The Blanket

Revealing Secrets


This week's release of the highly anticipated A Secret History of the IRA has generated a level of public interest rarely associated with a book. Since last Sunday's serialisation in the Sunday Tribune followed by a Monday launch in London, the book has been the subject of discussion and debate in both print and broadcast media. Written by the award winning journalist, Ed Moloney, it claims to offer an unrivalled insight into the IRA and in particular into the alleged role played by one man in taking the organisation from being one of the most competent guerrilla forces in the western world, waging a long war against a finely tuned capitalist state, to a position of effective defeat.

Although the book is 600 pages in length and addresses what is a highly complex process, the media spotlight has focussed almost exclusively on one particular incident - the 1972 kidnapping and subsequent disappearance of Belfast mother of ten Jean McConville and the suggested role of Gerry Adams in her fate. Allegations of previous involvement in war crime, no matter how distant in time, will cause serious concern for any politician with the slightest awareness of the pitfalls of public perception, especially when situated in an ever growing discourse of human rights. Yet Professor Paul Bew of Queen's University reminds those who read this book:

But even now, is there any hard proof against the Sinn Fein president? Mr Moloney relies heavily on a range of interviews with republican activists, many of whom, it will be said, have an axe to grind against the leader who brilliantly manipulated them to the point where the IRA campaign ended without achieving its stated objective of British withdrawal from Ireland.

What real novelty and value this book may lay claim to will be put to the test of fire in its ability to persuade its readership that the received wisdom on the peace process - largely encapsulated in the work of Eamonn Mallie and David McKittrick - is in fact deeply flawed, and that an alternative explanation offered by Ed Moloney is more consistent with the evidence which is at present available.

The substance of this book is certain to be contentious and is likely, for some time to come, to shape the ground on which claim and counter-claim shall lock horns. Already, some senior Sinn Fein figures are implying that it should be ignored. Contrary to such a stifling authoritarian attitude toward public discussion it is the intention of The Blanket to remain consistent with its own libertarian ethos of openness. Therefore, this journal will strive to carry as many reviews as possible regardless of the slant of the reviewer. Commentary pieces from our readership are, as always, most welcome.

Ed Moloney, despite infantile claims by some that he is only concerned with selling books, is a journalist of immense integrity who at one time risked imprisonment to protect the integrity of his work. His contribution to public knowledge on this occasion is the end result of four years endeavour. He makes no claim to the work being the definitive word. In the same humble spirit so it should be read.







Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives





The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap.
- Ayn Rand

Index: Current Articles

4 October 2002


Other Articles From This Issue:


Revealing Secrets


At Last We Know the Human Cost of Gerry Adams

Paul Bew


The Boys of the Old Brigade Are Not Happy
Brian Mór


Segregation in Oldham
Mark Hayes


Common Denominators

Aine Fox


SF - Stormont First
Anthony McIntyre


Dispatches from the U.S. Anti-War Movement
Julie Brown


Preventing the Bush Turkey Shoot
Steve McWilliams


29 September 2002


Landlordism and the Housing Question
Liam O Ruairc


No Rest Days

Anthony McIntyre


The Meeting
Davy Carlin


It Shall All Come Tumbling Down
Sam Bahour




The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices