Ed Moloney RFÉ 18 November 2017

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Martin Galvin speaks to award-winning journalist, author and historian, Ed Moloney, via telephone about the status of and the recent actions in the still ongoing and utterly despicable Boston College tapes case.

Where’s the audio?   Unfortunately it could not be downloaded from WBAI’s site. To listen along as you read please click here. (begins time stamp ~ 14:29)

Martin:   With us on the line we have a journalist, he’s the author of A Secret History of the IRA, Voices From the Grave. He is a journalist. He’s been with the Sunday Tribune, the Irish Times, a great political commentator and also the person who puts together one of the top blogs about The North of Ireland, The Broken Elbow, Ed Moloney. Ed, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann.

Ed:    Hi, Martin. Hi. Thank you.

Martin:   Alright. Now, we wanted to bring our listeners up-to-date about what’s happening in terms of Anthony McIntyre in particular and the Boston College tapes. Now the Boston College tapes, of course, that was a project that you worked on with others, people like Anthony McIntyre, like Brendan Hughes, like Richard O’Rawe and others gave interviews about what it was like to be an IRA Volunteer, why they had joined, what it was like to be a part of that struggle. And it was an effort to preserve a truthful history – one that wasn’t controlled by anybody with a political group or political agenda and Boston College had guaranteed that the tapes would not be released until those who gave interviews had passed away, that happened when Brendan Hughes passed away, and then suddenly the British government went after those tapes, the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) they tried to use it to break that archive. Many of the interviews had to be returned. But still, Anthony McIntyre is being pursued. He is having to fight to get his tapes back. What’s going on? Why is Anthony McIntyre being persecuted in this act of vindictiveness as you call it on The Pensive Quill – sorry, on The Broken Elbow?

Ed:   Well first of all the project was both Republican and Loyalist. We had an archive on Republicans who had been active in The Troubles and also UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) and we had two separate researchers – Wilson McArthur was the UVF researcher and Anthony McIntyre was the Republican researcher who conducted the interviews – which were not exclusively Provisional IRA by the way, they included INLA (Irish Republican Liberation Army) people, Official IRA people as well as Provos. Well, I think the reason why he is being pursued in all of this is because of – well two reasons I think – first of all, he embarked on a project which was not approved by, for want of a better word, the ‘peace process machine’, ie, the various governments, the British and the Irish governments, the administration up at Stormont and of course as far as the Republican Movement was concerned, the leadership of Sinn Féin, the leadership of the Provisional IRA. It was, therefore, not under their control and I think they were worried that this set a bad precedent because the demand would be, I think, if this project had succeeded that any other oral history project would have to be equally candid and equally independent. That has not happened and I don’t think it’s going to happen.

And I think Anthony McIntyre is paying the price partly for that reason but also because when Boston College handed over the subpoenas and Mackers, as everyone knows him, was one of the most stringent critics of both the college and the authorities for doing this and, as you know, he can be a very witty and cutting critic and I think this is quite literally I think it’s an act of revenge and also it’s an indication that the assault on the Boston College archive is, essentially, a political assault because not only has he been singled out but just before Gerry Adams was arrested to be interviewed for his part or alleged part in the ‘disappearance’ of Jean McConville a member of Tip O’Neill’s family, who sits on the trust of Boston College and is also a very prominent businessman in Boston, wrote an Op-Ed in the Boston Globe in which he criticised the PSNI for only concentrating on the Republican side of this archive and that they had left alone the Loyalists. And that was something, that was a terrible thing to say because that was essentially encouraging the police to go for the Loyalist side and it’s something we had always tried to persuade Irish-Americans not to do – to criticise it on those grounds because the ‘get out’ for that is very simple: They go for a Loyalist – which is precisely what the PSNI then did. They went for a guy called Winston Rea. Now the point about both Winston – another point about Winston Rea and Anthony McIntyre’s interviews is that they had been held back. There came a point when the American authorities refused to hand over all of the tapes, which is what the PSNI wanted to do at one point, and so at that stage Boston College then contacted the various interviewees and told them that if they wanted their interviews back they could have them. And some people had died, other people, some people didn’t ask for them back but those who did ask for them got them back except for two people: Anthony McIntyre and Winston Rea. And they were being held back. And I suspect they were being held back deliberately. And therefore that’s why I say this is not an act that’s consistent with, you know, criminal justice systems or a criminal justice policy that is fair and equal and applies to everyone, this is an act singling out people for political reasons or for non-legal or non-judicial reasons; Anthony McIntyre being one and Winkie Rea being the other.

Martin:   Ed, just to note for the audience: Some of the interviews did really make history or just shed totally new light on the nature of the struggle…

Ed:   …Yes, they did…

Martin:   …Brendan Hughes, in particular…

Ed:   …Yes.

Martin:   …when that was released it became a documentary or part of a documentary along with David Ervine on Voices From the Grave. I have actually still have people ask me: Gee, why did Brendan Hughes say things that were critical of Gerry Adams or others and I had to tell them: That’s what he said and believed through his whole life – he had conversations with me, with anybody who knew him, would have said much the same things. Richard O’Rawe’s dramatic story or statement, or revelation, about there being an offer during the hunger strike…

Ed:   Yes, that came out via this…

Martin:   …I believe that that came out during an interview…

Ed:   Yes…

Martin:  …and he decided to do the books that did come out, to mention it in books as a result of those interviews. So just in the short time that those interviews were being compiled and the few, the small percentage of them, that were being released, they did have a dramatic impact, a dramatic contribution, to truth and knowledge.

Ed:   Well that’s my point, you see. That is exactly my point. These were revelations that the peace process machine did not want to be made. And we know particularly who didn’t want those to be, to come out – and that was the leadership of the Provos. It did not want a Richard O’Rawe’s account of what really happened or what he says really happened during the hunger strike.

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They did not want Brendan Hughes’ account of Gerry Adams’ career in the IRA; his role in, for example, the ‘disappearance’ of Jean McConville. They did not want this type of revelation being included in an officially sanctioned oral history archive. They wanted something that would be more under the control of the organisations and they would decide who would get interviewed and what they would say. And because Anthony was the researcher on the Republican side and was very prominent, also, in his attitude towards the Provos I think he’s been singled out, quite clearly, for non-legal reasons, for non-judicial reasons – just to make an example, to punishing him just for ‘badness’. And what it tells you as well is that the policing system, which was supposed to have been reformed as a result of the peace process, in other words, not made or the criticism that was made of the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) was that it was, essentially, an arm of the Unionist government. Well you know, the PSNI, doing stuff like this, are essentially still an arm of government – it’s a different government but they’re still being manipulated or controlled or influenced by people in government – in the, let’s say the spy agencies, for example, and that’s another lesson from all of this…

Martin:   Anthony – Ed, just one of the people who is being prosecuted as a result or a claim that he is a person who gave an interview is Ivor Bell…

Ed:   …Yes, yes…

Martin:  …just to back up your point who is also somebody who wouldn’t be considered a part of the peace process, who would actually, as you documented in your book, A Secret History of the IRA, had, was at one time very close to Gerry Adams and to Brendan Hughes but would have left because of disagreements, political disagreements, about the…

Ed:   …Well he was court-martialed and expelled, actually, for trying to lead a rebellion against the Adams leadership in the 1980’s so and then he was silenced with threats thereafter. So yes, you’re right I mean you know, we shall see what we shall see at the end of the day but this story’s far from over – that’s all I’ll say.

Martin:   Okay. One other thing just to back up your point: You had also done a piece on The Broken Elbow about Alex Gibney’s film, No Stone Unturned. I don’t know if you’ve had an opportunity to see it…

Ed:   …No, I haven’t, no.

Martin:   …I saw it last week. Actually, after the programme, I did a couple of announcements, it’s right down, I had to pass by the theatre just on the subway train I just got off after a couple of stops and was able to see it – I actually am in it shaking hands with Gerry Adams when he comes to New York, very briefly but how and ever, but in the film they do a great job in terms of documenting just the point that you were making about the PSNI: Is it a political arm of the state just the way the RUC is? And in that film what they do is document – here is an atrocity. People are just simply watching a soccer, as we would call it, football match, international football match between Ireland and Italy, and individuals go in with guns that they get with the help of British agents, with information they have from the help from British agents where it seems that, at least, one or more of the people involved were an informer. Where there now it’s released that the people were known to the RUC, now known to the PSNI, they’re pictured by Alex Gibney, film is taken of them in the film in which a car is destroyed, other items that they were able to obtain which would have lead to clear evidence – that’s never used, no one is ever arrested and the film takes the name, No Stone Unturned, people in that atrocity were promised that there would be no stone unturned left by the RUC to keep from arresting the people involved and it seems that what happens instead is every stone was put down in front of any kind of prosecution. And you talk about that in your blog- you go one step further, you say: Why is it that an American film maker has to go to the trouble of documenting this collusion, the role of the state in the cover-up, the cooperation and collusion between the British Crown Forces and members of Loyalists in these killings – why is it that that has to be done by an American film maker and released in the United States first before it could be covered by the BBC, by journalists in Ireland? Why do you think that is, Ed?

Ed:   Your guess is a good as mine but you know my experience of the media while working in Northern Ireland was that you know, courage was in, in a lot of times, was in short supply and to do this film, to make this film, required mounting a very, a very dangerous, from the point of view of the authorities, a very dangerous assault on the integrity of the state institutions. In other words, the police and the intelligence agencies, who are supposed to be impartial and supposed to be hunting everyone who breaks the law, and you know it was bad enough during the years of the peace process – sorry, before the peace process – I mean when the war, when the IRA’s war, was still be fought and there was still violence and killings and bombings and shootings – it was difficult enough to do proper journalism without getting yourself a name for being a trouble maker or a fellow traveler or a sympathiser or whatever – the sort of stuff that would be thrown at people who probed a bit too far or who – you know, I can remember people being appalled at the idea that journalists would even talk to someone like Gerry Adams back in the 1980’s and 1990’s – I mean respectable journalists just did not do that – so you can imagine how that was translated into the coverage. Well since the peace process and the ending of the violence, preserving the peace process is now considered the most imperative and important thing to do and journalists who cover areas or cover stories which maybe highlight some of the contradictions that still remain, peace process or no peace process, are not exactly going to be showered with praise from The Establishment and that’s what this film did. And I understand that this film was supposed to have been screened by the BBC but that the BBC, once they saw it, withdrew from it. The wanted changes made by Alex Gibney and he had a Northern Ireland person working who was with him and they both refused the BBC’s demands and so the BBC refused to and has refused to screen it. And not only that but when the film came out there was virtually no coverage of the event which was a news event on both sides of the Atlantic as you know very well, Martin, you know? And they just behaved as if the thing had never happened and there’s the rest of the world reacting with horror and shock at all these revelations and it’s total silence on the BBC.

Martin:   Well, I’m told that they did begin to cover it now after a lot of the pressure from the United States, a lot of the pressure from Ireland or an outcry for it but this is a film, the producer of that film, they essentially dared people to sue them. They named the people who were involved in the killing, they talked about his wife’s writing a letter basically admitting who was involved and made other references, filmed them, they dared those people to sue if they want to contradict what was said – I don’t think that’ll ever happen because the evidence of their guilt in a court room would be overwhelming and I think just – Alex Gibney, all the people, Niall Murphy, who we did an interview with about the film and plays a very prominent part, as well as all the Loughinisland families – deserve a great congratulations and support for everything that they’ve done.

Alright. Ed, I know that Anthony McIntyre has sued, there’s a ruling in the High Court, there’s supposed to be some kind of ruling if the PSNI cannot satisfactorily show the court why those interviews should not be returned to him (and sadly a lot of those interviews are now being destroyed because of the actions against them) and we await to get that ruling back and, hopefully, he’ll get his interviews back and this’ll end for him, sadly, in the way in which some of those interviews are lost but which he’s not prosecuted any further.

Ed:   Yes, yes, hopefully. And your listeners also should know that the application under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) by the PSNI to the Boston authorities, to the US Attorney in Massachusetts, listed the crimes for which they suspected Anthony McIntyre had talked about in his interviews. One was membership of the IRA – which was actually something he had been charged with and acquitted years before in Belfast – but they were going for this charge again when it’s impossible to do that in law – and another one was a bombing that took place in South Belfast which they say Anthony McIntyre took part in when in fact it was a Loyalist bomb on him and he was the target! I mean, that’s how bad this application for this, this legal application is – it’s actually scandalous! And I think it’s horrified the judges in Belfast who’ve now said to the PSNI: Okay, boys, you’ve got two weeks in which to justify this and if you can’t justify this then these tapes are going back to Boston. And from there of course they, hopefully, will end up back with Anthony McIntyre so let’s just hope that that does happen.

Martin:   Well the sad thing is is, that at one time, applications like that, whether it’s extradition, whether it was deportation, whether it was applications like that would have been fought very vigorously; the whole Irish-American community would have been on top of that. Boston College would have had to be on top of it and now…

Ed:  …Yeah, not now…

Martin:   …it just goes right through. Alright, Ed, we want to thank you for that and look forward, again, Ed’s blog is The Broken Elbow, it’s – he has pieces there, additions to it all the time – I try to check it every day. I’d recommend it very highly. Some of the things that you’ve just heard him talk about were detailed and documented in that blog. Thank you very much, Ed Moloney.

Ed:   Okay. Bye-bye now. (ends time stamp ~ 33:07)

Anthony McIntyre RFÉ 11 November 2017

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Martin Galvin speaks to Anthony McIntyre, former Republican prisoner now historian, author and commentator, via telephone from Co. Louth about several topics that are of interest to the Irish Republican community. (begins time stamp ~ 19:58)

Martin:  We do have Dr. Anthony McIntyre – we had a little bit of difficulty reaching Dominic Óg McGlinchey, we’re going to try him towards the end of the programme. Anthony, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann. Hello?

Anthony:  Hello!

Martin:  Anthony, are you with us?

Anthony:  I am but you’re hard to hear. Go ahead.

Martin:  Alright. No, we had a little trouble. We dialed Dominic Óg McGlinchey and weren’t able to make a connection. We’re going to try him again a little bit later in the programme but we wanted to go to you directly. There’ve been a number of important stories in The North of Ireland. This is one of our ‘catch-up’ programmes where we try to catch-up, bring the audience up-to-date, on a number of different issues and we can think of no better person than you, Dr. Anthony McIntyre, a commentator, journalist and somebody who keeps the blog, The Pensive Quill, to try and help us with all those stories so welcome back. Okay, first thing: When we discontinued for fund raising, obviously last January Sinn Féin had resigned from Stormont, there was a new election, there were talks, there were deadlines – many deadlines and deadlines were passed – and where are we now in terms of Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) reconstituting the Stormont Assembly?

Anthony:  Well, it’s not going to happen this week or next week. I think at the very least we will have to get past the party conferences. And I think Newton Emerson pointed this out in an article in the Irish News that the party conferences are coming up so there’s little chance of an agreement being reached prior to those conferences. Now the talks have broken down. James Brokenshire, the British Secretary of State, has said that he has to introduce a budget and he’s starting to move in the British Parliament, I think this Monday, to introduce a budget that will be imposed on The North and there’s an argument that he’s trying to say that this is not Direct Rule but you know this is rhetoric. It’s hard to see how it isn’t Direct Rule. It’s certainly the substance of Direct Rule – budgetary matters being controlled by London. So we’re – even though they’re saying it’s not Direct Rule I think Colum Eastwood of the SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party), the leader of the SDLP, made the point that it that looks very like Direct Rule – it walks like Direct Rule, it talks like Direct Rule so…

Martin:  Okay.

Anthony:  Hello?

Martin:  Yes. Alright. The Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – they have totally opposite objectives. Sinn Féin wants a united Ireland. The Democratic Union…

Anthony:  …No, that’s not true. Sinn Féin says it wants a united Ireland. Sinn Féin’s a partitionist party that supports the partitionist principle of unity by consent. Sinn Féin for years had opposed that. Sinn Féin were the political wing of the IRA and the IRA killed over a thousand members of the security forces, the British security forces. The IRA killed over a thousand members of the British security forces with Sinn Fein’s endorsement. And those British security forces, at one level, were defending the Principle of Consent.

Martin:  Alright. But the Democratic Unionist Party views any moves by Sinn Féin, whatever they try, as some sort of threat or bribe or some sort of secret move towards a united Ireland – even to the point where if you would just have an Irish Language Act (ILA) similar presumably to what they have in Wales, they have a Welsh language act in Wales, they have a Scottish language act in Scotland – even a move like that is viewed as a red line, something that the Democratic Unionist Party will not accept where even reconciliation gestures, sorry initiatives, like those of Declan Kearney and others, they are looked on suspiciously, they are looked on as some sort of trick to come over, a trojan horse, to get involved with undermining British rule. How do two parties – Alex Kane, the Unionist commentator, and others have made this same statement from a Unionist perspective – how do two parties which have totally different views how do they come together and work a coalition on any other basis other than what Suzanne Breen used to write about as ‘rollover Republicanism’ – going along, with Sinn Féin going along with the DUP – how do they ever get a real agreement that would recognise rights, that would jeopardise what the Unionist see, or Democratic Unionist Party sees, as the basis of continued British rule?

Anthony:  Well, the way that they will get it will be through the Sinn Féin leader calculating that it’s in his career interest, in the interest of his political career, that they reach an agreement in The North. I’m not a pessimist about that some sort of agreement being reached in The North because I think it’s dependent whether or not (and we’ll learn more about this from the upcoming Ard Fheis) but it’s dependent on whether or not the Sinn Féin party can get into government in The South. Now, they’ve been making overtures to Fine Gael, they’ve been making overtures to Fianna Fáil, and I’ve no doubt that there’s been back-channel negotiations and feeling-out processes in place and what would happen then is the Sinn Féin president will reckon that his chances of getting into government will be greatly increased if he is also seen as being in government in The North. And at that point Sinn Féin will move into government in The North regardless of the Irish Language Act being in place or not. It has to be borne in mind that Sinn Féin were in government for ten years in The North – what did they actually do to go about securing an Irish Language Act? I mean the Executive didn’t collapse over an Irish Language Act. It collapsed over the Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI) in which the party had blamed Arlene Foster on – and with, I mean, good reason – but we hardly hear them mention that today. They’re claiming today that the talks are collapsing because or they can’t reach agreement because of the Irish Language Act, marriage equality and the legacy issues – the right to have inquests into killings in The North by British state security personnel.

Martin:  Okay. Tell me – if the British government introduces a budget – that’s technically Direct Rule or may be considered Direct Rule. How much difference does that really make to people on the ground? The Tory/DUP, whatever you want to call it, partners, they set a block grant. The block grant really controls how much money is available. It is going to lead to and mean cuts of crucial services in The North of Ireland. Would it matter, how much does it matter if it’s the DUP and Sinn Féin at Stormont once they get – it’s like children getting an allowance – once you get that allowance there’s only so much you can do with it, you’re not going to get more money than that allowance – how much does it really matter if the budget is set by Westminster instead of by the DUP and Sinn Féin in some sort of partnership or carve-up?

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Anthony:  Well, given that the DUP are neoliberal in their outlook, very neoliberal in their outlook, they will not worry too much about shafting the poorer sectors of Northern society. The Sinn Féin are not just as neoliberal and they have a constituency that would expect more. I mean, Sinn Féin have been promising to put manners on the PSNI – failed absolutely! They will not be able to put manners on the Tories. And Sinn Féin are always vulnerable to electoral erosion, particularly to groups like the People Before Profit (PBP) if they’re seen to be implementing the Tory austerity policy. Now Sinn Féin are quite prepared to implement austerity and Sinn Fein are quite prepared to basically shaft the poorest of the society in the interest of obtaining power. But it is convenient for them to have the Tories making them decisions and then they blame the Tories. But as you say, Sinn Féin in government – and I never call it power-sharing I call it power-splitting because this is what it is – they split power between, in a very ungenerous fashion, between the two main parties who, as you pointed out earlier and Alex Kane has said this as well, they absolutely hate each other but this devil’s alliance, this unholy alliance and it suits both to have this alliance. But it will suit Sinn Féin, to some extent, and let the Tories take the flak on the budget but at the end of the day if Adams decides that his political career is best served by that government in The North, getting it up and running, in conjunction with a government in The South – that’s what he’ll go for.

Martin:  Alright. Now, you mentioned the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland): Now ten years ago there were debates, John and I both worked for candidates who opposed Sinn Féin endorsing the PSNI. What everybody was told: You had the Patten Commission, you had 50/50 recruitment (which has since been done away with), you had policing boards, you had Sinn Féin being involved, very much, on those policing boards – as well as independents, as well as the DUP – and that that would give Nationalists the chance, as you said, to teach, put manners on the PSNI. And all we see in recent weeks, when you talk about legacy issues, when you talk about, for example, the Glenanne case, where about a hundred and thirty people were murdered by Loyalists with, it seems to be, in collusion with British Crown forces – in order to get the truth they were back in court to try and force the PSNI to investigate it and the case, the respondent, the defendant, the person against whom they bring the case is the PSNI Chief Constable. When you talk about not giving a budget for legacy inquests, starving them, stalling them out with money, if you look at the policing boards – they have overall responsibility. The PSNI Chief Constable is the one who implements a budget on a daily basis but the policing boards oversee that annually, they do reports on it – why is it that these structures, these boards, have had no effect whatsoever in getting justice for people who have been denied inquests, who were the victims of collusion? Why is it they now have to go to court, they now have to go to Ombudsman, which is a way of saying that the policing boards failed, that the political structures at Stormont failed, that we can’t get justice in that way. In fact, I just talked about a new film, No Stone Unturned – you have to go to an American film maker to try and get justice – policing boards seem not to work. Why is that?

Anthony:  Well, they were set up not to work. They were never set up to be a serious indictment of the state and they have shown their total ineffectualness in this very situation in that we now have the judiciary hitting out at the British police, the PSNI, because of their tardiness and their absolute reluctance to do anything in relation to truth recovery. See, the biggest change under Patten was the change of the name; the name changed from the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) to the PSNI. Now if the PSNI were to face a threat similar in nature and substance to the threat posed by the Provisional IRA the PSNI would behave exactly like the RUC did – no difference whatsoever – because it would probably find itself in a situation where it felt that was the best way to defeat any insurgency so there’s been no substantive change in this force. And this force now is defending and covering up for the worst atrocities. There has never been one member of the PSNI, when it was called the RUC, not one member of it has been brought before the courts for torture yet there were numerous people tortured by the PSNI when it was the RUC.

The Irish News
13 November 2017

They are doing everything possible to prevent investigations into the past yet they want to investigate Republicans – they’re even chasing after myself on charges of IRA membership and attempted escape from prison and bomb attacks that the Loyalists actually carried out. I mean, this is where they’re wasting public money in the American courts and in the courts in The North of Ireland and they’re not willing to spend money and bring in anybody, any of their own people, to trial.

Now if we look at the recent case involving Gary Haggarty where they say his evidence, despite it being substantial, his evidence would not stand up in court. Now that was a means for the PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service and the British Public Prosecutor in The North, Barra McGrory, that is a means for them to allow the PSNI to get off the hook and probably more importantly it’s a signal – a shot across the bows of those who think that the John Boutcher Operation Kanova inquiry is going anywhere. Freddie Scappaticci, the agent Stakeknife, will be characterised and dismissed as an accomplice and accomplice evidence is not acceptable in the courts of The North at the moment. So I mean this force is doing its utmost to thwart justice and it is no surprise to me that people are increasingly alienated from it. Gerry Kelly will get up and talk rubbish about he supports people joining the PSNI because it’s an Irish police force. They’re no more Irish than the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR), the UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment) the RUC before it. They’re a British police force. They’re managed, effectively, in terms of what they can do and limited, effectively, in terms of what they can do by MI5. The PSNI are not accountable to an Irish administrative system they’re accountable to the British administrative system and British interests haven’t changed that much.

Martin:  Alright. – we’re talking with Dr. Anthony McIntyre – Anthony, there was a new bill introduced – it’s not formally endorsed by the government yet although it’s a member of their party and it was drawn by members of the Democratic Unionist Party and what this bill would do is impose a ten year statute of limitations on any murders or crimes committed by British troopers in The North of Ireland as well as other areas. We’ve had Kate Nash and others on campaigning for prosecutions of British troopers for Bloody Sunday going back to 1972. We’ve had people like the Ballymurphy Massacre Families – if they are cleared by an inquest it might mean that somebody else is guilty of shooting down these people, unarmed people on the street, without provocation, including a Catholic priest, a mother, people going to the aid of others who were wounded – what would it mean to those families, Kate Nash, the Bloody Sunday families, if the British do introduce this ten year statute of limitations?

Anthony:  Well, I mean it’s a ruse. The first question we ask ourselves is it’s a general amnesty – a blanket amnesty for all British security forces because how many people have been killed by British state security forces in The North in the last ten years? So anybody killed before that – you know, there’s been none – I mean, maybe one or two but not in sort of political circumstances. What happens there is that they’re given an amnesty. And I, I mean I have told Kate Nash myself (and other people) that I disagree with the pursuit of prosecution strategies because it’s a means of preventing the truth from emerging about the past. We will never get the truth while we insist on prosecution strategies but the problem here it’s a one-sided, skewed manner in which the British are trying again to apply this. They want it to apply to only British soldiers and the RUC. And so what it means is that the people who’ll continue to appear in courts for activities that occurred, events that occurred forty, forty-five years ago will be Republicans, in some cases Loyalists – no state forces – which means there’s a hierarchy of victims and some victims are going to be treated vastly different from others. Like if you can drag an eighty year old Republican like Ivor Bell in front of the courts why the hypocrisy and shouting about eighty year old soldiers getting dragged in front of the courts?

Martin:  …And in particularly…

Anthony:  …the law has to…

Martin:  …And in particularly demonstrations in front of Westminster, people walking around, how it’s ‘Frankenstein justice’ if you bring somebody like Dennis Hutchings into a court for shooting down a young man running away in Benburb, you know, years ago. Okay…

Anthony:  …Well I mean the complaint…

Martin:  …I just want to get to a couple of more things: Brexit – the negotiations are still going on. It just reminds me what happened here in the United States with Obamacare: You had the Trump Administration and others, Republicans were saying for years we want to repeal and replace Obamacare and everything’ll be great after that, it’ll be great for the economy, all the problems will be solved, all the problems with medical care and costs of medical care will be solved, just elect us, give us our chance. And then obviously when they got elected they had the chance to do that – they have no idea what to do. They have no replacement. They have no programme to do it with. It just seemed to be a good slogan to get elected. In terms of Brexit in The North of Ireland: You had the Tories, you had people calling for Brexit – for breaking away from the European Community – that that was going to make the British a great empire again, it was going to solve all their economic problems, it was going to give everybody jobs and better pay and now it seems they have no strategy for dealing with it, no strategy for what happens. It seems like they thought it would never happen, they don’t have a way to go forward and Ireland, particularly counties – like you live in Co. Louth – and Donegal, others are going to pay a very heavy price for it if it is implemented. How do you see it?

Anthony:  Well I mean I think you’re right. The British who were pushing for this, and Theresa May was not a Brexiteer, but the British who were pushing for this had simply no – the right-wing of the Tory party had no idea and they didn’t anticipate a victory and then when they were handed a victory they didn’t know what to do with it. I think that’s been proved in recent times. And the interesting thing is that in The North there has been, in relation to The North, there has been a document uncovered in recent days which shows that the European Union (EU) are pushing for The North to remain within Europe and while Britain will not – now, that would cause serious problems for Unionism but also would be an administrative nightmare for the British and they’re already responding by saying there will be no borders within the UK – it’s not happening. So it’s very unlikely to happen. And the Taoiseach has rolled back from suggestions, well he hasn’t rolled back himself but he’s disputed suggestions, and Simon Coveney, the Foreign Minister, disputed suggestions that the Irish government has been pushing to have The North to stay within the EU which would sort of make it very, it would become very much identifiable as an island totally separate from Britain and the Unionists and the Tories don’t want that but because the Tories have handled it so badly it’s impossible to say what way it will go because there’s no pattern or plan or logic that can be followed here. You’re just watching them dance about and jump from issue to issue. They’re getting ridiculed in Europe. They simply have no idea how to handle this and because there’s no plan of action we’re not able to sit down and look at the blueprint – it’s make it up as you go along. And I mean Theresa May is under pressure, although I don’t think it’s terminal, but it’s certainly causing her government pressure in that she’s lost two ministers this month. She’s lost a Minister for Defense due to his sexual harassment of women and she’s lost a Minister of International Development for striking secret deals with the State of Israel. So she is under pressure and there’s everything to play for here in terms of what way things will go. But I’m of the view that coming into the new year we will still have Theresa May at the head of the Tory government but The North, I mean she’s too dependent on the DUP for us to see any type of policy introduced which the DUP would find anathema. So all, I think, will be pretty much the same.

Martin:  Alright. We were not able to get Dominic Óg McGlinchey but you ran a piece on The Pensive Quill in which there was a controversy: Peadar Heffron wrote a piece and he was interviewed by a journalist for the Irish Independent. Peter Heffron was, or Peadar Heffron, excuse me, was somebody from a Nationalist area, played Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) sports and joined the PSNI which we’ve talked about – he was a victim of a – was injured in an attack and he says he’s a bitter man – he didn’t like the way that the football club that he had belonged to received him – they weren’t sympathetic enough to him and Dominic Óg McGlinchey had written a piece saying that much of what Peadar Heffron said might be the basis of neighbours of Peadar Heffron, former neighbours of Peadar Heffron, being targeted, being victimised, that in that area there are numerous people who were victims of assassinations – either with the help of or covered up by people who joined the PSNI. Why do you think Dominic Óg McGlinchey wrote that piece or what were the themes in that piece that you printed on The Pensive Quill?

Anthony:  Well firstly, Peadar Heffron yeah, I mean he’s a bitter man who joined a bitter force. And I mean what happened to Peadar Heffron – and I’ve written about this and I’ve expressed my view in relation to his – the attack on him and the attack also on Ronan Kerr, another Catholic on that force, that ended up, he died, I think there’s no justification for these attacks whatsoever. But, what Dominic McGlinchey was writing about was the sentiment that exists at local level in some communities, in Nationalist communities in The North, towards the PSNI. The acceptance of the PSNI by Sinn Féin is to enhance political careers. It’s not to deliver justice. There’s never been manners put on the PSNI. And people who are sitting in Nationalists areas watching the PSNI cover-up for the RUC murders, the RUC tortures, are very unhappy and a lot of Nationalists lost their lives in that particular area where Peadar Heffron lived and, although he wasn’t a serving member of the PSNI – he served, I think, in Woodbourne and Belfast – Peadar Heffron’s joining of the PSNI would have angered a lot of people who have every right to dissent from his decision to join equally as they have the right to applaud his decision to join. And his colleagues in the Gaelic Club seemed not to have liked it at the time and were pretty blunt and telling him that they didn’t respect his decision.

Because Sinn Féin want to go along with policing doesn’t me that everybody and their gran have to think that the police are a good thing. Sinn Féin needed to accept the police to get into government. They didn’t reform the police to any great extent and, as you pointed out, the 50/50 Catholic/Protestant balance was just done away with, and Dominic McGlinchey was trying to point out that when a guy like Joe Brolly comes up and interviews Peadar Heffron and then – Heffron’s less at fault here in fact, Heffron’s not at fault at all for feeling the way he does but Brolly is very much at fault, in Dominic’s view, and also in the view of Seán Mallory who earlier, the day before, had written a piece – Seán Mallory’s a former Republican prisoner, here’s from the Tyrone area, he also knows that people on the ground and in the Gaelic Clubs were very unhappy with Peadar Heffron deciding to join a force – a force that’s been involved, heavily involved, in cover-up and truth denial and keeping families, like those of Bloody Sunday and those in North Belfast who were the victims of the Mount Vernon killers, the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) killers and those victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre that there’s a genuine feeling out there of resentment towards that force.

Now Joe Brolly, who was in the GAA himself, a successful GAA man, an All-Ireland Medal winner, Joe Brolly then accused the former members of widespread cowardice and seems to imply that they may have been in some way involved in the fate that befell Peadar Heffron. Now there’s anger at Joe Brolly because Joe Brolly’s saying things about the GAA that haven’t been heard in years and, when they were heard, they were coming from people like Willie McCrea and, therefore, Dominic thinks and Seán Mallory thinks that this expression of blame, culpability, being assigned to the GAA Club, the local GAA club of which Peadar Heffron was a member, they are of the view that this is an egregious attempt and it causes problems for many, many Nationalists. They’re not, in any way, trying to justify the bomb attack on Peadar Heffron they are simply trying to put it in, put the reaction of the GAA Club to his decision to join the PSNI, they’re trying to put that in context and explain it and give an alternative narrative because this is one of the problems in The North: They want this narrative of the peace process to be accepted. They talk to us about democracy but democracy is the right to choose – choose to do something or choose not to do it and people democratically expressed their views that Peadar Heffron made the wrong decision and they’re quite entitled to express that view and the GAA, his fellow colleagues, his fellow players in the GAA, are quite entitled to be unhappy with him and they’re quite entitled to express that view and they’re doing it in a democratic fashion. There’s nobody saying that Peadar Heffron should have been attacked. I think the attack on Peadar Heffron was terrible, terrible brutal, wholly unjustified. I also feel and when he was denied compensation, when they tried some terrible way to bamboozle, or try to bamboozle their way out of paying him the compensation by saying he wasn’t on duty at the time – well, he was traveling to work – and I spoke out against it and thought he was treated terribly. So people like myself who run this blog or people like Dominic McGlinchey and Seán Mallory who contribute to this blog through insightful articles are not justifying any attack on Peadar Heffron. They’re simply trying to place in context that he is a bitter man who joined a bitter force.

Martin:  Alright. We’re going to have to leave that there. Anthony, thank you for being with us. The website, the blog that he was talking about is The Pensive Quill. It covers articles on a daily basis like what we’ve just heard. And I note: We’re not going to have time to discuss it but before we were on fund raising and on a hiatus one of the cases that we have talked about was that of Tony Taylor, a Doire man, who had been – served a sentence, was released and then just suddenly got picked up on what is called licence, or parole, where you can’t attend your hearing, you can’t pick your representative at a hearing so if your representative can’t talk to you you he can’t get information about to prove your innocence. And there was somebody named Gabriel Mackle who was just picked up within the last number of days and it seems like he is going to be another victim of that policy of internment-by-licence so we’re – well, we’ll look forward to reading about it and getting behind it and getting on top of that case, hopefully it’s not true. We want to thank you for bringing us up-to-date on so many stories.

Anthony:  Thank you for having me on, Martin. And the Gabriel Mackle case is another example of what this force, the PSNI, is doing. They’re continuing the policy of internment and they’re not being opposed by the people who were interned, previously interned, and who should be standing up opposing them. Thanks very much!

Martin:  Alright. Good Luck! Thank you, Anthony. (ends time stamp ~ 51:37)