Monday 5 December 2016

A call to arms that still haunts State

There was an element of Inspector Clouseau-style farce to the Arms Crisis

John-Paul McCarthy

Published 09/02/2014 | 02:30

MISFORTUNE: Jack Lynch faced difficult decisions as Taoiseach during the Arms Crisis
MISFORTUNE: Jack Lynch faced difficult decisions as Taoiseach during the Arms Crisis

Writing of the Arms Trial in States of Ireland in 1972, Conor Cruise O'Brien concluded that: "There are many things about this process that make it hard to take it seriously: its sketchy improvisations, its half-heartedness, the brittleness of its falsities, and a certain dull and petty frivolity of mind underlying it all."

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Last week, the son of the Army intelligence chief at the centre of the first of the two trials gave another twist to O'Brien's characterisation.

Colm Hefferon called for an "independent trawl" of any and all surviving Arms Trial papers having suggested that his late father believed that the attempted importation of arms into the Republic was known to the then defence minister.

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