May 30th, 2016
ColumnistsRichard Sullivan

No hope with Boston Tapes

Richard SullivanBy Richard Sullivan
Ivor Bell
Ivor Bell

We have been forced to watch many many false dawns in this country – sadly the Boston Tapes represent yet another episode of misplaced hope.

There is no such thing as a Holy Grail that cradles the secrets and answers to Ulster’s Troubles, yet we are repeatedly fed the notion that the ‘confessions’ of a group of disgruntled republican and loyalist terrorists hold the key to a myriad of unanswered questions.

The arrest and charging of veteran republican Ivor Bell for his alleged role in the abduction and murder of Jean McConville has once again focussed attention on their worth as a reliable record.

Setting the Bell case aside, the Boston Tapes underline the futility in having any expectation of some sort of truth and reconciliation process.

In this part of the world we are incapable of telling the truth.

The interviews given to former Provo Anthony McIntyre and veteran journalist Ed Maloney are what they are – the personal, subjective views of a select band of combatants,

volunteers, freedom fighters, terrorists – whatever you want to call them.

One man’s truth is another man’s lie.

What the Boston Tapes have yielded to date is a bitter attack on Gerry Adams. Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price claimed he was instrumental in the McConville murder, as did former close ally Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes.

Through a fog of depression and booze The Dark laid all his frustrations about the IRA’s ‘capitulation’ at Adams’ feet.

What Price and Hughes said does not and cannot amount to evidence, it can’t be tested.

Even in death Price and Hughes backed away from detailing their own deeds – how honest is that?

And did they not talk about anything else

I can’t say whether or not Adams was involved in Jean McConville’s disappearance, I simply don’t know, but surely there were other things Price and Hughes needed to get off their chests.

It’s hard to come to any conclusion other than the Boston Tapes provided an opportunity for the likes of Price and Hughes to deliver  one final stab to the heart of the peace process from beyond the grave.

It cannot be coincidence that practically all those interviewed on the republican side were and are anti-peace process.

The principal of the Boston Tapes is a laudable one, but it can only be viewed as part of the jigsaw, history will be ill-served if we take the word of Price, Hughes and co as gospel.