St Patricks Day: Radio Free Eireann interview with Carrie Twomey

Radio Free Eireann
Saint Patrick’s Day Special
WBAI – New York
Saturday 17 March 2012

Sandy Boyer (SB) interviews Carrie Twomey (CT)

Sandy Boyer (SB): You’re listening to Radio Free Eireann WBAI 99.5 FM and this is our Saint Patrick’s Day Special. And we have just about an hour and twenty minutes to go and then the last hour we’re going to turn it over to Eliza Butler to spin her inimitable mix of Irish music. But we’re very lucky that we have Carrie Twomey in the studio today, who’s normally in Ireland, and her husband, Anthony McIntyre, was the Lead Researcher on what has become known as The Belfast Project at Boston College, which was a very innovative attempt to get an Oral History of The Troubles from the point of view of the IRA veterans, the UVF veterans, the people who were actually on the front lines fighting it. But Carrie, now we have the pretty terrible spectre of the US government, at the bidding of the British government, trying to subpoena some of those papers. Carrie, can you tell us about it?

Carrie Twomey (CT): It would be like trying to subpoena Ernie O’Malley’s notes to use them to prosecute him for On Another Man’s Wound. It’s just a terrible situation. When I was last here we were in the lower courts and our Motion to Intervene and Boston College’s Motion to Quash was over-ruled or dismissed, basically. But we have very good lawyers in Eamonn Dornan and Jim Cotter, and they managed to get a Stay on all the material being handed over, pending an appeal, which is going to be heard in April. So I’m here to continue lobbying, to continue the political pressure to get this to stop.

SB: Very specifically, we’re talking about tapes (and) interviews about the case of Jean McConville, who was allegedly an informer for the British in a Republican ghetto in Belfast. But Carrie, it looks like this is a fishing expedition, an attempt to use these interviews, if they can get their hands on them, to mount criminal or maybe even civil prosecutions.

CT: Oh absolutely it’s a fishing expedition. There’s no question about that. And we do believe that because these are unsworn testimony, it’s going to be uncorroborated, it’s not going to meet the standard of evidence in a criminal court. We believe that there is a move to try to get them released as criminal evidence in order to proceed with a civil suit against people like Gerry Adams. That’s not what this Oral History was gathered for and that’s absolutely wrong to do and the US courts should not have proceeded as far as it has with it. The Department of Justice should have said “No” as soon as it landed on their desk.


  1. Carrie is a good woman to have on your side Anthony ,

  2. Indeed Mackers, Carrie is highly intelligent with more brains than any MLA that SF ever churned out.

    I loved the bit about Ernie O'Malley...Cracker!

    However I don't think this is about bringing civil suits or anything else against Adams, as I believe the Brits have enough already on that person, ie the Hunger Strikes, his brother etc to sink him deeper than the Titanic.

    Adams is far too much an asset to damage.

    I believe the Brits want to deter others from telling stories in the future. And I believe that the shinners are up to their bollocks in it as well.

    The thing is, as Carrie pointed out, none of these tapes can be used in court.

    What should be asked is, do the Brits want the truth about the past? Are they afraid that these tapes, particularly those of loyalists might incriminate them in what we know they've been involved in; the murder, mass murder even of Catholics such as the Dublin/Monaghan bombings?

    Would it not suit both the Brits and the Shinners to keep the past buried?

  3. AM
    Carrie came across as the extremely articulate woman she is. She's a credit to you, your family and the struggle you are currently engaged in over these subpoenas.


  4. Marty,

    Protesting at the Olympics – what a good idea. I think Brian Holmes did it at the 1972 Olympics against internment.


    interesting point. Must get that raised with Raymond Murray

  5. Dixie,

    We are always trying to work out why they have opted for the line they have. We can’t be definitive. But we do feel that while Adams is an asset to the British government, not all in that camp are happy with the way he has done quite well for himself. And from what we can put together he seems to be the focus of a certain tendency within the Brit camp. And there is no escaping the discomfort that will arise if the Brits win the case.

    ‘I believe the Brits want to deter others from telling stories in the future. And I believe that the shinners are up to their bollocks in it as well.’

    You could be right on that. It is an element we have thought about and can’t discount the possibility although it can coexist alongside our own perspective.

  6. Could be a bit of the old divide and conquer Anthony, I mean here that putting a boot into Adams and promoting Marty really would nail down qsf,they wouldnt know which way to turn,it would suit some securocrats to see Adams squirm while Marty dressed in dickeybow curtseys to his gracious majesty.that would really seal the dirty deal.