Private Eye believes Boston College subpoena is based on a false claim…

There’s lots to talk about today, not just because of the declaration of the Deputy First Minister to run the Aras… but also in spite of it… For instance, this week’s Private Eye has this interesting claim on the Boston College story:

The Eye has also learnt that the subpoenas are based on a false claim that one of the interviews with Price, published in the Sunday Life newspaper in February last year, was based on an interview with the Boston College project – suggesting it had already put recordings in the public domain. That is not true; and no doubt the college will hope that this fundamental flaw in the legal process could lead to the quashing of the subpoenas.

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  • “The Eye has also learnt that the subpoenas are based on a false claim”

    Does PE have any evidence or do do we just have a claim about a claim? If Adams and McGuinness don’t have immunity certificates then the Historical Enquiries Team will be able to carry out investigations into their roles; if they do it makes a nonsense of the HET process. Their departure from the UK jurisdiction makes/would make an investigation more difficult.

    Why is the smokescreen being put up about a ‘fishing exercise’? Who are ‘those’ in the ‘gives weight to those’?

    This PE piece is a bit too high in innuendo to be a serious piece of journalism.

  • Digital History

    Government’s Opposition to Motion to Quash and Motion for an Order to Compel

    Page 4, paragraph 2:
    “Ms. Price’s interviews by Boston College were the subject of news reports published in Northern Ireland in 2010, in which Ms. Price admitted her involvement in the murder and “disappearances” of at least four persons whom the IRA targeted: Jean McConville, Joe Lynskey, Seamus Wright, and Kevin McKee. See Exhibits 1 and 2. Moreover, according to one news report, the reporter was permitted to listen to portions of Ms. Price’s Boston College interviews.Id.

    Exhibit 1
    Exhibit 2

  • “the reporter was permitted to listen to portions of Ms. Price’s Boston College interviews”

    Who else has copies of these interviews apart from Boston College?

  • Rory Carr

    Although I am an ardent reader of Private Eye which I tend to read from cover-to-cover each second Wednesday I somehow missed this and will now scurry back to my copy to confirm that it really is there.

    Coincidentally I happened to be at the Independent Literary Festival last weekend (not very literary and without any sign of festivity) and attended at former Eye editor, Richard Ingrams’ reminiscences of his time in charge to Adam McQueen, who has just produced a coffee-table history of the Eye’s first 50 years – which I didn’t bother buying as I”ve read them all anyway.

    As far as this thread goes the interesting snippet that was revealed by Ingrams, which might contradict any claim of pro-Republican bias in this story, was his telling of how and why he first brought present editor, Ian Hislop on board. Apparently an unsolicited parody on a popular newspaper column of the day from Hislop arrived at the Eye under the heading:

    A Room of My Own by Bobby Sands

    and Ingrams immediately thought, “This is my sort of humour.”

    It is also mine, and even though I detest and deplore its application in this particular instance, I have to accept that no targets are off-limits including those that I might cherish (except strangely enough, I recall, for quite a while, Terry Wogan* whom Ingrams just happened to like rather a lot and whose quiet, decent, faithful married life he much admired).

    If the Eye’s claim is correct and Dolours Price’s allegations in the Sunday Life written by Ciaran Barnes, are based, not upon Boston College material but rather upon an interview conducted by Allison Morris for the Irish News it would seem to put the cat among the pigeons and invalidate the basis for the warrant. Undoubtetly such news will not be well received by relatives of the disappeared, by Republican dissidents out to get Adams at any cost and by some contributors and commenters on this site among others, but, strangely enough, two at least of Adams’s greatest critics will heave a sigh of relief as any taint of inadvertent felon-setting is allowed to fade along with the strength of the subpoena..

    * This information on Ingrams’ fondness for Terry Wogan was vouchsafed to me, not by Ingrams himself at Woodstock on Saturday, but by an Eye journalist with whom I was working on blowing the lid off a crooked charity back in the eighties. I am glad to report that it worked and the lid did come off, though at the cost of some material hardship to myself. But, what the hell, I felt better for it!

  • Rory Carr

    Nevin , in response to your query, “Who else has copies of these interviews apart from Boston College?” which flows from the assertion in the District Court’s Opposition to the Motion to Quash that “the reporter was permitted to listen to portions of Ms. Price’s Boston College interviews” I find no evidence that the District Court’s allegation stands up.

    If we take Exhibit 1 to be the basis for this allegation all that Ciaran Barnes’s article alleges is that “Sunday Life has heard tape recordings made by Price in which she details the allegations against Adams…”. But unless it can be shown that the tape recordings were those in the Boston Collegee archives and not, as Private Eye seems to understand, recordings of Irish News journalist, Allison Morris’s interview with Price then I would imagine the subpoena might be on shaky ground. It may be best if Barnes and possibly Morris were bothe called to testify.

  • Mick Fealty

    This may have a long way to go yet Rory…

  • Rory Carr

    No arguments from me on that score, Mick.

  • Kevsterino

    Mick, you are so correct. Our Federal Courts take years to decide whether they can decide to decide etc. etc.

  • Thanks, Rory.

  • Cynic2

    So Boston College didn’t put the recordings in the public domain but did play one to a journalist. Doh

  • Rory Carr

    Not if the report in Private Eye holds up, Cynic. This would have it that the report in the Sunday Life by Ciaran Barnes is based, not upon the Boston College archive recordings made by Price, but rather upon the taped interview given by Price to Irish Newsreporter, Allison Morris.

    Which, the more I come to think about it, is the more likely explanation – a journalist is generally most likely to take the easier, softer route to obtain a story, I would imagine. Not because he is more venal or less diligent than the rest of us, but rather, precisely because he is much more likely to be just like the rest of us – the least effort required that gets the job done will do very nicely, thank you, ma’am.