Danny Morrison is a writer in Belfast. He is the former national director of publicity for Sinn Féin and was imprisoned during the Troubles. This post was previously published at Morrison’s blog. A reply by Anthony McIntyre will follow later today.
Ed Moloney has some explaining to do. In his affidavit to a Belfast Court two weeks ago he stated categorically that Dolours Price in her interviews with Anthony McIntyre for Boston College’s ‘Belfast Project’ does “not once mention the name Jean McConville [ellipsis] nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams or any other IRA figure.”
It only took him two years and seven months to correct a perception that he and McIntyre by their silence had perpetuated and fostered, fuelling dozens of newspaper features and television and radio programmes. Not that his affidavit was intended to do Adams any favours. It was just one more desperate attempt to win over a court, in this case in Belfast, to help prevent the repatriation of the worst oral archive project in the history of the world.
Moloney and McIntyre’s incredulous defence before courts in the US and Belfast has several strands: their ‘concern’ for McIntyre’s safety; their ‘concern’ for the peace process and for those republican architects of it whom their interviewees have incriminated; and their ‘concern’ for the damage done to oral history projects and academic research.
On all counts they have no defence.
McIntyre baits mainstream republicans almost daily in his statements and writings, indicating that he does not consider them a threat (which was why his court submission in Belfast read so tongue-in-cheek).
McIntyre considers the Belfast Agreement a sell-out, and Moloney’s ‘Voices From The Grave’, interpreted by most reviewers as a major attack on Adams, showed no concern for the effect his allegations against Adams would have on the peace process.
With regard to the oral history project and the duty of care they had towards interviewees, Moloney and McIntyre were warned by Boston College that each interviewee of the project was to be given a contract guaranteeing confidentiality “to the extent that American law allows.”
Dolours Price’s 2010 interview with the ‘Irish News’, followed a month later by Ed Moloney’s publication of ‘Voices From The Grave’, followed by his television documentary based on the same book, each played a part in provoking the two subpoenas in the USA from British authorities seeking the tapes as potential evidence in prosecutions.
Rather than accept that he has been hoist on his own petard he has gone to extraordinary lengths to blame the ‘Irish News’ and the ‘Sunday Life’ newspapers for publishing an interview with Dolours Price in 2010 in which she made allegations against Gerry Adams, the same allegations that Moloney published about Adams in his book. The fact is that Ed Moloney would have no concern for the peace process and would have had no hesitation in publishing Dolours Price’s allegations or those of other interviewees in ‘Voices From The Grave II, III & IV etc.’ had Dolours Price or other interviewees died. In fact, implicit in a letter from Boston College librarian Justine Sundaram to me is that Moloney has exclusive rights to publication of the tapes. But how dare anyone else publish interviews with his pets while they are alive! Particularly, if their interviews cover the subjects contained in the Boston College archive!
Here is how Ed Moloney recently depicted Dolours Price at the time she was interviewed in February 2010 by Allison Morris of the ‘Irish News’:
When Dolours Price’s family heard that she had given an interview to Allison Morris they were alarmed. She had a history of psychiatric problems and substance abuse. She has been diagnosed with PTSD, had been hospitalized repeatedly and was taking strong psychotropic drugs. Indeed on the day she spoke to Morris she was on day leave from St Patrick’s Psychiatric Hospital in Dublin. Her family believed that in her mental state, and because of her anger over Gerry Adams’ disavowal of the IRA, she was capable of saying literally anything and getting herself into undeserved trouble.
Yet, two weeks after the Morris interview, Moloney flies in from New York and he himself interviews her! But why? What was he doing interviewing a person he considered to be a seriously ill woman? Surely, Anthony McIntyre’s ten or eleven interviews with her were adequate and comprehensive? Had Moloney done follow-up interviews with others in the project or was she the only one? Again, if so, then why?
When Dolours Price was interviewed in the Irish and US media last week (Moloney indelicately described her as going “on the rampage”), she was adamant that what she was saying in these interviews she had said in interview for the Boston College Belfast Project, thus undermining Moloney and McIntyre’s attempts to blame the ‘Irish News’ for the mess (instead of themselves for initiating the project) but also potentially calling into question Moloney’s affidavit in which he stated that she did not make these allegations against Adams in her interviews with McIntyre.
However, this can be squared. When Moloney read the ‘Irish News’ interview in 2010 did he discover that it had lurid details that were not in McIntyre’s interview? Was that what motivated him to come and re-interview Dolours Price so that he would have Adams being damned again? And if that is the case then doesn’t it once again expose the main motive of this project as being ‘Get Adams’?
I believe Moloney when he says in his affidavit that in her interview with McIntyre Price does “not once mention the name Jean McConville [ellipsis] nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams or any other IRA figure.”
The big question for Moloney now is this: can he say about his interview with Dolours Price what he was prepared to say under oath about the Dolours Price interview that was carried out by McIntyre: namely, that she does not mention Adams or Jean McConville?
Or was Adams what it was all about from Day One?