Gerry Kelly

Gerry Kelly

Infobox Politician
honorific-prefix =
name=Gerry Kelly
honorific-suffix =MLA

office =Junior Minister at the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister
(One of the Two)
term_start =May 8 2007
constituency_AM2=Belfast North
assembly2=Northern Ireland
birth_place=Belfast, Northern Ireland
party=Sinn Féin

Gerard "Gerry" Kelly ( _ga. Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh; [] born 5 April 1953) is an Irish republican politician and former Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteer who played a leading role in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement on 10 April 1998. He is currently a member of Sinn Féin's Ard Chomhairle (National Executive) and an MLA for North Belfast. [ [ Gerry Kelly - Biography from NI Assembly] ] [ [ GERRY KELLY MLA (SF)] ] [ [,3604,291887,00.html The peace warriors] ]

Early life

Kelly was born in the Lower Falls Road, Belfast in 1953 into a family of 11 siblings. He was educated at primary school level by the De La Salle Christian Brothers at St. Finian's Roman Catholic Primary School located in the Falls Road area of west Belfast which was also Gerry Adams' primary school. Kelly was educated to a secondary level at St Peter’s Secondary School in Britain’s Parade, Belfast.

In the late-1960s Kelly was involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Kelly became disillusioned with the Civil Rights Movement and subsequently became involved in physical force republicanism in 1972.

Old Bailey Attack

In March 1973, a referendum, which became known as the 'Border Poll', was held to determine if Northern Ireland was to remain part of the United Kingdom. The Nationalist community in Northern Ireland boycotted the referendum with only 57 per cent of the electorate voting. In protest at the referendum, the IRA planted four car bombs in London on 8 March 1973. Two of the car bombs were defused but the other two exploded, one near the Old Bailey and the other at Scotland Yard. As a result of the explosions one person was killed and almost 200 people were injured. [ [ 14th November 1973: IRA gang convicted of London bombings] ]

Kelly, then aged 19, and eight others, including Hugh Feeney and sisters Marian and Dolours Price, were found guilty of various charges relating to the bombings on 14 November 1973. Kelly was convicted of causing explosions and conspiracy to cause explosions and received two life sentences plus twenty years. [ [ CAIN Web Service - A Chronology of the Conflict - 1973] ] [ [ Searcs Web Guide - Gerry Kelly] ]

Imprisonment and hunger strike

Upon imprisonment in England, Kelly, and the other prisoners went on hunger strike in order have their political status recognised and to be repatriated back to Northern Ireland. After 205 days on hunger strike, when Kelly was force fed 170 times against his will by prison officers, Kelly was transferred to Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland in April 1975.

Whilst imprisoned in the Maze, Kelly again went on protest and made a number of escape attempts in 1977, 1982 and 1983. On September 23, 1983, Kelly was involved in the Maze Prison escape, the largest break-out of prisoners in Europe since World War II and in British prison history. Kelly, along with 37 other republican prisoners, armed with 6 hand-guns, hijacked a prison meals lorry and smashed their way out of HMP Maze past 40 prison wardens and 28 alarm systems. During the escape Kelly shot and injured a prison warden in the head as the officer attempted to foil the escape. [ [,,1046621,00.html Maze party with jelly and ice cream] by Nicola Byrne, The Observer Special Reports, 21 September 2003]

After the mass break out Kelly was on the run for 3 years and again became involved in an active service unit in Europe. Whilst on the run Kelly claimed that he was aided in his escape by "all kinds of people," including prominent Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael supporters in the Republic of Ireland. [ Killers party at Maze escape night] ]

On 16 January, 1986, Kelly was recaptured in the Netherlands along with Brendan "Bik" McFarlane at their flat in Amsterdam. At the time of their arrest, cash in several currencies, maps and fake passports and the keys to a storage container holding 14 rifles, 100,000 rounds of ammunition and nitrobenzene were recovered by the Dutch Police. [cite web | title = Passport in man's home bore the name of another man | author = | url = | publisher = "Irish Examiner" | date = 30 April, 1998 | accessdate = 2007-03-11] [cite web | title = Westminster accepts them, but we don't | author = | url = | publisher = "Irish Independent" | date = 3 February, 2002 | accessdate = 2007-03-14] On 4 December 1986, the pair were extradited from the Netherlands by RAF helicopter to the UK and returned to the Maze prison. [cite web | title = Dutch Extradite Two I.R.A. Fugitives | author = | url = | publisher = "New York Times" | date = 4 December, 1986 | accessdate = 2007-03-11] On 2 June 1989 Kelly was released in line with the extradition conditions agreed with the Dutch authorities. [cite book | last = De Baróid | first = Ciarán | authorlink = | title = Ballymurphy And The Irish War | publisher = Pluto Press | date = 2000 | pages = p. 337 | doi = | isbn = 0-7453-1509-7]

Political career

Upon leaving prison Kelly became actively involved in politics and was seen by somewho|date=September 2007 as a communication link between the IRA and Sinn Féin. Kelly, and fellow Sinn Féin member, Martin McGuinness both engaged in protracted secret negotiations with representatives of the British Government from 1990 until 1993. All of these meetings are documented in the Sinn Féin booklet "Setting the Record Straight". Kelly also published a collection of poetry entitled "Words from a Cell" in March 1989.

Kelly was later to become a leading member of Sinn Féin and played a role in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement on 10 April, 1998. In promoting the Peace Process he had talks with Nelson Mandela, the current South African President Thabo Mbeki, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. [ [ Gerry Kelly] ]

On 27 June, 1998 Kelly was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly. He was Deputy Chair of the Social Development Committee in the 1998-2003 Assembly, and is currently Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Policing and Justice. [ [ Changed utterly] ] [ [ These are the future leaders of Ulster if the St Andrews Agreement is endorsed] ] [ [ Critics mock Kelly's actions in Ardoyne] ] [ [ Gerry Kelly] ]


External links

* [ On This Day] BBC Website
* [ N.I Assembly]
* [ Gerry Kelly's "They work for you" page]

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