Michael Padraig Colman O’Leary is an Irishman who was a civil servant in England who also wrote articles the English version of a French publication. He chose to settle down in Uva District at some point way back with his charming Sri Lankan wife Tiny.
He has recently moved to the hinterland of Colombo. His writing and investigative instincts remain strong and he sustains a web site.
He took up some of the challenges associated with Eelam War IV and its aftermath. He participated in the discussions pursued by the Marga Research Institute when Marga investigated the foreign investigators – leading to such outcomes as these reviews:
Marga 2011 An Analysis and Evaluation of The Report of the Advisory Panel to the UNSG nn the Final Stages of the War in Sri Lanka, https://www.dropbox.com/s/0eybj1ynej6spaa/The%20Darusman%20Report-%20Final%20doc-2.doc
Marga 2014 Issues of Truth and Accountability. The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka, https://www.dropbox.com/s/tdxwntf7wu5andq/The%20Last%20Stages%20of%20the%20war%20in%20Sri%20Lanka.pdf?n=66191473
Padraig Colman also addressed – and challenged — the video documentary and written reports of Channel 4. In two considered evaluations in August 2011 he dissected the Channel 4 productions (see references A and B below). When he took up the criticism again in 2014 after Channel 4 won an Emmy Award, Callum Macrae of Channel 4 had the chutzpah to contact him. Michael O’Leary’s response can be seen here https://pcolman.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/channel-4-once-again/
Here, in Thuppahi, I reproduce his preliminary introduction in this response as a means of introducing readers to Michael O’Leary aka Padraig Colman. But I do so also to underline his honesty in telling his readership that in 2006 he was utterly wrong in thinking that the Tamil challenge led by Pirapaharan could be resolved through negotiation.
Let me quote his punchlines: “I now know that I was wrong. The LTTE was firmly against negotiation and used cease-fires to regroup. They had to be defeated.”
But take in his response to Macrae’s questioning in the full and pursue O’Leary’s explorations further within his web site: https://pcolman.wordpress.com/about/ ……. Michael Roberts
A= “Channel 4 News and Sri Lankan War Crimes,” http://pcolman.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/channel-4-news-and-sri-lankan-war-crimes/
B = “Evaluating the ‘Churnalism’ from Channel 4 and the Moon Panel,” 17 August 2011, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/a-credible-evaluation-of-%e2%80%9cchurnalism%e2%80%9d-from-channel-4-and-the-moon-panel/
PADRAIG’s Introductory Mea Culpa in 2014 = https://pcolman.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/channel-4-once-again/
Last week, I wrote an article commenting on the news that Channel 4 had been nominated for an Emmy award for its documentary about alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Callum Macrae, who directed the programme, read the article and made contact.
My Position: Before I address Mr Macrae’s specific points, let me summarise my general position. I am a foreigner who has lived permanently in Sri Lanka for twelve years. I have tried, in a small way, to contribute to the welfare of the country by becoming involved in my local community in Uva province. In spite of what the rabid trolls on Colombo Telegraph might say, I do not have any connections with the government. Because I am a foreigner, I have no emotional attachment to SLFP or UNP (or Fianna Fail or Fine Gael or Sin Fein).
When I first came to Sri Lanka, there was a cease-fire and people had a taste of peace. I thought it was safe to live here. I was dismayed when Mahinda Rajapakse was elected president because he had a reputation as a hardliner. I was further dismayed when the government decided to go for the military option against the LTTE. Dismayed because I knew that it meant civilians would be killed; dismayed because I did not think the SLA could win. My compatriots Martin McGuinness and John Hume advised against the military option and I bought the received wisdom that such conflicts could only be ended by negotiation.
I now know that I was wrong. The LTTE was firmly against negotiation and used cease-fires to regroup. They had to be defeated. They were defeated and Sri Lanka is a far better place today than it was when I first arrived…. [for the specifics on this occasion, go to https://pcolman.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/channel-4-once-again/%5D
Michael Roberts 2018 “Pirapāharan’s Inspirations and Mind-Set,” 10 August 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/pirapaharans-inspirations-and-mind-set/
Gerald H. Peiris 2010 “The Doctrine of Responsibility to Protect: Impulses, Implications and Impact,” 30 June 2010, http://www.slguardian.org/2010/06/the-doctrine-of-responsibility-to-protect-impulses-implications-and-impact/ ……. AND…………………………………………………………….. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/from%3A(geraldpeiris%40yahoo.com)+OR+to%3A(geraldpeiris%40yahoo.com)/1510fc7141751033?projector=1
Michael Roberts 2015 “Lilliputs in a World of Giants: Marga and CHA bat for Lanka in the Propaganda War, 2009-14,” 18 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/lilliputs-in-a-world-of-giants-marga-and-cha-bat-for-lanka-in-the-propaganda-war-2009-14/#more-18467
Michael Roberts 2011 “Amnesty International reveals its Flawed Tunnel-Vision in Sri Lanka in 2009,” 10 Aug. 2011,https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/amnesty-international-reveals-its-flawed-tunnel-vision-on-sri-lanka-in-2009/
Michael Roberts 2016 “Saving Talaivar Pirapāharan,” 6 April 2016, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/saving-talaivar-pirapaharan/
Michael Roberts 2016 “Revelations in Britain: Lord Naseby undermines the Received ‘Wisdom’,” 12 November 2017, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/revelations-in-britain-lord-naseby-undermines-the-received-wisdom/
Michael Roberts 2018 “Where USA sought to arm-wrestle Sri Lanka in March-April-May 2009,” 11 May 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/where-usa-sought-to-arm-wrestle-sri-lanka-in-march-april-may-2009/