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Monkey Business


Anthony McIntyre • 26 October 2006

Having earlier penned a piece in defence of University College Cork's decision to appoint and retain former republican prisoner Feilim O'hAdmhaill as a lecturer in social policy I tuned into a radio debate on the controversy, Liveline presented by Joe Duffy. Noel Dolan, the person who made the initial objection to O'hAdmhaill's appointment, was interviewed and asked to outline his case. What drivel he bombarded his listeners with. His claim to some exalted status within the world of computer technology because he knew how to Google was instantly dismissed by the presenter. A monkey can Google but nobody would employ one in the computer industry. Seemingly, however, no obstacle is placed in its way if it wants to take part in a radio discussion.

Dolan, undaunted by the spectacle of sounding ridiculous, went on to make even more outlandish claims. How the presenter allowed him to continue in the vein of accusing O'hAdmhaill of participation in the Warrington bomb, where two young English children lost their lives, beggars belief. It was not as if he slipped it in. He revisited the theme throughout, spicing up his claims with each new intervention. O'hAdmhaill was being demonised. It was an attempt to destroy both his reputation and career.

The fact checking here has been so sparse that it served as a license enabling the initial Warrington allegation made by Dolan to run off on stilts; reaffirmation of the maxim that a lie is half way around the world before truth has its boots strapped. Newspaper reports purporting to 'link' O'hAdhmaill to Warrington fail on every score to show any such link. No investigative journalism has been cited in support of the allegation. The journalism that makes 'links' produces nothing other than its own lazy assertion of the link.

Reliance on such vacuous reporting had helped create the atmosphere where it was felt appropriate to invite comment from the father of one of the child victims of Warrington. His point was simple; people from the conflict, including O'hAdhmaill, should be allowed to get on with their lives. Fair comment given his bereavement, but the fact that he was invited to comment at all in the absence of it being stated that there is nothing apart from prejudice to link O'hAdhmaill to the Warrington bomb, can only reinforce the false view that the issue under the microscope here is the awarding of a university lectureship to the Warrington bomber. What unsubstantiated hogwash.

Dolan tried to plug his leaky vessel with a criticism of O'hAdhmaill for being a member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. It was pointed out that he signed a petition along with other academics calling for an academic boycott of Israel. Since when did support for Israeli policies or at least acquiescence in them become a prerequisite for a teaching post in an Irish university?

Some contributors to the discussion were concerned to find out if there was any truth to another of Dolan's assertions i.e. O'hAdhmaill opposes the Good Friday Agreement. What does it matter if he exercises his democratic right to dissent from the Agreement? Is there no appreciation of the irony in seeking to compel people to support an agreement which elevates the consent principle? There is no such thing as consent if we are forced to consent. In my view he does support the Agreement. But it matters not. Despite Dolan's nods, nudges and winks, there is not the slightest suggestion that O'hAdhmaill poses any undemocratic threat to it.

Although accusations were flying that O'hAdhmaill was a 'convicted murderer' a 'child murderer' and a London bomber, there was minimal intervention from the presenter. He blew the whistle at one point when Dolan suggested that he had information which allowed him to mumble something by way of inference that O'hAdhmaill was currently involved in subversion. At no time were the wild allegations that he was the killer of Warrington challenged. O'hAdhmaill was never charged with killing children. When I spoke with him a number of years ago, and the topic of his arrest came up in casual conversation, he spoke about a mistrust of journalists. It related to the reporting at the time of his arrest. He was clearly angered at deliberately mischievous and spurious reports that sought to link him to the Warrington bomb. Some media treatment of him since has justified his misgivings about certain journalists.

Dolan also made charges that O'hAdhmaill was a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party. Such fabricated twaddle. He would claim to be a socialist but so would many other republicans. It does not place them in the IRSP. People can join the IRSP if they wish. Some of the more radical political activists within republicanism are currently in the party. They can be subjected to political critique but not strategies of marginalisation and demonisation because of their political beliefs. The reason this particular charge is being levelled against Feilim O'hAdhmaill is because it is considered a useful stick to beat him with. The age old trick of the amalgam: link O'hAdhmaill to the IRSP which opposes the Good Friday Agreement and subsequently move to treat any opposition as some sort of deviant political strain as opposed to a dissenting one. On top of acquiescing to Israel, another criterion for employment demanded by some is that all applicants must now support the Good Friday Agreement. It is nothing short of crass political vetting.

Dolan must study at the Tony Geraghty school for journalism where climbing equipment would be required to scale the mountain of mistakes made there. Geraghty's animosity toward O'hAdhmaill leaps out from the pages of his pretty dubious book, The Irish War. But even here Geraghty, who has considerable access to the spook world, states very clearly that O'hAdhmaill arrived in England 'fourteen months after the Warrington bomb.' If Dolan's limited research abilities can only pull up that O'hAdhmaill is a member of the IRSP, then the rest of what he downloaded is seriously compromised. If he got something so easily verified grossly wrong why should he be suspected of getting anything right? Flailing around for any excuse he can find, Dolan exudes the demeanour of a man who on finding his fifteen minutes of fame suddenly panicked and tried filling fourteen of them with guff; an exercise in which he was completely successful.

It would have been much better had O'hAdhmaill taken part in the debate. He is more than capable of dealing with the egregious bollix hurled at his character during the course of that discussion. His absence from the exchange allowed his critics with no great aplomb to toss every manner of malicious allegation aimed at depicting him in the worst possible light. Amazingly the former republican prisoner Laurence McKeown, who did take part in defence of O'Adhmaill, seemed to take his eye off the ball. At no point did I hear him boot into touch the allegations of child murder being bandied around. Nor apparently did he refute the false allegation of IRSP membership.

The Monday after he was released O'hAdhmail, despite his PhD, began labouring on a building site to ward off poverty from his wife and children. If Noel Dolan and his ilk get their way he would be back on the sites. But even then the witch hunters will ask for apologies and reassurances that he will not throw bricks at passing children in furtherance of some malign pseudo political objective. What nonsense masquerading as concern. Ultimately the dole is where those opposed to his appointment would like him to end up. And if he did and were he to engage in some survivalist activity like doing the double, which the prosperous would all too willingly label crime, the point would be proved for them.

Sometimes, it is argued that political ex-prisoners have been free for so long that there is no longer a need for ex-prisoner support groups specifically geared for dealing with this constituency. The treatment of Feilim O'hAdhmaill suggests that certain prejudices are alive and well in Irish society. They need to be tackled. Currently there is no legislation prohibiting discrimination against ex-prisoners. Although O'hAdhmaill remains in his post a red flag will be registered each time in the future that a former prisoner's job application is processed in the education sector. Complacency on the part of ex-prisoner bodies will be rewarded with inequity.

Noel Dolan has demanded that Feilim O'hAdhmaill issue an apology before being allowed to continue working at UCC. An apology is needed but not from O'hAdhmaill. Dolan should issue it for his disreputable behaviour in levelling mendacious and malicious charges for no seeming purpose other than self promotion.





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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

30 October 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Granny Josie
Anthony McIntyre

Guardians of Perjury
Martin Galvin

Writing on the Wall
John Kennedy

The Litmus Test of Republicanism
Charlie Clarke

Monkey Business
Anthony McIntyre

Northern Invasion
Dr John Coulter

Eamon McGuire: The Life of an Undercover IRA Activist
William Hughes

Deal Will Underline Delusions
David Adams

Blood in the Water
Dr John Coulter

Muslims = Terrorists
M. Shahid Alam

Nothing Could Be More Offensive!
Maryam Namazie

25 October 2006

From Up the Ra to Up the Rozzers
Anthony McIntyre

Just Say No
Martin Galvin

Whither Irish Republicanism
Mick Hall

The Three Stooges
John Kennedy

Jockeying For Position
Dr John Coulter

An Irish Agreement
Liam O Comain

Up the Garden Path
John Kennedy

A Gaelic Experiement
Nathan Dowds

Preventing Prejudice
Anthony McIntyre



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