Media self-censorship and the Provos

In the new book Britain and Ireland: Lives Entwined II, Ed Moloney argues that many in the media allowed their desire to see the peace process succeed to play down and ignore PIRA acticities and support their claims about the impossibility of decommissioning.

UPDATE Sunday Sequence debate between Moloney and a number of journalists (Real Player required. 56 minutes in. Hat tip Gilland.)

  • ciaran damery

    For most of his career in journalism, Ed Moloney could be described as a run-of-the mill hack who came up with the occasional exclusive, otherwise his career was uneventful. When he decided to pen his book On the Republican Movement and Sinn Féin he was obviously bent on producing yet another inaccurate [references please?] and speculative account.

    Republicans know that if a prominent republican has an axe to gind with other republicans and decides to use the nedia to vent, Moloney was/is as likely to get the scoop as Eoghan Harris. Given Moloney’s mediocre penmanship and his lacklustre career as a journalist it’s apparent that he wants to be remembered for something.

    Finally, his hypothesis concerning media reticence to speak about “atrocities” perpetrated by Oglaigh Na hEireann holds no water, does not offer one ounce of evidence to support his ‘line, in fact it’s devoid of empirical evidence.

  • Gilland

    Ed Maloney was on the BBC Sunday Sequence programme today, going head to head with Eamonn Mallie. It was dynamite (and hilarious). Jim Dougal (fmr BBC NI political ed) and Kevin Cullen (Boston Globe) also took part in a lengthy live debate (which was preceeded by a 20 min interview with Gerry Adams on his middle east peace mission). Mallie wiped the floor with Maloney. I think you can get the programme again online.

  • Glen Taisie

    Maloney was the most “in touch” journalist of the 80’s and 90’s bar none.

    Most Provos read his Tribune column and it was from their ranks his information supply came.

  • circles

    That may or may not be the case Glen, but it would take a hell of a lot of arguing and a terrific piece of writing to convince anybody other than republican dissidents that “the Provisional IRA’s project was, in effect, defeated.” – An opinion that I hold as being so out of touch that its hard to imagine that he ever was in touch.

    Of course this would depend on what his particular interpretation of what that project was/is.

    Regarding the playing down of IRA activities by the media – that too is extremely debatable, and can be argued both ways (for example the media frenzy of Stormontgate or Castlereagh, with the finger pointed at the behest of the chief constable).

    If he had it, he’s lost it.

  • slug

    “That may or may not be the case Glen, but it would take a hell of a lot of arguing and a terrific piece of writing to convince anybody other than republican dissidents that ‘the Provisional IRA’s project was, in effect, defeated.’ ”

    I must say that I think it pretty obvious that the IRA’s project was defeated.

    That you hold the polar opposite view and hold it strongly seems strange to me. Shows what different realities people inhabit !

    All the best,

  • circles

    Its like I said slug – this would depend on what your particular interpretation of what that project was/is. I think the project is on-going.

  • Dualta


    The Provisional’s project was to force the British out of Ireland by military means, by wearing them down and creating a desire to leave. They were defeated emphatically.

    The only people the Provisionals defeated were those Irish people who sought to persuade Protestants that an all-island nation was in their best interests.

  • Jacko


    “…it would take a hell of a lot of arguing and a terrific piece of writing to convince anybody other than republican dissidents that “the Provisional IRA’s project was, in effect, defeated.”

    So the provos go their united Ireland then? Unless their project all along was Sunningdale with nobs on and they just didn’t tell anybody else – including their own footsoldiers – then, after nearly 4,000 deaths and God knows how many lives destroyed, they failed miserably.

  • Most Provos read his Tribune column and it was from their ranks his information supply came.

    That would be the same column over which Moloney lost a libel case, wouldn’t it? [Mod: this column]

  • lies, damned lies

    “He claims that if some uncomfortable truths had received more publicity ‘a better-informed Unionist electorate, one made aware by the media of the huge compromises that Adams was making, might have been more ready to temper demands for IRA decommissioning, and more willing to believe the war had ended on terms they [Unionists] could only have previously dreamed about’.”

    Impossible to argue with.

    Lumping Maloney in with Myers and Harris is laughable: Maloney’s politics are Irish republican (just in the sell out surrender monkey Provo fashion), his views are diametrically opposed to those West Brit unionists.

    It is typical of SF spin to try and paint him as a crank. He had the best inside track on the Provos in the eighties and nineties. That is indisputable. The Provo project as stated by them was to remove the Brits from ireland. Instead, they copperfastened the union.

  • lies, damned lies


  • Keith Ellis

    The Provos always had two primary goals – the long-term goal of a united Ireland, and the short-term goal of equal rights for Catholics in NI. They certainly haven’t achieved the long-term goal, nor do they appear to be anywhere near doing so. But they have achieved the short-term goal.

    Will Moloney be writing a book on the journos who have downplayed or covered-up Unionist terrorism and criminality, and the links between tose terrorists and crims and both the police in Ulster and the government in Westminster, for decades?

  • lies, damned lies

    “Will Moloney be writing a book on the journos who have downplayed or covered-up Unionist terrorism and criminality, and the links between tose terrorists and crims and both the police in Ulster and the government in Westminster, for decades?”

    Err, it wouldn’t surprise me as he was a fearless exposer of loyalist collusion. He nearly went to prison for refusing to reveal sources as a result. Did all that business with William Stobie and the UFF death threats against him pass you by?

    He tells the truth about how badly the Provos were infiltrated, out-manouvered, co-opted and ultimately defeated by the Brits. Which is why the Provos seek to demonise him.

  • lies, damned lies

    And the Provos goal wasn’t supposed to be the reform of Northern Ireland, it was supposed to be the return of soverignty to the Irish people. In that they failed miserably.

  • lies, damned lies

    A final PS:

    “Unless their project all along was Sunningdale with nobs on”

    They didn’t even get that: Sunningdale at least had a mechanism which could be used to harmonise the two parts of Ireland and bring unity closer. The GFA doesn’t.

  • slug

    Also Sunningdale didn’t get rid of the territorial claim.

  • ciaran,

    you need to cop yourself on. Moloney is no Myers, Dudley Edwards or O’Doherty. The reason he has fallen from grace is because of his book “The secret history of the IRA” (which really should be ttitle “The secret history of the peace process”). He told practically no one he that he was planning on writing such a book and many people (including SF leadership) were angry because he enumerated the political subterfuges the Adams camp engaged in to achieve their aims. Read the stories of Ivor Bell, Christin ni Elias and Gerry O’Hare that Moloney covers in his book as examples of the dirty laundry the SF leadership doesn’t want aired.

    Having said that, since he published his book and had to deal with the backlash, there appear to have emerged two Moloney’s. One that speaks/writes in the Irish media and one in the UK media. The former is a nuanced and intelligent commentator on republicanism and the conflict, the other tends to toe the propaganda line.

    While no book can completly encompass a narrative nor be 100% accurate, Moloney’s book on the IRA is a detailed, comprehensive and overwhelmingly accurate account of SF’s political trajectory to the peace process from the birth of the provisionals.

    Cue the Jean McConville comments.

    Fair Deal,

    And speaking of self-censorship, I notice that thon’s beloved RUC managed to lose the files relating to almost 1,000 conflict related murders. Not a peep on Slugger bout that either. Plank, splinter, eye baby.

  • sapi

    We were well and truly suckered by the Brits, Provo’s, Loyalists and now the press. How much are the IMC ignoring “in the interests of the peace process”

  • sapi

    To Robert Keogh.

    Not only have the RUC lost the files on a 1000 conflict related murders they have also lost 1000’s of other conflict related files on people who survived terrorist incidents. I know because my file was missing when I went to inquire about it some years ago. I also know of RUC men who’s files are on the missing list as well. They can’t have lost that many files, or can they?

  • Billy

    Robert Keogh

    I agree with much of what you say. To compare Moloney to Dudley Edwards or O’Doherty is a joke -he is much more talented than either of them (although that is hardly difficult).

    What is annoying is the different interpretation (often crap) that he peddles to the UK media.

    That may wash with those who don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) the situation here. Moloney’s mistake was trying to defend his UK line with someone who knows a lot better – Eamonn Mallie completely dismantled him.

    He should keep his UK “toe the propganda line” to those who are ill-informed enough to fall for it.

  • Pat Taffe

    Is ciaran damery on something like wacky backy? It is this type of drivel that has left SF looking daft and Moloney having credibility. Even within the movement now it is accepted that his book cut the mustard. Gerry said he put it down after 25 pages as it was all lies. But all it said in those pages was that Gerry was in the IRA. But apart from Moloney has had a very strong journo career. Then the usual nonsense comes in – tool of Brit Intelligence. Think there is more chance of the SF leadership fitting that bill than Moloney. Though, I don’t believe it of either the leadership or Moloney.

  • The Devil

    Let’s look at the FACTS…

    Reporting on this particular conflict was a joke and is a lesson to the “would be” journalists of the world how NOT to conduct themselves.

    Jim Dougals revisionist views of history, how the journalists of “The Conflict” showed the lunacy of section 31 by copying word for word what banned people or organisations said and then getting actors to repeat the words or statement…..

    Indeed Jim… err tell me this just how many actors were hired to repeat the words of Government spokemen or “Approved” politicians.

    How many “Kids were playing in the street or on the swings in the park” when the Brattys, Elder, or Grays of the world were being shot.

    How many “Pensioners were playing football next to the school full of handicapped children” when The Gibralta three were being shot.

    How was it that with so many “Radical” “Free Thinking” “Independant People” that the Government line was regurgetated “Word for Word” without the use of an actor.

    How is it that with so many members of the public giving their voting preference to Sinn Fein and the D.U.P that the media the “Free Thinking Media” are so out of tune with the public and yet so in tune with “Government Thinking”

    Why is it that with Sinn Fein in the bag, the only outcasts and source of riddicule are the D.U.P and the “Free Thinking” journalists are only too happy to oblidge.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Sorry for the absence of this thread all day.It contained some fairly stiff man playing, some of it quite possibly illegal.

    I’ve tried to clip what was necessary, and have attempted to leave an individual’spolitical points intact.

    If you are in any doubt, please, please re-read the commenting rules. And help us keep the conversation flowing!!

  • forgetful

    Very nice of the mod to insert a link, will the mod be doing that for all posts now?

    Remind me when I don’t know a link or how to Google that I don’t need to worry, the mod will do the homework for me/

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    It was added as a one off courtesy to give the remark proper context. Left on its own the comment was borderline strike-out-able.

    We used to have a more user friendly link text below, which perhaps one reason why people do not link out as much as they used to.

    I’ll try and put something more user friendly in, to encourage more referencing.

  • The Devil

    Wow to say someone in the media heaps praise upon themselves, and that one is uncertain how to address the said media member… is err LIBELOUS!!!!

    what absolute tosh, go and check with any hack and they would laugh at you.

  • Glen Taisie

    According to Moloney, Adams, as Belfast Brigade commander, established a number of self-sustaining secret cells, the Unknowns, reporting directly to himself, to handle the problem of informers whose punishment might embarrass the movement.

    Adams Knew!!!!!

  • ciaran damery

    Brits and their Orange cheerleaders couldn’t and will not be able to defeat the IRA in war, so they certainly won’t succeed in Peace time. Thus it is incumbent on both governments responsible for overseeing the territory outght to expedite the process the territory ought to act fast and forget about the November deadline.

    There will be no Stormont, and remember the assembly idea was first mentioned by Major in the English parliament. It comprised of a line in George Mitchell’s principles and commentaries. At first Republicans and other Irish folks were felt betrayed. A return to Stormont? Never!

    Out destiny as Irish people, Republicans and nationalists is in our own hands and the leadership believe that their political project will prove successful in due course.Let’s wait and see.

    But we can never trust brits or orangies and the prospect of a return to war, ‘though greatly diminished, always will remain a distinct prospect, until reunification.

  • Mal One

    “Mallie wiped the floor with Maloney”.

    Posted by Gilland on Sep 17, 2006 @ 05:34 PM

    Isn’t it funny how two people can hear the same radio programme and come to entirely different conclusions?

    For my part I though E Mallie came across as totally pompous and more than a little bit precious. The exchange about the spelling of his name and his place of birth was hilarious. He went down a good few notches in my estimation but I’m sure he’s not a bit bothered.