Britain to access tapes of ex-IRA member’s interview

Britain to access tapes of ex-IRA member’s interview
By Stephen Rogers
Irish Examiner
Friday, December 30, 2011

THE British Government is to get access to confidential taped interviews carried out with a prominent former IRA member about her activities during the Troubles in the north.

The interview with Dolours Price, completed more than a decade ago, was carried out by Boston College as part of its “Belfast Project”, an oral history of the Troubles.

The tapes are expected to shed yet more light on the 1972 disappearance and murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville.

It is understood Ms Price allegedly implicates Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams in Ms McConville’s death.

The participants were given an undertaking their identities and the contents of the tapes would be kept secret until their deaths.

However, now a US judge, William Young, has ordered the college to hand over the recorded interviews with Ms Price to federal prosecutors.

Those prosecutors had subpoenaed the material on behalf of British authorities investigating crimes perpetrated during the conflict in the North.

According to the Boston Globe, the judge said a treaty between the United States and Britain requires the two nations to share information that is relevant to ongoing criminal investigations.

“These are serious allegations, and they weigh strongly in favour of disclosing the confidential information,’’ he wrote.

Boston College does not intend to appeal the ruling even though it said it could have a “chilling effect because people could be reluctant to participate in oral history projects moving forward”.

In 2008 after the death of Brendan Hughes, Boston College turned over files from interviews it carried out with the former IRA member. Before his death Mr Hughes claimed Gerry Adams gave the orders to kill and secretly bury Ms McConville after the IRA accused her of being an informer.

Mr Adams has repeatedly denied the allegations that he ordered the killing.

Judge Young also has transcripts of interviews with more than 20 other former IRA members. He has said he will issue more orders after reviewing those transcripts.