Jean McConville Book Wins Orwell Prize Despite Faked Marian Price Claim

On October 31st last year, myself and Nuala Cunningham, in our capacity as co-producers of the documentary film ‘I, Dolours‘, issued the following statement in response to a claim from the author and New Yorker writer, Patrick Keefe, in his book, ‘Say Nothing‘, that a redaction in an interview with Dolours Price which we had allowed him to read, had named her sister, Marian Price as the third member of the IRA team which had ‘disappeared’ Belfast housewife, Jean McConville:

Marian Price: The Truth About New Book’s Allegation

Statement by Ed Moloney and Nuala Cunningham, producers of ‘I, Dolours’:

The American author Patrick Radden Keefe has made a major error in his new book on the IRA disappearance of Jean McConville. He claims that part of a transcript of an interview with Dolours Price which we allowed him to see was redacted because it named Marian Price, her sister, as one of the three people who took Jean McConville across the Border to her death. This is not true. The redaction contained no name at all, least of all that of Marian Price.

Mr Keefe failed to ask a couple of simple questions of Ed Moloney: ‘Was Marian Price named in the redaction?’ Or: ‘Was anyone named by Dolours Price as the third person?’ Instead he just seems to have assumed that she did name her sister. In fact, in her interviews with Ed Moloney, Dolours Price never named the third person.

Unlike Gerry Adams, who was named by Dolours Price in an interview, Marian Price has never been arrested or questioned by the PSNI about the disappearance of Jean McConville. Had she been named it is more than likely she would have been.

The statement was posted on my blog on October 31st, 2018, the day before ‘Say Nothing‘ was published in Ireland and the UK.

To repeat: Patrick Keefe had never asked Moloney whether the redaction had named anyone, much less Marian Price. All that Ed Moloney told him about the redaction was that it was made to honour a promise to Dolours Price that we would not identify, or help to identify in any way the remaining living member of the three-member IRA team which abducted and disappeared Mrs McConville.

We can also say that the redaction was made out of an abundance of caution, i.e. that it could have been left in without identifying the person.

The leader of the trio, Belfast Brigade intelligence officer Pat McClure emigrated to Connecticut in the USA in the early 1980’s where he became a prison warder. He died of cancer not long afterwards.

We repeat today that the redaction named no person, nor did it identify who the third member of the IRA team was. The claim by Patrick Keefe that it did is false. Had he asked whether Marian Price was named or identified we would have told him clearly that she was not. But he did not ask.

The central claim of his book, that he had identified the third member of the IRA team, was thus based not on fact but on a supposition by him that proved to be false. We suspect that he took a gamble that Marian Price had been named but it was a foolish wager on his part.

We are re-issuing this statement today in the light of the award to Patrick Keefe of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing.

A copy of an article in the online magazine, Counterpunch, written by Moloney, was sent to the Orwell jury. Ed Moloney received an assurance from The Orwell Foundation that the judges would be made aware of the article, although whether the judges read it is an unknown.

The Counterpunch article dealt not only with Patrick Keefe’s false claim about Marian Price but also showed how Keefe had used information previously published by Moloney in such a way as it appeared to have been the product of his own research.

For example, chapters dealing with the life of the Belfast IRA leader Brendan Hughes were said by him to have been based on his interviews with Boston College, which I gave him. Technically that is correct, but he did not mention  that these accounts had already been published, in my book  ‘Voices From The Grave‘, or had been featured in a prize-winning documentary film of the same name.

This part of his work, in other words, was not original, a fact which he did not admit.

All these and other matters were laid before the Orwell prize jury but if they were taken into consideration or not is not known. What can be said with certainty however is that apart from an acknowledgement of receipt, no effort was made by the jury to contact either of us for further information.

11 responses to “Jean McConville Book Wins Orwell Prize Despite Faked Marian Price Claim

  1. They were quick to drag Johann Hari over the coals for something similar – or even less.

  2. carl ginsburg

    It is such an egregious error… how does he get away with it?

    On Tue, Jun 25, 2019 at 9:32 PM The Broken Elbow wrote:

    > The Broken Elbow posted: “On October 31st last year, myself and Nuala > Cunningham, in our capacity as co-producers of the documentary film ‘I, > Dolours’, issued the following statement in response to a claim from the > author and New Yorker writer, Patrick Keefe, in his book, ‘Say Not” >

  3. The Orwell prize is an increasingly Orwellian trophy. It was recently awarded to Guardian journalist Suzanne Moore, one of the most vociferous members of the venal gang-up against Julian Assange at the Guardian.

    Incidentally, investigative journalist Matt Kennard has done a tremendous job exposing significant links between the Guardian and UK military intelligence. In particular he’s revealed that deputy editor Paul Johnson has been given a key role in Whitehall’s ‘D notice’ (state censorship) committee. Presumably as part of a quid pro quo for the Guardian’s compliant posture, post Snowden?

    Anyway, enjoy!

  4. The book frames the idea that Marian Price was Jean McConville’s murderer as speculation on the part of the author. Patrick Radden Keefe was told by Anthony McIntyre that the third gunman, the one who killed McConville, was at some point asked to be Gerry Adams’ driver. When reviewing the Moloney transcript with Dolours Price, Keefe found that Dolours notes her sister once declined the opportunity to be Gerry Adams’ personal driver. Keefe got into contact with Marian Price’s daughter and was told to stay away. Keefe then wrote to Marian Price’s lawyer to see if Marian would so much as deny being McConville’s killer, he received no response. McIntyre also never denied Marian’s possible guilt. Dolours would admit to the grizzly work of Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes, but refused to say anything about who the third gunman was. Keefe fully admits to the fact that any number of people could have declined being Gerry Adams’ chauffeur, and Marian being the killer was merely his speculation. The only person who failed to do their research was the writer of this article.

    • At least I write under my own name…..and read what I wrote. I neither nor identified any other person involved in the mcconville killing/abduction….

    • You are wrong – what he claims is that one of the redacted sections of my interview with Dolours Price named her sister Marian as the one who fired the fatal shot. The redacted section contains no such thing. That was and is my beef with Keefe. Do your fucking research…..

  5. Patricia Sherman Dumas

    Keefe surmised it. He admits that it wasn’t in the interview. And I see he’s credited you everywhere in the book. He suggested Marian was the one and something to do with a someone who didn’t take the job of Gerry Adams chauffeur. And a slip of the tongue from Dolores in another interview. I would like to know the truth as well. But, I respect the research that Keefe did. And I ordered your book on Secrets of IRA hoping to learn more. What are your thoughts on the way the Boston College project turned out? I think it’s sad no one will ever be able to see it again. I hope you don’t cuss me out. 🙂 Patricia D. in NJ

    • I don’t do cussing. Keefe cited an RUC/PSNI Special Branch source as the authority to say the Stornophone was not available to security forces at the time. He was lied to but was happy to accept the lie because, I suspect, it made for a better story. If it wasn’t available why did the Saville report on Bloody Sunday (January 1972) say that the Stornophone was in use by troops in Derry that day. The phone was also used by soldiers guarding the ‘Ulster 71’ celebrations in the summer of 1971 long before Bloody Sunday. Keefe ignored that evidence. Why?

  6. Patricia Sherman Dumas

    What is Keefe’s response?

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