As the fall-out from the arrest and detention of Gerry Adams TD continues to rumble on (“coinciding” with moves by the minority Conservative Party government in Britain to seek the possible support of Unionist parties in the north-east of Ireland post the 2015 British general election) here are some more views on the Boston Tapes controversy. The first piece is from Paul Larkin, journalist and TV documentary-maker, with an exposé of the rarely discussed hand behind the Boston College Oral History Project, none other than Baron Bew of Donegore aka. Paul Bew, the well-known Unionist historian and activist (and lately the president of the Airey Neave Trust, the “anti-terrorist” think-tank named for the Tory politician assassinated by Irish Republicans in 1979). This is followed up by another article by Larkin on the early concerns expressed within Boston College about the project, including detailed excerpts of the relevant criticisms. Then there is Tim Pat Coogan, former newspaper editor and writer, with more questions about the current crisis and the motivations of those involved. Finally we have historian John Dorney with some pertinent observations on how past conflicts in Ireland, great and small, have been brought to an end. It is hard to disagree with this:
“There appear to be many anomalies in how this question is being approached within Northern Ireland. Only a few months ago it was revealed, to the fury of unionists, that the London government was giving assurances to former IRA members that they were no longer being actively sought for offences committed prior to 1998 and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Furthermore, under the terms of that agreement, all paramilitary prisoners (republican and loyalist) whose political organs had signed up to the deal were freed, regardless of how long they had served of their sentence.
To make Adams’ situation stranger still, it has been made clear that although the identities of British soldiers who shot and killed civilians in Derry on Bloody Sunday in 1972 are known, they will not be prosecuted. In November of 2013, a BBC documentary retraced the steps of an undercover British Army unit charged with assassinating republican paramilitaries in the early 1970s, who were responsible for at least ten killings of unarmed civilians. No calls were made by Police to the journalists in question to force them to hand over their interviews, nor to reveal the identity of their interviewees.
So it appears that Gerry Adams and Ivor Bell (the latter charged with the McConville killing) both of whom were reputed to be senior figures in the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional IRA in the early 1970s, have been singled out for special treatment. Why this is and who is behind it this article does not know and cannot speculate. Suffice to say that the killing of Jean McConville; a mother of ten, shot and secretly buried by the IRA as an alleged informer; has a particularly high emotional resonance and that both Bell and especially Adams were and in the latter case still is, an extremely senior member of the republican movement.”
While I have been quite critical of Sinn Féin and others in their responses to all this it is only by hearing the views of all sides that we may arrive at a balanced judgement. Not something you are likely to find in Ireland’s national news media.