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Posts Tagged ‘ Boston College ’

American Football Returns To Dublin In 2014

cpcUCF and Penn State, in conjunction with the Gaelic Athletic Association, will travel across the Atlantic Ocean to open the 2014 football season with The Croke Park Classic on Saturday, August 30th, 2014 at Croke Park.

The announcement was made during the GAA Leinster Football Finals at the Dublin venue with members of each institution present, including UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury and Head Coach George O’Leary. Continue reading

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Adams Must Decide How History Will Remember Him

If the truth will have its way, another sad chapter of Northern Ireland’s violent history may finally be closed, should the testimony of an ex-IRA volunteer be joined to that of former IRA man, Brendan Hughes, and other former members who told their stories to the Boston college project whose aim it was and is to create and collect a repository of oral history concerning the Troubles.

Major pressure is to be heaped upon Gerry Adams in the Dáil following an interview given to the Sunday Telegraph by Dolours Price, a former member of the feared inner sanctum. Price, who was married to actor Stephen Rea, has remained disillusioned by the peace process and what she sees as Adams’ betrayal, and gave the Sunday Telegraph an interview concerning what she told the Boston project. The 61-year-old, who now lives in a quiet suburb in Dublin, has claimed that not only was Adams in the IRA but it was on his orders that victims were ferried across the border, a bombing campaign against a series of targets in mainland Britain, including the Old Bailey, as were the kidnappings of those viewed by the IRA as traitors, including one Jean McConville.

The allegations against Adams are nothing new. The family of Jean McConville in particular have always maintained the Sinn Féin leader’s role in her execution during the early 1970s on the basis of accusations concerning repeatedly relaying information to the British army through a radio in her home. Adams resolutely denies any involvement in the young woman’s death which has in some manner come to represent the atrocities committed by the IRA during the Troubles alongside the Omagh bombing. And until now no real hard evidence could be put forward to stick on Adams. Even when combined with the testimony of Brendan Hughes released by the Boston College after his death as per his agreement in the book ‘Voices from the Grave’ which offers a starkly different story to the one which Adams has always painted (namely his active involvement in the IRA), the proof is circumstantial and those who criticise him have a potential bias, being former IRA men and women who felt betrayed by a former leader. Unsurprising, really, when considering that the Troubles and the truth rarely go hand in hand.

The response from Adams hasn’t really been surprising. The solid, hard evidence mightn’t be there but public opinion will quite possibly mount against Adams, alongside political pressure from his colleagues in the Dáil who wouldn’t mind having a different scapegoat in the public eye (James Reilly, we’re looking at you). So really, at the heart of it, Adams will decide his own destiny. Despite the Good Friday Agreement which finally ended the Provo’s long armed campaign in the North, a page cannot be truly turned to a new side while the major players on both sides of the coin are not only publicly active in the present but shadily skirting their past. A new dawn is on the horizon with a new generation but the truth must out first. While he keeps his mouth shut, no one wins. The families of the disappeared want to know who and what caused their loved ones to die and is a constant and horrifying reminder of those thirty years of fear and violence.

Eventually, the truth will come out. Whether through legal wrangling or the passage of time and the deaths of those who told their stories, the contents of the Boston College project will be revealed, and new evidence will undoubtedly come to light. Two corroborating oral witnesses could be dismissed. Many more will surely not. And who knows what other dark secrets are yet to be revealed from within the depth of those archives. Adams and his image would do far better if he revealed any secrets he might be hiding about his past now, under no pressure and of his own accord. History, they say, will be the judge of us all. Adams must decide what it will say.

McConville Case Still Resonates Within Northern Ireland

An interesting showdown, with potentially important ramifications for both journalism and academia, has been slowly unfolding over the course of several months, involving a journalist in the middle, paramilitary soldiers seeking to tell the truth on one side and the PSNI and the families of the so-called ‘disappeared’ on the other.

The controversy circles an academic historical endeavour known as the ‘Belfast Project’, conducted by Boston College, whose aim is to create an oral history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, a history which would offer a much more frank and realistic view of the conflict, from both sides of the coin. Paramilitary volunteers from either side were interviewed for the large scale project. None of the Republican interviews, however, were authorised by the IRA. In fact, the only reason they were given by the participants was on the condition that they be released only after their deaths. Understandably this was because the IRA was and is very secretive and controlling, and those interviewed revealed operational secrets, the IRA’s methods and often criticised key decisions and people within the organisation. At present, the interviews are kept under lock and key at the college. However, on July 6th the first circuit court of appeal ruled that the College and Ed Moloney, the journalist in charge of the project, didn’t have the right to promise to withhold the information they were given, and have ordered that information be turned over to the PSNI by next month. This test case has brought out academics and journalists decrying the court’s decision, proclaiming source protection as sacred. The National Union of Journalists in particular, which is a joint British-Irish organization, has condemned the ruling. General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet has argued that the ruling has “significant implications” for academic and journalistic research, while others have criticised the College for not acting like other journalists and protecting their sources to the point of going to prison.

One of the main reasons the PSNI want to get their hands on this treasure trove of information is to help them discover what happened to certain people during the conflict, a collective known as the ‘disappeared.’ This is the name that has been given to sixteen people who vanished during the Troubles at the hands of the IRA, believed to have been abducted and killed, then buried in shallow graves. In 1999, the IRA admitted to killing nine of the victims on that list, and gave up the burial sites, although only three were found at that time. Since then, a further four bodies have been recovered. The most infamous of these cases was that of young mother, Jean McConville, whose body was finally discovered in 2003 by a family out on a walk, a mile from the location the IRA had given for her grave. McConville was born into a Protestant family in East Belfast though converted to Catholicism when she married her husband, Arthur. One of her sons, Robbie, was in Long Kesh for Official IRA related activities although he defected to the INLA in 1974. In December of 1972, she was abducted from her home by 12 members of the IRA, men and women, and killed by a single bullet to the back of the head, her remains buried on a nearby beach. The IRA refused to admit responsibility for many years, and then claimed that McConville had been a British spy, passing information on local republicans to British security forces through a radio transmitter. Her children have consistently rejected this claim, and have repeatedly called on the IRA to clear their mother’s name. An official investigation revealed no evidence to prove the IRA’s claims. Enter Boston College and their Belfast Project. One of those believed to be have been interviewed, Dolours Price, could reveal she was part of the murder as the driver of the car which took McConville to her death, and more importantly, the role of Gerry Adams in all of this. Such allegations concerning Adams are nothing new. In Voices from the Grave, based on two interviews from the Boston project, former IRA operative Brendan Hughes said as much of Adam’s role, claiming that it was Adams who established the IRA unit which killed McConville, and he who gave the order for her secret burial, to avoid the negative publicity surrounding the murder of a women and the orphaning of her children.

But the families of those disappeared by the IRA during the Troubles aren’t the only ones who could be affected by the court’s ruling. Those still living ex-IRA members and their families could be in for trouble should their testimonies reach the light of day. Carol Twomey, wife of Anthony McIntyre (former IRA gunman who conducted the interviews) believes that her husband and other ex-IRA men will risk being killed should the interviews be handed over, and used to secure prosecutions. Retribution, she argues, is a very real fear for men who have been branded by some as ‘touts’ for revealing IRA secrets.

Then of course there’s the impact on Northern Ireland and the peace process to be considered. The country may be at peace but nobody can deny it isn’t somewhat shaky. If Hughes’ allegations are confirmed by a second IRA member’s testimony, given in the knowledge it wouldn’t be revealed until after her death, what does this do for the stability of Northern Ireland and its government, bearing in mind that Gerry Adams always shrugs off accusations of IRA membership, and leadership. It’s hard to predict the reaction from the Republican camp. A Northern Irish government which is dependent on its members possible past criminal lives being ignored isn’t exactly a solid foundation in the first place. But it has worked thus far. And an appeal is already in the works. Several prominent politicians in America, including the former presidential candidate John Kerry have lobbied for the interviews to remain sealed. It just might stick and it could be years before the Boston tapes see the light of day, and all those involved are dead and buried, and a new generation will have to deal with the mistakes of their forbearers.

So, to reveal or not to reveal? Do we make an attempt to forget our past in the interest of the future or do we strive to excise all of its demons. It’s a tricky one. How do you decide which is more important – the need for truth and closure on the part of Jean McConville’s family, and any others who might have something new to learn about the disappearance of their loved ones or the fact that to reveal the identities of any former IRA members who participated in the Boston project is to pass a very possible death sentence on them. Some might argue that death is what they deserve for the activities they and their Loyalist counterparts were involved in during the Troubles but to essentially have them killed makes us no better than what they are and were. The truth shall set you free, it has been said. But in this case, perhaps it might just do more harm than good. Should Gerry Adams be finally proven to be an utter liar, should he be proven to have been in the IRA command when he said he wasn’t, such a thing wouldn’t be a terrible event by any stretch of the imagination. But if Boston College can be forced into giving up these precious oral histories of such an important and tragic part of our history, where does it stop? So many hidden histories, so many stories are dependent on the assurance that can be provided by the interviewer that the identity of their source will be protected at all costs. So who in their right mind would ever again trust a journalist or in particular an academic into telling their story?

No, let sleeping dogs lie, as they say. Wait until those involved are dead and gone. With any luck, Gerry Adams and co will still be alive when that time comes. If not, then we can see the contents of that historical treasure trove for ourselves, and history can be the judge of it all.

American Football Returns To Dublin

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for the historic return of American football to Ireland.

This September marks the return of The Emerald Isle Classic which will pit Notre Dame against the United States Naval academy at the Aviva stadium.

American football first arrived on these shores in 1988 when Boston College ran out winners over Army Black Knights. A year later and American football was back at Lansdowne Road when 45,525 watched Pittsburgh beat Rutgers 46-29.

Despite successive crowds exceeding 45,000 the Irish public would have to wait a further seven years before the NFL returned to Ireland. On that day Notre Dame toppled Navy in front of 38,651.

But now with the popularity of American football at an all time high amongst the Irish public, the NFL is returning to Dublin for the first time since 1996. Navy will take on Notre Dame in a repeat of their 1996 clash. The Maryland outfit will be looking to avenge their previous defeat when The Emerald Isle Classic resumes.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow starting at €35.

In addition to this NFL games will also take place at Páirc Tailteann in County Meath and Parnell Park and Donnybrook stadium in Dublin. Each venue will host two games, kicking off at 4pm and 7.30pm on Friday, August 31.

Tickets are on sale through www.Tickets.ie/GIFT2012 priced €15 for adults and may be printed from home after purchasing.  Admission is free for children aged 12 and under and a €10 student ticket will be available at the venues on game day.

Participating teams and fixtures:

Páirc Tailteann:  7.30pm Notre Dame Prep (Arizona) vs. Father Judge (Pennsylvania)
4pm:  Game TBA
Parnell Park:  7.30pm Notre Dame High School (California) vs. Hamilton High School (Arizona)
4pm Game TBA
Donnybrook Stadium: 7.30pm John Carroll University (Ohio) vs. St Norbert College (Wisconsin)
4pm Loyola Academy, Chicago (Illinois) vs. Jesuit Prep Dallas (Texas)

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