Irish Radio Network, USA – Adrian Flannelly Show
January 21, 2012
The Saga of the Boston College Belfast Oral History Project continues:
Carrie Twomey is the US citizen wife of Dr. Anthony McIntyre, former IRA volunteer and ex-prisoner who spent 18 years in Long Kesh, 4 years on the blanket and no wash/no work protests which led to the hunger strikes of the 80s. He then completed a PhD at Queens upon release from prison. Anthony McIntyre is the main researcher of the Oral History project at Boston College. He and his family are under death threat and the Northern Ireland Peace process will be challenged, should the US Federal Court subpoenaed confidential tapes be turned over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Listen to the archived show here: http://media01.ultratek.com:81/player.php?clid=5&mid=1112
RUSH TRANSCRIPT – NOT FINAL
Adrian Flannelly (AF) interviews Carrie Twomey (CT) about the subpoenas served on Boston College to obtain the archive known as The Belfast Project.
Adrian Flannelly (AF): Friends, you’re listening to Irish Radio Network USA. My guest is Carrie McIntyre, wife of Dr. Anthony McIntyre, former IRA Volunteer and ex-prisoner. Anthony McIntyre spent eighteen years in Long Kesh, four years on the blanket and he was very much was considered to be one of the patriots of Northern Ireland. And his wife, before we go into it much further, we’d like to point out that his wife, who is with us today, Carrie, is an American citizen, the mother of two American citizens. And somebody who is here very specifically at this point. You know, the Boston College, the tapes, the Oral History project of Boston College, has had many twists and turns and it is obviously very timely that you are here with us today because we have heard the manifestations, the positions of the three governments, Northern Ireland, the southern Ireland government, our own United States, Washington, State Department, the waters are very muddied. But this is not a casual visit of yours. You’re here very specifically because all of this is coming to a head Two hearings which will determine for history how a project, which everybody agrees was a great idea, has now turned into a Loch Ness monster. First of all you’re welcomed and I would be delighted if you’d share with us your side of the story, which to date, it looks like somehow there is a massive screw-up here; that fingers are pointing at Anthony McIntyre, they’re pointing at Ed Moloney, the journalist, who was a guest of ours on the program some time ago. It would appear though that you are not and have had not much of a voice in explaining how this is affecting you, as an American citizen, and your kids and your husband. Perhaps you will just maybe give us capsule, first of all, of your understanding of what brought about the Oral History program and what role your husband played in all of this.
Carrie Twomey (CT): Thank you very much, Adrian, for having me on the program. As you explained, this isn’t a casual here visit to The States, to America. I’m here specifically because I am extremely concerned for the safety of my family. As you noted, I’m an American citizen, as are my two children. And I have been lobbying in DC, meeting with Congress people, to protest this action which directly places our lives in danger. The Oral History project, as you noted, is a very valuable resource, not alone for Irish history, but for people that are studying conflict zones around the world and seeking to understand how people get involved in conflict and how to learn from the mistakes of the past. It’s a terrible shame that this action is having such a chilling effect on people being able to coming forward.
This project was started because Boston College had commissioned this and they had given cast iron guarantees of confidentiality until participants had either died or had given expressed written permission for these records to be released. This was something that Boston College was always very forthright [about]; that the confidentiality was something that they would protect. There has been some waters muddied, as you say, and fingers pointed, but from our position Boston College was always clear: that it was a tabernacle. They had agreed with Ed Moloney, they would draw up contracts guaranteeing to the extent of American law that the interviews would be kept confidential. And then they drew up those contracts which they gave to each participant. And those contracts were very specific. And they said that the confidentiality was guaranteed until the death of the participant or written permission had be given by that person for the records to be released. Nowhere in the contract that they drew up, that they have with each individual participant in this project, did it say there was any caveat, that there was any possibility that these records could be released in any other conditions. Even in the preface of Voices From the Grave….
AF: Which is the book written by Ed Moloney.
CT: Sorry, I was just saying even in the book, the preface, the librarian and the professor that were in charge of this, had said, and it’s in the first paragraph, that Boston College were contractually obligated to protect the confidentiality.
AF: Now it would appear, hindsight being a great thing, that Boston College is now saying and maintaining, that it was made very clear, that they were obviously not superseding any US laws which would be subject to subpoena so they’re saying: “Well, we’ve kept our end of it. Obviously this is the tabernacle, this is what…as far as we knew…this is something but heck, if we get a subpoena from the Attorney General of the United States, that’s out of our hands.”
CT: Well, I totally disagree. If they get a subpoena they’re obligated to fight it. And they’re obligated to use all of their powers, and contacts, and every ounce of their ability that they have to fight it. They have an obligation, which they had given when they had given the promise of confidentiality, to protect it. And this area of the law is nebulous; it’s not fully defined. We’re having a case of first impressions going on right now. And, in fact, our lawyers were able to secure a Motion for Stay that has stopped this hand-over. So there is room to fight this. And Boston College has the resources and ability to fight it and they have not.
I am extremely angry at the way that they have rolled over on this. They’re just playing with people’s lives. They made a corporate decision, just like Penn State. And instead of doing the right thing, instead of fulfilling their duty of care, they made a corporate decision to protect their institution and protect their funding and throw people’s lives to the winds over it. And that is just morally wrong and it’s completely unethical and I’m extremely angry about their behaviour.
AF: There’s enough anger from all sides and I’ve tried to give this platform to those of varied and very strong opinions and I must say though that, from the beginning, I did think that the curious initiation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the suspected rogue elements within that institution, that somewhere along the line, either somebody dropped the ball, somebody perhaps naively rubber stamped the request and even, we had the Secretary of State from Northern Ireland and when he was here he pretty much said: (paraphrasing Owen Patterson) “Well, we didn’t start it. This was something that happened. And obviously if you have a police investigation and if they’re to do their job well then that’s not for us to tell them how to do it and whatever.” Let’s talk about the rumour, let’s talk about your own reaction to those who say, that the release of those tapes could, in fact, bring down, demolish the peace process as we know it in Northern Ireland. Is that a common point of acceptance among all the varied now fighting groups, including…?
CT: Absolutely. Absolutely. The Good Friday Agreement effectively drew a line over the past and said pre-1998, we’re going to leave in the past where it belongs. More than ten years later, to start raking up the past, and start doing selective prosecutions, and start aiming to bring somebody like Gerry Adams in front of a criminal court or, as we suspect, in the Omagh style, bringing him in front of a civil court. It’s going to be hugely destabilising on the peace process. All three governments have invested in bringing Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein to the table and getting them into political power so that we could have peace; so that Nationalists and Republicans would have a voice in government. And then to turn around and put the leader of this party into the court is just madness! It will open up room. The Unionists can bring down the institutions. It will cause problems within Republicans ranks. We’ve already seen that the area is completely unstable. We had two bombs in Derry last night, with the horrible economy in Ireland, which leaves (us) with a lot of angry people that would be looking for somewhere to vent their anger. This is just complete madness to open up this can of worms to satisfy some rogue elements in the RUC that are still are in the HET. I mean, there’s a huge controversy going on right now with the amount of former RUC people that are being hired by a recruitment agency and filling the ranks of the PSNI.
AF: Somebody filled out the initial form. Somebody’s signature is on it. Do we know who that is?
CT: No we don’t. The subpoena was sealed. And this is one thing that we are seeking in DC: we want a Congressional hearing into finding out who approved this on both sides of the water. Who failed to ask the questions? Who failed to look at the political implications of this? Who failed to recognise the treaty aspects that relate to the Good Friday Agreement? Who did not consider the sense of the Senate when they passed the extradition treaty at the same time as the MLAT where the British government said we’re not looking at pre-1998 crimes? Who was the person that presented this as purely criminal, as a hot investigation, that needed to be solved immediately and did mention the fact that this was a crime that occurred in 1972 and had not been investigated by the police for forty years? Who is responsible for this? And who, basically, failed in their duty? Because a lot of people did fail in this duty and did not ask the right questions when this landed on their desk.
AF: We have seen a reversal in the very infamous Finucane case, which has been going on for more than twenty years. We saw something which was announced as the final decision from 10 Downing Street where the Finucane family, who had wanted and had asked for an independent investigation into the murder of Pat Finucane, the lawyer. We have seen and experienced first hand, and very recently, open and shut cases: (mimicking the Brits) “This is the way that it is. We are going to have our own investigation. We don’t particularly care that you and your supporters and that those who are interested in human rights and civil rights.. we don’t care about all of that. This is what we’re going to do….end of story.” And we see, that with appropriate pressure and much to the chagrin I am sure, of the British government, that they have backed down and said: (mimicking the Brits) “Okay, now we’re going to have..yes, we’ve re-thought it.” There are some cynics ho say wthat say somehow the coincidence of that decision being made this week as the eruption of and the significance of the Boston tapes that maybe there’s some connections there and maybe the issues of the Boston tapes which some would say well this is much ado about nothing because these are just the factions within the Northern Ireland peace process and, in fact, well… should Carrie McIntyre have a vested interest in the outcome of this?” But generally speaking, if we were to weigh, now the level of interest and the level of support for both cases here, the Finucane case and the reversal and this, this is something which is garnering much more interest than the hot potato that is and will be rolled out as the result of the release of the Oral History tapes at Boston College.
CT: Well, of course I have a vested interest in this. I have no problem admitting (that) up front. I do have a very vested and very personal interest in this because this will directly affect the safety of my family. However, it’s good that you bring up the Finucane case because it shows the British double standard at work. They are refusing to hand-over their papers on the Finucane case. As they are refusing to hand-over their papers on Dublin-Monaghan. Again, this is selective prosecution. This is selective investigation. This is selective truth. This is something where the wider society needs to be able to get to the truth so that rather than putting a chilling effect, which is what this subpoena is doing, on any future abilities to get people to tell their stories, this is putting a kibosh on it. But this is while the British state is protecting their own interest. Even Sammy Wilson, interestingly enough, when the House of Commons were discussing aspects of a truth commission, came out and said that he is very against the idea of subpoenas because of the danger to the British state that that poses.
He made the point, that in general, there are no records for the other organizations but there are records for security forces, and British military and the British state and they can be subpoenaed. And this sets a precedent that is not in the UK’s interest in that sense because people can then bring action against them. So this is insane for all governments involved. This is so destabilising. And American foreign policy? This completely goes against all the good work they have done in attempting to get peace in Northern Ireland. And in terms of America’s own self-interest: there are Oral Histories currently being collected from Iraq war veterans; from veterans of Afghanistan. When the US Attorney makes the argument there’s no such thing as an academic embargo, this is going to put American people in jeopardy as well. Nobody is thinking to the future. You have this knee-jerk, bigoted reaction from rogue RUC elements that are looking for vengeance or retribution pursuing this, they’re not looking beyond their nose on this. People who have common sense or in positions of responsibility, need to be acting in the interest of the wider picture.
AF: Your husband, Dr. Anthony McIntyre, how would you define his role in the establishment of the tapes, the Oral History tapes and Boston College? Can you walk us through that?
CT: My husband, as you noted his past, he spent eighteen years in Long Kesh, four years of that on the blanket and no-wash protest, which was not an easy thing to do or go through. He earned his degree, his first degree, while he was in prison and he completed a PhD upon release. He is one of the foremost experts on Irish Republicanism, modern Irish Republicanism. (quips) He doesn’t like it when I say that but, you know, I’m his wife, I’m entitled. He is academically trained and qualified; he is an historian, [and] he is a writer. He also has the IRA background which made him perfectly positioned to be able to compile an Oral History like this which is so unique and so valuable because of that. You have academics that come from either outside Ireland or who did not grow up in The Troubles or did not have a background such as his and their understanding and the questions that they would be asking are very different from what his experience and his academic training would allow him to be able to ask. And in addition to that, the answers that he would be given would be very different. It allows a more thorough and interesting probing of history which is what made this so incredibly valuable and so special for the future. And there was a reason that the confidentiality was not say [the same as], for example, the decommissioning papers, are in the same library under a thirty year embargo. The Oral History ones are until death. This is something that is so highly sensitive but so important for history. We would be so worse off without having these kind of Oral Histories combined.
AF: Explain to me why the terms of the contract which each of the participants for this Oral History, and this was just not from the Republican side this was from all those involved in the armed struggle in Northern Ireland, why did somebody not stand back from that in the beginning and say: “Wait a minute, if the Oral History of any of the participants can be and should be released at the death of the first participant, won’t that open up a whole mess?” that would invariably, even at a fairly naïve approach, when the first of those tapes are released wouldn’t that involve you, the safety of your family? Why wasn’t there an embargo on that for twenty years or thirty years or something?
CT: Well, Brendan Hughes and David Ervine are the only tapes that have been publicly released. And Brendan Hughes actually had wanted his released before he died but he was cautioned against it because of the safety of the rest of the people that had participated in the project.
AF: In hindsight, though, wouldn’t that kind of defeat the whole purpose? Why should the tapes be released upon their death if in fact…?
CT: Because part of the way that the confidentiality works is that the individual interviews are anonymous. They are anonymous until the death of the participant. So as long as the interviewees remain anonymous…up until the subpoena came and Boston completely rolled over and gave everything to the court, up until that point, it was not known how many people participated in this project; it could have been three, it could have been a hundred, nobody would have known. But Boston rolled over and gave everything to the court and now the specific details of that are known.
AF: Why would Brendan Hughes want to have his tapes released before his death or immediately upon his death?
CT: Upon his death. Because Brendan Hughes was somebody who was very, very strongly of the opinion that you should speak your conscience and you should speak your truth.
AF: What about the jeopardy level that that puts everybody else in?
CT: Because he was speaking his story. He wasn’t speaking anybody else’s story. And the other interviewees remained anonymous and, to a large extent, are still anonymous. So it was not putting theirs in jeopardy. The existence of the project was known, it was not widely known but it was known that this project existed before he died and then with the publication of it…it was known. It was a safety concern, yes. And in fact, my neighbours’ house was attacked with faeces on the date of the publication, we believe it was a mistake and they meant to get our house; their letter box, and their car, and their door was smeared with excrement. And there were threats made to my husband at the time of the publication which we were very concerned about. You can look on my affidavit and you’ll see the headline “You’re Dead!”, which was not comforting to see. My husband did not participate in any of the press of the time of the book for the concerns of safety. It’s a fine line to straddle because it is important. And I think Brendan Hughes was 100% right when he said if there’s something that you disagree with or if there’s something you believe in you need to speak out and follow your conscience. And that’s very much what that book was Brendan doing. And there are times you have to stand up and face risk. And this is part of why we’re fighting this case as hard as we are, too. We can’t do what Boston did and roll over. We have to stand up and face things and fight for what is right.
AF: But you’ve been down that road. You’ve had very prominent, good, reliable lawyers (I don’t know if you want to mention them by name or not) but you’ve had a great level of support from Irish-America and still it would appear that your case got very little attention paid to it by virtue of the over-all, the fact that Boston College didn’t link up with you and that your lawyers would not, that your lawyers went down a different road than Boston College that wound up to be counter-productive.
CT: Our lawyers have actually secured far more than Boston College has. Boston College tries to paint the fact that they had to give over everything to the Judge as some sort of victory; which is not a victory. Our lawyers, who we are very grateful to, Eamonn Dornan and Jim Cotter, they have presented an excellent argument. And we are fighting an admittedly uphill battle. But we are still in the ring and we are still fighting. And they were able to secure a Motion for Stay that stopped the hand-over. We are hopeful they’re going to be successful in this complaint that is going to be heard on Tuesday in Boston.
AF: On this Tuesday…
CT: On this Tuesday in Boston. And then the hearing on the Motion for Stay will be heard in March. So we’re still in with a fighting chance. And it is down to the good work that has been done by Eamonn Doran and Jim Cotter and those people in The Brehon Society, like Jim Cullen, who’ve been supporting [our case]; and the Irish-American Unity Conference, I mean, we have had a tremendous amount of support from Irish-America which we are so, so grateful for.
AF: Hey! The bottom line is: the tapes turned over to the courts, the courts adhering to the request, all of this goes back to Northern Ireland to the PSNI, most definitely it will result in another investigation involving Gerry Adams.
CT: This subpoena is specifically about the McConville case. And specifically about the allegations made that Gerry Adams ordered… (AF interrupts)
AF: Tell us about McConville.
CT: Jean McConville was the mother of ten who was abducted and murdered by the IRA for being an informer. And the problem for Gerry Adams is that he is alleged to have been the IRA Chief who ordered her disappearance. And specifically her disappearance because unlike most informers, she was “disappeared”. She was not left out on the road as a message or a warning to people. And that’s going to cause huge problems if this ever goes into a court for Gerry Adams. Especially with all his denials of having never been in the IRA. And those denials are something that do not set well with the rank and file grass roots. And it really didn’t set well with people like Brendan Hughes. It’s a very deep betrayal for people that followed Gerry Adams’ leadership in the IRA, followed his orders, for him to turn around and continue to deny ever having been in the IRA.
AF: You realise by that your saying this right now…you are, in fact, you’re feeding an element that says: Okay, obviously the the McIntyres and the Moloneys and so forth could care less about the fact that they’ve already, you’ve already taken sides, and that in fact nobody believes stronger than your good self, that Gerry Adams ordered that murder; that Ed Moloney has all but said that he believes that Gerry Adams was in that position. So therefore, those who might normally be very supportive of you and the real danger you are in, and many others, it’s not just you but many others, that obviously there are two factions that are there: you’re on one side and the Gerry Adams’ followers would be on the other.
CT: This is an historical project. This is a project of history not a project of fiction. I’m sorry but the fact that Adams was never in the IRA is a piece of fiction. What would be the point of creating an historical archive that was fictional? There would be no point. Niall O’Dowd had a piece in The Irish Echo last week which I found just…(AF interrupts)
AF: The Irish Voice.
CT: The Irish Voice, you’re right, I’m sorry. He had a piece in The Irish Voice which was just amazing because in one paragraph he says that Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre are legally inexperienced. And in the next paragraph he says that Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre were able to dupe the gullible Boston College. So what is it? Are these people legally inexperience, stupid, unintelligent or are they so legally experienced and so intelligent that they are able to dupe a law school into this? I mean this is just absolutely ridiculous…(AF interrupts)
AF: An internationally renown…
CT: Law School! That was the one that drew up the contracts. This is something that they do this all the time. I’m glad you sort of came back to this because the decommissioning papers that were put together under the Irish and UK law. And in Ireland and in the UK they have confidentiality laws that were written to protect these decommissioning papers. They were deposited in the same library, under the same librarians as the Oral History project and under similar conditions. The only difference being that there’s a thirty years embargo versus an until death embargo. Now, there’s a big problem: because there’s no such thing as an academic embargo according to the US Attorney. And the UK laws and the Irish laws that were written to protect the confidentiality of the decommissioning body are UK and Irish laws, they are not American laws. These papers are in American jurisdiction. These papers are under the same arguments that the US Attorney is now making saying that they’re not protected. So what is to stop people from following same path as the HET did and subpoenaing these papers?…(AF interrupts)
AF: What’s the HET?
CT: The Historical Enquiries Team, the arm of the PSNI that’s investigating the McConville case. What is to stop somebody like Jeffery Donaldson upsetting that apple cart and saying we want to get information about the weapons that were decommissioned. Okay, Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil, posed these same questions. He says there’s a huge problem with the integrity of Boston College; they’re obviously not willing to protect the material and he’s put it to the Minister of Justice, Alan Shatter: what are you going to so about this? What’s going to happen? And Alan Shatter has said we are prudently watching this, we’re okay with it but we’re keeping an eye on it. He says he doesn’t think it’s conceivable that the British would want to break this embargo and get…(AF interrupts)
AF: Somebody does.
CT: Well, here’s the thing: exactly! Boston College didn’t think it was conceivable that the British would want to get into the Oral History archive and here they are. But in terms of the decommissioning papers it doesn’t even have to be the British or the Irish. Say a victims’ group goes to somebody in Germany who was a victim of the IRA. And German citizens petition their government and the German government goes to the American government under the same treaty and puts the same arguments that the US Attorney is using right now and says we want access to the decommissioning papers to see if there is any relevant information about the weapons that were used in the attacks on German soil.
AF: Okay, so far we have not addressed and I would like you to address, where the real power and where the real strength is, and we have our own Attorney General in the United States could have put and “X” through this to begin with. We have obviously a Secretary of State, Senator Hillary Clinton and President Clinton, who invested a tremendous amount of their efforts and energies, the United States, there would not be, and I say this without fear of contradiction, there would not be a Good Friday Agreement, there would not be a Belfast Agreement, for those who would prefer to see it in that light, were it not for the United States, were it not for George Mitchell, Senator George Mitchell, were it nor for President Clinton and now Secretary of State Clinton. Why is it, that with that level of interest with all of those who have taken big chunks out of their lifetimes, out of their careers, to insure something as extraordinary, in the real sense, as the Good Friday Agreement, the peace process in Northern Ireland. How is it that we’re still messing around with what appears to be factions and nitpicking while something which could bring down and totally disrupt at best, and in fact, shatter the peace process in Northern Ireland? Why?
CT: This is why I’m asking for a Congressional hearing to be held enquiring into this. Did this happen? Why go against American foreign policy? You’re 100% right that Americans were extremely instrumental in bringing the Good Friday Agreement together. We all know how many years George Mitchell spent, The Mitchell Principles are named after him on that. So we want to get to the bottom of this and find out who wasn’t thinking on this.
AF: But who wasn’t thinking now? Look, the subpoenas can be withdrawn…today…tomorrow.
CT: Yes. Which we highly recommend that the Department of Justice do so and that White House get involved and tell them: Hey, withdraw this. This is going against our interests. I think there’s alot of conspiracy theories, there’s alot of speculation; I tend to find the simplest explanation is generally the truest one. And in terms of bureaucracy and government…I think that this slipped through. I think that there was some shenanigans played on the UK side. I think they presented it as a purely criminal investigation; they did not alert the US side to the political implications and whoever’s desk it landed on didn’t think to ask. And it was just a complete screw-up.
AF: There’s a hearing this Tuesday. Explain what that is.
CT: Tuesday’s hearing: We had originally filed a Motion to Intervene on the original subpoena case which was denied on the same day that Boston College’s Motion to Quash was denied. So we immediately filed an injunction and we filed our own separate complaint which is going to be heard on Tuesday in the lower court by Judge Young, the same Judge that heard the Motion to Quash. The DOJ filed a Motion to Dismiss. So this is being heard in Boston on Tuesday. Funnily enough, it’s being heard at Boston College, of all places.
AF: You don’t expect to get a cup of tea and a sandwich there, do you?
CT: Oh, I will be there. I will be there. This is part of why I’m here. Because this is not about papers in an archive. This is about people’s lives. And I’m going to be sitting there and I am going to be making it very clear.
AF: I am very understanding and in full sympathy. I clearly understand where you are. I would hope that this will go away on Tuesday. I hope that this does not have to drag on into March. I can also say, though that , if I were in your position, I would definitely understand that this about you, this about your husband, this about your two kids, and rightly so. For those of us who have invested a lot of our time and our energy and our support and those of us who are delighted that there is a Good Friday Agreement in addition to supporting you, your family. I also think that somebody is not looking at the gravity of the situation and if we don’t we’re walking into an horrific situation here. You’re here, I’m delighted you’re here, but I’m also delighted that you are getting to speak to say, Peter King, somebody who again, was one of many, when you have the Jim Cullens, when you have all of those, The Brehon Law Society. This is a community that has invested a lifetime of careers in getting us to where we are today. In a few days from now…in three day’s time this can boil over, this can be very destructive or this can be a focal point where somebody gets real here and knows that this is not just a mother and a wife but that this is a situation which is already out of hand, there’s no point in saying it’s not. This is one that has taken off like a very destructive fire. For those who are listening to this program I think that we really have to do something. We can’t sit back and see how this is going to play out.
CT: No, we can’t. And this would undo all the good, hard work that has been done over the years by specifically Irish-Americans to bring peace to Northern Ireland, to set up these institutions. In a sense I am here directly to plead for my life and my family’s life. But I’m here also as a surrogate for everybody else who participated in this project. We are very concerned about the safety of the Loyalists who participated in this and all the other Republicans that participated in this. And wider than that, all the people that could be directly affected by this. And especially if this upsets the apple cart and totally ruins the stability which is very fragile, very, very fragile in the North. Things are not bedded down. Things are not bedded down there and they can go off at any minute and we do not want to see this Boston College issue to be the spark that sets off the tinderbox.
AF: I wish you luck. (CT interjects: Thank you.) And I hope that sanity will prevail. And I don’t want to be among those who points my own finger at whatever. All I know this is an horrific situation and somewhere and somehow is shifting the blame from one to the other, we’ll have plenty of time actually to analyse that if the subpoenas are withdrawn. We can then at our own ease, we can take sides. Right now this is life threatening, lives are going to be affected; the safety, the security. But above and beyond all of that, the Good Friday Agreement, the peace process in Northern Ireland, will definitely not be what it is today. And has the potential, and I don’t want to be scaremongering here, but it does have the potential of having a terrible crash which won’t take years at all. This is going to come down on top of us. Whereas it is relatively simple right now. And I think we should look directly at Washington we should look directly at our political leaders, all who have a rightful place in celebrating the American contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process. And they have to get off their backsides, right now.
CT: Write your Congress people, call your Congress people, call your Representatives, raise this issue. Ask them to do whatever they can to get this withdrawn. This is for peace in Northern Ireland. This is for peace and stability. Another sad thing about this is that this is: a truth commission is something really, really needed. Which is going to make it impossible for people to get. That is the vital ingredient of any peace process: is to be able to deal with the past. And this needs to be withdrawn. And that is something that is a vital ingredient at the end of any peace process. This needs to be withdrawn. It’s a huge wall that has been built, damage that it has been done in terms of a truth commission people willing to come forward. The Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains has already been publicly saying that this has had a terrible effect on people coming forward to them helping families finding their loved ones. This is just so the wrong thing to so. And any help people can give…
AF: In order of importance we need to get immediate action and we need to get those subpoenas withdrawn, withheld, put in the bins, whatever that takes. And then hash out…there’s no rush on this. I don’t know who feels that all of this is due yesterday. It appears that all involved have spent much more time either pointing fingers, getting out from under…and then in the meantime this is disasterous on the personal level. I obviously hope that for you, for your family. And for all the families in the same position. It’s not like it’s just your family.
CT: No, there’s far too many.
AF: And again, rather than us waiting to see what the hell is gonna happen next Tuesday or what’s gonna happen in March, we’ve got to get to those who, many of whom aren’t even aware of the severity of the situation. We need to get to them and we need to make sure, and again without taking sides situation we need to get to them and again without taking side
CT: That’s missing the point of the Big Picture. The Big Picture is exactly what you’re talking about. We need to have the stability. We need to have the peace process. We can fight this out afterwards; but the Big Picture. And specifically for Americans that maybe not have been following the peace process: You have the issue of a foreign government who is using a treaty to invade American academic libraries. You have the issue of the First Amendment. You have the issues of the protection of sources. You have the chilling effect on Oral History; which is a history that is important to all cultures around the world. You have the fact that conflict zones from around the world, not just Ireland, depositing their papers here in the US. This is a much bigger issue. There are things that while we may that we disagree on the internal aspects of the Irish dimension This thing is something we can all agree; we need to put aside whatever differences on.
AF: Above all, as I see it, we need to make sure that anything that America contributes to will not jeopardise one more life in Northern Ireland.
AF: Friends, you’re listening to Irish Radio Network USA.