Ed Moloney is an Irish journalist who now lives and works in New York City. For most of his professional life he covered the Troubles in Northern Ireland, writing for the Irish Times and the Sunday Tribune. A former Irish journalist of the year, he has published work in a variety of newspapers and magazines in Ireland, the UK, and the United States, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The Economist, The Independent, The Guardian and The New Statesman.
Moloney is the author of three books dealing with aspects of the Irish Troubles, A Secret History of the IRA (2007), Paisley: From Demagogue to Democrat? (2008) and Voices from the Grave: Two Men’s War in Ireland (2010). He has also helped to produce documentaries for the BBC, Channel Four, London Weekend Television and a recent RTE documentary, Voices From the Grave, which was based on his book and was shortlisted for best documentary prize by the Irish Film and Television Academy.
Ed glad to see your views have mellowed a bit on the ould taigs. good luck eamon
Could you possibly give me Nial ODowd s email ?
Ray Brennan . com
i am sorry ray, i’d love to help but i don’t know it. you might, however, try to contact him via his website Irish Central or alternatively the Irish Voice
Eamon – Glad to see you’re still torturing those poor goats!
I wanted to send you a query re Voices from the Grave. Is there an email address you give out for stranger-mail? Thanks…
I am a Brazilian journalist who works as International Correspondent for the website http://www.operamundi.com.br.
They are doing a serie of special reports about the effects that 9/11 had in different countries. My part is to talk about the effect that 9/11 caused on IRA.
I wonder if you can help me. Can you give me an interview?
Please, send your contatc details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Juliana Yonezawa
I am doing a piece for them about the effects that
Reference your article in the Irish Times (September 24th). Martin McGuiness was never a member of Óglaigh na hÉireann. He was however a member of the Provisional IRA. There is only one Óglaigh na hÉireann and that is the Irish Defence Forces. The Irish Defence Forces has a proud history of defending the sovereignty of the Republic of Ireland from the threat to this state that was the Provisional IRA.
I suppose those that claim ownership of this Name are many and varied one only has to go back to the Civil War to see same..The ‘Regulars’ have nothing to crow abut when blood was spilled back then… the dykes in Kerry ran red with those tied to Landmines….moreover until Ireland called itself a ‘Republic’ many thanks to Edward and Mrs Simpson the term was up for grabs, as only then the state could remove dominion status… and so unfettered call to the use of the term ‘The Island of Ireland’ could be supported… Even today the Irish Passport the term ‘Republic’ is held back……. Eire / Ireland bring shown on the cover…The biggest threat to the Irish people over the generation was ‘British Imperialism’ which wet nursing Unionist Hegemony for a pastime..thus .by miss rule and the use of ‘Politics by other means’..indeed .creating those conditions making conflict the last option left…… ‘The Troubles’ and what followed were a product of generations of repression….as for the ‘Provisionals’ some could say they were born out of the ashes of ‘Bombay street’….. By the way the greatest loss of life in this state.. would have been ‘Dublin and Monaghan Bombings’ and the dogs on the street know who carried out those despotic acts…
Your blog is of interest to me for many reasons as you may expect.
I trust that you do not expect mine to be always in agreement with your anti IRA writing.
History cannot be re-written.
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I don’t have the book with me right now so I can’t check on what you say. Keep in touch though and we’ll have a look at this later.
Mr Moloney, I’ve long been a fan of your work; delighted to have found your blog. Your analysis of the Troubles has been one of the most important and fearless sources for my own assessment of the Dirty War. If I might direct your attention to my own site, I have been writing for some time on politics in Britain and Ireland.
Here’s my take on ‘that handshake’:
Here’s something I wrote on Adams withdrawal from Westminster:
I have also completed a novel that starts on that fateful day in August 1979 which started with Mullaghmore and ended with Warrenpoint:
I just wanted to say thank you, I wouldn’t be writing about this subject if people like you hadn’t done the legwork so well.
Thanks sean. i will write separately as soon as i can.
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I wish to lodge a protest with this website in the strongest possible terms. Your article contains a number of key inaccuracies which could have been corrected or at least challenged had you bothered to contact me, Ed Moloney, the director of the Belfast Project which is the subject of your article. You clearly have had access to my blog and your article is dotted with my name (but none from Boston College), yet you did not even bother to contact me to check some important facts. Instead you took as gospel the account of Boston College in this affair despite the fact that this college has a strong motivation to launder the truth in its own self-interest.
This is a story of many things but essentially it is a tale of gross academic funk, of a college abandoning a research project that it had initiated and funded, which it boasted about and which it used as a basis to become an important archive for other documents from the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It is a story of a college that has thrown its research subjects to the wolves and denigrated those in Belfast who worked on its behalf. Had you done the most elemental research you would have been aware of this controversy surrounding the project and the subsequent subpoenas and that ought have sent you in the search for balancing inputs from those involved on the ground in this project. But you didn’t. I now ask that these comments be incorporated in your account which should be corrected and edited to reflect my input. In this capacity I am speaking on behalf of the two researchers who carried out the interviews, Dr Anthony McIntyre who interviewed IRA activists and Wilson McArthur who interviewed Loyalist activists.
Your first gross error came at the start of your article when you wrote:
“The Belfast Project at Boston College was not, however, a typical university research project. This project was not initiated by a professor or college employee, tenured or otherwise, but by the Irish journalist and author Ed Moloney. Moloney entered into an agreement in 2001 with the head of Boston College’s Burns Library to house what was then an envisioned collection of recorded interviews with former paramilitaries about their activities during the Troubles. Interviews were then conducted from 2001-2006 on the basis of a promise of confidentiality for both the interview and the interviewee, to last until the interviewee’s death.”
This is so wrong it is difficult to know where to start. But here is the history of the origin of this project. In 1999-2000, Professor Paul Bew of the Political Science Department at Queens University Belfast was a visiting scholar at BC. He arrived just after the Good Friday Agreement had been signed in Belfast heralding the end of the conflict and the beginning of peace. While at BC, the head of the college’s Burns Library, Dr Robert K O’Neill told Bew that because of the peace deal, BC was interested in starting a collection associated with the Irish Troubles and could he, Bew, help the college search and locate suitable projects. Bew agreed. This is the point at which the project was initiated and note that it was the college Head Librarian who initiated it. When Bew returned to Belfast he canvassed around for ideas. He approached me amongst others and I suggested replicating a project that the Irish govt had put in place after the Anglo-Irish war of 1919-1921 to collect the stories of those who had fought in the conflict. He took that idea back to O’Neill who contacted me to see if I would take the idea forward with BC’s help. This I agreed to do. BC then drew up the contracts including the crucial donor contract which did not carry any caveat or warning about interviewees’ vulnerability to subpoenas. The funding was also put in place for the project. Each interviewee received £25,000 p.a., I received £5,000 p.a. for what was essentially a part-time job and a small sum was set aside for equipment, transcription and shipping. All that money came from BC. So in every meaning of the phrase, the Belfast Project was “a typical university research project” that had been initiated and funded by college employees.
Since the subpoenas were served and it has become painfully clear that BC was deficient in its responsibilities to interview subjects, some of whom could now face jail terms, there has been an effort by this college to shift the blame on to myself and the two researchers and to denigrate us in every way possible. One way it has done this is to put distance between itself and the project by implying or suggesting that they kindly made room on their shelves for a project which otherwise was nothing to with themselves, a project that was entirely my work and idea. That is blatantly a lie and you have fallen for it. BC is a college that has an income of nearly $750 million a year and employs full-time p.r. people and while we have nothing like those resources we nonetheless have presented our case truthfully and have largely succeeded despite the massive odds against us.
The second untruth is this, which you also wrote:
“Critics, however, note that the Boston College project was not initiated by an academic, but by a journalist and author who, with the librarian, tried to use contract law to ensure that an intended collection of interviews conducted in Northern Ireland were housed on a confidential basis outside the jurisdiction. Boston College’s Center for Irish Programs has acknowledged an association with the project, with the Center’s Executive Director having ‘met periodically in Belfast with the former IRA/UVF university-trained men who conducted the interviews with paramilitary veterans from opposing sides,’ but the project’s terms were agreed without the Center’s involvement.”
You repeat here the canard you began your piece with, that this project was not initiated by an academic but by a journalist. I repeat, BC began this project, funded it, drew up the contracts and therefore own this project despite its efforts to suggest otherwise.
The second untruth concerns what you have to say about the Center for Irish Programs. Let me be very, very clear about this. The head of that Center is Professor Tom Hachey and throughout the life of this project, from 2001 to 2006, Hachey was the man we all went to for instructions, for assistance and for anything to do with the project aside from storage of the interviews. He was our main point of contact with BC. Dr Bob O’Neill deferred to him in all matters concerning the project and he was the public face of the project when the book based on the Hughes/Ervine interviews was published, giving all the media interviews that resulted, which are available on archive. It was Hachey who came to us circa 2004 to ask if we would agree to existing contracts being altered to allow publication of interviews while the subjects were still living. Ask yourself how that rests with BC’s efforts to blame the subpoenas on ourselves? One reassurance he tried to give us at that time was that there would be no risk as we were legally safe. BC wanted bangs for its bucks, he explained, i.e. publications that would justify the expense incurred on the project. We declined on the grounds that it would be wrong to alter a deal already made with interviewees but one result of all this was the publication of the Hughes/Ervine book. BC wanted publications from their investment and this was the first. It was Hachey who conducted negotiations with the publisher, via my agent, about that book; it was Hachey who asked that he and O’Neill should share the byline on the book (Faber refused) and it was Hachey who insisted that half the royalties go to his Center and to O’Neill’s library. (Incidentally, I have all the emails to back up every word I write) This pathetic attempt to distance himself from the project, using yourself as the vehicle, may have more to do with the internal politics of BC than anything else but whatever the reason it is despicable.
Accordingly, I would ask that all this be reflected in your continuing coverage of the Belfast Project, that you correct or at least balance your inaccuracies and that you contact me beforehand so that I can see what you intend to do.
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I’m a Connolly. I’m an American, but live in Tokyo. My namesake great-great grandfather came from Fermanagh. He was a Methodist. On my mother’s side, my Lyons great-great grandfather came from Cork and was Catholic. I visited Belfast for 5 days several years ago and wandered all over the Bogside. I just saw the CNN program on efforts to get access to records from the Troubles. As an observer at a distance, I sure think we should all let the dead lie at peace.
Does that include the Royal Irish Constabulary
Ed, I just finished Voices from the grave. It was brilliant. Is there plans for more? And when? I have some things on this comment portion with happenings at BC and was wondering if you were still going ahead??
thanks gene. no plans. can you explain BC?
Just what I read in the previous post about Boston College and the documents/tapes that are requested by the British Government??
ok. well we are doing our best to limit the damage. it has been a tough fight with little or no support from BC. thanks for the support!
Well I hope there is another book some time?? I am fascinated with that time period 67′-current.. I have read a few on the “Troubles” any you would recommend??
one of the best books on the IRA was ‘killing rage’ by eamon collins
Thank you and dont give up!! Good Luck!!! Hope you post updates on the situation..
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Ed, fully agree on Eamonn Collins and Killing Rage. Read it en-route to Oz and almost missed my connection at Singapore. That man had oomph! Ed, I know that as a journalist you’d probably dismiss the online petitions but I’ve signed a few that had major impact – Magdalene Laundries and Bethany Babies. Think about it. Integrity, though not often acknowledged, is highly respected and you have it in spades. History will serve you well.
many thanks craghopper, much appreciated. i do actually sign some online petitions, over here in the US that is, where often they deal with the most awful miscarriages of justice……or corporate evildoings
Ed – I’m an Australian journalist trying to get in touch with you. I’m on millar.lisa at abc.net.au if you’re able to send me an email with contact details. Thank you.
Hi Ed, enjoyed your comments today on RTE, yes, I agree with you that while we are bombarded with prose over Paisley the statesman, no one but no one should ever forget the rest of his CV! Best of luck. John
thanks john. had enough about damascene conversion crap!
Am halfway through ‘Voices From The Grave’ – just brilliant. Paul Greengrass should develop this material.
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I’m an Russian journalist. I am preparing an article on the current state of Irish radical republicanism. In Russia, almost nothing is known about the IRA and other republican groups. I get most of their information from articles and books, but they do not answer all my questions. I wonder if you can help me. My e-mail – ventadv(at)gmail.com. If you’re able to send me an email with contact details.
i would be happy to help you, except i am on vacation until december 29th. so plesse contact me after then & i will talk to you. take care.
I’m trying to license the image above of McGuinness in custody, but having real trouble tracking it down. Do you have any idea who holds the rights to it?
Stumbled upon this website which talks about McGuiness and his informer links.
Some of this was new information to me, I was wondering if your consider it reputable?
no idea how true or not this is, but it has been circulating for some time, whatever that means…….
I though would put this comment here, rather than in the article about McGuinness because it wasn’t an appropriate place.
I hope this question is not somewhat insensitive.
But have you made plans to ensure that the content of this website remains online 10, 20, 30 years from now? I understand wordpress.com is free, but there is no guarantee the wealth of information remains up forever.
It would be a great shame to come here one day, trying to dig up some of your writings only to find a dead link.
Ed, Sean McPhilemy’a book on ‘The Committee’, is it reliable? I’ve not seen you mention some of the accusations made in the book.
let me put it this way. mcphilemy, who i knew at QUB and always thought solid until this episode, came over from london to NI to do some research. he took the stranraer ferry. he arrived and not far outside larne he picked up a hitchhiker who told him this story about a secret committee of unionists who were directing things. thus started his book and all else that followed. i can only think he lost his mind somewhere but how i do not know. that’s why i don’t mention it. would you?
Good to know ha
Sunday times claimed it was a hoax but the court declared it had ‘failed to prove the non-existence of a clandestine committee’ which seems like an absurd way to judge the matter.
My name is Felix Davey, I’m a photographer from Belfast currently studying at Yale University and researching histories of IRA activity abroad. I couldn’t find your email address but would love to speak to you if possible.
Write to email@example.com – will be back next week
Where did you get the picture of that car ? Very important to me. Please contact me private thank you
Hi Ed, thank you for your work. Having seen I, Dolours in cinema in Dublin, I think it both a very difficult and important film. I have been looking for copy to purchase and am having difficulty locating one. Would you be able to point me in the right direction?
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how wonderful, that the cry of the disgruntled journalists receives attention, but where is the concern for those not in the nuj?????
is kevin in the NUJ?
Mr. Moloney, I am writing a four volume history of anti-American terrorism in the U.S. and overseas from Eisenhower through Trump administrations. Volumes I and II published. Working on Volume III – Clinton and Bush II. Writing section on Clinton Jan 1994 decision to allow Adams to come to U.S. over objections of FBI, State (I worked in State), and CIA. Read all comments from others about Adams being a member of IRA, and Army Council. I have seen no official documentary evidence for this. Testimonies, but no documents. Could you steer me to UK or Irish sources that might have such documents? Read you Secret History – it was excellent. I just figured the Brits have more info on Army Council – membership, meetings, locations, etc. Thanks in advance. Dennis Pluchinsky
They do have proof/evidence, including intercept and bugs bu t I would be v.doubtful they would release it. Adams is a protected species nowadays. You would be better advised talking to officials/former politicians etc but whether they would give you documentation is another matter – the IRA has its own files but they are reluctant for obvious reasons to release them and only do when there is a split – the officials I suggest you contact are Mitchell Reiss, ex Bush director of policy planning who wrote a book on terrorism with a chapter on the IRA; you forget the Irish govt had as much to do with the IRA as the Brits and more reason to talk about them especially now when their political wing is a growing threat to the electoral status quo – try former Justice Minister michael McDowell – you can get him at firstname.lastname@example.org – you can cite me to both gents – but honestly wondering whether Gerry Adams is/was an IRA leader is like asking whether the sun really does rise in the East every morning!
Thank you. The reason I was looking for documentation is that the Irish Republican Army was listed on the U.S. Government’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list (as a favor to our special friend – GB). If Adams was a known IRA member he could not have received a visa to come to the U.S. in late January 1994. However, at the time, Adams was touted as a Sinn Fein leader. I argue that Clinton broke U.S. CT policy by allowing Adams to come to the U.S. without certain pre-conditions being met – as Reagan did with Yasir Arafat. Anyway, I appreciate your tips and will follow up on them. I enjoyed your book. I always wanted to write a book on the Army Council – the most interesting and secretive terrorist executive decision-making body that I am aware of.
You should also talk to, and perhaps gain access to the archives of the Nat Cttee on American on American Foreign Policy whose leading member Bill Flynn was instrumental in bringing Adams to the US during the Clinton white house years. The British were very antsy about Adams first trip to the US an d may well have employed the argument you cite to press Clinton to deny him a visa, albeit for just 48 hours. Their files, I’m sure, would shed light on the matter if you could gain access….
The Army Council has a history which exceeds that of the Irish state so it would be worthy of such a study, and well worth considering given its central place in 20th century Irish history. I may be wrong but I don’t think anyone has ever attempted such a project…..
I am finishing my volumes III and IV. You would be the one to write it. Of course, you could not interview one of its chairman – Adams. Thanks for your guidance.
Actually, he was never chairman. McGuinness was the last and one of the longest chairmen, during the peace process years, and as chairman was the IRA point of contact with govts etc, equivalent to obama’s hillary clinton. Adams was chief of staff but only for a few weeks, one of the shortest terms in IRA history. A book would require going back through most of the last 120 years of Irish history……
Last comment, I promise. I find it absolutely incredible that Adams has not been definitively and legally linked to membership in the IRA. The only official record would be his 1973 arrest and subsequent escape attempts from the Maze in 1973 and 1974. However, UK Supreme Court says convictions for escapes were invalid because his arrest was invalid as it was signed by a junior minister instead of the Secretary of State. A technicality. How the hell does he get away for saying even to the present that he was not a member of the IRA? The prison breaks were organized by IRA members. This is one heck of a magician act by Adams. Yet, Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell, and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he was a member of the IRA and the Army Council? I am missing something here?
A longstanding theory, to which I subscribe, is that very early on, when Adams was released from internment as part of the 1972 ceasefire deal and along with Dave O’Connell met senior British officials to organise a meeting with the then NI Secretary, Wille Whitelaw, the British talent spotted Adams as someone they could do business with some day. They went to some lengths to protect him from assassination (even doctoring Loyalist bullets intended to kill him) and he lived quite openly in west Belfast, at a well known address and could have been killed had the british wanted him dead. I suspect there was a policy decision to keep him alive. This article gives you a flavour of that: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2003/jan/01/past.northernireland You must remember British imperial past and their experience in divesting themselves of it, while protecting their essential interests……
I read the article. Is this not an official confirmation by the British government that Adams was an IRA member? Do you know how I can find this document written by Philip Woodfield? Is the public records office, like our Freedom of Information Act?
I can do better than that: https://thebrokenelbow.com/2014/01/21/british-cabinet-account-of-1972-ira-ceasefire-talks/
It is evidence he was in the IRA in 1972 but not necessarily in 1992
If you have an email I can send the screenshot of SCRIBD doc
email@example.com I am putting an FOIA into the State Department for a copy of Adams’ 1994 visa application to see how he answered certain questions concerning possible terrorist activity. Seems to me it is easier to prove you were a member of the IRA than to prove you were not. He was a member 1972. He would have to prove that he was not a member in 1994. How would he do that?
I agree. How can you disprove such an allegation? A man can disprove a claim that he is a woman by unzipping his pants but not so a claim that he is gay, or a child molester or a terrorist – such a claim can be supported by a witness or a victim, but how do you prove a negative? He was a member of an IRA delegation in 1972 and given his role in 1992 it is reasonable to assume he still is a member. Anyway you should talk to mcdowell and reiss.
I meant retired officials and politicians…..
Hello. I am doing a presentation on Irish women hunger strikers and would like to talk to you about your interview with Dolours Price for the documentary I, Dolours. Could you please get in touch with me via WordPress? Thank you in advance.
Hi janeanne, you can contact me here, Ed
Hi Ed, thanks for your quick reply. My presentation is in conjunction with the Celtic Junction (https://celticjunction.org/) in St. Paul, MN and I am doing the presentation online in November. Ideally, I would like to ask you some questions about the interview and Dolours (not Gerry Adams) via a Zoom with the hope that I could use a bit of the recording of our interview for my session. I am just starting my research so we have time to do this short (I promise!) interview if you agree to it. I realize that this is a big ask but I know it would put some spark into my presentation.
It would be hard to separate DP’s behaviour during this time from Gerry Adams as it was her anger at Adams that motivated much of her activity; if you were to ask me why she behaved as she did I would have to say it was because of Adams and the double standards, i.e. ordering killings in one breath, denying any assoc with IRA on other……