While probably an exaggeration I did not view it as some attempt to either mislead or ingratiate; just how he either viewed or remembered it. In the couple of exchanges we had on line he was the epitome of civility. Doubtless, he was fully aware of the Boston College oral history controversy that I was immersed in but if it figured in his thinking he was good at concealing any trace.
That all changed in the wake of the party leader’s arrest. The friendly face of Dr Sean Jekyll was replaced by the snarl of Mr Sean Hyde. The assuming of that ‘Mr’ persona was symbolically emblematic of the abandonment of the supposed detachment of academia. I was not being thanked for anything this time but instead stood accused of being a tout. He even came up with a tale that I had supported some ‘morons’ who had killed a cousin of his in Omagh. Unless he had a cousin that was one of five British soldiers killed by an IRA booby trap device in the Tyrone town in 1973, it is something he invented. Apart from supporting the organisation that carried out that operation – the one that was his party’s armed wing back in the day and which his party leader served as military chief of staff for – there is no other body responsible for armed attacks on Omagh that I have ever endorsed.
Councillors Kevin Campbell, Micheal McIvor and JJ Magee had been saying online as well as party spokesperson Danny Morrison and a plethora of others: seemingly approved by party leaders Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald as they also re-tweeted the ‘tout’ comments. To boot, unlike the staff member at Griffith College who uses monikers like Mick Finnegan, Adam O’Toole, Harry W, Mick Griffith and John O'Leary to smear people Sinn Fein disapprove of, Sean Marlow doesn’t hide behind anonymity. Credit for sure, but it is limited.
What I did find intriguing is that an academic at the heart of scholarly life in Dublin City University would lend himself to a strident campaign - not of criticism but of vilification - against other academic work. I would never contemplate raising the issue of his conduct with his employers in the university, and even yesterday dissuaded a former Queens graduate from writing to DCU management about it. Sean Marlow should be free to write what he wants. But I am not going to help conceal it for him just in case he gets into trouble at the university. His problem, not mine. He can stand over what he says.
|Dr Sean Marlow canvassing for Sinn Fein in Dublin.|
That Sean Marlow moved from the pleasant to the poisonous came courtesy of his having been swept along on a personality cult wave that ravishes reason and affirms prejudice. Fintan O’Toole wrote in the Irish Times:
There is a deliberate attempt to generate a literally dangerous hysteria around the project by questioning not just the motives of those involved but the validity of this kind of research. Sinn Féin has very publicly labelled those involved as touts – a term saturated with threat.Dr Sean Marlow might now explain, even if he intended no threat, if the danger enhancing vilification promoted by him online is consistent with the ethical standards set out by Dublin City University or any other university.