Ex-Provo’s life is at risk over IRA tapes row, court to be told
5 July 2012
The ex-IRA man at the centre of the Boston College tapes controversy is today taking unprecedented legal action in a Belfast court.
Lawyers for Anthony McIntyre will argue that his life will be in imminent danger from republicans if the PSNI is given tapes relating to the 1972 murder of West Belfast mother of ten Jean McConville, an alleged informer.
The battle for access to taped interviews with eight former IRA members – some of whom allege Gerry Adams ordered her brutal killing and secret burial – has so far been fought in the US. The Sinn Féin president denies involvement in the murder.
The high-profile courtroom battle moves to this side of the Atlantic as McIntyre, who conducted the interviews as part of an oral history project for Boston College, seeks leave to apply for a judicial review to stop the PSNI pursuing the tapes.
A US judge previously ordered Boston College to hand over the tapes but that ruling has been appealed.
McIntyre’s lawyer, Kevin Winters, said: “The US court appeal judgement is due very soon. I’m anticipating it will be in the PSNI’s favour. The turnaround period could be very quick with the tapes in police hands in days.
“The real and immediate risk to my client’s life would then increase significantly.”
Winters will argue McIntyre’s right to life – under Article Two of the European Convention on Human Rights and the 1998 NI Human Rights’ Act – is being infringed.
McIntrye’s right to life will be weighed against the right of detectives investigating Jean McConville’s murder to gather evidence.
Dozens of ex-loyalist and republican paramilitaries interviewed for Boston College were promised their interviews wouldn’t be released until after their death.
McIntyre – originally from Belfast but now living in Drogheda – said: “Myself, my wife, and my two young children already take security precautions.
“Every morning, I check the garden and under the car. My children aren’t allowed to answer the door and they’ve been ordered not to pick up anything in the garden in case it’s a pipe bomb.”
McIntyre’s American wife, Carrie Twomey, has received internet death threats. One loyalist wrote on Twitter, ‘Your time to check under your car’. Another wrote, ‘tick tock, tick tock, Carrie Twomey.” The threats have been reported to gardai.
A former senior ex-Provisional branded McIntyre “an informer” for breaking the IRA’s code of secrecy in the Boston project. In his affidavit to the court, McIntyre states how another leading ex-IRA man Bobby Storey told republicans never to breach the Provos’ “code of honour”.
The affidavit also includes a newspaper article where republicans threaten McIntyre with the same fate as ex-Newry IRA man, Eamon Collins, who was beaten to death after penning his IRA memoirs.
Two republicans McIntyre interviewed – ex-IRA Belfast commander Brendan Hughes, and former Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price – blame Gerry Adams for ordering Jean McConville’s murder. Six other interviewees refer to the killing.
The Hughes interview was published after his death in the Voices from the Grave book in March 2010.
The next day, the home and car of a neighbour of McIntyre’s was attacked with excrement in a case of mistaken identity.
McIntyre claims his life is at risk from ex-Provisionals, some of whom are now dissidents. His affidavit mentions the Real IRA murder of Provisional IRA informer Denis Donaldson.