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Slugger, McGregor And Moloney. Controversy In Bloggerdom

Well, it’s all kicking off at the well-known Irish news and current affairs blog Slugger O’Toole. Long term writer Mark McGregor has quit the site in a disagreement over its editorial line administered by owner Mick Fealty, with a statement posted on Wednesday:

“Due to an editorial stance I cannot agree with that may leave readers assuming my integrity is open to question, I no longer feel I can continue as a blogger on this platform. Despite some challenging issues, I have enjoyed the cut and thrust that goes with Slugger.

It has been a great outlet during a rollercoaster of politics both personal and generally. I’m sure it was a journey many of you didn’t appreciate me taking but hey that’s the rich tapestry of life.”

McGregor is one of the main bloggers on the site, presenting a progressive Republican take on news events, and his abrupt departure has led to a considerable amount of speculation. Now it seems we have an answer to the mystery. Irish journalist and author Ed Moloney is the author of the several books including “A Secret History of the IRA” and the much-debated “Voices from the Grave” (with the assistance of former Irish Republican prisoner and writer Anthony McIntyre). He is currently embroiled in the Boston Tapes Subpoena controversy, as US prosecutors attempt to gain access to taped interviews he and Anthony conducted with a number of former Republican and Unionist activists who partook in the conflict in the North of Ireland (including the former senior IRA officer – and critical voice on the Irish Peace Process – Brendan Hughes). From his Broken Elbow blog he has presented the reasons for McGregor’s parting of the ways with Slugger O’Toole:

“Back in April/May 2005 I was contacted by a friend in Belfast who suggested I have a look at some of the comments directed at me on one posting placed on the blog [Slugger] towards the end of April. There I read that I was “a sneaky little bully” who had no real republican sources but plenty in the security forces; that I hankered for a return to the days of “bombs and bullets” and that I had acted as adviser/policy developer and “consigliero” (sic) for the IRA leadership.

I am not a person who likes to contemplate suing. I dislike the libel laws which I believe are constructed more to protect the rich & powerful and to hide their excesses from public scrutiny than to prevent malicious commentary about innocent people. I didn’t want to sue in this case but I did write to Mick Fealty asking that the comments about me be removed. My first letter was ignored but eventually a lengthy correspondence ensued. However it wasn’t until the end of July that the matter was brought to an end, admittedly in a less than satisfactory way, and the comments removed. The Army Council got immediate satisfaction; I had to wait nearly three months.

Last week, Mick Fealty removed another posting from his site that concerned myself, but this time most definitely not at my request or wish. I had given an interview to an Irish-American website called about the ongoing legal and political struggle to prevent the US authorities from confiscating archived interviews with former IRA members, notably Dolours Price, lodged in the archives of Boston College on behalf, we suspect, of the PSNI. But we don’t know for sure who is behind this as the subpoenas have, in echoes of the days of the Star Chamber, been sealed to maintain secrecy.”

The interview with the Wild Geese media site appears on its blog “Hell’s Kitchen”. I should say, in the interest of disclosure, that I have written for Wild Geese myself.

Ed Moloney: …Brendan Hughes certainly did name Adams as the person who ordered the killing of Jean McConville, but there is no evidence that in her interviews with BC (Boston College) that Dolours Price did the same. It is important to understand how this all happened and the background. Dolours Price is an IRA veteran, but she has also been psychologically scarred by her experiences in the IRA. She suffers from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome) … and suffers from substance abuse. Her condition has deteriorated in recent years, a long time after she gave her interviews to BC. In February 2010, Dolours was in a psychiatric hospital in Dublin and while there she contacted the Irish News in Belfast and said she had things to tell the paper.”

The rest of the interview can be read at Hell’s Kitchen where Moloney accuses the Irish News of behaving in an unethical manner with the details of the accusations being repeated on his own blog. This latter article include’s a posting made by Mark McGregor on Slugger O’Toole highlighting the Wild Geese interview and the claims being made against the Irish News. This post was removed three hours after it appeared by the blog owner Mick Fealty. It seems this is the cause of McGregor quitting the site.

I will update as more information becomes available.

5 comments on “Slugger, McGregor And Moloney. Controversy In Bloggerdom

  1. Mark McGregor

    Feel free to contact me with anything you want clarified. Unlike others, I’m hiding nothing.

    The facts are far as I’m concerned; I wrote a legitimate blog that I stand over on a subject I have been following closely over an extended period. I informed Mick of my intention to write in relation to the Wild Geese interview with Moloney ahead of publication, as I have done for every entry on this topic -no concern was raised during that conversation.

    The blog was later removed without consultation and numerous attempts to clarify received no response until a serious of early hours text messages I received once long in bed.

    I met with Fealty the following day [sic] and at no point did either he or I accept anything in my piece was in any way legally questionable.

    I was therefore left with little option but to conclude my integrity was allowed to seem open to question on the basis of a late night decision from someone that had spurious external applied to them [sic].

    I was then informed any further pieces on a range of subjects including the current one but unbelievably any articles that mentioned the Irish News or journalist Allison Morris at all would require vetting regardless of the content.

    I considered this an unacceptably restrictive editorial line and along with the willingness to permit my reputation to be compromised for the sake of expediency a situation that made my further contribution to the Slugger O’Toole website impossible.


    • Hi Mark, you did the right thing. Unless the dispute with Slugger O’Toole is resolved you should start your own blog or write for others – keep open debate moving forward – it is much needed in Ireland.


  2. Thanks for the Comment, Mark, and your take on what happened in relation to the removal of the piece you posted to Slugger.

    In fairness, I hope Mick Fealty will issue his own response to further clarify matters and we can learn his reasons, in his own words, for removing the article.

    It would be a great pity to see you leave Slugger permanently as you have provided a valuable view on the site from an independent Republican perspective, so let’s hope this matter can be resolved in some way.

    If you ever feel like contributing here please feel free. Or if you are launching your own blogging venture then by all means send me a link and I’ll post it.


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