22 January 2006

Will Dublin ‘clear’ Kelly in 2006?

**Posted by Sean to IRA2

A Chara,

On December 9th a senior advisor to An Taoiseach met with the widow of the late Captain James Kelly, and two of her daughters at Government Buildings in Dublin. Although long-awaited this was a very positive development and another meeting is planned at which the family can provide adequate evidence in a bid to secure an official exoneration from the Irish government.

The late Captain Kelly struggled for more than thirty years to obtain that objective. At his death-bed his wife Sheila, daughters and sons promised to continue his fight for justice, no matter how long that might take.

Within hours of his death, in July 2003, An Taoiseach publicly stated, in reference to the events leading up to the 1970 Arms Trial, "He had acted on what he believed were proper orders. Personally I have no reason to doub this integrity". This very welcome, if somewhat belated comment, prompted a number of civil rights veterans, mainly based in Derry, to launch the Captain Kelly Justice Campaign. Central to such efforts is an international petition which has already been endorsed by several prominent politicians, clergy, authors, journalists and people from many other fields of human endeavour, both at home and abroad. The campaign, which has the active backing of the Kelly family, has created a website which can be located at www.captainkelly.org. Paper petitions, car-bumper stickers, and other promotional items have also been produced, some as far away as the USA and Australia, to popularise this prolonged bid for basic justice from the Irish state.

Campaigners strongly feel that this unresolved issue is a national shame, which deserves, now, to be treated as a matter of urgency, not merely for the sake of his surviving widow and family members, but primarily in the interests of social justice, human compassion and basic decency, which we
all should expect to be essential ingredients to any collective sense of national pride.

Publication of this letter would be greatly appreciated in the hope that at least some who read it may take steps to learn more about how this soldier, writer, artist and human rights activist was scapegoated and thrown to the wolves by higher powers. Let us pray that the Dublin government in
2006 will posthumously vindicate Captain Kelly and that this cause attracts such a measure of public solidarity that all government ministers, local politicians, and the media in particular, will effectively sit up and take notice.

Fionnbarra O'Dochartaigh,
CKJCampaign Manager,
Derry City BT48 7HR

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