Researcher hits out at Boston College in IRA interviews row

Researcher hits out at Boston College in IRA interviews row
Diana Rusk, Political Correspondent
Irish News

ANTHONY McIntyre, the researcher of a project at the centre of a legal wrangle in the United States over secret IRA interviews, says he feels betrayed by the university ordered to turn over the tapes.

Until now Mr McIntyre has remained silent about his role in the Boston College project that saw him record interviews with pare-militaries on the understanding they would not be released until their deaths.

However, he has now spoken out over fears for his family and other participants amid a legal effort to obtain an interview with former IRA member Dolours Price as part of a PSNI investigation into the disappearance of Jean McConville.

Last week Mr McIntyre and the project’s director, journalist Ed Moloney, succeeded in gaining a temporary block from the Federal Appeals Court of the release to US prosecutors of all interview material relating to Ms McConville. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Speaking to The Irish News last night Mr McIntyre accused Boston College of not working hard enough to protect the tapes.

“I am very angry with Boston College,” he said.

“They abandoned the re-searchers and the research to protect some institutional interest rather than the human beings at the centre of this.”

“Before this whole project started, I asked how it would work and I was told that nothing would be taken into Boston College’s archive until such time as they were absolutely certain there would be no legal repercussions.

“This was confirmed twice before the project started in 2001 and so I was never afraid of the legal side of things. I was concerned, not that the interviews were legally secured, but how physically secure it all was.

“So when this whole legal case started out I was absolutely gobs-mocked. I was amazed.”

Mr McIntyre, who is living in Co Louth with his American wife and children aged six and 10, is believed to have been the target of an attack on the home of his neighbour in 2010.

It happened the week of the publication of a book in which one of the interviews – by former IRA man Brendan Hughes who accused Gerry Adams of ordering the disappearance of Ms McConville – was featured.

“You hear comments about breaking the IRA code of omerta and then there was that attack,” Mr McIntyre said.

“I have to be concerned about the safety of the family because I know how vicious the Provos can be.

“It is very easy for something to be thrown through the window I fear it. I don’t live frightened to death but I’m aware of the possibility that this sort of thing exists. These people weren’t fighting wars with candyfloss.”

Mr McIntyre said he had been approached by some of those with whom he carried out interviews.

“I am bound by a confidentiality agreement so I do not want to say too much about that but people would be very concerned,” he said.

“I can’t be so selfish as to be concerned about myself and my family without being concerned for the interviewees.

“The reason I didn’t want to say anything for so long about this was because I was part of the secrecy surrounding the project. I was the first point of contact with the interviewees but now I feel these people need to know that I will not be deserting them.

“Boston College has abandoned its duty of care to these people but I will not be doing that. “I can’t stay silent in that context.”