The Chronicle of Higher Education declares that it stands over its assertion that Lord Paul Bew recommended Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre for Boston fiascoLast week in the Sunday Independent Lord Paul Bew stated that he did not appoint Ed Moloney or Anthony McIntyre to the Belfast oral history project whilst a visiting Burns scholar at Boston College in 1999-2000. Thus:
As a visiting scholar I did not appoint Ed Moloney, Anthony McIntyre, or indeed Wilson McArthur who covered the Loyalist archives. However, I was an admirer of Moloney's detailed knowledge of republicanism which was widely respected in Ireland.
Lord Bew is of course correct in what he says, but his point is a total red herring. It was never going to be Paul Bew’s obligation to "appoint" anybody to run a project being funded by Boston College and routed specifically through the College’s Burns Library and its main academic Professor Tom Hachey.
The semantics Paul Bew is engaged in here, is the difference between being an “appointer”, which he was never going to be, and being the major advocate for Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, which he most certainly was according to Professor Hachey and confirmed by the US's highly respected Chronicle of Education.
This afternoon, the editor of Beth McMurtrie’s brilliant article on the Boston College debacle in the Chronicle of Education confirmed to Cic Saor that both she and her newspaper stood by the contents of McMurtrie’s article. ("Secrets of Belfast", Beth McMurtrie see here http://chronicle.com/article/Secrets-from-Belfast/144059/ )
Jennifer Ruark, who is also Deputy Managing Editor at the newspaper said the following:
“Yes, Paul, The Chronicle stands by our reporting, and you can quote me saying "The Chronicle stands by our reporting."
So why is this article and the newspaper's confidence in its content so important?
To cut a long story short, The Chronicle accepts Lord Bew’s assertion that he did not "appoint" Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre but it stands over two important quotes where Bew clearly played the role of key arbiter in recommending both of them. What Boston College didn't seem to know was that they were thereby appointing, on Bew’s recommendation, two people who nurtured a strong antipathy to Sinn Féin in general and Gerry Adams in particular.
Here are the two relevant quotes from The Chronicle:
"Mr. Bew recommended Mr. Moloney, an intense and seemingly fearless journalist who was not averse to risky projects. Having spent decades getting to know people on both sides of the conflict, he was in the process of writing A Secret History of the IRA, a behind-the-scenes look at how the organization had shifted from the gun to the ballot box in its quest for influence."
"There was also apparently no discussion of whether Boston College faculty members should direct the project. Mr. Hachey says he didn’t feel anyone on the campus had the necessary expertise. Although a number of faculty members studied Irish culture, history, and literature, he says, “I was looking for someone who was an unequivocal expert” on modern-day Northern Ireland. He relied on the advice of Mr. Bew, who not only had recommended Mr. Moloney but also had been Mr. McIntyre’s adviser at Queen’s.
Can we be clear about this? The Burns Library “relied” on Paul Bew’s advice when selecting Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre to run the Belfast oral history project.
In other words, all the Boston tapes disasters that followed stemmed from Paul Bew’s initial decision to recommend Moloney and McIntyre. We now also know that Paul Bew witnessed Anthony McIntyre’s contract of employment with Boston College in February 2001.
Lord Bew chose Moloney and McIntyre and then witnessed McIntyre’s employment contract. Facts.
Witnessing a contract does not mean you are approving the contract. Rather you are bearing witness that it happened and who the person is you are "undersigning".
For Lord Bew (the UK’s principle guardian of ethics in public life) to argue that he did not have a central role in the Boston tapes fiasco is neither tenable, nor acceptable.
Carrick, Gaoth Dobhair
Mí Beasltaine, 2014