A Short Response To Mary Lou McDonald

Ed Moloney with a piece on Mary Lou McDonald's smearing of people who parted ways with Sinn Fein in large part because they couldn't believe a word that came out of its leader's mouth. It initially featured on The Broken Elbow on 22 March 2014.

On last night’s Late Late Show on RTE, Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Fein trotted out the hoary canard that the Boston College oral history archive had a political agenda when choosing who to interview or not interview for the project.

Mary Lou McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald
Long before I left Ireland to live in America, Sinn Fein was employing the same tactic against myself, accusing me of political bias in my coverage of the peace process and in particular claiming that I was prejudiced against and even obsessed with Gerry Adams. It was clear to me then as now what the real purpose of this slur was.

This is an old public relations trick designed to intimidate other members of the media by demonstrating what could happen to them if they followed my example and probed too deeply into the opaque depths of the Provisionals’ internal politics. Unfortunately such tactics all too often work and their result is always to the benefit of the initiators, in this case less scrutiny of their business.

In relation to the Boston project, Mary Lou cites two interviewees to justify this accusation. One was Brendan Hughes, the other Dolours Price. Is she really saying that when it comes to compiling a history of the IRA and the Troubles, the woman who led the first IRA bombing team to London and the man who was Gerry Adams’ closest buddy and whose IRA career is the stuff of which legends are made should be excluded because they and Sinn Fein had fallen out?

So who then, Mary Lou should be allowed to speak for the history books for Sinn Fein and the IRA? Only those who parrot the party line of who was or was not in the IRA? Really? What sort of history would that produce?

No, the truth about the Boston project in this regard is disappointingly prosaic. The biggest problem we had was persuading anyone to be interviewed at all and we accepted what we could get in many instances. Inevitably some people will be more motivated than others for reasons to do with their experiences with the IRA but that is the nature of the beast and their stories are as valid as anyone’s.
We also attempted to spread the interviews among different organisations so that this would not be a project dominated by Provisionals.

Mary Lou makes her allegation in complete ignorance of the truth. She does not know who we interviewed. She only knows about two of them out of nearly thirty and from that small sample she draws huge and in this case erroneous conclusions.

In the circumstances I am more than ready to forgive her; after all she joined this organisation when the war which so scarred the lives of Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes – and many others – was thankfully over. She has no personal, first-hand experience of these issues and has to rely on others in her party for her information. I can therefore understand why she has got the story so badly wrong.


  1. Mary Lou and her party are fanatics who idolise a man who has been proven to be a protector of paedophiles so she can hardly smear anyone.

    The question which should be asked is how come the man, Gerry Adams, at whom all fingers were pointed in regards to the murder and disappearance of Jean McConville hasn't been arrested and jailed?

  2. "Mary Lou makes her allegation in complete ignorance of the truth. "

    thats why she has got so far so quick with psf and their leader-for-life.

    dixie, are u mad, everyone knows he wasnt in the ra.

  3. Mary Lou done brilliant last night on the late late show when she wooed the audience-she is a credit to Sinn Fein and Ireland-the party is on the up and should do well in the upcoming elections because of the leadership that is being given by all-the tapes are a dissident problem and that is were it should be kept-among their own-Sinn Fein has bigger issues this year-

    Ivor bell never got bail today and his defence lawyer said that the only evidence against him was the boston tapes-
    He is in prison because of the boston tapes-

    Is anyone going to free this man by saying they lied on those tapes or are they happy like Ed that a man is inside tonight because he thinks he is a journalist -

    Don't worry about the couple of protesters who opposed the PSNI at the St Patricks parade in New York Ed-worry about the thousands next year if you were to take part-you would be tore to shreds like your tapes should have been-

  4. This is an old public relations trick designed to intimidate other members of the media by demonstrating what could happen to them if they followed my example and "probed too deeply into the opaque depths of the Provisionals’ internal politics".

    Unfortunate turn of phrase there. It is a mystery to me where half of these newbies came from. Just what woodwork were they all hiding in?

  5. In the book, Brendan says his motivation for speaking out was to get the truth out there, so people would know who shot their JFK. It came across as quite altruistic because it was obviously painful for him , and the really controversial details (Adams/McConville etc) would not be revealed until he was no longer alive i.e. no benefit to him to at all.

    What Big Mac says about this is an irrelevance to me, she is a straight from Uni-born to lead type, and is destined to be the rotund John Hume figure of Sinn Feins impending decline.

  6. "Mary Lou done brilliant last night on the late late show when she wooed the audience-"

    i missed that as i dont watch dung. what did she do, get her tits out.

  7. She is a fake and a liar she said on the tv3 programme recently that the hungerstrike had a profound effect on her yet when she entered politics she joined fianna fail she does'nt give a fuck about republicanism only her own ego

  8. Mentioning Mary Lou McMiddleclass (thanks to the Pheonix for that one) in the same sentence as Brendan Hughes and Delorus Price does a serious dis-service to the memory of two Republican hero's, neither of whom come from Rathgar nor aspired to do wee well paid deals with the enemy.

  9. She hasnt got a Mary Lou that's her problem.
    Total anti IRA stance from the outset.

  10. fionnuala, thats because she was mad into the INLA.

  11. Mary barely lucid another disciple of Gerry the Shaman not to be confused with Gerry the never was a Rah man.
    The creature comforts of life I had a laugh reading Adams is on the blower to “his solicitor” why would he need legal advice to approach his colleagues in the PSNI.

    Surely a man who claims to have a clean slate wouldn’t jump the gun and insist he is more than willing to cooperate with the cops before the cursory notice is issued by the cops.
    Just as evidence his solicitor is demanding that any interview with Adams giving his love of music that Billy Joel’s Innocent Man is played on a loop throughout any interview.
    Why is Gerry so jittery all they could charge him with is aiding and abetting State sponsored terrorism against the republican community?

    As for Mary barely lucid is it compulsory to be a cretin how do we move forward from the past if that past is silenced and blacked out, denied and dismissed.

    It wasn’t that long ago that the great party was censored and now true to form they oppose combatants telling their experiences.

    Hypocrisy no doubt as the party isn’t concerned with an educational project but paranoid that it might be an embarrassment to British Sinn Fein.
    Jumping Gerry might be a good indicator of party paranoia.

    A friend told me that Mary Lou “welcomed” the arrest of Ivor Bell.
    Not surprising coming from that bastion of leaders for life when all they have is the not so peaceful-peace-process.

    SF continually strive to outdo the unionists defending British interest attacking republicans who refuse to follow the beyond disgraceful party.
    The pro-revisionist party whistling god save the queen certainly have come a long way it didn’t take much to change formerly hard-line-republicans into British lackeys.

  12. tain bo, i want internment brought back, north and south of the border.

  13. Grouch,

    that may still be on the cards the hushing of republicanism is almost already interned.