Seán Haughey calls on Arms Trial documents to be declassified 

Seán Haughey calls on Arms Trial documents to be declassified 

Seán Haughey has asked that the Arms Trials garda files be released. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Calls have been made to declassify all files relating to the Arms Trial after it was suggested in the Dáil that Sean Mac Stiofan, a member of the IRA army council was a Special Branch informer.

Seán Haughey, the son of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey, has asked that the Arms Trials garda files be released after he suggested in the Dáil that Mr MacStiofain was the person who was behind the tip-off about a shipment of arms coming into Dublin Airport.

Justice Minister, Helen McEntee said she would review and release any relevant records where that may exist in her Department where appropriate.

However, she said it was not appropriate for her to “speculate with regard to matters of that time”.

Ms McEntee added: “It is difficult to see how different accounts can be validated, or adjudicated on at this remove, particularly for most of those who are involved, are no longer in a position to defend themselves”.

The Minister said the arms trial "was one of the most significant political controversies in the history of the state, and it remains of abiding interest, despite the passage of 50 years."

She said that some records relating to the arms trial had been released to the National Archives in 2000. However, she said some of the records could not be released because they contain sensitive, garbled reports or potentially defamatory information.

Mr Haughey said the Dáil had previously been "misled" about how the State came to learn of the imminent arrival of the arms flight in the 1970s.

He said the House had been told that it had been discovered by civil servants who were "concerned about certain aspects of the paperwork" and said this incorrect version has remained on the record of the Dáil ever since.

"It is not satisfactory that the official record of any event let alone one as important as this should be misleading."

Mr Hughey said a new book, Deception and Lies the Hidden History of the Arms Trial by David Burke, "reveals that Mac Stiofain exploited his position to create mischief for his archrival, Cathal Goudling.”

More in this section