Chris Bray: Boston College

Below is a link to separate locations that feature an article by Chris Bray, a Los Angeles based blogger and historian who has been following the Boston College subpoena crisis. In the article Chris Bray, in the words of the Belfast Project director Ed Moloney, ‘charts a disgraceful and shameful chapter in the history of American academic life.’


  1. I have been following this case given its unique nature I was surprised at the lack of interest BC has showed in defending “their” agreement with the interviewees.
    I am not surprised at how quick they want to disown the matter.
    I would assume BC is concerned about its reputation and more so concerned with funding.
    What is particularly disturbing is the breech of ethics on their part as they clearly betrayed those individuals involved and have left them high and dry.
    Not that it would be of any concern for BC, as they are safe and far away in their treacherous ivory tower lying under their blanket of academic interest.

    I doubt they would care about the mental anguish and fears of all involved considering they do not have the luxury afforded to BC; instead, they possibly face the courts of Loyalist and Republican Para-military justice.

    I doubt BC or the British government would be able to ensure the rights and safety of these people. It seems a step backwards and does nothing but promote more distrust and division and definitely could make the “tentative” peace-process precarious.

  2. Next christmas has come early-

    one of those involved in this yarn telling has already told/sold there story to the papers this year so why should Boston college put up a big fight-

    It was the interviewees who blinked

  3. I'm assuming the person you refer to is Richard O'Rawe, Michael Henry?

    I think the difference here is that it was Richards choice to take his story to the press. The remaining interviewees have made no such choice and should be afforded the right to not have their stories known until after they die. That was the deal with BC after all and the college should put up a fight, if only to protect their own integrity & future academic research.

  4. Michael

    It would be the ethical response for BC to have defended those they give reassurance to instead of folding and throwing the people into the sea of uncertainty.

  5. Belfast Bookworm-

    Well i was on about the price sisters [ what price the touts ]
    but if you want Richard O'rawe seen in that same category i will not argue- [ did not know that O'rawe made public his past-what fun-did he name his comrades also ]

  6. Tain Bo-

    " Thrown into the sea of unceartainty "

    They better start praying thats all what is going to happen to them-

    But what am i on about-sure those ones are hardline-lol-

  7. As far as we, Clan na Gael, are concerned, and of course, it is easy to say not being on the hot seat, there is NO WAY under any circumstances that Boston College should surrender part of or ANY of those interviews. It is a fishing expedition at the behest of the British government to solidify their hold on crushing what's left of Irish Republicanism in Ireland and the support it has in America.

  8. as far as we are concerned, and of course, it is easy to say not being on the hot seat so to speak, there is NO WAY under any circumstances that Boston College should surrender part of or ANY of those interviews. It is a fishing expedition by the US government at the behest of the British government by way of solidifying their hold on crushing Irish Republicanism in Ireland and the support it has in America. We are disgusted to say the least at the dismantling of the United States Constitution to placate “our allies” in Britain, who have done nothing more than support this country’s attempt to dominate world foreign policy. What is going on in Ireland, the disregard of the basic human rights of Gerry McGeough, of Marian Price, and far too many others to name that are paramount.

  9. BC have and are about to commit a great wrong on people whom they took into there confidence , both parties I assume entered into this arrangement with nothing other than a historical event being recorded in order to give all participants their side of the story , most of history is recorded by opinions rather than fact .
    What has happened in this case and through no fault of either side is that and I can only presume, is that the interviews were all conducted before during and after 9/11 .
    As we all know and especially those who have since visited the USA the paranoia is thick in the air, airports are like the middle of Belfast in the 70’s with so much security
    Taking all this into account I believe that but for 9/11 we could have recorded a great chunk of modern history for our young people and help them not to make the same mistakes as us .

    Micheal Henry
    Do you really think this is a joke or are you like a lot of Shinners “it’s their side of the story only”

  10. Michael,

    I noticed your initial language of “yarn telling” changed to “tout” specifically directed at the Price sisters and progresses to the more ominous:

    “They better start praying thats all what is going to happen to them-

    But what am i on about-sure those ones are hardline-lol-“

    What exactly do you find amusing and more so what do you mean by they should start praying that is all what is going to happen to them?

    The fact that you find it amusing only displays your ignorance and considering you support PSF and their peace accord would your words not be a contradiction of your parties wishes to move on from the violence you imply with a grin on your face.

    Wise up Michael what sort of peace is that?

  11. Michael Henry, you usually amuse me with your childish & blinkered rants but for the first time you've disgusted me.

    Are you so stupid that you do not understand the repurcussions this could have for everyone - not to mention the peace process you defend & advocate so much?

    And just who do you think you are speaking so disrespectfully about any woman let alone the Price sisters? You clearly have no understanding of what those two women went & continue to go through. This latest post of yours is truly a reflection of the idiotic, blinkered, ill educated and ill informed little sheep you are. In my opinion you bring nothing of value to this blog. I enjoy reading the opinions of others, look forward to the debates, but you add nothing whatsoever only the usual, immature rhetoric that we've come to expect of you.

  12. Belfast Bookworm & Tain Bo,

    Hear, hear! Michael Henry's comments are disgraceful.

  13. Michael Henry,

    Richard O'Rawe and the Price sisters devoted their lives to the cause of a united Ireland. I didn't agree with their armed struggle, but I admire their idealism and courage.

    What I cannot understand is your gloating at their misfortune. That is nasty and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Even if you disapprove of the Boston College oral history archive, a project which means a lot to Anthony, to me and to many of your friends here, surely you must object to the damage the British legal action will do to journalistic/academic freedom.

    I still consider you a friend, Michael, but the nasty tone you have taken here is almost unforgivable.

  14. Alfie-

    Anthony allowed my say when everyone else banned me- now these others are asking my opinion-i will always tell what i think is the truth to Anthony- i will always support him like he always supported my freedom of speech on the Quill- For me to lie would be a disgrage to the Quill- i tell what i see as the truth-

  15. Michael Henry, if as you say, you've been banned from other places then you need to ask yourself why. Anthony allowing you space on TPQ goes without saying as he doesn't believe in censorship of opinion but you're abusing that right, slinging mud, attempting to assassinate the characters of people whose boots you aren't fit to lace.

    I feel you offer nothing to debate - I learn absolutely nothing from you, unlike every single other poster on this blog who has something valuable & insightful to contribute. You'd do well to listen & learn, the history books you're so fond of quoting & the rants you pick up at your ogra meetings will only teach you so much.

  16. This puter has been down "the man" said there was a wee fault in the line ,no mention of bugs,This disgraceful behaviour by B.C makes me wonder on who,s behalf those behind this project were really working for and here I exclude Ed, Anthony,or any of the researchers or indeed those who participated in this most worthy of projects. Mickeyboy re your comments ,well what do you expect from a pig but a grunt....if your looking for touts then you need look no further than your own party qsf who now openly endorse "touting",Ed Anthony and everyonelse involved in this will find that they have the unconditional support of everyone who supports the freedom of research and documentation into our inglorious past.Those in charge of BC should hang their heads in shame ,it wasnt that long ago they would have to watched their backs as well.

  17. michaelherny

    be careful what you wish for your enemies lest a worse fate befall you.

    The BC project will be used by you and others to slander, revile and demonise those who participated in it. However, if Brendan Hughes and Richard O'Rawe are representative of the calibre of the participants then your job will not be an easy one.

  18. Alfie,
    I didn't agree with their armed struggle, but I admire their idealism and courage.

    Watch u don't get bum splinters straddling that fence cara.

    I believe the writing was on the wall from the start given that BC as with all colleges rely heavily on funding. They have no care for peoples safety and have simply betrayed those individuals that gave them the time of day with information they should have taken with them to the grave.

    No question of the calibre of the men but surely a major mistake given what has occurred and the rumours of selling /telling further stories to the press.

  19. Anyone see morrison on the rte news?

  20. Paedar,

    I agree with you regarding the funding issue. BC like all colleges rely on funding, donations & sponsorship but I can't help but feel this is a huge PR disaster for them. It's been argued that their decision to hand over the files is a PR exercise in itself; that they can't risk losing funding & sponsorship by flouting the courts but surely BC's name will forever be associated with lack of integrity, unprofessionalism, betrayal etc.

    Alec, I agree with you about how hard a job Michael Henry et al will have. It is kind of embarrassing that the same people who once referred to Brendan Hughes as a legend now label him with all sorts of names.

  21. BKeane
    Sure did. Boy did he look dodgy and cornered with no escape. The same UK system that placed him, Adams, McGuinness + co. on an untouchable pedastal has come back to sink them with the 30 yr release of papers..pinochio looked a saint compared to danny boy.

    So the Thatcher govenment, the Pope and his envoy all recorded in 1981 that Bobby Sands offered to cease his fast a week before he died and it was refused by SF/IRA leadeship. 'They all got it wrong.' ?? so not just after 4 deaths eh? Finally exposed as the rats they always were. Men dying with no notion of council or stormont elections or decomissioning and SF leadership were ordering fancy suits for Stormont. If men were to be 'willingly' sacrificed surely NOT for stormont, and becoming the SDLP. FF vote held in south, no move across like SDLP. Suspect SDLP voters will flock 'home' over next election or two.

    Scap mcguinness adams donaldson morrison ..there's your rats michaelhenry. water finds its own level they say.

    happy new year to ALL on the Quill.

    mackers...put a fiver on andy carol 1st goal v magpies.

  22. Michael,

    I merely asked you to elaborate on your post since you addressed me. We have had exchanges before and given and taken a little friendly dissension. If I recall correctly the only time I had harsh words for you was regarding your posts on an article on the subject of suicide.

    I assume you do not understand the gravity of this and the broader impact it could have in both community’s.

    Michael, if you read the comments people show concern and respect for the project and its intentions.
    Do you really believe the former UVF and IRA members involved in the project are informers?
    If that were the case Michael, all of those involved would have been recruited long before the peace accord.

    You seem a little pressured by some of the posts regarding your obvious militant justice remarks. I would ask you to take a moment and reflect on how those involved in the project feel.

    The pressure and anxiety must be well past the point of unbearable. Try to show a little empathy instead of accusing them of betraying your great cause and at least consider the betrayal imposed on them by BC and the higher authorities.

  23. Larry,
    I'll be watching the 9 news just to see him squirm again.

  24. Myself and Ed Moloney managed to win a temporary stay on the handing over of tapes in the US courts today after Boston College had folded and conveyed its desire to the court to surrender everything.

  25. Good luck to both of you Anthony

  26. A small but important victory, Mackers. Fight the good fight and never give up hope. I know how much this means to you. Whatever comes out of this BC has suffered a major blow to its institutional integrity and has shown itself to be a bunch of cowards and capitulators.

  27. Tain Bo,

    academic freedom can never be protected by academic cowardice


    we need all the luck we can get


    small but important. Boston College may have deserted its post but we will hold our ground to the end. Imagine the trustees of BC in charge of America at the time of Pearl Harbour - the whole country would be speaking Japanese by now.

  28. To put the memoirs of the freedom fighters into the Belly of the Beast - and to expect them to be safe there... The Irish are incredibly naive. Never trust the Yanks (even if they have Irish surnames and you think that they are your cousins)..."Anything you say can and will be used against you". Will you ever learn?

  29. Michaelhenry,

    still, it is a strange sort of truth you speak. I would just like to test it empirically if you don't mind.

    Do you believe Gerry Adams when he says he was never a member of the IRA? Not asking you whether he was in it or not, simply if you believe his denials.

    That is a very simple truth test

  30. AM-

    " Do you believe Gerry Adams when he says he was never a member of the IRA "

    I don't know the honest answer but it would be madness for Gerry to admit membership because he would have to serve 2 years inside- nobody asks the price sisters if they were I.R.A members after their royal pardon in 1980-thats 31 years ago- but i am sure they would oppose anyone who told tales about them after 1980-

    Hope you dont think that that answer is a cop-out-

  31. Michaelhenry,

    anyone with the slightest knowledge of history or politics has a position on this, just as they have a position on whether they would believe ian Paisley saying he had never been a Protestant. So, yes I do think your answer is a cop out as you put it.

    It is not about whether it is madness for gerry to admit - it is about your belief not his admission. Do you belive his denials. Whatever way you answer that will not get him two days in jail. But it will be instructive as to your professed commitment to truth

  32. BKeane

    saw some former Brit minister on tv giving succour to the Morrison/SF line. 'Don't ask me...ask my best friend and handler'sprang to mind. Boy it's unbelievable.


    BC are letting ALL universities down by undertaking the project only to betray it. However, in all honesty, with the longstanding nature of Brit/USA inteligence connections, they likely have the info from 'the get-go'. Tehran University would have been more logical. Did the yanks not supply the Argies duff gear during the Malvina's war? Paddy never learns.

    I agree with a post on here saying about trust. I felt everyone in the USA were out to wipe your eye 24/7 in return for any decency you were foolish enough to display, had to be on guard full time on my outa that place and aint goin back. But enough of my relatives there!!!! 'In God we trust'...Aerlingus is safer.


    Get a life..or at least a second brain-cell. Your knees must be worn out and your nose a very dark shade of brown from Gerry's hole. Make a new years resolution NOT to be a SF SUCKER.

  33. Mickeyboy, truth, cop out, qsf,mmmm Anthony as someone who is a Huckelberry Finn type fisherman i.e, lay back and take it easy ,I dont think I,d have the patience to wait for an answer to your reasonable question,what I could say however is that for someone who was never in the "ra" the bearded one hasnt half made a good living of their backs,hope I havent annoyed Mickeyboy so that he calls the cops out..

  34. Anthony,

    “academic freedom can never be protected by academic cowardice”

    Academic cowardice is a rather generous description.
    So much for higher academic learning in BC’s case it should be higher academic treachery neatly wrapped up in the paper of duplicity.

    It does beg the question as to what the precedent holds for any future projects and certainly raises a red flag on academic and journalistic research.

    As Boyne Rover points out the research and project is beneficial to the younger generations.

    Best wishes to you and your family for a better 2012.

    Best wishes to all.

  35. Unknown,

    Where exactly should history be recorded if academic institutions cannot safeguard history then we are left with the old adage that the victor gets to write history.

    I am unsure why you introduce the Miranda rights. The Fifth Amendment allows for silence on the grounds that anything one says may be self-incriminating. Though the same silence may be used against a person if it occurs before they are read their right and the prosecution will attempt to use their silence against them.

  36. Does this whole affair not call into question any and all kinds of academic research,where colleges or universities may wish to collect private or sensitive information,as stated this course of inaction or unwillingness to defend its project and those involved by BC can only augur a disaster in the making to and for those involved in not only academic research but all shades of journalism,BC and indeed all the other universities need to have a long hard think where this leaves their independence, as do the press tv and radio agencies...

  37. Anthony,

    If you have managed to get the time to read today's newspapers, what do you make of the newly declassified British and Irish documents about the 1981 Hunger Strike? There are conflicting analyses in the media today: for instance, Paul Bew believes the files neither prove nor disprove Richard O'Rawe's claims, but others such as Brian Rowan and Eamon Phoenix argue that certain documents show that the British hadn't formulated their final position/statement/offer before Joe McDonnell died.

    I am firmly convinced that Richard O'Rawe is telling the truth, especially after Brendan Duddy's papers were made public, but I would like to know what he makes of the newly released material. For instance, could it be that a tentative offer was made via the Mountain Climber, but that it wouldn't have been put before the British cabinet for approval until the Provo leadership accepted it?

  38. Peadar,

    "Watch u don't get bum splinters straddling that fence cara."

    And let me guess: you not only fought the loyalists in '69 and the Para's in '72, but you polevaulted through an open window in 10 Downing St in '81 and gave Maggie the rogering of her life - all for dear old Ireland...

  39. Happy New Year to everyone.
    Hopefully in the New Year michaelhenry will actually read up on the things he is writing about.
    Marian Price was granted a pardon because she was seriously ill. The pardon does not come from the Queen it is requested and sanctioned by government ministers.
    Why would a seriously ill person due to hunger strike and force feeding turn this down, when some of the on -the-runs were quite happy to avail of it under the terms and conditions of the GFA?
    I think what you said was quite shameful and totally hypocritical given the fact you follow people who publicly advocate that communities turn informers.

  40. Alfie,

    read Slugger for a straightening out of the issue. You will see the idiocy exposed and dealt with. I see elsewhere O'Rawe's account has been 'demolished' again!!

  41. Alfie,

    Morrison will be telling us next he was only in sharing Sunday dinner with the hunger strikers. Read Ed's great piece on his history of lying at the Broken Elbow. He pulled away the lifeline from Joe McDonnell and ensured he never made it to safety. The Brits knew it. What use did they then put that knowledge to? That question is being asked with more frequency in the republican community. You know my view on it.

  42. Happy New Year to all my friends on the Pensive Quill!

    I know 2011 was disastrous for many people, but it marked my first full year without terrible mental suffering since 2007. Though I am by no means cured and have very bad moments at times, my life now is relatively good and for the first New Year's Eve in a very long time, I am optimistic about the future.

    I know I have said it before, but I want to say it again now: the catalyst to my recovery was the Pensive Quill and the friends that I made here. In particular, I'd like to mention Larry Hughes, Fionnuala Perry, MartyDownUnder, Saint Mary Hedgehog, John McGirr, Michael Henry, Stefan, Simon, Robert, and the wit that is Marty. Apologies if I have forgotten anyone, but I my family are telling me to get off that damn laptop!!! Finally, thank you Anthony and Carrie for this forum and your friendship.

  43. Anthony,

    Indeed, you are right. I think this post by Rusty Nail on Slugger refutes Rowan and Phoenix while at the same time eviserating Danny Morrison.

  44. Alfie
    Hope 2012 is fantastic for you. Bring it on. Best to all the 'gang' on here.

  45. Alfie I,m only half what you say about me ,best of luck in the coming year a cara,and as Beckett said and here I think he was refering to Mickeyboy "we are all born mad, some just remain so"keep er lit mo cara your doing fine...

  46. Alfie,
    thanks for the mention and I hope this new year proves to be one of happiness and more improvement for you.

  47. Alfie,

    it is becoming so embarrassing for the Shinners on Slugger over this one. Rory Carr, a thinking type whether you agree with him or not, has come in to try and defend the Morrison narrative. Morrison does not deal him a good hand to play from but he tries. he is then methodically taken apart. Basically the argument runs that Morrison who was banned from the jail over the previous six months was allowed in just to say 'hello, remember me from last year? I'm Dan, Mind if I drop by for a spot of lunch? The Brits let me in to say they might offer something.'

    Now why would the Brits do that I wonder? The first serious visist to the jail since December it was just to say hello.

    Only the subject matter is sensitive the antics of the Shinner lobby would give rise to much merriment.

  48. You know a cara much has been said and written about this disgraceful show of cowardice by BC in defence of that worthy project,but what has become increasingly annoying to me is the lack of distaste and anger that should be shown to the two egotistical award hunters who I believe may have kickstarted this whole stinking affair,and ruined a very worthy historical record collection of our recent past and who pose as journalists ie. Allison Morrison and Ciaran Barnes.those two scumbags in their quest for a scoop would have been well at home in the now defunct News of the World ,I hope their careers go the same way...

  49. Page 2 the vatican times aka The Irish News well worth reading today.

  50. Marty,

  51. It's a case of the victors imposing their version of history. SF cannot afford to resist, they facilitated it all.

    Head up high Mackers + family. History has already benefited from your work Anthony and the powers that be and their doormats have the foresight to see a potential chink in the 'peace-process' brainwash exercise. Doesn't even have to be a violent alternative to enrage them; ANY alternative will do that.


  52. Best wishes, AM. I know this will be difficult. We value your integrity.

  53. FionnchĂș

    It is good to see you again my friend I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to discuss this elsewhere with me.
    I value your opinions and they have giving me plenty to think about.

    Go raibh maith agat mo chara

  54. Larry,

    'Tehran University would have been more logical.'

    Sad to say but true. I imagine it would have put up something other than BC's sham fight

  55. Yes mackers.

    I feel the Irish American connection and history is minute when it is placed beside USA/UK 'interests'. For me all that stuff is right up there with the 'American dream'.

    Doubtless many a paddy prospered in the U.S. of A. as they did elsewhere. The sad thing is paddy only ever did well elsewhere. 100 years freedom here left us 6000 empty housing estates, a needle and a bunch of cute hoors laughing up their sleeves planning their next go at it.


  56. I am curious as to what impact or influence the upcoming American election has on this case and did BC conveniently fold to appease a political party.
    Obviously, the so-called left wing Democrats would have great difficulty explaining to the American public if they had objected to the British request for the information on “terrorism” not only would their right wing Republican party counterparts have a field day in the media with this but also their British ally would too.

    Would it be safe to assume that Obama and his administration only pay lip service to the peace accord and are seemingly abandoning the interests of peace in Northern Ireland for his parties’ political gain?

    Considering we are only, a tiny pebble on the beach of American and British interests. I am curious if this were, an Al Qaeda/Taliban project would they be so willing and enabling to even think about gambling on the possible disastrous consequences it could have on peace.

  57. I read the article by Greenslade on the Boston College story - He got it right on protection of sources. The US decision sets a precedent that will damage future serious journalism and research, as if both aren’t getting enough of a booting as it is.
    On the other hand, I thought he lazily accepted the Adams group’s slur of Moloney and McIntyre’s research being motivated by a desire to undermine Sinn Fein at face value. It’s a bit like claiming Gerry Adams has been an MLA all these years just to spite Anthony McIntyre. The fact that some people involved with the Belfast Project and the Adams clique don’t like each other is not a ‘salient point’.
    In addition, Moloney and McIntyre hardly have to go to such lengths to blow holes in the Adams group narrative. They’ve been running rings around them for years just by writing articles. It says a lot for Sinn Fein’s weakness that it has lost the intellectual argument on republicanism to a journo and a blogger.
    SF must be delighted the BC thing has blown up, as it gives them a chance to put pressure on Moloney and McIntyre without any need to revise their bankrupt ideas or expose their mythmaking in a straight argument.

  58. Tain Bo,

    you are right, it is worse than academic cowardice. The effects as you say on academic research in the future are beyond serious.

  59. Nuala,

    a happy new year to you as well. How happy for many is another matter given this crisis.


    I am so glad that TPQ was of benefit to you in your battles. You are a good guy. Happy new year

  60. Alfie,

    the Morrison narrative is reduced to clutching at straws now. he has don ehis own case major damage. The constant shifting of position leave the narrative threadbare

  61. Larry,

    the powers that be are out to destroy all that work now. Other than fight it to the end there is not much we can do. If it goes down it will not do so without a fight, even though BC folded and are now hiding behind dishonest statements

  62. BC made the decision secretly to not contest the subpoenas supplied by the courts and with that stance went further with the extent of their compliance when ‘asked’ to do so…sounds like a good servant…..the question is why?
    Why would an institution such as BC, willingly hang, drawn and quarter its integrity on a project of such insignificance such as this one?
    This is a key question to this sorrowful and insignificant debacle. Their so called ‘disgraceful’ behaviour is irrelevant and their future behaviour also.

    There are Machiavellian machinations at work here and BC has been placed in a round room and told to stand in the corner……..their betrayal doesn’t make sense! It would seem that the skeletons in the closet of academia are known to more than one institution!

  63. AM-

    IN the Irish news today it says that the researchers behind the boston colleges oral history project have demanded the destruction of all those taped interviews-

    At least the old nazis waited untill the books were wrote before they burnt them-yous guys want to have all burnt before the research can be made into books-lol-

  64. Michaelhenry,

    before it gets into the courts.

  65. FionnchĂș,

    as always, good to have your support

  66. Frank,

    saw the Greenslade piece myself. Did he not used to write for the Sinn Fein's An Phoblacht under an assumed name? So there is no great surprise that he would buy into the narrative of the party. Having said that I thought his conclusion was a decent enough.

    Also heard him on Radio Ulster again trying to undermine the research and spinning the SF line. I am not sure he understands what oral history is meant to be. If he does he is avoiding the issues that this case throws up.

    It is hard to judge Sinn Fein's position on the matter. Although we do know that a journalist close to the party was arguing online for the archive to be handed over.

    And we also had Danny Morrison making the case for the British police in his endeavours to hobble the defence against any handover.

    Strange old world

  67. Anthony,

    Happy New Year!

    "That is a very simple truth test"

    It appears Michael has failed your 'polygraph'!

  68. Robert,

    you were missed. Happy New Year

  69. Aye Robert a cara happy new year,knew youd be about somewhere, keeping a watching brief on proceedings here on TPQ,and as unionist with an open mind I,d be interested in your take on the big issues here i.e the B.C. affair and the ongoing debate over the hunger strike deal,

  70. Didn’t know that about Greenslade and An Phoblacht. Always thought he was very sharp on the media, online challenges to print publications etc. Strange how many very intelligent commentators choose to turn off that forensic intelligence on certain issues and go with the flow according to their politics. And they criticise others in the media for the same –, strange old world indeed.
    I thought your exchange with SPON was interesting. There is an honesty and integrity there that is lacking from general political discourse and I wonder if it is the absence of such that has made the years since the ceasefire unbloody yet so bloody partisan – who knows?
    I lived in Northern Ireland at the time of the Good Friday Agreement and was optimistic about it and sensed a palpable optimism among people. It infuriated me that SDLP and OUP didn’t make life better for people in NI with genuine power sharing, bringing in laws to create jobs, or anything that people might have felt, cutting road deaths for example. Instead nothing happened. They waited for the IRA/CLMC to give up their weapons and by that time SF and DUP had manipulated their way to dominance. Then those 2 parties accepted the deal they had squealed about the SDLP and OUP wanting. Now we are stuck with SF and DUP, parties that owe themselves to tribal, partial, chauvinistic tendencies. Can we be anything other than fucked?
    I want to know why nothing positive happened immediately after the GFA? Were the parties stagestruck? Did the British hobble it? Did the IRA threaten to blow it away? Did it just get bogged down in procedural, bureaucratic detail. Whatever it was the delay was critically important.

  71. Frank White-

    It is no big secret why the G.F.A
    seemed to be going slowly in the early years- the u.u.p huffs walked away from the Executive 3 times- it was nothing to do with Sinn Feins peace efforts-

    3 times the u.u.p walked out of the Assembly-but the people got their revenge at the elections and knocked that party down a peg or two-

  72. Interesting Michael. I must confess my memory of the time is sketchy. But what you say is a bit too ‘it was themmins’ to be entirely convincing.