Secret ‘IRA tapes’ appeal to begin

Secret ‘IRA tapes’ appeal to begin
Published Friday, 07 September 2012
UTV News

Legal appeals launched by Boston College and two of its researchers, in relation to the handing over of interviews with a former IRA activist, are set to begin in the USA and Belfast on Friday.

Journalist Ed Moloney and former IRA member-turned-writer Anthony McIntyre interviewed Republicans and Loyalists for as part of the American college’s ‘the Belfast Project’ – a recorded oral history project on the Troubles.

The project, which began in 2001, collected recordings on the understanding they would not be made public until the death of the interviewee.

Former IRA prisoner Dolours Price was one of those who took part. She was jailed for her part in the March 1973 car bombing of the Old Bailey in London, which injured more than 200 people.

The legal challenges centre on tape recordings in which it is believed she may have mentioned the disappearance and murder of a Belfast mother of ten.

Jean McConville went missing in 1972, but her body lay undiscovered for nearly 30 years and was eventually found buried near a Co Louth beach in 2003.

In July, an appeal court in America ordered that a transcript of an interview with Price should be handed over to PSNI officers investigating the historic murder.

On Friday, in Belfast, solicitor Kevin Winters will be seeking a High Court injunction preventing the PSNI from accessing any interviews that may be handed over by the US authorities prior to a hearing for a Judicial Review of the PSNI subpoenas.

They were served on Boston College via the United States Department of Justice.

The application for a Judicial Review is scheduled to be heard on 14 September.

In Boston, attorneys have filed a petition to the First Circuit Court of Appeals seeking a stay on the handover of the Price interviews, until the Supreme Court considers a bid to hear the case.

In a separate appeal with the court, Boston College are trying to limit the number of Belfast Project tapes to be handed over.

Former Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney said that both sets of legal authorities are complaining about the delay caused by the legal challenge.

“Since Mrs McConville was killed in 1972 and it was not until the mid-1990’s that her disappearance was even classified as a murder by the police in Northern Ireland, it ill behooves anyone in legal authority to complain about delays.”