“when a major political leader tells such an obvious falsehood about a defining part of his life…”

Also for the record, Ed Moloney has responded to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ attack on the Boston College oral history project.  From Ed Moloney’s blog

I don’t intend to spill a lot of ink responding to Gerry Adams’ recent statement taking yet another swipe at the motives of those who were interviewed and who did the interviewing for the Boston College oral history archive.

That is because I have already answered a very similar charge from Mary Lou McDonald. [added link]

Essentially Gerry Adams is saying that anyone who is interviewed about the Provisionals who is not with his programme and makes allegations about his IRA career and history that he contests and denies, must be making them up for malicious and mendacious reasons.

Implicitly he is also saying that such people should not be allowed an audience and should be ignored or even silenced.

The core issue is the denial of his IRA membership from which all else flows, including the Jean McConville affair. Without that denial of their shared lives, and the shunting of responsibility onto others that it implies, I seriously doubt whether Brendan Hughes would ever have given Boston College an interview and I don’t think Dolours Price would have gone to the Irish News to speak of her role in disappearing Jean McConville (it is conveniently forgotten, incidentally, that she never mentioned Jean McConville in her interviews with Boston College).

And if they hadn’t spoken, the Jean McConville business would never have emerged in the way it has. It is important to remember that Gerry Adams brought all the business about his IRA membership and role in Jean McConville’s death on himself. If he had not denied his IRA past (and that does not mean admitting it either) none of this would have happened.

Personally I do not give a tinkers whether Gerry Adams is, was or ever wanted to be in the IRA. But when a major political leader tells such an obvious falsehood about a defining part of his life – and by extension must be capable of telling lies about other issues of more direct relevance to others’ lives – then I do believe that it the journalist’s job, and the historian’s too, to subject that claim to the most stringent scrutiny.

Read the whole thing.