Of course black can be white if all notions of truth are treated as relative (Part 354)…

Okay, further to my 2011 post on the Irish political journalist’s problem with partial disclosure (or even earlier Why the truth matters)… This Pensive Quill post from Thomas ‘Dixie’ Elliot, a regular commenter this parish:

The threat from Long Kesh worked. Patrick Duffy’s body was dug up and left in a brand new coffin inside a car which was abandoned on the Buncrana Road on the Northern side of the border on the 24th August, 1973. It was the pressure from Derry Republicans who were interned which eventually brought about the return of the body and not, as Martin McGuinness claimed to Marian Finucane, his insistence to the IRA in Derry that they should “remedy” the situation.

One thing to note is that McGuinness does not specifically name the case he’s talking about, but since the deputy First Minister also gets some of critical objective detail wrong, the partial disclosure further demonstrates the original dilemma.

But do read the whole thing

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  • RegisterForThisSite

    Here’s two decent articles about this

    http://tinyurl.com/p3q8xjy and http://tinyurl.com/p3q8xjy

    I am surprised that the Gardai didn’t think to check his grannies house when he was on the run, would seem an obvious place to keep an eye on.

  • Mick Fealty

    Quite: ” We told McGuinness we were socialist republicans, not fascists.”

  • socaire

    The Adams witch-hunt must have run its course. We need fresh meat. And it must be a fact that socialist republicans don’t ‘disappear’ informer’s bodies while fascists do?

  • I can understand people not having perfect memories from 40 years ago, myself included, but not remembering details of a murder in your own locality stretches credulity.

  • Mick Fealty


    YOu may not think there is a problem when an elected political leader lies, but I do. If its a witch hunt it’s easily to put an end when the lying stops. Here’s the crux:

    “Martin McGuinness told two lies to Marian Finucane. One was that he was in jail, well away from the scene of the crime, when Patrick Duffy was shot and buried in a Donegal bog. The second was that he had intervened and secured Patrick Duffy’s return to his family because of his abhorrence and anger at the dead man’s disappearance.

    Not true. It was the fear of IRA internees turning against the Derry IRA leadership which achieved that. If Martin McGuinness misled Marian Finucane about what really happened in the Patrick Duffy case then how can anyone believe that his condemnation of the IRA policy of disappearing people is at all genuine?”

    I’ll grant you, it doesn’t seem to harm them at the polls. But I find it hard to pass by and ignore with any decent equanimity.

  • socaire

    You are saying that Marty told lies to Ms Finucane and your proof comes from the Dixie/McIntyre axis? Could you not put your undeniable journalistic truffle hunting skills to the British govt denial of approval for torture in 1971?

  • Roy Walsh

    This is part of the on going war within Republicanism over the truth.
    Dixie Elliot has stated Martin McGuinness was not in gaol at the time this man was shot, allegedly for been an informer, these details will be on the record of the Irish Courts service and Prison Service, a wee FOI request would determine if the DFM is telling the truth or misleading the people who pay his wages.
    If he’s been misleading about his whereabouts at the time, he might too be just as misleading about his emotions on hearing about it.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh, socaire, its not simply a matter of cancelling out lies by pointing to lies on the other side. This is a bit like balancing out a sinking ship by knocking holes below the waterline over on the other side of the ship. It just makes it sink all the quicker.

    This business of political probity is a practical matter, long obscured by the tendency of all our politicians across the board to be economical with the truth on most occasions. Its not just Marty and Sinn Féin, its how our politicians appear to think they should conduct any contact with the public in the Big Real world.

    The problem is that any political system anywhere is simply a machine for supplying a country with services called “government”, nothing more. For the machine to function at all there needs to be a reasonable level of truth from those comprising it in order to allow the trust that stops the cogs by being constantly clogged up by popular doubt. Just saying that the real emphasis should be on “questioning the other side” is not in any way answering the all important trust issue for one’s own side. Pure political self-interest needs to be put aside in order for any realy effective government to begin to occur. Or you will end up with something like Stormont……..

  • socaire

    Seaaaaan, After 500+ posts on Adams/Paedophilia/OTRs/McConville etc we are now moving on to MMcG. I’m all for balance and we have ended up with something like Stormont and do we really care if it withers on the vine and the Vichy govt goes with it?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hello socaire! Whatever the motives of those writing the “500+ posts on Adams/Paedophilia/OTRs/McConville etc” they would not have had any credibility if GA had not leave himself wide open to them by his attempts to avoid these criticisms by evasion and lies. His slavering opponents may use Áine’s experiences to attack him, but if he’d done a Brutus the Elder and outed his brother and supported her he would not be in this fix. Áine’s experiences make his actions unforgivable and anyone can see the symbolism of Ireland’s rape since the Elizabethan period repeated in his actions. He let Áine down and symbolically let us all down with her.

    But I repeat, honesty in government is a practical matter. When I was running film production, an honest crew was necessary to manage anything on the tight budgets I worked with. Any backbiting or lying on a production and the budget noticably started to rise in my weekly budget assessments. An honest crew meant that I could pay over the ACTT rates! When I look at Stormont, there’s only about a dozen people I’d willingly employ……

    And, …”do we really care if it withers on the vine and the Vichy govt goes with it?” Well, unless we all begin to grow up, take responsibility for every aspect of our lives and read our Kropotkin much more closely, someone, somewhere will be governing us as our masters! And it might just be direct rule………

    I’d prefer a measure of honest responsible government, and before you ask, I’m not a member of the Aetherius society and I don’t believe in Flying saucers.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Quite: ” We told McGuinness we were socialist republicans, not fascists.”

    Ah Mick, there’s so much more in there.

    Not least that this story has already been told, so his version is easy to disprove, so why lie, was it a lie? thinking in the middle of a interview, I mean 30 or 31 years ago, big old lie, he went to Derry when he got out of prison, he went to Derry on the run, either way he went to Derry after an enforced absense, big old lie.

    Is his part in having the body returned the lie that’s bothering you, don’t think it’s anymore untruthful than Dixie’s claim. Wasn’t a killing I knew off, so having a quick google it seems MMcG, the Internees and the people of Derry can claim credit.

    The article says that MMcG was the go-to for internees, I wouldn’t think Martin would still be OC of the Derry IRA at that point due to his circumstances, so it probably wouldn’t have been his decision to make.

    Finally, in my opinion there is a nasty sub-current to this blog, namely the claim that MMcG was at his grannies farm when the poor man was shot, coincidently in the same area, nudge nudge wink wink.

    So thats the Claudy bombers, Gerry Adams and MMcG who hid out at his grannies farm, busy old place (according to google)

    Having suddenly clammed up went the PSNI came a knocking for statements after Adams’s arrest are we now going to be fed a diet of MMcG ate/disappeared my hamster. ****FACEPALM*****

    Mick, what would be nice is to chase Gary Donnelly for an interview, following his election

  • Dixie Elliott

    I think if the likes of socaire, Roy Walsh etc had bothered their balls to actually read my piece they’d have seen that I supplied exact dates that McGuinness was in jail in 1973 and 1974…

    And I also included a copy of an article from the Derry Journal on 21st August 1973 which proves that McGuinness shared a platform with another Republican who was condemning local priests who were demanding the return of the body.

    “Patrick Duffy was disappeared, not in 1974, as McGuinness claimed but on the 9th August 1973 when McGuinness was free but on the run in the South. He had served a 6 month sentence in Portlaoise jail earlier in 1973 after he and another member of the IRA were arrested after abandoning a red Cortina containing explosives and ammunition in the South on New Year’s Eve 1972 but he was released on the 16th May 1973, three months or so before Patrick Duffy was killed and disappeared.


    “He didn’t see the inside of a prison cell again until 11th February 1974 when he was sentenced to 12 months for membership of a proscribed organisation[…] ”

    “According to the Derry Journal, 21st August 1973, Martin McGuinness ‘made a dramatic public appearance’ at a Provisional IRA commemoration ceremony on the 18th August to mark the 2nd Anniversary of the death of Volunteer Eamonn Lafferty.

    About 700 Republicans attended the ceremony at which McGuinness spoke before Barney McFadden, a leading member of Derry Sinn Fein, condemned local priests who had called for the return of the body at Mass that morning. The priest’s condemnation and that of politicians was carried on the same page of the Journal.”

    (A photographed copy of the the actual article stating the above is included with my piece )

  • Dixie Elliott

    Also if the above had also bothered their balls to listen to the interview or read the transcript of it they would have noticed that McGuinness spoke of the IRA as ‘they’ several times in relation to this, thus attempting to put distance between himself and the disappearances.

    This how the conversation went in relation to the killing and disappearance of Patrick Duffy….

    MF – I appreciate that and I know how difficult it is for the families and all of that, very much so. But I thought that if somebody was a tout and they were going to be shot, that they would be shot and they would be left there as an example. What thinking came round to disappearing people?

    MMcG – Well, only the people who took the decision can answer that question. I mean I remember, I remember, I remember being in Portlaoise prison in 1974 I think it was, and a man from Derry had been shot and the story was that he had been disappeared and had been buried somewhere or wherever and I was absolutely furious about it and it was actually when I got out of prison I met with local republicans and voiced my opposition and criticism of what happened and very soon afterwards that man’s body was returned.

    MF – And what did they say to you when you said to them this is a new low or whatever language you would use, I don’t know? What was the argument back? That’s what I can’t figure out.

    MMcG – Well as far as I was concerned they had no argument….

  • Roy Walsh

    Dixie, with respect but, if you re-read what I wrote you’ll find I was stating that, to corroborate what you state on TPQ is quite easy, simply access the documents and with this undermine McGuinness and his whole story/stories. And I heard the interview first time round and laughed heartily at the way he controls experienced interviewers, RTE have been scared of him since Tweetgate and whatever he said to them then.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Sorry Roy I took you up wrong. I knew McGuinness wasn’t in jail but I made sure I backed up my facts by visiting the Journal archives at the library.