The IRISH TIMES has scant respect for Irish law or the intelligence of its readers. Witness “The Irish Times View on Dessie O’Malley” 22 July
A jury of free citizens acquitted Charles Haughey, Captain Kelly and others of conspiracy to import arms illegally.Garret Fitzgerald had to pay substantial damages to Captain Kelly for repeating the false charges.
The importation of firearms is, and was in 1970, by statute controlled by the Ministers for Defence and Justice.
As Minister for Finance in 1970, Charles Haughey could not, even had he wished, authorised such importation.
Haughey at the time of his arrest was fully occupied in preparing the national budget, probably the most time-consuming task of any minister.
In court Defence Minister James Gibbons described how the Irish Army had given nine days of weapons training on army premises to two groups of Derry civilians whose communities had been attacked by RUC, B-Specials and Orange mobs, and expected repeats of same. Gibbons protested that the training was designed to give the threatened communities a morale boost, but that supplying them with weapons for their defence was not contemplated.
I read that Minister’s testimony at the time with incredulity, as apparently did the jury.
I have since read the testimony given by Charles Haughey, and his cross-examination. It was more than merely plausible. I am convinced that every word he spoke was truthful. As a defendant he was under no obligation to tell everything he knew. If he had done so he might have destroyed the Government, the State, and Fianna Fail. Instead he bit his lip, swallowed his enormous pride, and survived to give enormous service to Ireland.
Even THE TIMES OF LONDON in its obituary acknowledges this.