Anthony McIntyre Response to Irish News NUJ Chapel Complaint on Behalf of Allison Morris

Anthony McIntyre's response to the Irish News NUJ Chapel's Rule 24 Complaint on Behalf of Allison Morris will feature in two parts. Today The Pensive Quill carries his response to the initial complaint lodged by the Irish News chapel.

Freedom to Issue Writs or the Freedom to Write?
A Defining Matter for the NUJ
Part Two: Response to Additional material filed by Irish News chapel
See also: NUJ Wiki-Dump

22 September 2013
Re: NUJ Rule 24 Complaint

Gerry Carson
Belfast and District Branch National Union of Journalists

I am writing in response to your email dated 10 September 2013, informing me of the Irish News Chapel Rule 24 Complaint on behalf of Allison Morris on August 19, 2013 and August 30, 2013 respectively.

I object to this on a number of grounds, not least because it is frivolous and vexatious, is sub judice, and arises as a result of criticism of Ms. Morris’s own pattern of unethical behaviour. Additionally, it has already been dealt with in substance by the NUJ Appeals Tribunal and found to be without merit.

Moreover, Ms Morris herself could not be bothered to attend the Appeals Tribunal hearing of her first complaint, opting instead to attend a football match; for the NUJ to entertain a further complaint on her behalf given her own abandonment of a similar complaint which came to nothing is a waste of everyone’s time.

I am now being put to the task of having to defend an action which has already failed. All of this is highly unfair and against the principles of natural justice. The Belfast and District Branch should dismiss the Complaint.

Specifically, I object on these grounds:
  • Sub Judice: The issue in question is sub judice. The NUJ, whether it is the Belfast and District Branch, Ethics Council, or NEC, cannot do anything about this complaint while the threat of legal proceedings is concurrent;
  • Natural Justice: The substance of this second complaint has already been dealt with by the NUJ and failed. This second complaint does not contain anything new, or certainly nothing which could possibly lead the Appeals Tribunal to make a different finding;
  • Ethics: The material in question, which the Complainant seeks to suppress on behalf of Ms Morris, had itself raised questions regarding journalistic ethics. The response of the NUJ to this succession of censorious complaints is a defining matter for the Union.
Please find enclosed a more detailed examination of the grounds of objection outlined, along with relevant documents attached.

Respectfully yours,

Anthony McIntyre
NUJ Member,
Belfast and District Branch

Enclosures: 10
1. Anthony McIntyre Response to Rule 24 Complaint from Irish News Chapel on behalf of Allison Morris ANTHONYMCINTYREBRANCHRESPONSERULE24IRISHNEWS.pdf

Supporting Documents:
2. Anthony McIntyre letter to NUJ Appeals Tribunal (Anthony_McIntyre_letterNUJAPPEAL.pdf)
3. Tim Gopsill statement submitted to NUJ Appeals Tribunal (antmctgstajul13.pdf)
4. Ed Moloney Statement submitted to NUJ Appeals Tribunal (antmcemstatjul13.pdf)
5. NUJ Appeals Tribunal letter to Anthony McIntyre (Letter to Member Appellant – Notification of Rule 24 Appeal Outcome)
6. NUJ Appeals Tribunal Statement (Statement of Appeals Tribunal McInytre.pdf)
7. Irish News Editor Noel Doran correspondence (NOELDORAN.pdf)
8. Letter of Action from Johnsons Solicitors on behalf of Allison Morris (JOHNSONS.pdf)
9. Image file (IMAGEFILE.pdf)
including: Irish News chapel letter to NUJ Ethics Council
Irish News report of NUJ Ethics Council ban
Sinn Fein publicity director letter to NUJ Ethics Council
Phoenix report of NUJ Ethics Council ban
Irish News coverage of NUJ Appeals Tribunal vindication
Various Allison Morris/Fernando Murphy online comments
10. Addendum: NUJ Support in Boston College Case

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary

Anthony McIntyre Response
Rule 24 Complaint from Irish News Chapel on behalf of Allison Morris
“When one writer tries to silence another, he silences every writer
― and in the end he also silences himself.” ― David Leavitt

The Rule 24 Complaint filed on behalf of Allison Morris by the Irish News Chapel is frivolous and vexatious, is sub judice, and arises as a result of criticism of Ms. Morris’s own pattern of unethical behavior. Additionally, it has already been dealt with in substance by the NUJ Appeals Tribunal and found to be without merit. Mr. McIntyre is now being put to the task of having to defend an action which has already failed. The Belfast and District Branch should dismiss the Complaint.

Re 2nd Rule 24 Complaint filed on behalf of Irish News reporter Allison Morris

Membership Responsibilities, (b) (i) under which members are expected “to treat other members of the union and union staff, with consideration and respect and not to take actions which threaten their livelihood or working conditions”.
  • Sub Judice
First and foremost the NUJ, whether it is the Belfast and District Branch, Ethics Council, or NEC, cannot do anything about this complaint while the threat of legal proceedings is concurrent. At the same time that the Irish News chapel were launching their complaint on behalf of Ms. Morris, who could not launch an additional complaint herself given the fact that she had effectively abandoned her complaint on Appeal, opting to attend a football match instead, Ms. Morris’s editor, Noel Doran, was conducting correspondence with Mr. McIntyre in a transparent aim to set up legal action against him.

Prior to the NUJ’s notification of Ms. Morris’ second complaint, Johnsons Solicitors acting on her behalf sent a letter of action to Mr. McIntyre. Ms. Morris and the Irish News must either sue Mr. McIntyre or bring a complaint against him in the NUJ – they cannot do both. It is a complete and utter cynical abuse of the NUJ to again attempt to use the Union as a vehicle to strengthen her spurious and vexatious legal pursuit of Mr. McIntyre. It is a violation of the first principle of the NUJ Code of Conduct and these types of action also subvert the NUJ’s position on freedom of speech and libel reform. It is also against the principles of natural justice to pursue such a course.

  • Frivolous and Vexatious
Secondly, and perhaps more egregious, is that Ms. Morris via her chapel is seeking to re-try her initial Rule 24 complaint after losing on appeal. The substance of this second complaint has already been dealt with by the NUJ. Mr. McIntyre is now being put to the task of having to defend an action which has already failed. Additionally, this second complaint does not contain anything new, or certainly nothing which could possibly lead the Appeals Tribunal to make a different finding.

Had Ms. Morris not attempted to re-try her complaint in the comments section of the Letters Blogatory website, with the blatant and plainly obnoxious lie that she could not attend the appeal hearing in London due to work commitments and financial constraints, none of this would be an issue for anyone.

Instead, Ms. Morris, who claims to have respect for her Union but so far only demonstrates a cynical contempt for it, decided a Cliftonville-Celtic match in Glasgow was more important for her to attend. Why the Belfast and District Branch, let alone her chapel and editor, would be seriously entertaining any claim of hers against Mr. McIntyre defies logic and common sense, if she herself could not be bothered to defend her complaint.

Everything that has been published on The Pensive Quill in the wake of Ms. Morris’s attempt to re-try her complaint and getting caught lying in doing so can be stood up under scrutiny. The same cannot be said for any of her complaints against Mr. McIntyre.

The Irish News complains that Ms. Morris finds the ‘attacks on her character’ etc., distressing etc., but gives no consideration for how the previous complaint of Ms. Morris, and the previous threat of her legal action, conducted while fighting the ongoing source protection battle – a battle endorsed by the NUJ – over the Boston College subpoenas, has impacted on Mr. McIntyre and his family, and those involved in the Boston College case. Ms. Morris and her feelings are not the only ones that exist in this world, nor should they be treated as such, or as if they exist in a vacuum where her ‘feelings’ give her free reign to trample upon others as she pleases in her behaviour.

  • Disclosure of Union Business initiated by Ms. Morris & Irish News
It is arguable, especially given the prominent Irish News coverage of Mr. McIntyre’s suspension as a result of her complaint, that Ms. Morris’ initial complaint was solely lodged to discredit him in the middle of the Boston College battle. The fact that she did not attend the appeal hearing of her complaint gives added weight to this view.

In fact the prominent Irish News article was a breach of confidential Union business, such that Ms. Morris could not wait to use her access to the Irish News in order to wax triumphant over Mr. McIntyre, despite the fact the NUJ appeal process had not yet been concluded. As such, Mr. McIntyre had no recourse but to publicly expose everything relating to her NUJ complaint in defense of his character against her unjustifiable onslaught, acting as any reasonable person would after being unfairly subjected to her baseless accusations.

Up until the Irish News publication of the Ethics Council verdict, Mr. McIntyre had not spoken publicly of her harassing claim. It was Ms. Morris who broke the NUJ’s bond of trust in order to discredit Mr. McIntyre, just as it was Ms. Morris’s own freely made comments on Letters Blogatory that opened the door to the examination of Ms. Morris’s current position.

  • Harassment
Far from Mr. McIntyre harassing Ms. Morris, it is Ms. Morris who has been vindictively harassing him. Mr. McIntyre would take no notice of Ms. Morris were it not for the attention she has brought upon herself by lodging a succession of baseless complaints and vexatious legal threats against him.
  • In May 2011, her editor, Noel Doran, contacted Mr. McIntyre to threaten him with legal action if he did not remove a satirical piece published by The Pensive Quill.
  • The NUJ also informally contacted Mr. McIntyre after the legal threats were lodged.
  • Mr. McIntyre ultimately removed the piece and that should have been the end of the matter.
  • However, some six months later Mr. McIntyre was made aware that Ms. Morris and Mr. Ciaran Barnes filed a Rule 24 Complaint against Mr. McIntyre. The Complaint was handled abysmally by the Ethics Council.
Given Mr. McIntyre had already complied with Ms. Morris’ wishes as expressed to him informally by the NUJ, her subsequent filing of a Rule 24 Complaint, revealed to have been filed some 3 months after Mr. McIntyre had complied with her request, was a spurious and vexatious harassment.

The following 9 months were taken up with dealing with Ms. Morris’ Complaint, on top of the legal and political battle to protect the confidentiality of the Boston College archives. As expressed by his wife, Carrie Twomey in her article, “I Have a Right to Be Angry”, the baseless complaint brought by Ms. Morris took a considerable emotional toll on the McIntyre family.

To add insult to injury, after launching this campaign against Mr. McIntyre in a bid to destroy his professional reputation at a time when he was engaged in a land-mark source protection battle that is of immense interest to NUJ members and their work, Ms. Morris did not see fit to attend the appeal hearing, which Mr. McIntyre attended at great cost to himself and his family.

The Irish News chapel did not exactly cover itself in glory either given the disparity of coverage between his suspension and his vindication, and its correspondence with the Ethics Council against Mr. McIntyre. [See “True to Their Words” and “Invertebrate Journalism”]

However, once the appeal had been concluded, that again should have been the end of matters.

  • Conduct
Instead, Ms. Morris then continued her campaign of harassment against Mr. McIntyre with her comments on Letters Blogatory. The contradiction in her claims to Letters Blogatory and her own public social media tweets could arguably be a violation of the NUJ’s Code of Conduct (2), as the information she conveyed was demonstrably untrue.

All of this is in the public domain, freely posted by Ms. Morris herself across the web on Letters Blogatory, Twitter, and Facebook. There can be no expectation of privacy in public comments. Moreover, journalists and the Irish News Chapel should know better than to try to assert otherwise: the claims that this amounts to harassment of Ms. Morris adds to the frivolity of the Complaint.

It is sheer chutzpah for the Irish News Chapel to complain about the article What Price Justice, which exposes Ms. Morris’s lie on Letters Blogatory, and utter not a word about the original lie written by Ms. Morris. It wants an honest, substantiated piece of writing suppressed but a dishonest one to remain in place.

To make matters worse, Ms. Morris’s partner, Fernando Murphy, upon information and belief, under a variety of aliases including but not limited to ‘FM’, ‘Fido’, ‘Ardoyne Blogger’, ‘Francis Devlin’, ‘Daniel McArdle’, and ‘Ardoyne Reds’, then launched an online tirade of abuse, which currently continues on The Pensive Quill, Facebook, and Twitter, that includes attacking the paternity of Mr. McIntyre’s children and alleging that Mr. McIntyre is colluding with loyalist death squads.

Ms. Morris is more than aware of this as the same day that her partner sent unsolicited private messages on Facebook to both Mr. McIntyre and his wife calling her fat, Ms. Morris tweeted a reference to The Pensive Quill (TPQ) also making a snide comment about weight (“You’re the One for Me, Fatty”).

For her to deny being involved in and supportive of Mr. Murphy’s online campaign against the McIntyres begs belief. People are not that stupid and should be rightly insulted in the face of such a claim. Mr. Murphy’s actions, much like this Complaint and the concurrent legal threats issued by Johnsons Solicitors on her behalf, are a transparent attempt at her pretending to maintain clean hands in what is a very dirty fight she is conducting against Mr. McIntyre.

The comments of her partner Mr. Murphy come in the wake of his also participating in a chorus of intimidation and threats against fellow NUJ member Hugh Jordan of the Sunday World. Ms. Morris is aware of this behavior by her partner and has yet to condemn it; instead she seeks to silence Mr. McIntyre because exposing it is an embarrassment to her. Ms. Morris does not understand it is not the exposing of the hypocrisy that is unethical; it is the hypocritical behavior being exposed that constitutes unethical behavior. It is the actions of herself and her partner that are embarrassing her.

Given her seeming endorsement of Mr. Murphy’s actions as evidenced by her tweet supporting his comments attacking Mr. McIntyre’s wife, Ms. Morris does have hard questions to answer, and it is in the public interest to ask them. As the author Stephen King said, “If there's one belief I hold above all others, it is that those who would set themselves up in judgment on matters of what is "right" and what is "best" should be given no rest; that they should have to defend their behavior most stringently.”

  • Censorship
The only person bringing the Union into disrepute is Ms. Morris and those facilitating her baseless and vexatious harassment of Mr. McIntyre. Mr. McIntyre has always been a free speech advocate and continues to stand against censorship, which is best expressed in the NUJ’s Code of Conduct (1):

[A journalist] At all times upholds and defends the principle of media freedom, the right of freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed.
Ms. Morris’s constant use of the NUJ and Johnsons Solicitors, as well as the abusive and menacing comments of her partner, in order to silence criticism of her public behavior is a gross insult to the collective intellect of the NUJ and actively undermines the interests of the Union.

  • Unethical Behavior
The heart of this matter, and what Ms. Morris seeks to have censored, is her behavior in the handling of her interview with Dolours Price. It is well known amongst the Belfast NUJ community the practice some journalists have of sharing stories and resources, especially as a means to getting around their own outlet’s legal or editorial constraints.

When the Irish News, due to the mental health of Dolours Price and the request of her family, opted to restrict the publication of Ms. Morris’s interview with her, and when Ms. Morris believed that the reason Dolours Price pulled her interview was because NUJ member Ed Moloney was going to interview her, Ms. Morris then gave her taped interview with Price to Sunday Life reporter Ciaran Barnes, arguably in a bid to scoop Moloney and evade her editor’s constraints.

Barnes’ report implied he had heard Dolours Price’s contribution to the oral history archive at Boston College in order to cover Morris as his true source. This sleight of hand led directly to the subpoenaing of the confidential Boston College archives; the US Attorney in Boston submitted both Morris’ and Barnes’ reports as evidence as to the confidentiality of the archive having been breached.

It was impossible for Barnes to have heard the Boston College archive, not least because no mention of the McConville case was made in Mr. McIntyre’s interview with Dolours Price for Boston College. Both Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Moloney have sworn affidavits attesting to this.

The problem for Ms. Morris is that after the publication of Barnes’s report, Dolours Price told Mr. McIntyre that there was other specific information contained in the Sunday Life which she had only revealed to two people: Mr. McIntyre and Ms. Morris. Moreover, Ms. Price made it clear to Mr. McIntyre that she had never spoken to Ciaran Barnes. As Mr. McIntyre also did not speak to Mr. Barnes, there is only one person who could have – Ms. Morris. Mr. McIntyre had never once spoken with or met Mr. Barnes up until meeting him for the first time at the NUJ hearing in January, 2013. Ms. Morris, on the other hand, has a long-standing professional relationship with Mr. Barnes.

  • False Basis for Subpoena
Without the actions of Morris and Barnes, the extent of the oral history archive would not be known nor would anything beyond Brendan Hughes’ material have been subpoenaed. As Mr. Hughes was dead, his material was no longer confidential and no subpoena would have been needed to access his archive. In fact, Boston College immediately handed over his archive to the PSNI without contest.

The importance of this lay in the fact that the basis of the subpoenaing of the confidential archives of Dolours Price is false. Mr. Barnes did not have access to Ms. Price’s Boston College interviews.

This also raises the question of why the PSNI went all the way to Boston before they asked either reporter or outlet in Belfast about the interview that the US Attorney claims sent them to Boston.

The Irish News and Ms. Morris are on record that the PSNI did not approach them about Morris’ interview with Price until after the fact they had not been approached was raised in the US courts, some 16 months after the Morris’ interview with Price interview was conducted. The PSNI were told the Irish News and Morris retained no notes or tapes and this was accepted at face value and not pursued by the PSNI.

The discrepancy between the pursuit of the Boston College archive and the approach to the Irish News demonstrates at the very least a completely incompetent police investigation that the US government should have considered when assessing whether to cooperate with the UK MLAT request of the confidential archives.

The MLAT request is not in keeping with the 1st and 4th amendments of the US Constitution, principles which the NUJ broadly share: freedom of speech and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

It is therefore in the NUJ’s interest to support the battle to protect the Boston College archives and not contribute to the undermining of that case. Ms. Morris’s personal interests against Mr. McIntyre do not outweigh the collective interest in the principles of media freedom and the protection of sources.

  • Defining Matter
It is important for the Belfast and District Branch, who, contrary to the NUJ’s own rules, was never approached in the first complaint lodged by Ms. Morris, to understand the complete context of her actions against Mr. McIntyre, and Mr. McIntyre’s utterly justified response.

This case is a defining matter for the Union.
  • What is the purpose of the National Union of Journalists?
  • Is the NUJ supportive of the freedom to issue writs or the freedom to write?
  • Does the Union exist as a vehicle for journalists to suppress each other and enforce censorship?
  • Is the Union a Nanny for people who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions?
  • Or is the Union a defender of free expression, protection of sources, and a voice against censorship?
If the NUJ is merely a tool for Union members to attack other Union members in order to silence and censor them, then frankly the Union should be ashamed of itself.

Indeed, the Union should take Ms. Morris’s complaints seriously, and instruct her that it wants no part of her campaign of harassment against a fellow member. She had her chance with her initial complaint; it was over-turned. She should let things drop and move on.

Complete coverage of the NUJ/Irish News free speech battle is available online at

NUJ Wiki Dump
NUJ Vindicates Boston College Researcher
What Price Justice
The Weird World of an Irish News Journalist
I Have a Right to be Angry
Are you being Gagged?
True to Their Words
Invertebrate Journalism
Reporting to London
Not Censored by the Irish News
Stand Up Against The Irish News Censorship of The Pensive Quill
2nd NUJ Complaint Filed: As Sure as Day Follows Night
Do-It-Yourself Irish News Critic Kit

Mr. McIntyre has no intention of staying silent as long as the censorship campaign of Ms. Morris’s and the Irish News continues, and will write and comment regularly about the issue as and when the need requires, whether on The Pensive Quill or elsewhere. It is requested that the Belfast and District Branch sub-committee assessing the Rule 24 Complaint on behalf of Ms. Morris read this material thoroughly. Mr. McIntyre is available for questions and clarification on any points.

In addition to fully adhering to NUJ Code of Conduct (1), Mr. McIntyre by resisting the legal threats issued on behalf of Ms. Morris is also following (8):

“[A journalist] Resists threats or any other inducements to influence, distort or suppress information, and takes no unfair personal advantage of information gained in the course of her/his duties before the information is public knowledge.”
Support for her campaign of intimidation and censorship should not be forthcoming from the NUJ, as it is grossly counterproductive to the interests of the Union and its members. The substance of the complaint has already been over-turned by the NUJ Appeals Tribunal upon examination. No doubt if it comes to it, there is no reason to expect the Appeals Tribunal to behave differently in the event of any finding against Mr. McIntyre that may result from this vexatious complaint, not least because it has already heard the complaint previously and found it lacking merit.

The Belfast and District Branch should therefore dismiss the Rule 24 Complaint.


1. Sub Judice: The issue in question is sub judice
2. Ethics: The material in question, which the Complainant seeks to suppress, had itself raised questions regarding journalistic ethics
3. Prior Contact and Right of Reply: The positions of Ms. Morris, Mr. Doran, and the Irish News are matters of public record and a Right of Reply has been repeatedly offered

Sub Judice: The issue in question is sub judice.

The issue of Mr. McIntyre’s behaviour falls under the jurisdiction of the High Court; the NUJ cannot make any determination or judgement regarding the alleged libellous or defamatory nature of Mr. McIntyre’s blog. Furthermore, the NUJ cannot just accept at face value the Irish News Chapel’s or Ms. Morris’s allegations that Mr. McIntyre’s blog is defamatory in the absence of a High Court decision.

The NUJ is not entitled to make a ruling regarding any contents of Mr. McIntyre’s blog because this is sub judice; the Complainant is obliged to explain to the NUJ the status of Ms. Morris’s threats of legal proceedings in this matter. According to the letter from Johnsons Solicitors received by Mr. McIntyre, Ms. Morris has reserved the right to “issue legal proceedings”. Presumably the legal proceedings have been initiated, and as yet there has been no finding by any court. Because of Ms. Morris’s letter of action, legal proceedings are ongoing, and the matter must be considered sub judice.

If legal proceedings are not yet in being, then the Complainant has an obligation to let the NUJ and Mr. McIntyre know what the status of the threatened proceedings is. If there are no proceedings at the moment, the fact that the Ms. Morris has alleged that the information is libellous and defamatory means she may contemplate proceedings in the future, which precludes the NUJ from making any decision regarding the defamatory nature of the information. The Complainant and Ms. Morris cannot be permitted to use the NUJ as a vehicle to determine whether or not information is libellous or defamatory.

To be clear:
  1. Ms. Morris claims legal proceedings are involved – it has not been established if they are ongoing, or if they have ended, or whether the complainants intend to commence proceedings at a later point before the statute of limitations runs out;
  2. It is inappropriate for the NUJ to be used as a vehicle to make a ruling on whether or not content from Mr. McIntyre’s blog is defamatory, when legal proceedings have been threatened;
  3. The Respondent finds it offensive that the Complainant and Ms. Morris allege unethical behaviour, while simultaneously seeking to restrict free speech contrary to Rule 1 of the Code of Conduct which states that a journalist “At all times upholds and defends the principle of media freedom, the right of freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed.”

Ethics: The material in question, which the Complainant seeks to suppress, had itself raised questions regarding journalistic ethics. Mr. McIntyre responds to the Irish News chapel’s complaint with a defence and with a counter claim raising issues of the ethical behaviour of Ms. Morris with regard to the interview of Dolours Price in Feb 2010 which led to the issuance of subpoenas for the protected confidential materials held in Boston College

The origins of the complaints of the Irish News chapel on behalf of Ms. Morris stem from a 2010 interview Ms. Morris conducted with former IRA member, Dolours Price, which Ms. Morris shared with Mr. Ciaran Barnes of the Sunday Life.
  • Ms. Price was an outpatient of St Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin at the time of her interview with Ms. Morris and heavily medicated. She was being treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, severe depression, alcoholism, and other ailments, all of which Ms. Morris and her editor, Noel Doran, were made aware. Ms. Price continued undergoing treatment for her illnesses until her death.
  • At the time of her interview with Ms. Morris, Ms. Price’s family claim they requested that Ms. Morris leave the premises, and were in discussions with Ms. Morris’s editor about Ms. Price’s health and requested that the interview be terminated and not published, due to her ill-health, her medicated state, and the strain it was placing on her family.
  • Upon information and belief, and contrary to Rule 6 of the Code of Conduct, Ms. Morris, upon the advice of her editor, did not terminate the interview, and a front page splash about her encounter with Ms. Price was published in the Irish News on Thursday, 18 February, 2010.
  • The next day, a further front page article by Ms. Morris, this time quoting Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams about allegations published in Ms. Morris’s articles about Dolours Price, was published in the Irish News.
Upon information and belief, Ms. Morris shared with Mr. Barnes a tape recording of her interview of Ms. Price, and on the Sunday following, 21 February, 2010, Mr. Barnes had a four-page splash in a rival paper, the Sunday Life, featuring Ms. Price and her allegations about Mr. Adams’s involvement in the disappearance of Jean McConville.

Upon information and belief, and contrary to Rules 2 and 5 of the Code of Conduct, to conceal Ms. Morris as Mr. Barnes’s source for his stories, he wrote:
  • “In a taped confession Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price has admitted driving the mum-of-10 to her death.”
  • 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.”
  • “In her tape recorded confession, which Sunday Life has heard, Price claims that Adams played a key role in disappearing victims.”
  • “Price, who has made taped confessions of her role in the abductions to academics at Boston University, will relay this information to ICLVR investigators later this week”
  • “Price recently gave a series of interviews to academics from Boston University about her role in the IRA. These include admissions about her role in transporting some of the disappeared to their deaths.”
These articles by Barnes formed the basis of a subpoena served on Boston College in May, 2011.

According to court papers filed by the U.S. Attorney:
“Ms. Price’s interviews by Boston College were the subject 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 whom 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 Boston College interviews. Id.” – Page 4, U.S. Government’s Opposition to Motion to Quash [Exhibits 1 and 2 are Morris’s and Barnes’s Price articles.]
The Trustees of Boston College, in response to the U.S. Attorney, strongly disputed the suggestion that anyone had access to the Dolours Price archive held in the Burns Library at Boston College:
“4. Dolours Price had no ability to, and did not, disclose tape-recordings of her Belfast Project interviews to a newspaper reporter.
To sow doubt whether Dolours Price in fact expected and relied on the confidentiality of her Belfast Project interviews, the Government mistakenly asserts that “according to one news report” a reporter has been “permitted [by Dolours Price] to listen to portions of Ms. Price’s Boston College interviews” (Gov. Op. at 4, citing Exs. 1 and 2 to the Government’s Opposition).
The Government’s sole support for this mistaken assertion is a news clipping (Exhibit 1 to the Government’s Opposition) of an article in the February 21, 2010, edition of Sunday Life, a small Belfast weekly newspaper (Moloney Affidavit (D. 5-5), ¶ 31). But that article does not say that the tape recordings heard by the reporter were from Dolours Price’s Belfast Project interviews. The Government assumes that the article’s report of the reporter hearing certain tape recordings of Dolours Price (Ex. 1, ¶¶ 3, 7, and 20) refers to the same tape recordings that the article later describes as Dolours Price’s “taped confessions of her role in the abductions to academics at Boston University [sic]” (id., ¶ 30). That assumption is wrong.
Anthony McIntyre, the person who interviewed Dolours Price for the Belfast Project, swears that neither Dolours Price nor any of the others he interviewed for the Belfast Project were provided the tape recordings of their interviews (McIntyre Affidavit (D. 5-4), ¶¶ 10 and 14). In his affidavit in support of Boston College’s Motion to Quash, the Director of the Belfast Project, Ed Moloney, explains that Dolours Price gave a tape-recorded interview to a reporter for a different newspaper, the Irish News, that the tapes of that interview were passed on to a reporter for Sunday Life, and that it is the tape recordings of Dolours Price’s interview with the Irish News that the Sunday Life reporter apparently was allowed to hear (Moloney Affidavit (D. 5-5), ¶ 31).
There is no evidence that Dolours Price has disclosed the tapes of her Belfast Project interviews to anyone.”
Sec 4, page 6 of Boston College's reply to the Government's Opposition to the Motion to Quash
  • Mr. McIntyre is under oath in both the U.S. court system and in the Belfast High Court, where a petition for a Judicial Review on the issuance of the subpoena was undertaken in October 2012.
  • Further, Mr. Moloney is also under oath in both jurisdictions on this matter, and in the Belfast court divulged under oath that in Ms. Price’s oral history interviews with Mr. McIntyre for Boston College, the case of Jean McConville was not once mentioned, making it completely impossible for Mr. Barnes to have based his reporting on the Boston College archives of Ms. Price, as his Sunday Life articles implied.
Ms. Morris’s sharing of the interview she conducted with Ms. Price, who was being treated for mental illnesses and heavily medicated at the time, with Mr. Barnes, and Mr. Barnes’s subsequent concealment of Ms. Morris as his source, led directly to U.K. authorities enacting a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) request for the United States government to issue a subpoena on the Burns Library at Boston College seeking confidential historical materials. This has been openly stated in sworn evidence in court records in both the US and Northern Ireland.

The actions of Morris & Barnes have given rise to an international political and legal fight involving three countries that is still ongoing. Mr. McIntyre, in order to protect his confidential research, and the rights of journalists to protect their sources, brought suit against the Attorney General of the United States.

In spite of the international furore created by their actions, neither journalist has taken any step to correct the record, contrary to their obligations under Rules 2 and 3 of the Code of Conduct.

Ms. Morris and her editor, Mr. Doran, have admitted that the PSNI did not seek, much less subpoena, anything in relation to her interview with Ms. Price until June, 2011 – after papers were lodged in the United States courts by the Trustees of Boston College pointing out that the basis of the MLAT requested subpoena was flawed.
“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 February 2010.”
– Allison Morris, ‘Traumatic testimony proves troublesome’, The Irish News, Wednesday, October 19, 2011
“We were contacted by the PSNI some 16 months after our report about Dolours Price.
Detectives routinely approach the main Belfast-based news organisations in connections with various investigations, and it is our policy to observe our responsibilities as both journalists and citizens in this regard.
Accordingly, we informed the detectives both personally and in writing that we fully stood over our coverage of February 18, 2010, but we were no longer in possession of any research material which could possibly be of relevance to their inquiries. We have not subsequently heard from them.”
– Noel Doran, ‘Irish News Responds to Moloney Criticism’, The Wild Geese, Thursday, October 20, 2011
The court case Mr. McIntyre has been fighting both in the United States and in Belfast for over a year has taken a considerable toll on Mr. McIntyre and his family. His wife has flown to the states four times to lobby politically for a stop to the subpoena of the confidential historical archive, and to attend court hearings. The Respondent states that the stress of the case is immeasurable. The financial pressure of fighting this case on numerous fronts in order to protect his sources is also immense. All of which can be traced back to the actions of Ms. Morris and Mr. Barnes and their deception over the use of Ms. Morris’s interview with Ms. Price which itself was a violation of Rule 6 of the Code of Conduct. Affidavits sworn under oath have been filed in two international courts as to the impact of Ms. Morris’s handling of her interview with Ms. Price in relation to the Boston College case.

Prior Contact and Right of Reply: The positions of Ms. Morris, Mr. Doran, and the Irish News are matters of public record and a Right of Reply has been repeatedly offered

Ms. Morris’s complaint about not being contacted prior to publication is addressed in her own words, published in her column of the 8th of February, 2012 edition of the Irish News, where she describes what she did with a previous request from a blogger seeking prior comment from her:
“Bloggers or ‘citizen journalists’ as some like to be known are a mixed bunch, their writing ranging in quality from humorous and informative to crazy and dangerous. There are, unfortunately, people who believe that a high-speed wireless connection coupled with too much time on their hands makes their rambling thoughts and conspiracy theories somehow relevant.
People with no legal or libel training regularly pass off misinformation as fact, prejudicing trials and defaming others at will, while the rest of us set out to write and publish correctly, subject to the laws of the land.
I’ve had one blogger, a person I’d never heard of in my life, email me a list of questions in relation to some half-baked tin-foil hat conspiracy theory they’d cooked up, giving me a ‘deadline’ to respond or else they would publish.
Meanwhile back in the real world I hit the delete button and carried on working for a living.”
Ms. Morris has already repeatedly publicly declared that she neither pays attention to blogs or bloggers such as Mr. McIntyre and The Pensive Quill; that she does not concern herself whatsoever with their attempts at communicating with her; and in fact that “in the real world” she “hit[s] the delete button” and carries on “working for a living”. Her own public, published work is at odds with her private complaints.

Mr. McIntyre is known as a free speech advocate and his blog is known as an outlet open to all. Had Ms. Morris, her editor Noel Doran, or anyone from the Irish News chapel wanted to respond to anything published on The Pensive Quill, or indeed wished to have their own work carried, they need only have sent it in. This has been Mr. McIntyre’s known, established editorial practice for over a decade and continues to this day.

In the recent correspondence between Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Doran (attached), the Irish News – Ms. Morris included – is repeatedly offered an unrestrained right of reply, which they have failed to take up, instead resorting to legal threats, secret letters of complaint, and continued abuse of the NUJ.

Regarding whether Mr. Doran or Ms. Morris should have been contacted prior to anything published on The Pensive Quill, both of their positions are well known and have been previously published publically elsewhere. In Ms. Morris’s case, her position on her attendance of the NUJ Appeals Tribunal is self-published via her comments on Letters Blogatory and her own tweets on Twitter.

For reference to Mr. Doran’s previous public statements on the handling of the Dolours Price interview, please see The Wild Geese website:

Mr. Doran’s statements to the Wild Geese then do not differ from his stated position today, nor do they contradict what has been carried in The Pensive Quill.
“What actually happened was that Marion Price telephoned me and asked if we were planning to run an interview with her sister. I said we were still pursuing our research and I would get back to her when we had reached a conclusion.
I rang her back some days later to say that we had decided against publishing an interview with her sister but we would be carrying a statement from Dolours Price which confirmed that she intended to engage with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) -- more commonly known as the commission for the Disappeared. Marion Price thanked me for calling her and ended the conversation.
Although Moloney claims that this outcome was reached "after much discussion," both of my two telephone calls with Marion Price were actually brief and the second lasted rather less than one minute.
What is more concerning is Moloney's specific allegation that I had agreed to keep "the juicy bits" out of an interview. Neither Marion Price nor I used such a phrase or dealt with such a request at any time, and – as the accompanying cuttings show – we never set out to publish an interview with Dolours Price in the first place.” – Noel Doran on the Wild Geese website
The Pensive Quill:
“The family then spoke to Irish News management. When the newspaper reached an agreement with them – understandably exercising caution in how it treated the story and only printing parts of it” –
Given that an accurate representation of Noel Doran’s position is reflected in the reference to the Irish News publication of the Dolours Price interview – the two are substantially the same – and that it is not a new revelation, there was no need to speak to Noel Doran prior to publication. The offer of a right of reply stands for all of them, which they have failed to avail of, pursuing instead a campaign of vindictive harassment that the NUJ should no longer be party to.

1. Anthony McIntyre Response to Rule 24 Complaint from Irish News Chapel on behalf of Allison Morris

Image file (IMAGEFILE.pdf)
including: Irish News chapel letter to NUJ Ethics Council
Irish News report of NUJ Ethics Council ban
Sinn Fein publicity director letter to NUJ Ethics Council
Phoenix report of NUJ Ethics Council ban
Irish News coverage of NUJ Appeals Tribunal vindication
Various Allison Morris/Fernando Murphy online comments

Irish News Editor Noel Doran correspondence (NOELDORAN.pdf)

Letter of Action from Johnsons Solicitors on behalf of Allison Morris (JOHNSONS.pdf)

NUJ Appeal Tribunal material

Freedom to Issue Writs or the Freedom to Write?
A Defining Matter for the NUJ
See also: NUJ Wiki-Dump


  1. Many thanks to Carrie for putting this together. It shows what a good writer can do. It is in a different league from the the initial complaint from the Irish News chapel. I think that dawned on the chapel, hence it had to beef it up with a second bite at the cherry. The response to that will be published shortly.

  2. Game,set, and match!

    Good for you Anthony, keep up the good fight.

  3. LOL I almost feel sorry for those wankers ,I bet they wish the fuck that they had never heard of the two of ye, brill stuff folks, as Davy Ervine said" A return serve"and a crackin one at that..

  4. Mackers I have been following this for sometime now and have found it all to difficult understanding, what exactly it was all about. Thanks to your very significant other half, the picture is now crystal. What a well put together piece of writing.

    As for the subject matter. Well it seems to me that Noel Doran and the Irish News paper are adopting the same stance as the captain of the Titanic, as it slipped below the icy waters of the Atlantic.

    You would think these so called educated people would be inteligent enough, to not blindly throw themselves down the same hole Ms Morris has been digging for quite some time. If nothing else it should be deep enough to support their presence.

    This whole saga reminds me of what the cops do. Beat the crap out of you, then arrest and charge you with assault. Any way good luck with this Mackers, although I doubt you will be needing any in this instance.

  5. Great Stuff , I'm no legal Buff but after reading all this, I am without a doubt sure that they "Irish News/Morris" will withdraw the complaint to the NUJ, furthermore the libel lawyer will know by reading this that he is on a no win situation , but that wont bother him, he still gets paid. I would like to state that Barnes should be charged for his part in lying about hearing the Boston Tapes of the Late Dolours Price and stating that Jean Mc Conville was mentioned in said tape, and Morris for handing over the tape to Barnes. If I was Noel Doran , I would be banging my head against my desk , asking myself, WTF have I got myself into, everything has been one big lie and even I fell for it. Anthony and Carrie, you have done one fantastic job and you are both on a winner, Morris and Irish news don't have a leg to stand on.

  6. If I was Noel Doran , I would be banging my head against my desk , asking myself, WTF have I got myself into, everything has been one big lie and even I fell for it.

    It'sjust, I've a sly ten bob each way on Paddy Power he already is..

  7. I have a funny feeling the Irish News crew will be searching through all things Houdini looking for a way out of this.
    It would be notable if they had actually put some effort into forming a legitimate complaint as the reply leaves no room for doubt.

  8. Excellent!!!!

    As we say here in Derry "I'm affronted for them."

    This is what I call kicking ass with both feet firmly on the ground.

  9. AM

    This is very very good, why the NUJ is even following through with this one can only guess at. But they should now proceed with great caution,(if at all) given how Ms Morris made a previous complaint not dissimilar to this one, and then failed to attend the hearing which found in your favour.

    If they do decide to proceed, one does wonder how many bites of the cherry the NUJ will allow her, in what increasingly looks like her orchestrated campaign against you?

    What you and Carrie have done here is answer each point clearly, truthfully, and with precision. By doing so you have made clear you intend to defend your reputation up to the hilt, which is only to be expected given Morris will not let the matter lie.

    Mick Hall

  10. Mick,

    the whole issue would have been last year's news by now had they not pressed the matter for no good reason that I can see.

    But these things are sent to try us. When a small blog is up against a powerful paper all that can be done is fight. I notice Noel Doran was writing that this blog is vulgar and confrontational. Every thing is confrontational where there is a dispute. As for vulgarity, regional accents were at one time considered vulgar. BBC English was the order of the day. I am quite sure if I ever meet Noel Doran again outside of all this he will not find me vulgar or confrontational.

  11. Its an Irish News story with a bit of censorship. Yesterday the Irish News won it's case about printing the photo of Peter Keeley..

    The question I am asking myself is why can Peter Keeley photo be printed but not Scaps?

    Both paid British agents etc.. Unless Scap, was a lot higher up the food chain etc..