Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has paid tribute to the late Captain James Kelly, who died today at the age of 74.

Mr Ahern said that as far as the State was concerned, Captain Kelly, who came to prominence during the Arms Trial in 1970, was innocent of all charges put to him during that time.

He paid tribute Captain Kelly's integrity, saying he acted on what he believed were the proper orders of his superiors.

Mr Kelly oversaw the procurement of an arms consignment from Germany, which prompted the arms trial.

He always claimed he had government authorisation for the mission.

Last May, he received €70,000 in damages from the High Court and an apology after he took a libel action against authors of a book which examined the historic trial.

The Taoiseach had been urged by Mr John Bruton to make immediate moves to clear Capt. Kelly's name before he died.

John Costello, Justice Spokesperson with the Labour Party, also backed the call.

Earlier, Mr Kelly's daughter Suzanne said that her father had made it his life's work to clear his name and told journalists that he was holding on to get an apology from the State on his deathbed.