St Patricks Day: Radio Free Eireann interview with Carrie Twomey
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.