The Pat Finucane Centre issued a statement on Friday 22 November 2019 responding to claims its deceitful Director, Paul O’Connor, was an IRA volunteer for 2 years in the early 1970s and had involvement in the murder of James ‘Jim’ O’Hagan, a 16 years old IRA volunteer in August 1971.
The PFC statement claimed:
- attempts would be made to discredit the Centre by those close to the British state including Loyalist paramilitaries
- Loyalist commentator close to the UVF [Jamie Bryson] had suggested that Paul O’Connor, the PFC’s Director, was a former IRA volunteer who had been in receipt of an On The Run (OTR) letter. The Centre chose at that time not to respond to these allegations AS FEW WOULD GIVE THEM ANY CREDIBILITY.
- Ultimately it is not for the Centre to judge the accuracy of the allegations made by Shane Paul O’Doherty… WE WOULD ADVISE PEOPLE TO TAKE THESE ALLEGATIONS WITH A STRONG DOSE OF SKEPTICISM.
- None of the allegations which Shane Paul O’Doherty makes in any way constitutes reliable evidence.
Within hours, Paul O’Connor himself made admissions in interviews given to both “The Irish News” and “The Irish Times” totally contradicting the earlier PFC statement:
- he had in fact been an IRA volunteer
- had in fact “gone on the run” immediately after the shooting of IRA volunteer Jim O’Hagan
- he was only absent from the bomb factory where Jim O’Hagan was fatally shot because he “had a cold”
- he was active in the IRA in the “Free Derry” no-go area and was indeed the person in photographs armed with an Armalite rifle in the Bogside in May of 1972 and recorded handing rifles to other IRA volunteers, all this activity without even wearing a mask
- he had ultimately done a decade-long disappearing act.
Since Paul O’Connor’s startling admissions, the Pat Finucane Centre
- has not amended its totally false statement on its Web page [here]
- has not explained how the erroneous and misleading statement came to be issued hours before O’Connor’s admissions of IRA membership
- has not responded in any way to its Director’s admission that he covered up his IRA past
- has not apologised for its attempt to liken my claims to UVF/loyalist activities
- has not withdrawn its own deceitful call for my claims to be treated with scepticism
- has not explained the degree to which O’Connor’s lies and bias have tainted his work
Not a single journalist has questioned this remarkable dent in the PFC’s own credibility or its current Director’s years of lies and bias as shown most recently in his dealings with “The Irish Times” Northern Editor, Freya McClements, while she was researching the book “Children of the Troubles” where he clearly misled her about the shooting of Jim O’Hagan and his own direct relation to the IRA unit in which Jim O’Hagan lost his young life.
What price Truth Recovery when there isn’t an NUJ member to be found who is willing to ask the PFC to explain itself in terms of its own now discredited “Truth Recovery” aims?
Who guards the news’ guardians?
Paul O’Connor, closet IRA Volunteer “without victims” – see here.
A useful effect of your blog and this revelation in particular is to at least expose these people for what they are to the journalists who have a too-cosy relationship with them. That’s how SF/IRA works, “foot in the door technique”, they contaminate others who then don’t want to admit error or back out.
Careful though calling the PFC statement “deceitful”. You don’t know it wasn’t written by another naif who was kept in the dark about O’connor being an IRA man.