photo by FENIAN
HUGE CROWD MARCH IN DUBLIN TO FREE MARIAN PRICE
Reports are coming in of a huge turnout in Dublin today in the #FreeMarianPrice cmpaign. More to follow at a later date. Below is the latest from IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS. .
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS
Friday-Thursday, 7-13 September, 2012
1. REPRISAL RAIDS FOLLOW RYAN FUNERAL
2. DUP man to oversee Long Kesh 'redevelopment'
3. No sign of Covenant march talks
4. Court finds British Army interrogations were illegal
5. Failed attempt to recruit Newry man
6. Legal actions continue against PSNI bid to seize interviews
7. Feature: 'BC Subpoenas caused by lies and PSNI failings'
8. Analysis: Support Marian Price
REPRISAL RAIDS FOLLOW RYAN FUNERAL
The 26 County police have carried out a wave of raids and arrests
following a large IRA funeral in Dublin for Alan Ryan.
The funeral, which involved a traditional IRA guard of honour and saw
shots fired over the coffin at his home, brought thousands of local
people to pay their respects, as well as senior republicans of all
The Clongriffin man is understood to have been a senior figure in the
('New' or 'Real') IRA.
A staunch opponent of drug dealers and criminal gangs in Dublin, the
32-year-old was gunned down in broad daylight last week yards from his
home, evidently on the orders of the city's powerful crime bosses.
Questions were immediately raised as to the actions of the Garda police,
who had placed Mr Ryan under continuous surveillance, but seemed to
delay attending the scene of the cold-blooded assassination.
There were also allegations that Garda Special Branch, the 'intelligence
police' who later attended the scene outside Mr Ryan's home, were seen
to be celebrating his death.
The funeral on Saturday saw an uneasy stand-off between republicans and
Garda riot police, who had sought to limit the funeral's IRA
Following some negotiations, a gun salute did take place at Mr Ryan's
home, while an honour guard which accompanied the funeral cortege
processed along streets lined with black flags and tricolours.
Draped in the tricolour, the coffin was flanked by more than 200
supporters wearing the traditional republican uniform - a white shirt
with black trousers and black tie. Hundreds more lined the road outside
the church, where a traditional family funeral took place.
Delivering an oration in Balgriffin ceremony, prominent Lurgan
republican Colin Duffy described Alan Ryan as "a brave Irish republican
and fearless IRA volunteer" who was dedicated to "fighting foreign
interference in our country".
Mr Duffy also said that Ryan was under constant surveillance by "agents
of the State", a reference to the Garda Special Branch. "But on the day
of his death the agents of the State were conspicuous by their absence,
which is highly suspicious," he said.
He also attacked Ireland's (mostly British owned) tabloid media, as
'gutter rats', and said they had smeared Mr Ryan both before and after
However, the high level of public support shown for Mr Ryan appeared to
take the 26 County authorities by surprise, resulting in the biggest
such funeral in the city in decades, with significant media interest.
A subsequent radio interview on Tuesday between well-known chat show
host Joe Duffy and a friend of Mr Ryan who escaped injury in the attack,
fuelled the controversy.
Paul Stewart suggested the Garda Special Branch had colluded in the
killing, and described how Special Branch members laughed and mocked
'the model' as Ryan lay dead, and another friend of his lay seriously
injured on the side of the road. However, he said many ordinary Gardai
had also expressed their support to the family and had had no problem
with the funeral, which he said was "a fitting send-off" for Mr Ryan.
The clarity and apparent integrity of Stewart's responses to Duffy's
questions increased concerns in the political establishment over the
level of public support for 'dissidents', and provoked a reactionary
Minister Shatter attacked RTE, the state-owned broadcaster, for allowing
the interview. Recalling the days of 'Section 31' censorship of Sinn
Fein, he said: "Broadcasters should not give a platform to those engaged
in subversive activities or their supporters."
The Garda arrest operation then began the following morning and by
Thursday, 17 people were arrested in an operation which spanned Dublin
and Leinster. Armed members of the Special Branch and the 'Emergency
Response Unit' were involved in the raids, codenamed 'Operation
Ambience', according to a Garda statement. Personal items such as cash
and mobile phones were seized.
Among the homes raided were Mr Ryan's family home, where all of his
brothers were arrested.
A supporter of the family lambasted the "Guardians of the Peace" [Garda
Suiochana, the Gardai] for their heavy-handed actions. He said they
"kicked in the door and held guns to the heads" of all members of the
"They tore the house apart manhandling Alan's three brothers. All this
in front of his little nephew who is now totally traumatised," he said,
adding that Mr Ryan's mother had 700 euros in cash taken from her.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement also condemned the "pointless and
vindictive" arrests. It said the Garda investigation into the
32-year-old's murder was progressing with very much less urgency.
"Following the funeral of IRA volunteer Alan Ryan the media have
demanded that there must be punishment for the republican funeral Alan
"Thousands lined the streets of Dublin and followed the funeral to pay
their respects, they did so in a respectful, peaceful and dignified
"This must now be contrasted with the petty harassment meted out to the
Ryan family and friends of Alan by An Garda Suiochana.
"All of Alan's brothers have been arrested and their family home raided,
denied the opportunity to grieve their brother by a police force which
harassed him in life and is now using his death to continue this
campaign against the Ryan family."
The arrests had "exposed the agenda" of the Gardai, the group said.
"Their complicity in Alan's murder through inaction or active collusion
has been highlighted. Their response has been to try and attempt to
intimidate those who were close to Alan into silence."
ADAMS BACKS GARDAI
The funeral has polarised Sinn Fein supporters and republicans in the
capital. There were claims that the displays had been used by the
breakaway IRA organisations, now regrouped, to publicly claim the
mantle of the IRA. Sinn Fein insisted they did not have support of the
Party President Gerry Adams condemned the activities of what he
described as "groups involved in gangsterism and crime masquerading as
the IRA". He said they had no place in Irish society, and welcomed the
"The [Provisional] IRA did the right thing on British resistance and
when the peace process came forward," he said.
"Anybody who is a genuine republican should be about the process of
building a genuine republic and not involved in these kinds of exercise
which is not about republican struggle."
>>>>>> DUP man to oversee Long Kesh 'redevelopment'
A member of the hardline unionist DUP is to take the helm of a body
tasked with overseeing the conversion of the former site of Long Kesh
prison, including the demolition of most or all of the world-famous
The prison, known officially as HMP Maze, was a site of intense
struggle at the height of the conflict in the north of Ireland. Ten
hunger strikers, who died in a protest against criminalisation in 1981,
were among thousands of political prisoners held there. Republicans
were first interned in cages [compounds] on the site in 1971, when it
was known as Long Kesh (Ceis Fada).
After the decision to close the prison was taken in 2000, there were
calls for it to be preserved in its entirety as a world heritage site,.
Terence Brannigan, who is a senior DUP member, was announced this week
as the chairman of the 'Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation'.
But in a press release announcing the appointment, Mr Brannigen is
listed as having declared no political activity, for reasons which
Plans for the development currently include, an office, hotel and
leisure village, an agricultural society and a 'conflict transformation
centre' including the prison's former hospital ward.
A proposal for a 300 million pound multi-sports stadium at the site was
abandoned in 2009.
When asked about Mr Brannigan's links to the DUP, Sinn Fein's Mr
McGuinness said he was satisfied with the appointment and dismissed
"It's not an issue for me at all. I'm actually very relaxed about it
and I don't see why other people are getting energised about it," he
"What we have to satisfy ourselves when we make these appointments is
whether or not the people we appoint to these positions understand the
economic, historical and reconciliation potential of the site."
Mr McGuinness said redevelopment of the site would show how the north
"has been transformed and regenerated in moving beyond conflict".
Development of the site has been slow, mainly due to unionist
opposition to the retention of the former hospital ward where the
hunger strikers died.
DUP First Minister Peter Robinson said the Stormont administration was
determined that the centre would not become a republican "shrine".
"All sensible people will recognise that we've committed ourselves at
every level, that there will be no shrine at the Maze," he said.
He said administrators would "maximise the economic development
potential of this valuable regeneration site".
Mr Brannigan said he did not declare his DUP membership when he applied
for the post because he was only asked if he had ever canvassed for a
political party. He said he would have happily declared his membership,
if he had been asked.
The Commissioner for Public Appointments in the north criticised the
Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) for
breaching a code of practice.
Commissioner John Keanie said they had failed to comply with the code
on a number of points, including not having named the political parties
to which several board members have links.
>>>>>> No sign of Covenant march talks
No consultations have yet taken place with residents of a nationalist
area which 20,000 members of the anti-Catholic Orange Order and
thousands more supporters are due to parade past later this month.
Tensions have been high in the area of north Belfast since loyalists
breached Parades Commission determinations and played sectarian music
while passing a Catholic church in August.
Violence also erupted earlier this month when loyalist rioters clashed
with the PSNI in the wake of a republican commemoration in the area.
The Royal Black Institution, closely linked to the Orange Order, has
since apologised to the clergy and parishioners of St Patrick's Church
on Donegall Street for offence caused during its 'Last Saturday' march.
Unionists have also claimed that "quiet conversations" are ongoing in
an attempt to defuse the situation ahead of the giant Ulster Covenant
centenary parade on September 29.
The parade, to mark the anniversary of the first declaration of
loyalist militancy in the north of Ireland, is planned to be the
largest seen in the North for decades.
However, nationalist residents spokesman Frank Dempsey said any hope
that mediation would take place ahead of the march was "fading fast".
The Carrick Hill spokesman said tensions remain high in the area and
talks between all parties, including residents, were essential to
finding a resolution.
Residents have lodged an application with the Parades Commission to hold
a protest at the top of Donegall Street on the morning of September 29.
They will also meet with the commission next week to make submissions
on concerns about the parade.
"After the Black Preceptory apology people seem to think that there are
behind-the-scenes talks going on that involve residents.
"However, that couldn't be further from the truth as to date -- and
despite us putting the invitation out through a third party -- no-one
from the Orange Orders or any of the Unionist political parties has
"We have not received so much as a phone call."
Mr Dempsey added that the intended route of the parade, marking 100
years since the signing of the Ulster Covenant, impacted on a
significant number of residents who live in the area.
An attempt by loyalist hardliners to elevate tensions by applying for
permission for a Covenant 'feeder' parade past the nationalist Ardoyne
area has since been withdrawn, reportedly following a 'high level'
intervention by senior Orangemen.
Local Sinn Fein councillor Conor Maskey warned that the 'loyal orders'
may be engaging in a PR exercise.
"The Loyal Orders are saying that conversations 'are taking place away
from the public gaze' and as it is not with the residents, who is it
that they are talking to?" he asked.
Meanwhile, a motion of no confidence in DUP minister Nelson McCausland
over his comments on sectarian parades may yet gain the necessary
support at the Stormont Assembly.
McCausland, a DUP hardliner, backed the illegal march by loyalists past
St Patrick's church. The march, which involved scores of gestures and
acts of sectarian abuse, was described as an act of "civil
disobedience" by the controversial Minister.
The leader of the small nationalist SDLP party, Dr Alasdair McDonnell,
said he was waiting for confirmation from Sinn Fein and the Alliance
Party ahead of Tuesday's vote, which nationalists have said could mark a
turning point in Stormont's approach to the parades issue.
>>>>>> Court finds British Army interrogations were illegal
Hundreds of people could be in line for compensation after a British
military document revealed that the British army continued to
interrogate suspects it had captured, despite being banned from doing
The document, contained in a confidential file, was uncovered during
the appeal of Liam Holden, the last man in Ireland to be sentenced to
death by the British authorities.
Mr Holden was 19 when he was convicted of a British soldier's murder in
1972 after signing a confession under duress and being subjected to
'waterboarding' -- a torture technique -- in British hands.
The father-of-two later had his death sentence commuted to life
imprisonment, but he spent 17 years in jail.
Earlier this summer, the Court of Appeal quashed Mr Holden's conviction
on the grounds that his arrest by British soldiers was unlawful.
However, Britain continued to resist the release of details of the
secret 'blue card rules'. Following a High Court challenge by human
rights lawyer Patricia Coyle, the British MoD [Ministry of Defence] has
finally agreed to make public the military rules of arrest.
The directive was issued to all members of the military in May 1972
after the then attorney general said that holding people in military
detention to obtain intelligence, "as appears sometimes to have been the
practice, was certainly outside the law".
The British army was told to hand suspects over to the RUC
police at the earliest opportunity and to question them only to
establish the identity of the person under arrest.
Mr Holden said he was working as a chef when he was taken from his home
and brought to the British Army barracks.
"By the time they were finished with me I would have admitted to
killing JFK," he said.
He was subjected to sustained torture and then threatened that he would
be shot if he did not confess to the killing.
"I was beaten and they told me to admit I had shot the soldier, but I
said that wasn't true because I didn't," he said.
"Then six soldiers came into the cubicle where I was being held and
"They held me down on the floor and one of them placed a towel over my
face, and they got water and they started pouring the water through the
towel all round my face, very slowly.
"After a while you can't get your breath but you still try to get your
breath, so when you were trying to breathe in through your mouth you
are sucking the water in, and if you try to breathe in through your
nose, you are sniffing the water in.
"It was continual, a slow process, and at the end of it you basically
feel like you are suffocating."
Mr Holden said he eventually 'confessed' after he was threatened with
Ms Coyle, of Harte Coyle Collins solicitors, said the release of the
previously confidential information could open the door for anyone held
in military custody for more than four hours after May 1972, to sue the
"It is quite astonishing that it has taken almost 40 years for the
'blue card rules' and army directives underpinning the rules to become
public," she said.
>>>>>> Failed attempt to recruit Newry man
Covert undercover British operatives are actively spying on eirigi's
Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney, it has emerged.
A neighbour of Mr Murney's came forward to eirigi to make it known that
he had been approached by plain clothed security force personnel who
tried to recruit him to work for them in gathering information on
The approach began weeks ago, when the victim, a family man, had to
attend a PSNI barracks over a family matter, during which he had to
provide his name and address.
Shortly afterwards the man had an early morning visit to his home by
the PSNI, accompanied by plain clothed personnel, who didn't identify
themselves. They claimed to be investigating a burglary in a nearby
cul-de-sac -- but rather than make enquiries about the alleged
burglary, they pressed the man to answer a number of unrelated personal
These questions immediately raised suspicions and the victim asked if
they would also be calling to the rest of the houses in the street.
They said they would, but after leaving his house, they immediately got
into their vehicles and drove off.
It later emerged that there was no burglary as stated by the PSNI, and
that his was the only house visited in the street.
"It now seems this was an initial attempt to 'suss out' the individual
before the next step in the process, which took place a few weeks later,"
said eirigi, in a statement.
It said the man was walking down Hill Street in Newry
when he was approached by a plain-clothed individual, who was
aware of his previous interaction with the PSNI.
This unidentified individual then began questioning the victim about Mr
Murney, who lives close to him. The target was asked if he had any
information that he would like to pass on and quizzed about Murney's
activities -- before being finally being asked to spy on the prominent
activist and gather information for them.
He refused -- but the agent then menacingly made it known that he knew
the victim had been speaking to Murney in a city centre establishment a
few weeks beforehand.
"This would further confirm that the eirigi activist has already been
placed under surveillance by state forces," said eirigi's Runai
Ginearalta, Breandan Mac Cionnaith.
"Stephen's neighbour is to be commended for coming forward and making it
known that these shadowy forces, unsuccessfully, attempted to pressurise
him into gathering information on a member of an open political party.
"I have spoken with the man to whom these approaches were made and it's
clear that he was clearly unsettled by this whole episode.
"Stephen Murney is openly and actively engaged in legitimate political
activities and in helping the community in Derrybeg and other parts of
Newry. Like all members of our party, Stephen has nothing to hide. These
cowardly sinister forces on the other hand are working in the shadows
under cover and out of sight to target him and others."
Mr Mac Cionnaith said the approach had been recorded with the Committee
on the Administration of Justice [CAJ] and the victim's legal
"I would urge anyone who is approached in this manner, regardless of
whether the approach is made by PSNI, MI5 operatives or both, to come
forward and expose their ominous activities."
>>>>>> Legal actions continue against PSNI bid to seize interviews
The case of the Boston College IRA tapes is to go before the US Supreme
Court as the British authorities continue their efforts to investigate
those allegedly named in the interviews as IRA members.
The 'confidential' interviews were carried out with former republican
and loyalist figures as part of a history project for Boston College.
Last year, the PSNI sought access to the tapes in connection with
historical actions by the Provisional IRA.
One of the interviews was with former political prisoner Dolours Price.
It is alleged she may have made potentially prosecutable statements in
regard to the death of Jean McConville, who was killed by the IRA in
1972 as an informer.
Lawyers are appealing the decision to hand over the tapes to the PSNI in
both the US and in the north of Ireland.
Journalists Ed Moloney and Anthony Mr McIntyre have applied to the US
First Circuit Court of Appeal for a rehearing of the case, but this was
rejected last month.
The men said they would now apply for a hearing at the US Supreme Court
because the case "addresses issues of major constitutional importance"
They said the PSNI had applied for access to the interview transcripts
under the terms of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between the
US and Britain.
In a joint statement, the men said their lawyers would argue that "the
MLAT bestows upon the PSNI greater powers in relation to the serving of
subpoenas in the US than could be exercised by, for instance, the FBI.
"US citizens could challenge a subpoena served by the FBI on First and
Fifth Amendment grounds but are precluded from doing so in the case of
subpoenas served by foreign powers under an MLAT."
They added that 62 countries have signed MLATs with the US, and said
some of them had "poor human rights records".
Boston College is also appealing against the decision to hand over the
tapes in the US, but separately from the two men.
Commentators have said the best hope of safeguarding the peace process
archive (and academic confidentiality) rests with US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton. Several members of Congress -- including Senator
John Kerry, chairman of the Senate's powerful foreign relations
committee -- have called on her to persuade Britain to withdraw its
Boston College subpoena. However, Clinton hasn't yet made any public
pronouncements on the case.
Meanwhile, a third legal action, which is currently underway in Belfast,
is also becoming controversial.
Speaking out today [Friday], Moloney denied Ms Price had even mentioned
McConville in her interview.
"Dolours Price did not once mention the name Jean McConville," he said.
"The subject of that unfortunate woman's disappearance is not even
mentioned. Not once," the New York-based journalist said in a statement.
"Neither are the allegations that Dolours Price was involved in any
other disappearance carried out by the IRA in Belfast, nor that she
received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams or any other IRA
figure," he added.
"None of this is in her interviews with Anthony McIntyre."
Last week, the Belfast High Court granted a temporary injunction to
prevent the PSNI from receiving the taped interviews until the
conclusion of the legal challenge there.
However, supporters of McIntyre and Moloney fear the tapes could still
be handed over following any adverse ruling in either Belfast or
Moloney's full and detailed statement is carried below.
>>>>>> Feature: 'BC Subpoenas caused by lies and PSNI failings'
The following statement was issued today [Friday] by Ed Moloney, the
former director of Boston College's Belfast Project, in regard to the
PSNI's attempt to access the project's confidential interviews.
When the US government served subpoenas on Boston College's Belfast
Project archive in May 2011 on behalf of the PSNI, the subsequent legal
challenge was led by Boston College and the strategy was decided by the
College's leaders in consultation with their lawyers. These were not our
lawyers, nor our strategy.
Eventually, dissatisfaction with the Boston College strategy persuaded
us to break from them and to hire our own attorneys, Eamonn Dornan and
Jim Cotter and to devise our own strategy in consultation with them. We
had important, perhaps decisive things to say but we needed to say them
in a court of law where we had a chance of overturning the subpoenas.
We had been trying to get the go-ahead from a US court to intervene at
which point we could make these arguments public during a decisive
hearing in an American court. So far we have not succeeded. Now that
there is a possibility of a Judicial Review being held in Belfast we
believe that this moment has come. Accordingly, I have sworn an
affidavit for the Belfast court this morning summarizing the essential
facts and my statement below goes into far more detail.
BOSTON COLLEGE SUBPOENA WAS BASED ON A JOURNALIST'S LIE & PSNI FAILINGS
When this research project at Boston College (BC) began we gave
interviewees a pledge that nothing of what they said would be revealed
until their deaths. I intend to keep that promise.
But the pledge did not cover what the interviewees did not say.
I now wish to make the following facts public: in her interviews with BC
researcher, Anthony McIntyre, Dolours Price did not once mention the
name Jean McConville. The subject of that unfortunate woman's
disappearance is not even mentioned. Not once. Neither are the
allegations that Dolours Price was involved in any other disappearance
carried out by the IRA in Belfast, nor that she received orders to
disappear people from Gerry Adams or any other IRA figure. None of this
is in her interviews with Anthony McIntyre.
The subpoena served in May 2011 by the US government on behalf of the
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) seeking her interviews, which
was followed in August by other subpoenas seeking more interviews from
the BC archive, was based upon a false newspaper report in Northern
Ireland published in February 2010 alleging that she had talked about
the disappearance of Jean McConville to Anthony McIntyre for the BC
The McIntyre-Price-BC interviews are the wellspring for this extensive
legal action carried out by the British and American governments, a
legal action that could do irreparable harm to the peace process in
Northern Ireland, irretrievably reduce academic and media freedoms in
the United States and imperil the lives of researchers and interviewees
In this document I will provide evidence to show that the PSNI failed in
its basic duty of establishing the reliability and credibility of the
false newspaper report until fifteen months after the article had
appeared and after the subpoenas had been served on BC. There is a
responsibility on a police force in such circumstances to seek evidence
firstly from the sources that are nearest to hand, what the American
legal system calls "the least sensitive source". This the PSNI did not
I will show that the PSNI moved to check the newspaper material or
gather evidence only after I had placed on legal record with the
District Court in Boston my belief that the basis for the subpoena was
flawed and that the taped interview referred to was not from BC but was
made by the Belfast daily newspaper, The Irish News. The evidence I now
present establishes beyond any doubt that the first subpoena was deeply
The United States Department of Justice presumably believed that the
PSNI had carried out due diligence before embarking on the subpoena
route but in that respect it was either mistaken or misled. This was an
egregious abuse by the PSNI of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT)
between the US and the UK which facilitated these subpoenas. Under the
terms of the MLAT, myself and Anthony McIntyre were barred from opposing
the action in court. This abuse of the MLAT by the PSNI demonstrates
beyond peradventure the need for Congress to urgently rewrite these
treaties to prevent a future similar injustice.
I will now describe the background to the false newspaper article that
began this legal nightmare.
THE IRISH NEWS - THE SUNDAY LIFE
The newspaper report that began the saga of the BC subpoenas appeared in
The Sunday Life, a popular tabloid circulated in Northern Ireland, on
February 21st, 2010 under the by-line of Ciaran Barnes. The report,
splashed on the front page and continued inside, alleged that Dolours
Price had been involved in the McConville disappearance and several
other similar events and had admitted all this in a tape recorded
The article went on to claim that Dolours Price had given taped
interviews to what Barnes called "Boston University" and he told his
readers that he had heard tape recordings in which Dolours Price
confessed her role. The piece was written in such a way as to lead the
average reader to conclude that she had made these admissions on tape to
BC and that Ciaran Barnes had listened to them; this assumption was
subsequently shared by the PSNI and the US Department of Justice.
To quote Ciaran Barnes' report: "Price recently gave a series of
interviews to academics from Boston University (sic) about her role in
the IRA. These include admissions about her role in transporting some of
the disappeared to their deaths. The interviews were given on the basis
that they will not be published until after her death", and "Price, who
has made taped confessions of her role in the abductions to academics at
Boston University, will relay this information to Independent Commission
for Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) investigators later this week".
And also: "Sunday Life has heard tape recordings made by Price in which
she details the allegations against Adams and confesses her own
involvement in a series of murders and secret burials".
Ciaran Barnes' report featured centrally in the US government's defence
of the subpoenas when the action was challenged in the Federal District
Court by BC. Here is what the US Attorney for Massachusetts, Carmen
Ortiz had to say in her July 2011 submission: "Ms Price's interviews by
BC were the subjects of news reports published in Northern Ireland in
2010, in which Ms Price admitted her involvement in the murder and
"disappearances" of at least four persons which the IRA targeted: Jean
McConville, Joe Lynskey, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee. See Exhibits 1
and 2. Moreover, according to one news report, the reporter was
permitted to listen to portions of Ms Price's BC interviews."
In other words the official US Government stance was that The Sunday
Life reporter, Ciaran Barnes had listened to Dolours Price's interview
with BC and had heard her confessing to the disappearance of Jean
McConville and others. Presumably this is what the PSNI told the US
government and presumably the US government believed it. The subpoenas
served against BC were therefore justified, the US government argued.
The truth is that the interviews that Anthony McIntyre conducted with
Dolours Price are notable for the absence of any material that could
ever have justified the subpoenas. In this respect it is worth
remembering that when she was interviewed by McIntyre, Dolours Price was
given the same confidentiality assurances as other interviewees, which
was that whatever she said would not be revealed until her death. As the
interviews with Brendan Hughes, later published in the book Voices From
The Grave, graphically demonstrate this enabled interviewees to speak
freely, fully and candidly and to talk honestly about their lives in the
(Incidentally all this nails the lie that the Belfast Project was
established to "Get Gerry Adams" as people like Niall O'Dowd and Danny
Morrison have alleged. As this episode demonstrates, no interviewees
were ever put under pressure to implicate him or anyone else in IRA
So what was the genesis of Ciaran Barnes' shocking misreporting?
Three days before his report appeared, on February 18th 2010, The Irish
News, Northern Ireland's daily Nationalist newspaper, published a
lengthy series of articles based on an interview with Dolours Price
conducted in Dublin earlier that week by one of the paper's senior
reporters, Allison Morris. The front page lead carried the headline:
"Dolours Price's trauma over IRA disappeared". The interview was tape
recorded and it has been my consistent belief throughout this affair
that the tape recording that Ciaran Barnes listened to and upon which he
based his Sunday Life article was Allison Morris' tape. It certainly
could not have been BC's.
Some background is needed here. 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.
To cut a long story short the family intervened with the editor of The
Irish News, Noel Doran and as a consequence the resulting story
published by Doran was very restrained. There were no direct quotes from
her and in relation to Jean McConville, the Irish News had just this to
say: "Ms Price is also said to have been privy to details of the final
days of mother-of-ten Jean McConville, whose remains have already been
recovered", and "She is believed to possess previously undisclosed
information about at least four Disappeared victims."
Most crucially of all, the Irish News couched its report in the context
of Dolours Price taking the story of what she allegedly knew about the
"disappeared" to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims'
Remains (ICLVR), a body set up under the aegis of the peace process to
deal with the vexed and troubling issue of victims 'disappeared' by the
IRA. That was crucial because the ICLVR bestows immunity from
prosecution and so Dolours Price would not be subjected to criminal
prosecution as a result of anything she told the Commission. And The
Irish News was careful not to implicate her directly in any criminal
I would like to place on record my belief is that the editor of The
Irish News, Noel Doran behaved properly in all this. But sadly, the same
cannot be said for his reporter Allison Morris.
All would have been fine and I would not now be writing this statement
and the courts in two jurisdictions would not have had their time taken
up with the case of the BC subpoenas but for the fact that three days
later, The Sunday Life took the story a stage further, adding garish and
gruesome detail to The Irish News story and seemingly citing the BC
interviews as the source for the story.
The immediate effect of Ciaran Barnes' reportage was to make the
immunity deal arranged by Noel Doran and the ICLVR redundant. Dolours
Price could not be prosecuted for what she told the commission but she
could face charges over what Ciaran Barnes' claimed she had told BC.
So why do I believe that Ciaran Barnes got his story from Allison
Well, first of all it could not have come from Anthony McIntyre's
interview with Dolours Price because it does not mention Jean McConville
at all nor any of the other people disappeared by the IRA at the same
time. So the idea that Barnes listened to the BC tape and used it as a
source for his story is a sheer impossibility.
Barnes does however say very distinctly that he did listen to "tape
recordings made by Price" admitting to the Jean McConville and other
disappearances. So a tape did exist. So whose tape was it? I believe it
was Allison Morris' tape not least because Irish News editor Noel Doran
admitted that Morris had taped Dolours Price in the course of a lengthy
debate with myself carried out in the columns of the Irish-American
website, TheWildGeese.com during 2011. (Source:
He wrote: "As I have pointed out, Moloney himself could have solved this
'mystery' through one simple telephone call. We would have been happy to
tell him that PSNI detectives did attempt to obtain the Irish News tape
but were informed that we were no longer in possession of any such
material." (More about this further down)
So there was a tape of the Dolours Price interview. Given that we don't
know of any other interview that Dolours Price gave and that her
interview with Anthony McIntyre made no mention of the material that
made up the bulk of Ciaran Barnes' report, suspicion must inevitably
fall on Allison Morris as being the source. Barnes had to be quoting
from Allison Morris' tape because there was no other tape.
There were no quotes from Dolours Price in the Irish News report of her
interview with Allison Morris and that was understandable, given the
deal that had been struck between her family and the paper's editor. But
why no quotes in the Ciaran Barnes' article? After all he had seemingly
gotten access to a sensational exclusive, a tape recorded interview made
by a respectable and credible American college revealing the background
to one of the Troubles' most notorious killings, so why not use direct
quotes from the interview to substantiate and add credibility to his
story. It is what nearly every journalist I know would do, and certainly
what a reputable reporter would do. Nor was he restrained by any deal
made by his source or the source's family with his editor. But he
didn't. So why not?
Well put yourself in Ciaran Barnes' shoes. He thinks he knows Dolours
Price has given interviews to BC and he guesses that she must have
covered the same ground as Allison Morris did, although he can't know
that for certain. But if he uses quotes from the Morris interview and
pretends they came from BC then it will be a simple matter to prove he
is lying by comparing the Boston interview with the quotes he publishes.
If they don't match then he is caught with his pants down. And once
found out he and his paper could face legal retribution from one of
America's wealthiest colleges. Not a nice prospect; so far better to use
The effect of The Sunday Life story was to add lustre and credibility to
Allison Morris' scoop and not long after the two stories appeared,
Allison Morris won two prestigious journalistic prizes, the National
Union of Journalists' Regional Journalist of the Year and a similar
award from the Society of British Regional Editors. For each prize she
submitted a three-article portfolio, one of which was her interview with
Dolours Price. Now regarded as one of The Irish News' star reporters,
Allison Morris and Ciaran Barnes have come a long way since they both
worked together and became friends in the west Belfast weekly, The
THE PSNI AND THE DUE DILIGENCE FAILURE
As I was putting the pieces of this story together the Leveson Inquiry
had begun hearing evidence about the hacking scandal involving Rupert
Murdoch's News International and I wrote a detailed email to Lord
Leveson's team asking that this episode be included in his
investigation. I did so after taking legal advice and because his
inquiry encompassed both the questionable practices of some journalists
and the relationship between the media and the police.
Unfortunately, this was not possible; the Leveson team told me that the
appropriate place for hearings into "who did what to whom" would be in
Part Two of his Inquiry which will happen if and when police
investigations and criminal prosecutions have taken place. So maybe on
another day the behaviour of Ciaran Barnes and Allison Morris will come
under proper scrutiny.
Aside from being an egregious case of media misbehavior, the reason I
wanted Leveson to have a look at the Sunday Life-Irish News case was
that the PSNI had seemingly made no effort to locate relevant material
right on their doorstep - that is the Irish News interview with Dolours
Price and the "tape" that Ciaran Barnes had claimed to have listened to.
Instead they had ignored these local sources and opted instead to seek
their evidence 3,000 miles away in Boston. Why?
In my June 2011 affidavit I made it clear that I believed that Dolours
Price's interview with Allison Morris had been taped and that the tape
had been passed on to Ciaran Barnes in The Sunday Life. And I added that
there was no way that Ciaran Barnes could have heard her BC interview.
Without spelling out the reality that Dolours Price had not talked about
Jean McConville in her interviews with Anthony McIntyre, my affidavit
clearly said that the basis of the subpoenas was flawed.
When The Boston Globe published an editorial urging the college to hand
over the tapes I emailed Tom Hachey, the head of the Irish Studies
Center and the man in charge of the archive, asking if he or someone
else from the college would respond. He did not reply, so myself and
Anthony McIntyre asked The Boston Globe for the right to reply which
Our article, published on August 23rd, 2011 had this to say, inter alia:
"The subpoenas that have been served are based on an unproven assertion:
that an interview given to the college by a former Irish Republican Army
activist, Dolours Price, could shed light on a 40-year-old murder and
should be surrendered.
"The truth, however, is that the Police Service of Northern Ireland
(PSNI), on whose behalf US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz is acting, does not
know what Dolours Price told BC's interviewers. Neither does Ortiz.
"They do not know because the legal basis for the subpoenas is deeply
flawed, the result of either rank incompetence or sleight of hand. The
authorities have justified the action by claiming that an interview with
Price published in a Belfast newspaper in February 2010 about the murder
was derived from her BC interview, when in fact it was based on a
separate taped interview given directly to the newspaper. Price's
interviews have never been released by BC and never would be - because a
guarantee of confidentiality was given to every interviewee.
"What is happening is essentially an unwarranted fishing expedition into
the college archives."
It must be clear to the reader now why we wrote those words.
But the question remains, why had the PSNI not gone straight away to the
source of those two stories in the Irish News and Sunday Life as soon as
they were published? When I was subpoenaed in 1999 by Scotland Yard over
the Billy Stobie case because of an article I wrote, the subpoena was
served within days of publication. When Suzanne Breen was subpoenaed
following an interview she had with the Real IRA, again it was served
within days. But after the Irish News and Sunday Life articles appeared
nothing happened and the PSNI sat on their hands.
Let me be clear about one thing. While I utterly abhor the behavior of
Allison Morris and Ciaran Barnes, I am not for one moment suggesting
that The Irish News or Sunday Life should take our place in this awful
legal ordeal. I would not wish that on anyone. I do not believe the
police should have the right to demand any media material and I have
long advocated for a shield law to protect the media. And had those two
newspapers found themselves in our place I am sure they would have
resisted and fought for confidentiality. In those circumstances I would
have volunteered my support for them.
What concerns me here is the behavior of the PSNI and the question of
why they did not seek material nearer at hand than Boston College?
It has been suggested that one reason is that the PSNI, battling for
support from a suspicious Catholic community in the troubled wake of the
peace process, is unwilling to confront and embarrass Northern Ireland's
largest Nationalist daily newspaper. Some have argued that this explains
why the PSNI served subpoenas on Suzanne Breen when she wrote about
dissident IRA matters but ignored Allison Morris when she wrote in a
similar vein. I do not know if this explains why the PSNI went to BC
rather than to The Irish News but it is an intriguing question.
So what did the PSNI ever do about checking the veracity of the Irish
News and Sunday Life articles and tracing their sources? Well, we know
from Irish News editor Noel Doran's article in TheWildGeese.com that, as
he put it: "..... PSNI detectives did attempt to obtain the Irish News
tape but were informed that we were no longer in possession of any such
But the crucial question is when did that happen? Surely, if the PSNI
was up to scratch, it had to be not long after the articles appeared?
The answer was provided by none other than Allison Morris who wrote in
the Irish News on October 19th, 2011 the following: "Moloney has
suggested there is some sort of mystery as to whether the PSNI has
attempted to obtain material from the Irish News. In fact the Irish News
was approached by the PSNI in June this year. The police were informed I
had not retained any material in relation to my discussion with Ms Price
and had nothing further to add to what had appeared in the Irish News in
Two things jump out from Morris' article and both raise serious
questions about the PSNI's Crime Branch, currently led by Assistant
Chief Constable Drew Harris, which is in charge of the Dolours Price
investigation. The first is that the PSNI waited until June 2011, before
it got round to checking with the Irish News about the paper's interview
with a person who is allegedly at the centre of one of Northern
Ireland's most notorious killings and the subject of an unprecedented
transatlantic legal action. The Irish News interview appeared in
February 2010, PSNI detectives eventually tracked down the newspaper in
June 2011. That is a gap of fifteen months. Fifteen months!
The other is the date, June 2011. What else happened in June 2011? Well
one thing that did happen that month was that my affidavit, setting out
the claim that the Sunday Life article was based on the Irish News'
taped interview with Dolours Price was lodged with the District Court in
Boston and made available to the PSNI's ally in this affair, the US
Attorney's office. Now it may be that a little bird landed on Drew
Harris' shoulder and whispered into his ear that he better send some of
his guys round to the Irish News but I'd bet the mortgage that it was my
affidavit landing on his desk c/o the US Attorney that sent detectives
scurrying to Allison Morris' desk. In impolite circles this is called
'Covering Your Arse'.
While we do not yet know whether the PSNI ever got round to talking to
Ciaran Barnes about his sources there are really only two conclusions
possible about the PSNI's handling of this matter. One is that its Crime
Branch is seriously incompetent. The other is that something more
sinister is going on. I could speculate about what this could be but I
won't. But it ought to be investigated by someone. This was the reason I
tried to refer all this to the Leveson inquiry. Either way the PSNI's
handling of the matter suggests that something is very seriously amiss
in its Crime Branch.
BOSTON COLLEGE REDUX
Throughout the last year or so of legal struggle myself and Anthony
McIntyre knew full well that in her interviews as part of the Belfast
Project, Dolours Price had made no mention of Jean McConville or her
disappearance. But we were not alone. BC also knew this. The academics
and administrators there knew that when Ciaran Barnes suggested that she
had implicated herself in the McConville disappearance in her interviews
with McIntyre that this was complete rubbish and possibly deliberate
In such disgraceful circumstances the claim that she had also admitted
giving interviews to BC ought to have been treated with skepticism and
at the very least Dolours Price should have been given the benefit of
the doubt. But BC chose to believe Ciaran Barnes in this matter despite
the fact that his central charge against her was invented, that he had
not produced one quote from her in his report to substantiate the claim
that she had talked about her BC interviews, and that he even got the
name of the college wrong, calling it "Boston University".
Having invented the contents of her interviews with BC, Ciaran Barnes
could just as easily have made up the claim that she had admitted giving
the interviews, especially if the goal was to hide the real source for
his article, Allison Morris' taped interview.
The existence of the BC archive was well known by that time and Morris
herself had phoned me more than once in early 2010 in an effort to learn
what Brendan Hughes had said in his interviews, then about to be
published in Voices From The Grave. It would have been natural to link
Dolours Price with BC, or have guessed that she might be an interviewee,
without having definite knowledge.
Despite all this, BC decided to throw Dolours Price to the wolves. When
the college eventually decided to launch a limited appeal to protect the
content of other interviews subpoenaed by the PSNI, she was deliberately
excluded on the grounds that she had compromised her confidentiality.
Not one scintilla of evidence was provided, other than Ciaran Barnes'
yellow journalism, to back up this claim.
Amidst the failure to stand by its own research project by fighting this
case to the highest court in the land, the abandonment and disparagement
of its researchers and research subjects and the failure to fight for
academic freedom on behalf of all America's scholars, this moment was
surely the lowest in BC's ignoble odyssey through the PSNI subpoenas.
>>>>>> Analysis: Support Marian Price
A major rally for interned republican activist Marian Price takes place
this Saturday [tomorrow] in Dublin. Writing this week, Eamonn McCann
said that the era when Irish republicans were imprisoned in British
jails without due process is supposed to be history -- but some want to
turn the clock back. (For Socialist Worker)
Marian Price was arrested on 13 May 2011 and charged with encouraging
support for an illegal organisation. The charge arose from an Easter
Rising commemoration in Derry city cemetery the previous month.
On a blustery day, she had reached up and held the script from which a
masked man was reading the Real IRA's "Easter Message". Three days
later, Marian appeared in court in Derry where, despite strenuous
prosecution objections, she was granted bail.
However, she was re-arrested as she emerged from the courthouse on the
basis of a document signed the previous evening by Northern Ireland
secretary of state Owen Paterson and taken to Maghaberry high-security
She has since been transferred to a secure ward--armed guards, barred
windows, bolted doors, constant surveillance--in a Belfast hospital. She
is gravely ill. She could be held for the rest of her life.
Paterson had concocted a scheme to trump the bail decision if it went
against the state. The court hearing had been made a meaningless
charade. Marian's continued imprisonment reveals a similar contempt for
justice and due process.
Paterson's document, reversing Marian's release from a life sentence in
1980, was based on "intelligence"--information from MI5 or MI6 which
cannot be made public, on the grounds of "national security".
In Maghaberry in July, Marian was further charged with "providing
property for the purposes of terrorism". The reference was to her
allegedly having bought a phone which the authorities believed had
subsequently been used in connection with the killing of two soldiers
outside Massereene barracks in Antrim in March 2009.
Marian had been held for two days and questioned about this allegation
in November 2009 before being released without charge. No evidence
unearthed in the interim was offered in court. She was again granted
bail. But, again, Paterson's order took precedence.
Marian's supporters believe that the Massereene charge was designed to
associate her with a notorious crime that the authorities had been
unable to connect her with.
They wanted to stymie a campaign for her release which was attracting
support from a wide range of people who found it difficult to see what
crime had actually been committed at the Easter Commemoration.
On 10 May this year, almost exactly a year from her original arrest, the
charges relating to the commemoration were thrown out at Derry court.
Told that preliminary papers were still not ready, Judge McElholm
declared that every citizen was entitled to a fair trial within a
reasonable period and that the prosecution hadn't met this condition.
But Marian's imprisonment was still underwritten by Paterson's
signature. This was the third time a court had ordered her release, and
the third time the Tory minister said no.
Marian's frail condition prevented her from travelling to Derry for the
hearing. Neither was she able to walk to the video suite at Hydebank
Prison where she was now being held to follow the proceedings on screen.
Since then, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, and two
of the North's leading criminologists, Dr Phil Scraton of Queen's
University and Dr Linda Moore of the University of Ulster, have visited
All three have called for her release, either on ground of civil rights
and due process or for humanitarian reasons to do with her health.
The two academics, authors of a number of official reports into prisons
in the North, concluded: "Given the concerns expressed locally and
internationally regarding [her] continued detention and declining
health, we urge you to release her on humanitarian grounds."
They added: "Marian Price has been imprisoned...without trial in
circumstances which may amount to administrative internment and which we
believe to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights."
Paterson turned a deaf ear. Marian remains imprisoned without a release
date or a date when she can apply for release.
Marian Price, then 19, was one of nine members of the Provisional IRA
convicted of planting four bombs in London, including one at the Old
Bailey, in March 1973. Around 180 people were injured in the attack,
mainly by flying glass. One man died from a heart attack.
The bombers included Gerry Kelly, now a Sinn Fein minister at Stormont,
and Price's older sister, Dolours. Convicted on two counts of planting
bombs and one of conspiracy to cause explosions, they were each given
two life sentences and a determinate sentence of 20 years.
Marian was freed in 1980, suffering from tuberculosis and anorexia and
weighing around five stone. She and Dolours had spent 200 days on hunger
strike demanding a transfer to Northern Ireland, where Republican
prisoners had political status.
They were force-fed three times a day for the last 167 of the 200
days--forcibly restrained and a tube thrust through the throat into the
stomach and liquid nutrition poured down. The resultant trauma was a
major factor in the anorexia which led to the 1980 pardon.
From the moment she was arrested in May last year, Marian insisted that
she had been released in 1980 on the basis of a Royal Prerogative of
Mercy (RPM) which Paterson didn't have authority to override. Paterson
claimed that the terms of the pardon did allow his intervention.
Marian's lawyers repeatedly asked for production of the pardon so its
terms could be checked. They were eventually informed that the sole copy
couldn't be found, had probably been shredded and at any rate had
disappeared during 2010.
It is not necessary to be cynical to suspect that the document was
disappeared after Marian's detention when the authorities realised that
it gave Paterson no power to put her back into prison.
After her release in 1980, Marian didn't come to prominent public notice
again until the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, when she
emerged as one of the sharpest critics of Sinn Fein leaders who had
signed up to the deal.
Her Republican credentials made her a formidable advocate. Logically
enough, the Northern Ireland Office will have wanted her out of the way.
Initially, parole commissioners ordered Paterson to produce the pardon.
Instead, on 16 December last, his lawyers argued that inferences could
be drawn from other material from the period.
Marian's representatives countered that any decision to deprive a
citizen of liberty "must be properly authorised [and] is not a matter
for inference and speculation".
On 30 January, the commissioners declared: "The issue is a simple one.
Did the RPM cover only the 20-year determinate sentence or did it also
cover the two life sentences ... The difficulty is that the secretary of
state has informed the panel that the RPM cannot be located; it has
either been lost or destroyed." The panel added that losing the document
was "to use as neutral a word as possible... unfortunate".
They went on to say that, "There is no contemporary material exhibited...
to confirm or support [Marian's] claims concerning the scope of the
But the only piece of contemporary material which could have confirmed
Marian's claim was the document which Paterson insisted his department
had mislaid or destroyed. Bizarrely, the commissioners "urge[d] the
secretary of state to continue the search for the RPM."
The alternative explanation, that Paterson conspired to deprive a
citizen of due process and imprison her indefinitely, will have struck
the commissioners, drawn from the great and good, as utterly
far-fetched--rather than the most obvious and reasonable conclusion to be
drawn from the facts.
When 'national security' means no evidence
The issues arising from Marian's case are not specific to Northern
Ireland. In the same week that Paterson rejected the court decision to
strike out the Derry charge, the coalition announced a Bill giving
ministers power to order the use of secret evidence--"Closed Material
Procedures"--in civil cases.
This was in response to cases arising from MI5 and MI6 involvement in
the "war on terror". Ministers explained that evidence in such cases
couldn't be produced in open court, for fear of endangering "national
Unions line up to join campaign
In April 2012, the NI Conference of the Irish Congress of Trades Unions
passed by a large majority a resolution calling for Marian's release:
"The trades union movement has led opposition to political violence over
the past 40 years. We have repeatedly mobilised our members in protest
against atrocities, whether perpetrated by Loyalist or Republican
paramilitary organisations or by state forces.
"We continue to urge the use of peaceful means only to remedy the
grievances which persist in our society and which impact most damagingly
on the working class communities whose interests trades unions strive to
"The cause of peace is never served by the denial of justice. No good
cause is served by keeping Marian Price in Maghaberry prison. We call on
the secretary of state to free her now."
This coming Saturday [September 15th], a human rights march and rally
will be held in Dublin, to demand the release of Marian Price.
The march, organised by the Free Marian Price Dublin Committee, will
assemble 2pm at the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, Dublin 1,
before making its way to the GPO.
Speakers at the rally will include Independent TD Thomas Pringle,
Independent Dublin City Councillor Ciaran Perry and Pauline Mellon of
the Justice for Marian Price Campaign. Renowned protest singer Pol Mac
Adaim will also perform at the event.