The Pat Finucane Centre finally does the right thingIn relation to my long running complaint against Pat Finucane Centre board member Stuart Ross’s gratuitous and groundless attack on me – see http://www.fadooda.com/index.php?itemid=761
the new chairman of the PFC, Tony Brown, wrote to me on behalf of the PFC Tuesday of this week to acknowledge my ‘vital role’ over many years in exposing collusion and praising my television programmes on collusion. Tony also expresses his 'regret' at what took place. Both Tony and the PFC people involved in drawing up this statement are to be applauded, regardless of our past differences.
I give the two key quotes below, and make no apology for highlighting these quotes from a longer letter from the PFC, as these quotes represent the core of what I have requested from the PFC for three years. The issue of free speech has been raised several times in this debate and in exactly the same vein I, of course, decide what is important to me. Nobody else.
Statement from Tony Brown, chairman of the Pat Finucane Centre 8th of November, 2016
"I want to reiterate that we are clear within the PFC as to the vital role that you have played over many years in researching and highlighting collusion. Your documentaries within BBC and RTE are testimony to this."
"It is genuinely regrettable that this situation has developed and the PFC had and has no intention of traducing the work of an individual who has worked to expose collusion."
This very welcome statement from Tony Brown to whom I’m grateful (fear uasal, le Gaeilge den chéad scoth ), brings this completely unnecessary dispute to an end. What I have asked for from the PFC for the last three years is a vindication of my journalism and integrity and an acknowledgement of the central importance of my work with regard to exposing collusion. I now have that.
It is a matter of record that the programmes the PFC praises so highly form the basis of my book on collusion A Very British Jihad. However, I'm quite happy, as always, to discuss the merits and content of my book on collusion with Stuart Ross or anyone else for that matter, but of course for this to happen a dialogue is required.
What happened was the reverse of dialogue when Stuart Ross backed Adrian Guelke’s untenable assertion that there was no collusion in the UDA attempt on his life in September 1991. In blithely accepting Guelke’s account of what happened and failing to contact me, or discuss this with me subsequently, Stuart Ross, whom I had never heard of nor met, used Guelke’s false assertion to attack not only my book but my journalistic integrity. See here - https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/reviewing-collusion/
This defamatory wrong has now been righted by Tony Brown and the PFC.
Perhaps understandably Tony's letter to me does not mention, at all, Adrian Guelke ridiculous ‘no collusion’ claims, or Stuart Ross’s support for them, It is therefore in itself ‘selective’, but we will not be churlish. Stuart Ross made a mistake. We all make mistakes - this author, the Pat Finucane Centre, everybody. With Tony Brown's expression of regret at what happened, Stuart Ross’s mistake is forgiven. However I have recommended to the PFC that they draw up a code of conduct for their board members with regard to public statements and clarity over what they are saying and on whose behalf.
A large number of people contacted the Pat Finucane Centre over the last three years to defend me and my integrity and I wish to thank them deeply. (It’s at moments like this when you find out about the real steadfastness and loyalty of people.) Most will not wish to be named publicly but I specifically wish to thank certain collusion victims; in particular Miami Showband Attack survivor Stephen Travers who understands more than anyone the importance of references in ‘A Very British Jihad’ to the Int. Cell at 3 Brigade Lurgan/Portadown. Various legal officers gave me their support and have received my thanks. Seán ‘Collusion Ireland’ Osborne from Belfast gave very public support and he knows how much that means to me. My old friend and mentor Tim Pat Coogan lent his support and stood ready to intervene and I have been made aware that certain people in Derry City made personal approaches to the people involved. Former republican activists also gave direct support and advice.
Finally, I owe deep thanks also to veteran Irish American activist and commentator Michael Cummings who has been publicising ‘A Very British Jihad’ in the United States recently and has been staunch in his support of me.
Buíchas ó chroí do chách.
Mí na Samhna 2016