Kennedy’s 1963 Irish visit prompted death threats
JOHNFKennedywas the subject of three death threats during the US president’s visit to Ireland in 1963.
Newly declassified police documents, released yesterday by the Irish Justice Department, said police received two anonymous telephone warnings in the weeks before the arrival of the United States’ first Irish Catholic president. A third threat went to the Irish Independentpaper.
Kennedy’s June visit went ahead amid universally adoring crowds in Dublin, Cork, Galway and his family homestead in County Wexford. It was trouble-free. He was assassinated in Dallas five months later.
One threat claimed a sniper would target Kennedy as his motorcade travelled from Dublin Airport to the residence of the Irish president at the start of his visit.
The second warned a bomb at Shannon Airport in southwest Ireland would detonate as Air Force One was about to depart.
The threat phoned to the newspaper indicated that Kennedy would be attacked at Dublin Airport, but did not specify method.
A 43-year-old letter declassified yesterday detailed police security concerns — and reflected officials’ desire to impress both US visitors and Britain.
In the letter, Commissioner Daniel Costigan, then commander of Ireland’s national police force, described the Kennedy tour as ‘the most important visit to this country since the establishment of the state, with worldwide publicity. British journalists are likely to be ready to criticise any fault in arrangements.’
The documents indicated that 6404 police officers, some of them armed, were on duty the night Kennedy arrived, and 2690 lined the US president’s arrival route.