The Arms Crisis Dail Debate

The following questions are framed to assist deputies in the forthcoming Arms Crisis debate in Dail Eireann and also journalists and members of the public who may have occasion to put these questions to the people involved.


Charles Haughey.


1. In view of Magill's revelations that you informed Kevin Boland in early March of 1970 of the details of the proposed arms importation and that at the meeting in early October 1969 which established the fund for the Relief of Distress in Northern Ireland, you discussed the arms purchase. Why did you state in evidence at the Arms Trial on October 19, 1970: "I never knew any details of any arms shipment and why did you specifically say in reply to a question from your own counsel that you did not know from any source that there was an attempt underway to import arms?


2. In view of Captain Kelly's evidence at both the Arms Trial and at the enquiry by the Committee of Public Accounts - evidence which was further elaborated upon in the Magill articles - that he informed you in some detail in February 1970 of his attempts to import arms and of his visits in connection with this to the Continent; why did you in the course of your evidence deny that Captain Kelly gave you any information about the arms importation or about his visits to the Continent?


3. Why did you deny in the course of your evidence to the Committee of Public Accounts (Par. 8996, Vol. 19 p2) that you had knowledge of at any stage or had become involved in providing arms for people in Northern Ireland?


4. Under what specific authority did you sanction the importation of arms first to Dublin docks on March 25, 1970 and then to Dublin airport on April 18, 1970?


5. Given that there was some confusion about the Government's intentions in relation to the provision of arms to members of the Northern minority for its self-protection,why did you not seek to have the Cabinet's view on the issue clarified precisely before involving yourself in this enterprise; and why did you not specifically clear the matter with the Taoiseach?


6. Why did you involve yourself at all in such an enterprise knowing that you could have no control over how such arms would be used by people in Northern Ireland once they got possession of them?


7. If, as you suggested in the course of your evidence to the Arms Trial and the Committee of Public Accounts. the importation was for the use of the Army or, more specifically, Army Intelligence, why did the operation have to be conducted in secrecy, without even the Garda Intelligence section knowing what was going on?


8. What senior members of the IRA did you meet in August and September 1969 and what was the purpose and outcome of these meetings?


9. Why did you permit monies from the account for the Relief of Distress in Northern Ireland to go towards the financing of The Voice of The North when the Taoiseach had made it specifically clear that the fund was not to be used for that purpose?


10. Were you aware that large sums from the fund for the Relief of Distress in Northern Ireland were going directly to the IRA (Magill had recently discovered that at the October 1969 meeting which established the fund, Mr. Haughey indicated his awareness that part of this fund would go to IRA volunteers for barricade duty etc.)?


11. Why, when you discovered that the affair was dragging on much longer than you intended and, more significantly, that the situation had changed dramatically in the North, did you not call off the whole enterprise in December 1969?


12. Why did you allow your legal advisers to issue a statement on May 7, 1970 denying that you had been involved at any stage in an attempted illegal importation of arms the statement, while technically correct, misled the public about the nature of your involvement and failed to establish that whatever was done had the authority of the Government?


13. How do you justify jeopardizing the defence of your co-defendants in the arms trial by denying any knowledge of the attempted arms importation, when they were maintaining that it had the full legal sanction of the Government?


14. What was the purpose of your meeting with Desmond O'Malley, then Minister for Justice, in Leinster House on September 9, 1970? What was discussed at this meeting and what was its outcome - did you get the impression then that Mr. O'Malley was purporting to befriend you in your hour of difficulty?


15. On the basis of the information that is now available to you, are you satisfied that the manner in which surveillance was kept on you, in the period immediately prior to the Arms Trial and for some time thereafter, was legal?


16. Did you tell Mr. James Gibbons TD at the time of your restoration to the Fianna Fail Front Bench in 1975 that you would clarify your position on the Arms Affair, making it clear that, in so far as there was a contradiction between your evidence and his at the Arms Trial, his evidence was correct?


17. Did you discuss the matter with Mr. Gibbons again earlier this year and did you again give an undertaking to clarify the situation?


Jack Lynch


18. How do you explain the fact that the then Minister for Defence, James Gibbons, was in a position to enquire of Col. Hefferon, in late October 1969, about Capt. Kelly's activities in Bailieboro; and that he (Gibbons) was able to tell Hefferon that the enquiry arose from a complaint made by Mr. Peter Berry to you, if Mr. Berry had never in fact mentioned anything about Captain Kelly to you at the meeting in Mount Carmel Hospital on October 17, 1970? (It can hardly be that Co!. Hefferon concocted his version of your meeting with Mr. Berry; for there is a remarkable coincidence between what Col. Hefferon says he was told about that meeting by Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Berry's own version of what happened and you can hardly argue that Mr. Berry and Col. Hefferon were in collusion.)


19. Why did you not pursue the complaints being made by Mr. Berry at that meeting, even if, as you insist, there was no mention of Captain Kelly or of the Bailieboro meeting. Why did you not seek out Mr. Berry, at a time when there would have been fewer interruptions, and establish clearly what it was he was trying to communicate to you?


20. Given the fact that you knew that Mr. Haughey, Mr. Blaney and Mr. Gibbons had taken a line very different from yours on the Northern issue at the crisis Cabinet meetings of mid-August 1969, why did you appoint all three of them to a special Cabinet sub-committee dealing with the North, a sub-committee on which you yourself did not sit? Furthermore, why did you delegate such sweeping authority to Mr. Haughey and Mr. Gibbons in connection with preparing the Army for contingencies that might arise from the Northern situation. Why did you give authority to Mr. Haughey to dispose of the unspecified amount of public money for the Relief of Distress in Northern Ireland.


21. You stated to Magill that you have specific proof to refute the claims made by Mr. Michael Moran, the then Minister for Justice - claims supported by Mr. Kevin Boland that, repeatedly, he brought the activities of Captain Kelly to your attention and that he informed you of Garda reports that two Ministers were involved in an attempt to import arms. What is this specific proof?


22. Could you state to us precisely what information Mr. Gibbons gave you throughout the period from August 1969 to April 1970 regarding the activities of Captain Kelly and the attempt to import arms?


23. Why did you not have a full Cabinet discussion on the Northern question in view of statements being made by Mr. Blaney and Mr. Boland which clearly conflicted with the views you were expressing?


24. Why did you state publicly that you had rebuked Mr. Blaney for his Letterkenny speech of December 1969 when, in fact, all you had done was to enquire of him whether or not he supported Government policy on the North? and why was this enquiry made in the very informal circumstances when both you and he were leaving the annex to the Dail chamber prior to Question Time?


25. In his papers, Mr. Berry states that he gave you specific information about the involvement of two Ministers in the attempt to import arms and in dealings with the IRA at a meeting in your office on April 13, 1970. You have denied that this information was then relayed to you. Can you offer any substantiation in support of your contention and in refutation of Mr. Berry's?


26. Why did you agree not to dismiss the two Ministers after their involvement in the attempted arms importation had been reported to you and why have you at all times disguised the fact that you had decided and announced that the Ministers were not to be dismissed?


27. Having agreed not to dismiss the two Ministers, was it sufficient that a representation to you by the Leader of the Opposition should have led to a dramatic and sudden change of mind on such a serious matter?


28. What was the purpose of the meetings at your home, on Thursday, April 30, when you had Mr. Gibbons, the Attorney General, Colm Condon, the Director of Army Intelligence, Col. Delaney and Chief Superintendent John Fleming present?


29. Why did you exclude Mr. Berry from this meeting when he was clearly the person with most command of the facts about the attempted arms importation?


30. At this meeting why did you not involve Chief Superintendent John Fleming in the discussion as he was the person present who had most knowledge of the matter?


31. You stated subsequently in the Dail that "the purpose of this meeting was, first of all, to co-ordinate as well as I could the evidence that was available from both the special sources. . . ". Was this an accurate account of the purpose of the meeting when you (a) excluded from the meeting the person, Mr. Berry, with most command of the evidence, and (b) excluded from the discussion the only person present who knew what the evidence was, Chief Superintendent John Fleming?


32. You have stated repeatedly that you interfered at no stage in the course of the prosecution of Mr. Haughey and the other defendants in the Arms Affair. Can you now categorically deny that you sought to have the Army directive of February 6, 1970 read to you during the interval between the two trials? Can you also deny that you discussed the situation with the Attorney General in connection with the charges that might be preferred?


33. What happened between May 1,1970, when you informed the Cabinet that the affair was closed and that you were not dismissing the Ministers, and May 6, when you dismissed Mr. Haughey and Mr. Blaney, to cause you to send the papers in the case to the Attorney General? If there was suspicion of illegality on May 6, surely the same suspicion was present on May 1?Desmond O'Malley.


34. What was the purpose of your meeting in Leinster House on September 9, 1970, two weeks before the start of the Arms Trial, with Mr. Haughey?


35. Given that Mr. Haughey was then a defendant in a case which was still sub-judice, do you think it was proper for you, as Minister for Justice, to have met Mr. Haughey in such compromising circumstances?


36. What was discussed at this meeting and was any specific suggestion put to you by Mr. Haughey?


37. What did you tell Mr. Peter Berry about this meeting with Mr. Haughey?


38. Did you convey any specific proposal to Mr. Berry following this meeting?


39. Quite apart from the moral and political propriety of this meeting and discussion, were you satisfied that your part in it was entirely legal and in no way a contempt of court?


40. Did you inform the then Taoiseach of your intention to attend this meeting?


41. Did you inform the then Taoiseach of what was discussed at this meeting within a reasonable period of time?


42. Do you believe that your participation in this meeting and the suggestion that you subsequently put to Mr. Berry were consistent with your declared loyalty to the then Taoiseach?



James Gibbons


43. You stated in your evidence at the Arms Trial that you were aware from both Co!. Hefferon and Capt. Kelly himself that Capt. Kelly at least intended to assist in the procurement of arms for people in Northern Ireland. Why did you not immediately have him dismissed from the Army?


44. Why did you not inform the Taoiseach, the Gardai, the Attorney General and the Chief of Staff of the Army?


45. Why at the very least did you not have him instructed to desist immediately from this activity if you disapproved of it?


46. Would you detail the contacts you had with the Taoiseach in the period February to May 1970, and any specific discussion you had with him concerning the activities of Capt. Kelly, the proposed arms importation and the involvement of Ministers in the affair?


47. Given the fact that you (a) authorized the movement of arms to Dundalk in February 1970, (b) authorized the training of men from Derry at an Army camp in Donegal in September 1969 (c) issued a directive to the Chief of Staff of the Army, which was later elaborated with your authorization, to the effect, in part, that weapons and ammunition be made available; how do you continue to contend that there was no implicit sanction in your actions for the importation of arms, especially as you failed to take action against Capt. Kelly when you became aware he was involved in obtaining arms?


48. What precise undertakings did Mr. Haughey make to you in 1975, at the time of his restoration to the Party's Front Bench, regarding "clarifying" the conflict in the evidence which you and he gave at the Arms Trial?