Kennedy’s 1963 Ir­ish visit prompted death threats

Townsville Bulletin - - North Queensland: Looking Back, Looking Forward -

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.

John Kennedy

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