Transcript: Fran McNulty Interviews Boston College Spokesperson Jack Dunn and former Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney

Transcript: Fran McNulty Interviews Boston College Spokesperson Jack Dunn and former Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney
RTE Radio 1
“This Week”
Sunday 26 Feb 2012


Fran McNulty (FM) interviews Ed Moloney (EM) via telephone about the statement made by Boston College spokesperson Jack Dunn, that Mr. Moloney solely profited from the sale of the book, Voices From the Grave. Mr. McNulty also interviews Jack Dunn (JD) in rebuttal.

Fran McNulty (FM): In January on the RTE News website Boston College spokesperson, Jack Dunn, had the following to say about author Ed Moloney:

Jack Dunn (JD): I think, quite frankly, Mr. Moloney was so excited for this project and, quite frankly, so eager to write a book from which he would profit that he refused to ignore the obvious statements that were made to him, including the contract that he signed, expressing the limitations of confidentiality.

FM: Jack Dunn was referring to the book, Voices From the Grave, which featured interviews with former UVF member David Ervine and IRA member Brendan Hughes. They were two of the people interviewed as part of The Belfast Project at the college, an archive of interviews with former paramilitaries. A British subpoena has now resulted in the premature release of other interviews. It’s a story we’ve covered in depth on this programme. Ed Moloney has taken great exception to the comments of Jack Dunn. He spoke to me earlier from his home about who exactly made money from the book.

Ed Moloney (EM): The whole history of writing this book shows that Boston College was very closely part of the negotiations. I had agreed that Professor Tom Hachey and Dr. Bob O’Neill would share the by-line on the book; that was perfectly acceptable to me. Unfortunately, the publisher ruled that out and wanted just wanted my name on the book so we had to go along with that. But I also agreed to share the royalties with Boston College: half and half. And that’s exactly what has happened. We’ve been paid royalties-by-favour since I think January, 2011 and I have religiously sent fifty percent of the royalties onto Dr. O’Neill and Professor Hachey. That does not suggest that I was looking for a profit at all.

FM: I does suggest, though, that you did make money from this. Would you agree that Jack Dunn was, at least, accurate in that?

EM: Well, yes. Money was made. For sure. But what are we talking about here? I think my advance, which Boston College agreed that I could keep because I was actually doing the writing for the book, I think amounted to something like ten thousand Euros. The royalties that have come in since January, 2011, according to my last calculation, is approximately nineteen thousand Euros, half of which went to Boston College and half of which went to myself. So that’s what? Nine and a half thousand Euros which is hardly an astronomical sum by anyone’s calculation.

FM: The issue of royalties: you’re saying quite clearly that as far as you’re concerned all of the royalties from the proceeds from this book were split fifty-fifty between you and between Tom Hachey and Bob O’Neill at Boston College. Have you ever had a discussion with them surrounding that subsequent to that agreement being made?

EM: When the first royalty cheque came in from Faber in January, 2011, I sent them an email saying this had happened and, in accordance with our agreement, I would now like to send them half the royalties, could they please send me back their bank account details? Which they did. I have all the emails recording that: the details of where to send the money. I also have all the bank records, with The Allied Irish in Sandymount, which show quite clearly that I did send this money to them and they were quite happy to receive it. So that was the deal. They negotiated this deal with my literary agent, Jonathan Williams, who then dealt with the publishers, Faber; it was perfectly acceptable to me. That’s the way it was agreed and arranged and it’s gone through that way ever since.

FM: Did you transfer the funds into a Boston College account or into both gentleman’s personal accounts?

EM: I can only tell you that I was sent bank account numbers for both Tom Hachey and for Bob O’Neill and those bank account numbers appear to be their personal accounts. So I sent it to the accounts that they asked me to send it to. I have to say, I was a little bit surprised at that because in the email that Tom Hachey sent to Jonathan Williams dealing with this issue, he very specifically said that their share of the money would go, in one part, to The Burns Library to defray some of the expenses associated with the project and the money going to The Center for Irish Programs, to the Tom Hachey part of this arrangement, would be used for purposes to do with The Center. When I asked for their bank account numbers I expected to get the bank account numbers for The Burns Library and The Center for Irish Programs but, in fact, I got what appeared to be their personal accounts.

FM: That was author Ed Moloney. So having insisted recently in the Boston College The Heights newspaper that Ed Moloney was the sole person to profit from the book, what does Boston College now have to say? Jack Dunn, its official spokesperson, has been reacting to Mr. Moloney:

JD: Mr. Moloney profited from the book and then he shared profits with it with Professor Hachey and Burns’ Librarian Bob O’Neill. The issue has never been that Mr. Moloney profited from the book; he wrote it, he should profit from it. And he chose to share that with two individuals. That’s not the issue. Our issue all along, as I have stated in interviews, is that the book, and the publicity surrounding it, in addition to Dolours Price’s interview, is what likely prompted the first subpoena.

FM: On the issue of payments, you have said, heretofore, that Mr. Moloney was the sole person to profit from the publication of this book.

JD: You just played a clip from an RTE interview in which I said “he profited from it”. I didn’t say he was the sole person to profit from it.

FM: And the interview you did with Boston College’s The Heights newspaper in which they said that you said he was the sole person to profit?

JD: Correct. Yeah…the student newspaper here… In that regard I’ve spoken to the students and they understand that that was a mistake by youthful journalists.

FM: Okay, you refer to him sharing with two individuals. Did Boston College, as an institution, receive these funds from Tom Hachey and Bob O’Neill?

JD: No, no. They themselves received that money.

FM: So when Tom Hachey, in an email to Mr. Moloney’s agent said, “we would be entirely supportive of a three-way split of future royalties in which Ed might very well get half, with The Burns and Center splitting the balance, Bob could use the income for existing claims on his budget from the project while I would use any Center revenue as seed money for a victims’ study”, which he goes on to refer to.

JD: My understanding is that Mr. Moloney received fifty percent of the profits from the book, The Burns’ Librarian, Bob O’Neill: twenty-five percent and Professor Hachey: twenty-five percent.

FM: But Mr. Hachey’s claim in this email, which was sent on the twelfth of February in 2009 to Mr. Moloney’s literary agent, which I have here, in which he says the money will be used for The Burns Library and The Center to fund existing claims and costs of the project?

JD: You’ll have to ask that of them.

FM: When you [were] referring to Ed Moloney profiting from the publication of this particular book in interviews both with RTE and with The Boston College Heights, why did you choose not to reveal the fact that Boston College staff members had, in fact, shared the profits as well?

JD: I wasn’t aware that they had. I found that out yesterday in a conversation with Bob Hachey, with, excuse me, with Bob O’Neill.

FM: You hadn’t been aware, up to now, that staff members from Boston College had profited from this?

JD: Correct. In a phone conversation yesterday with The Burns Librarian he confirmed that he and Tom Hachey had received twenty-five percent of the profits from the book.

FM: That’s Jack Dunn there. Well, Professor Hachey, who you’ve heard referred to there a number of times, had indicated he would take part in an interview on the programme but he’s issued a statement to us in which he says: “Boston College has not received compensation of any kind. As general editors of the publication, Bob O’Neill and I naturally do receive compensation for our work as would editors over any such (project).” (Ends.)