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'I was armed with a pistol' as Minister for Justice, says Des O'Malley

O’Malley served on Jack Lynch’s cabinet following the 1970 arms crisis and IRA split.

Des O'Malley in 1982.
Des O'Malley in 1982.
Image: Photocall Ireland

FORMER MINISTER Des O’Malley has spoken about being armed during his tenure as the Minister for Justice in the early 70s.

His ministerial appointment came after the arms crisis which saw ministers Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney being dropped from the cabinet. Two other ministers resigned over the scandal.

He told Newstalk Breakfast this morning that he had been in the bath when he received the call from then-Taoiseach Jack Lynch to become a minister.

O’Malley said that he was given a pistol and warned by gardaí to stay on the move because of the threats against him “from the usual sources”.

He said that a number of death threats had been made and that he was armed for the duration of his ministry “and a little bit after”.

“At that time there were two IRAs, the Provisional IRA and the Official IRA because they had split at the beginning of 1970,” he said. “And there was also an organisation which was small and dangerous called Saor Éire” which killed Garda Dick Fallon.

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