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Head of Zeus
The Arms Crisis of 1970
The Arms Crisis of 1970: The Plot that Never Was Michael Heney

The number one Irish Times bestseller.

'An original and textured history of one of the most controversial and misunderstood episodes of modern Irish history' Diarmaid Ferriter.

The arms crisis of 1970 came about when two Irish cabinet ministers, Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney, alongside an army officer and other figures, were accused by Taoiseach Jack Lynch of smuggling arms to the IRA in Northern Ireland.

The criminal prosecution that followed, the Arms Trial, was a cause célèbre at the time; while it resulted in the acquittal of all the accused, the political crisis it generated was one of the major events of late twentieth-century Irish history.

In the fifty years since, myth and controversy has surrounded the trial and its aftermath. Was the country really on the brink of a bloody civil war involving North and South? Did the two Ministers sacked by Lynch help generate the bloody campaign of the Provisional IRA – or were they set up by the Taoiseach as fall guys for an arms plot that was unofficially authorized but always deniable by Lynch? Was there, as is often claimed, a kind of coup in preparation that Lynch's prompt action foiled?

A great deal of astonishing new evidence has been uncovered by Michael Heney in his research for this book, raising serious questions about Lynch and his relationship with future Taoiseach Charles Haughey. The book also contains the first comprehensive investigation into how the arms trial prosecution was mounted, and how the jury came to their verdict of acquittal. Heney's meticulous scholarship challenges much of the conventional wisdom about these sensational events.

The Arms Crisis of 1970 is a major contribution to our understanding of a pivotal moment in postwar Irish history.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * History
02 Apr 2020 * 448pp * £8.99 * 9781789545616
REVIEWS
'Finally, a path has been cleared through the dirty fog of the Arms Crisis. Michael Heney has provided us with an original and textured history of one of the most controversial and misunderstood episodes of modern Irish history. Driven by evidence and attention to detail, and with dynamism and doggedness, Heney strips away the lies, myths and speculation surrounding the events and personalities associated with the great Irish scandal of 1970 and uncovers the realities. His clarity and painstaking research have resulted in a ground-breaking book'
Diarmaid Ferriter
'A brilliant, forensic investigation of the 1970 arms trial, with much new material'
Vincent Browne
'Packed with astonishing detail and absorbing observations, interpreted anew through study of the State Papers of 2001, [The Arms Crisis of 1970] will leave you gasping with interest as you turn the pages ... I cannot recommend this book highly enough'
Mary O'Rourke, Sunday Independent
'Heney's book is a reminder of how a version of the frictions that led to splits in Sinn Féin and the foundation of Fianna Fáil in the 1920s surfaced again in the late 1960s and early 1970s'
RTÉ
'Michael Heney, a former RTÉ journalist who has spent the 50 years since the Arms Crisis considering it more deeply, has written a fascinating and thoroughly researched book about this episode and found new evidence'
The Times
'Michael Heney, a former RTÉ journalist who has spent the 50 years since the Arms Crisis considering it more deeply, has written a fascinating and thoroughly researched book about this episode and found new evidence'
The Times
'As a former journalist with RTÉ for over 40 years, Heney knows how to tell a story and keep an audience hooked ... It's written with the pace and drama of a political thriller, with characters that you just couldn't invent'
Irish Independent
'Heney tracks these key players' movements like pieces on a chess board, constantly asking the fundamental questions of who knew what and when ... Heney's detective skills deserve great respect and he has written an undeniably important book'
Sunday Business Post
Author
Michael Heney
Michael Heney
Dr. Michael Heney is a former award-winning journalist and producer with RTE Television, having previously worked with the Irish Times and with RTE Radio. A Fellow of the World Press Institute in Macalester College in Minneapolis/ St. Paul, his achievements include two Jacobs Television awards, Cross Broadcaster of the Year, and Liam Hourican European Journalist of the Year. His television exposés on the criminal convictions of the Tallaght Two led to the verdicts in that case being overturned in the Irish Court of Criminal Appeal. Since retiring from journalism in 2010, Michael has conducted six years of full-time academic investigation into the 1970 Arms Crisis, for which he was awarded firstly an MA (2014), and later a Ph.D (2018) by University College Dublin. He lives in Dublin.