SIR – I would like to address some of the comments made by Tom Cooper in his recent letter (May 26th, 2017).
The ‘unidentified scout’ Hart interviewed on November 19th, 1989 was Willie Chambers, Teadies, Enniskeane. The oft-repeated assertion that Peter Hart claimed to have interviewed a Kilmichael veteran who was already dead (Ned Young, d. November 13th, 1989) is based on a misidentification by Hart’s critics of the Old IRA veteran concerned.
Hart did interview Ned Young, but on April 3rd and June 25th, 1988. Chambers was a friend of Young’s and a long-standing member of the Kilmichael Commemoration Committee. Chambers’ son, Liam, confirmed to me that his father always said he had been an unarmed, secondary scout at the Enniskeane Bridge during the Kilmichael ambush. Liam is unable to confirm or deny what his father told Hart, but his Military Service Pension file might shed further light.
I would like to encourage those in possession of other IRA veteran recorded interviews Hart used to come forward as well.
As an historian, I strive to take into account all available records, and to be as objective and dispassionate as possible in my judgements.
I would appreciate it if Mr Cooper (and anyone else) would refrain from associating my work with either Kevin Myers or Eoghan Harris, or assume in any way that my historical or political views are in accord with theirs.