Particularly Pernicious

Mike Burke with an unpublished letter to the editor of the Irish Times, 9 May 2014. Mike Burke lectures in Politics and Public Administration in Canada.


I suppose that, in current circumstances, it's popular to take cheap shots at Anthony McIntyre, Ed Moloney and other participants in Boston College’s Belfast Project.  Martin Mansergh certainly shows that he’s not above engaging in such low-levelpolitics.
Particularly pernicious is Mansergh’s comment that:
No one foresaw that internal opponents of the peace process would become so embittered as to testify against Adams, albeit as part of a research project under supposedly guaranteed lifetime confidentiality.

This language is dangerously provocative and grossly inaccurate: no one in the Belfast Project agreed “to testify against Adams.”  To suggest that giving oral testimony in a research project is tantamount to “testifying” comes uncomfortably close to labelling participants as “touts.”  It’s unfortunate that Mansergh believes it necessary to single out, demonize and marginalize “dissidents” in order to advance the peace process. 
Mansergh equates McIntyre’s and Moloney’s critiques of Sinn Fein with a degree of impartiality and unprofessionalism that should have disqualified them from involvement in the Belfast Project.  His “evidence” of bias is a handful of quotations from McIntyre’s book Good Friday: The Death of Irish Republicanism.  But McIntyre’s and Moloney’s positions are much more substantial and less reliant on polemics than Mansergh’s self-serving quotations suggest.  It seems to me that both authors, in numerous places and over many years, have mounted a sustained, well-documented and powerful counter narrative to Sinn Fein’s account of the transition from conflict to peace.
To understand the tragedies and challenges of contemporary politics in the north of Ireland, it’s necessary to hear from a diversity of voices.  Neither those who oppose Sinn Fein nor those who support Fianna Fail should be bullied into silence.


  1. mansergh was around for the mega corruption of the haughey ahern era. these are the guys that gave away 450 billion worth of oil and gas remember. mansergh is showing his true colours now. they (ff)) are nothing but a shower of corrupt bullies and traitors. if they tried to get 5 million out of a london irish builder (gilmartin) i wonder what the asking price for our natural resources were. theyd be kicked out of nigeria for being too corrupt. minister for finance with no bank account. you couldnt make it up. and this mansergh is their intellectual gimp. what a sad little cuntry.