Death threats preceded JFK’s Ireland trip
DUBLIN, Ireland – President John F. Kennedy was the subject of three separate death threats during his visit to Ireland in 1963, according to newly declassified police documents released Friday.The documents released by the Irish Justice Department said police received two anonymous telephoned warnings in the weeks before the arrival of the United States’ first Irish Catholic president. A third threat went to the newsroom of the Irish Independent newspaper.Kennedy’s June 26-29 visit went ahead trouble free as he was greeted by adoring crowds in Dublin, Cork, Galway and at his family homestead in County Wexford, in southeast Ireland.He was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, five months later.One threat claimed a sniper would target Kennedy as his motorcade traveled 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.According to the documents the third threat, phoned to the newspaper, indicated that Kennedy would be attacked at Dublin Airport, although the method wasn’t specified.A 43-year-old letter from Commissioner Daniel Costigan, commander of Ireland’s national police force at the time, detailed security concerns.He wrote that although the death threats were considered likely to be hoaxes, his officers would use binoculars to monitor rooftops along the route of the presidential motorcade.Costigan wrote that an unspecified number of police would be armed with handguns, rifles and submachine guns – an exceptional measure in a country with a largely unarmed police force – to engage any would-be sniper.—On the Net:JFK Library & Museum guide to 1963 visit, http://www.jfklibrary.org
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