn TD, and Michael D. Higgins TD.

Former MP Tony Benn described the Captain Kelly plight as "an extraordinary story of injustice".

Ends.

B.B The website petition is available via
www.captainkelly.org

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