Ed, Mary Lou and me



You may remember a few blogs back I compared the appearance of Gerry Adams on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show  with that of Mary Lou McDonald last Friday.  I thought she did very well – even-tempered, calm, good-humoured.  I don’t think she did as stunningly well as some other commentators say she did but it was certainly one of her better TV performances. But it wasn’t a performance that pleased everybody.  Notably Ed Moloney, he of the famous Boston Tapes.

Ed says she “trotted out the hoary canard that the Boston College oral history archive had a political agenda when choosing who to interview or not interview for the project”.  Ed rejects this, not surprisingly, and says (i) the claim is typical Sinn Féin, trying to intimidate other journalists who might probe Sinn Féin’s internal politics; and (ii) that Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price were major players in the republican struggle and it was fitting they were interviewed.

He may be right, but I haven’t noticed Mary Lou or any other Shinner’s comments deterring the media north and south of the border from sinking the boot into Sinn Féin when the opportunity arises. What’s noticeable is that Ed doesn’t try to suggest that any of those who were interviewed had a positive or even neutral attitude towards Sinn Féin; from which we can probably conclude that the suspicion most people have that the tapes are heavily or even completely tilted against Sinn Féin are well-founded.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’m doing Ed an injustice. But certainly his co-researcher, Anthony McIntyre, is implacably opposed to Sinn Féin, and so are the two people who we so far know were interviewed – Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price.

Ed lives in the United States and every so often he’ll fire off a salvo about something someone said or didn’t say over here. On one occasion years ago I wrote an article in which I was critical of Anthony McIntyre and some of the things he was saying at the time. To my surprise, I received an email not from Anthony but from Ed. It was a long, slightly rambling email, as I remember, but his central charge was that by writing what I had, I had placed Anthony McIntyre’s life in danger and if anything happened to Anthony, the responsibility would be on my head.

I immediately published his email and made the point that in my view he was talking tripe, that Anthony had never attempted to conceal his political thinking and that he had lived  in West Belfast for some considerable time without being attacked for anything he said, and that he certainly wouldn’t be attacked for anything I said about him. And so it proved.

Ed finds himself in a difficult position now. It seems as though the anti-republican make-up of the tapes, or certainly those of Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes, have landed Ivor Bell in court. Others may follow. Whatever the rights and wrongs of such court cases, their potential for political upheaval here are considerable. So this morning I’m trying to resist the temptation to tell Ed that if things here fall apart politically, undoing all the good work that’s been done over the last twenty years, people might be inclined to point to him as a significant source for this descent into mayhem.

11 Responses to Ed, Mary Lou and me

  1. al March 24, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    So Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes are anti republican?

    Am I reading this right?

    If so does being anti Gerry Adams automatically equate with being anti republican?

    • Jude Collins March 24, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      al – I take your point. If I’ve said/implied the DP and BH were anti-republican, my apologies and I withdraw same. And no, I wouldn’t classify being anti-GA as being anti-republican. I should have made that clear. Thanks for pointing it out.

      • al March 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

        No worries, I was just left scratching my head 🙂

  2. Jim March 24, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Jude, if the whole thing was to unravel and fall apart Ed would probably be on the first plane home. For a lot of people ‘the troubles’ were a nightmare but for some like Ed it was a nice little earner.

  3. paul March 24, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Will any Loyalists be arrested for historical crimes as a result of these tapes.? Still waiting for the first. Secondly Boston College has done a huge disservice by releasing these tapes, court orders or not.

  4. paul March 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Not a fan of Moloney, gives history with too much of his bias. a bit self righteous for my liking

  5. michael c March 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    According to media reports of the court case,Ivor Bells own interview with Boston has landed him in court.Those who conducted the interviews would then be responsible for his plight.

  6. giordanobruno March 24, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    You are not really suggesting that journalists should not dig out stories because it might damage the peace process?

    • Argenta March 24, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

      This always seems to be the sub-text.Anyone who dares to be even mildly critical of the less than admirable actions of Republicans during the Troubles is deemed to be “anti peace process” .As if that process was the exclusive preserve of Sinn Fein!

  7. ANOTHER JUDE March 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    It is clear now that the GFA was and is all things to all people. The notion of arresting anyone for actions carried out during the conflict is never going to lead to a peaceful and just resolution. Bradley/Eames was of course rejected out of hand by, guess who, the Unionists. There will have to be an official Amnesty, that will cover all political killings, even the ones carried out by the British state. Not that they were ever going to face a court, or judge, or whatever passes for justice here. Has anyone even mentioned the cowboys who appeared on Panorama last year boasting about their activities during their time in a British army undercover murder squad. Time spent driving around shooting Catholics? Never even brought up by any politician.

  8. Pointis March 24, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    I have to agree with you another Jude, if there is not an amnesty or some mechanism for dealing with the past then the Agreement is going to be undermined each and every time any troubles related issue resurfaces.

    Sinn Fein and the DUP need to be honest with all the troubles victims and admit that for the sake of continuing peace that victims relatives will not have the chance of having a prosecution but that they may have a better chance of discovering what happened to their loved ones.