IRA bomber Dolours Price’s testimony must be handed to police, US court rules
A US college must give police recordings of interviews conducted with a convicted IRA terrorist who bombed the Old Bailey, an appeal court has ruled.
By Duncan Gardham
09 Jul 2012
Recordings of Dolours Price, who spoke to researchers at Boston College as part of an oral history project, must be handed to police by next month, the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeal has ruled.
She was one of several former IRA members who gave interviews between 2001 and 2006 as part of what was called “The Belfast Project” in the belief that the interviews would not be used until their deaths.
But the recordings are being sought by the Police Service of Northern Ireland which is investigating the IRA’s killing of Jean McConville, who had been branded as a British Army spy, in 1972.
Price has admitted in a newspaper interview that she drove the car that took McConville from her home in west Belfast to an isolated location on the County Louth coast in the Irish Republic, where she was shot dead and secretly buried.
Her death was one of the highest profile of the so-called “disappeared” who were secretly killed and buried as alleged informants.
Her family claims that Price’s testimony may shed light on the alleged role of Gerry Adams, now the Sinn Fein president, who was said to be second in command of the Belfast IRA at the time of McConville’s disappearance. Adams has denied ever being a member of the IRA.
The Belfast Project was intended to be a resource for scholars and historians studying the The Troubles.
Ed Moloney, the project’s director, and Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA gunman who conducted the interviews, challenged the decision by US authorities to subpoena the records.
They argued that McIntyre and others who were part of The Belfast Project would be branded informants and faced “the real risk of physical harm” if the interviews were turned over and that there would also be a chilling effect on other academic research.
The court ruled that and criminal investigations take precedence over academic study and the men had no right to interfere with the police request under the terms of a treaty between the United States and United Kingdom that requires the two to aid each other’s criminal investigations.
“The choice to investigate criminal activity belongs to the government and is not subject to veto by academic researchers,” the court wrote.
The college is still fighting a ruling that it must hand over interviews with seven other former members of the IRA.
Jon Albano, a lawyer who supported Moloney and McIntyre on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union told the Associated Press: “We were not saying that there was some kind of automatic absolute protection for academics, any more than for reporters.
“We were saying that if you look at the facts of this case, this is a case were Moloney and McIntyre actually deserve to be protected.”
Dolours Price came from a prominent Belfast republican family and bombed the Old Bailey in 1973 along with her sister Marian, and Gerry Kelly, now a minister in the Stormont parliament, in an attack that marked the start of the Provisional IRA’s campaign in mainland Britain.
Marian Price is currently in a prison hospital after falling ill while on remand for charges relating to aiding the Real IRA.