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Hollywood legend Gene Kelly handed thousands to the IRA.

HOLLYWOOD legend Gene Kelly donated cash to the IRA to buy guns, it was revealed yesterday

During a meeting with a senior republican he handed over a pounds 20,000 cheque, saying: "This money is for guns. I certainly don't want it going to any do-gooders."

Kelly donated the money during a covert fund-raising mission to the US in 1970 by Cathal Goulding, head of the Official IRA.

The singer, who was born into a staunchly Republican Irish-American family in 1912, had kept a lifelong interest in Irish politics.

He was introduced to Goulding by his close friend, Irish writer Dominic Behan, who once lived in Scotland.

According to John Campbell, a friend of Behan, Kelly couldn't wait to meet the IRA leader.

He said: "Dominic told me Gene Kelly's favourite song was The Patriot Game and when he told the American he could introduce him to the leader of the IRA, Kelly turned to putty.

"He couldn't wait to meet Goulding and when the IRA man asked him to make a donation to the Republican movement he handed over pounds 20,000 without blinking.

"Goulding said that he'd spend the money whichever way he saw fit."

Goulding's dream was to unite with Protestants against the British in Northern Ireland.

It was this vision by the Chief of Staff which eventually split the IRA and led to the birth of the Provisional IRA.

Kelly, who died in 1996, is thought to have left several thousand pounds in his will to the controversial Republican fund-raising group NORAID.
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Author:Smith, Steve
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 19, 2000
Words:256
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