The days since the arrest of Gerry Adams for questioning about his alleged role in the abduction, death and disappearance of Jean McConville have been distinguished by some of the laziest and sloppiest journalism I have ever experienced.
Unchecked allegations nestle comfortably beside outright lies as one journalist after another has speculated in particular about the contents of the interviews that were unfortunately and unnecessarily handed over to the DoJ/PSNI by Boston College.
Many journalists have gone to print without even a phone call to myself to check facts or allegations. Nor have they bothered to avail themselves of the mountain of information and original documents stored on the website created and studiously tended by Carrie McIntyre, partner of Anthony McIntyre.
Had they bothered to give the computer keyboard a couple of clicks they would have been able to access the most accurate and complete description of the content of the surrendered interviews available anywhere.
Only one person, other than myself and Anthony McIntyre has read the entire archive and that was the US Federal Court judge, William Young who heard the case seeking the dismissal of the PSNI subpoenas in December 2011.
Judge Young was obliged to read the entire archive after Boston College made the extraordinary claim (initially contained in a sealed affidavit to spare the college embarrassment but revealed inadvertently during proceedings) that it could not help him choose which interviews to hand over since the responsible staff member, college librarian Bob O’Neill, had never read them!
In his final judgement delivered in late January 2012, Young outlined his reasoning for choosing the interviews to be given to the PSNI and in so doing gave us a pretty good idea what was in them. This very important clue was hiding in plain sight on the website.
Since I have now done their work for them, perhaps journalists covering the story can now be a little bit more accurate in the reportage of what is and what is not in the interviews handed over to the PSNI. My apologies if what Judge Young has to say lacks the drama and sensation that reporters clearly yearn for.
Here then is the relevant part of Judge Young’s judgement. I reproduce it without comment. These interviews discussed by Young were sought by the PSNI under a second subpoena served two or more months after the first. The first subpoena dealt with Brendan Hughes’ and Dolours Price’s interviews with Anthony McIntyre. I wish to repeat again for the umpteenth time: in her interview with Anthony McIntyre for the Belfast Project she did not, repeat not, that is NOT, even mention Jean McConville’s name much less describe her death.
Here is Judge Young’s summary of the contents of the subpoenaed interviews: