An Even Shorter Response To Gerry Adams

Ed Moloney responds to Gerry Adams smearing the Boston College oral history project. The piece initially featured on The Broken Elbow. 0n 25 March 2014.

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams: Just a teeny weeny lie this time rather than one of my usual whoppers

I don’t intend to spill a lot of ink responding to Gerry Adams’ recent statement taking yet another swipe at the motives of those who were interviewed and who did the interviewing for the Boston College oral history archive.

That is because I have already answered a very similar charge from Mary Lou McDonald.

Essentially Gerry Adams is saying that anyone who is interviewed about the Provisionals who is not with his programme and makes allegations about his IRA career and history that he contests and denies, must be making them up for malicious and mendacious reasons.

Implicitly he is also saying that such people should not be allowed an audience and should be ignored or even silenced.

The core issue is the denial of his IRA membership from which all else flows, including the Jean McConville affair. Without that denial of their shared lives, and the shunting of responsibility onto others that it implies, I seriously doubt whether Brendan Hughes would ever have given Boston College an interview and I don’t think Dolours Price would have gone to the Irish News to speak of her role in disappearing Jean McConville (it is conveniently forgotten, incidentally, that she never mentioned Jean McConville in her interviews with Boston College).

And if they hadn’t spoken, the Jean McConville business would never have emerged in the way it has. It is important to remember that Gerry Adams brought all the business about his IRA membership and role in Jean McConville’s death on himself. If he had not denied his IRA past (and that does not mean admitting it either) none of this would have happened.

Personally I do not give a tinkers whether Gerry Adams is, was or ever wanted to be in the IRA. But when a major political leader tells such an obvious falsehood about a defining part of his life – and by extension must be capable of telling lies about other issues of more direct relevance to others’ lives – then I do believe that it the journalist’s job, and the historian’s too, to subject that claim to the most stringent scrutiny.

Let me give an example from the place where I now live, the United States. Let us imagine that as a journalist I had been covering the career of Barrack Obama for some years and was intimately familiar his family history. I knew for example all about his White mother from Kansas and his Black father from Kenya.

And let us suppose that when Barrack Obama decides to make a run for the White House he suddenly changes his life story. Now he claims, in an effort to maximise the African-American vote, that his mother was actually a Black woman from South Carolina or the Bronx, not a White one.

What should the ethical journalist do? Should he or she just tamely report the claim and leave it there – perhaps at most noting en passant that not everyone accepts his story – or energetically investigate it and if he or she finds that Obama is lying then say so? There is no doubt in my mind what the principled journalist should do.

Well, ignoring the central falsehood in Gerry Adams’ life story would be very much like accepting Barrack Obama’s Black mother claim – and equally unacceptable to any journalist with integrity.

Even though the US media is a shadow of what it was pre-9/11, I would like to think that enough journalists there would rise to the challenge and show Obama to be a liar.

Can we say the same about the Irish media in relation to Gerry Adams’ life story? I would like to say yes but I am not sure I can. But I can understand why and I have full sympathy for those in the media so affected.

The reason why Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald attack myself, Anthony McIntyre and the Boston archive in the way they do is not just because they dislike us, or the little bit of the product which they know of, that has come out of the archive.

No, it is to intimidate others in the media so as to discourage them from delving too deeply into the Provisionals’ secrets. The message is clear: dig too deep and we’ll do to you what we have done to Moloney & Co, we’ll call you the same names and behind your backs we’ll blacken your reputation to your colleagues and your employers. Now, see if you like that!

The problem is that it works.


  1. Saw Adams on RTE news this evening demanding the resignation of Alan Shatter, the Irish justice minister. I have gotten to the stage I'm simply speechless at the antics of Adams. Why is that fucker not barred from public office and locked up?

  2. Ed

    The Right Honourable, baron of the Manor (Belfast West) Mr Gerry Adams attacks regarding your and AM's "anti-Sinn Fein attitudes" is simply an ad hominem rather than logical argument. Neither the choice of interviewees nor the methods used to collect the information are at fault. What was at fault, or absent, was Boston College's promise or duty of care to honour the principle behind the project.

    Adams's targeting researchers and contributors is equivalent to attacking ordinary people for trusting banks that they would keep their savings and pensions safe.

    But then they can hardly claim Boston College was wrong to hand over material to the NI Prosecution service when Sinn Fein is part of the NI administration.

  3. There'll always be consequences to our actions Ed ... there'll invariably be costs too.

    There are costs to doing the right thing in the same way that there are costs to doing the wrong thing.
    In the end of the day all we can do is reflect on our experiences and bring whatever learning we've gleaned into our plans for the next chapters of our personal adventure.

    What doesn't kill us will strengthen us.

  4. adams is a proven liar, he was exposed conclusively over his handling of brother liam.

    adams wanted a secret process for dealing with the otr's so he could have control over who got and who didn't get the letters of comfort/security from arrest.

    adams has three contradictory accounts on record of his role in the hunger strike and the deaths of the last six men.

    adams's attacks on mackers and ed are deflections designed to keep the sheeple from asking too many questions about how we ended up in the shit we are in today. how we ended up in the poverty of defeat while adams and the rest of his select pro-british agenda sell-outs are living the high life on the back of the sacrifices of people who bled and died for the freedom of Ireland.

    take what he says with a pinch of salt lads - honour and integrity will always shine above deceit, lies and treachery.

    up the republic.

  5. Y'know Ed, I've long wondered about Gerry's denial about 'membership' of the Provisional's and think the only person who can tell us the truth might be the wee man, Billy McKee.
    In the whole hullabloo that was the founding of the Provisional movement, was he actually sworn in to the new movement?
    Just a possibility he was not, in which case his claim would be quite honest!

  6. larry, we hav entered the twilight zone, also question for ed - is obamas father really that guy from kenya and is the us presidents real name barrack obama.

  7. menace, i heard that too, and also that he was sworn into oira so maybe he's telling the truth, wonder is he a member of sinn fein!

  8. Grouch

    dunno bout Adams re SF or the IRA/OIRA but one thing is beyond any doubt, he IS a member of the BULL-ROOT club. Imagine all them wee SF mob blindly following a sex offender.... doesn't bear thinking too much about, and them all so vulnerable and incapable of free thinking.

  9. Billy mc kee said himself "bring Gerry Adams to me and let him say to my face that he wasn't in the IRA" I think that statement in its own says that Adams was in the movement but if you listen to anybody in that era they will tell you that Adams most certainly did not play and active role in military operations and indeed was just a person of influence as an intellect he was, so maybe he is telling for once a small portion of truth on this matter cause when ballymurphy Belfast and every other county in the north were being slaughtered by both the Brits and loyalists Gerry Adams never once lifted a gun in defence of the people nor country, let him say what he will, but every single person in Ireland and further afield see him for the lying deceiving weasel that he is, it's just sad to see so many dumb blind party faithful follow the bearded one in his path of self destruction, they just can't see it yet and won't till it's too late.

  10. He may not have been "sworn" in as seems to have been the case in many instances in Belfast during the early years were family members simply "walked" straight in no questions asked, but that's only a technicality and a hollow defense on his part.
    Put it this way,who would've taken orders from someone who wasn't even in the movement? It's his decision whether he wants to admit to fuck all but please don't insult peoples intelligence by continuously advocating a truth and reconciliation process in the same breath.
    Any respect I had over the years for Adams quickly evaporated during a televised interview some years ago way before the McConville revelations and his pedo brother cover up were he was asked, "Do you believe Bobby Sands and the other hunger strikers would've supported the direction Sinn £ein have taken and the handing over of weapons?" Adams reply was simple but shocking, "I don't have an Oujja Board to ask them".