Pointing the Finger at the Wrong People

Guest writer Helen McClafferty responds to Niall O'Dowd

While I totally agree with Mr. O'Dowd about the one-sided justice metered out by the British Government, I would like to comment on some of his statements in this article, Why Gerry Adams arrest is a farce and one-sided justice.

In your article you say:

The arrest of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams for questioning about the murder in 1972 of Jean McConville is the latest example of the highly selective nature of the prosecution process in Northern Ireland ... It seems theonly alleged crimes being heavily pursued are those on the nationalist side,with little or no attention to atrocities on the other side.

I would like to bring to your attention the following:

When Gerry McGeough, an Independent candidate running on an anti-PSNI/RUC platform in the 2007 elections in the north (the first republican arrested (post GFA) on 32 year old alleged troubles related offences dating back prior to the GFA) was arrested, you didn't call it "selective prosecution". Mr. McGeough was charged with membership in the IRA at the age of 18 and for allegedly wounding a UDR man Sammy Brush DUP.

In fact, as the Chairwoman for the U.S. based Free Gerry McGeough Campaign, your paper refused to publish any letters submitted by me about his case. Your paper even demonized him because he spoke out against supporting the PSNI/RUC at the time Sinn Fein was calling for the nationalist community to support them. Gerry McGeough was one of the architects of the GFA and was on the Board of SF until he left them due to political and religious differences and you labeled him a “dissident” which you knew was far from the truth. His case was truly one of "selective prosecution".

Ivor Bell, Adams 2nd in command back then, was arrested a few weeks ago on the same charges as Adams, but you didn’t condemn his arrest? Nor did you condemn the arrests of other republicans who have been arrested (post GFA) on decades old charges. This is the first time you are condemning “selective prosecution” since the GFA. Why? Because you practice the same double standards as the British Government. You and your paperare in bed with Sinn Fein and the Irish government, therefore you are biased in your reporting. You use your paper to try to demonize anyone who doesn't agree with Sinn Fein. You use buzz words in your articles to try to “bully” and “criminalize” them into keeping silent and accepting the status quo or to alienate them.

Take a bow BC, Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre – you have done a wonderful job on behalf of British spookdom allowing them to whip up a whole new round of empty charges.

By trying to place the blame on the researchers of the Boston College tapes for the arrest of Adams, when clearly it was in the hands of the British Government, even though they had passed the policing responsibilities on to Stormont (who could have stopped these subpoenas at any time before they got off the ground) you in essence are saying you don’t believe that there should ever be any research compiled regarding the troubles, or any revolutionary movement that has taken place around the world, for that matter, to eventually be used in an academic setting?

Pointing the finger at McIntyre and Moloney also indicates that you don’t truly believe in freedom of speech, freedom of academic research, only selective academic research and selective freedom of speech like the kind your paper practices. You write articles intended to bully and demonize those who you don’t agree with. If you were really being honest with your readers, you would place the blame for the subpoenas, (even being issued in the first place) where it really belongs; first at the feet of Stormont, the PSNI/RUC and finally the British and American government.

The time has come now, Mr. O'Dowd, to call for an end to ALL pursuit and prosecutions of republicans on prior GFA offences regardless of their political affiliations since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement!


  1. Fair play. SF really don't give a hoot about anyone else. But as pointed out in another thread if Gerry Adams is charged it will be based on evidence from his own pen and his own actions (secret IRA talks with the British)and not anything coming from the memoirs of deceased IRA personnel. A statement always stuck with me since I read it. 'They were in such a race to respectability' (Eamon McCann...War and an Irish Town new edition)that they discarded all and sundry around them and weapons too and joined the opposition. I wonder why it has taken so long for this prosecution to materialise when they had the evidence all along. Also knowledge of the Liam Adams antics was available to British/RUC intelligence and they never utlisied that (or did they?). For SF to be so shocked that the RUC would bite the hand that has been feeding them just leaves people even more speechless at SF antics than previously. Before busting out laughing of course at the incredible naivety of them all!!

    They are going to need more than a scapegoated researcher or two to save Gerry from HIMSELF when this all starts to unfold in court.

  2. Well said Helen, should we expect anything more from carpetbaggers. I wonder how much syphoned off through the GFA and the investment portfolios coming from the US to the phony Celtic tiger. It can't all have been about selling newspapers in the immigrant ghettoes.

  3. A good day to bury bad news

    Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers disclosed that 365 royal pardons had been issued between 1979 and 2002.

    There are no figures for ten years between 1987 and 1997, as the records have apparently been lost.

  4. What is Sinn Fein’s problem why are they complaining about the arrest of their leader Gerry Adams?
    Gerry has said for years now that anyone with information pertaining to the murder of Jean Mc Conville should bring that information to the PSNI
    Maybe just maybe someone has taken him at his word
    Martin Mc Guinness stood on the steps of Stormont with his new best buddies Peter Robinson and head of the PSNI and announced that anyone who had information on those republicans who planted bombs or shot PSNI officers were to bring that information to the PSNI because these republicans were traitors
    So if this is what they said then why are they now complaining?