81 The Arms Crisis

On this episode of the Irish History we were joined by Dr. Brian Hanley to discuss one of the biggest political scandals in 20th century Irish history, the Arms Crisis. On the 6th of May 1970 the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, sacked two of his most senior ministers, Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney and another minister, Kevin Boland, resigned in protest.

Haughey, Captain James Kelly, John Kelly and Albert Luykx were put on trial and charged with illegally importing arms into the state for northern nationalists. After the first trial collapsed, the defendants were all acquitted at a second trial. The crisis was to cause deep divisions within Fianna Fáil for the following twenty years. With the recent 50th anniversary of the trials many of the accepted narratives of the crisis are being challenged and in particular the role of Jack Lynch and what he knew about the plans to import arms at the time.

Dr. Brian Hanley lectures in 20th century Irish History in Trinity College, Dublin. He has written several books including The IRA 1926 – 36, The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party and Boiling Volcano – The impact of the Troubles on the Republic of Ireland 1968 – 79.

Intro / Outro music “Sliabh” from Aislinn. Licensed under creative commons from the free music archive.

Join the Conversation


  1. I Kevin carolan from bailieboro co cavan, the birthplace of captain James Kelly, a remarkable man who i knew personally myself,,yes he was done but he was taking orders from his boss,,this story of the arms trail hopefully will live on for years to come,,that apology that captain Kelly wanted, I feel the Irish government will have no choice but to give it ,long overdue 50 years,,

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: