McConville family ‘pleased’ at IRA tape ruling

McConville family ‘pleased’ at IRA tape ruling
UTV News
Published Monday, 09 July 2012

The family of IRA murder victim Jean McConville has welcomed a ruling by an American appeals court that an interview allegedly discussing her death should be handed over to the PSNI.

The mother of ten was ‘disappeared’ by the IRA from Belfast in 1972. She was murdered and secret buried in what was one of the most controversial deaths of the Troubles.

For decades her loved ones had no idea what happened to her, but her body was eventually found near a County Louth beach in 2003.

As part of an oral history project, republicans and loyalists including ex-IRA prisoner Dolours Price took part in recorded interviews with Boston College. During one such interview, Ms Price allegedly discussed Mrs McConville’s murder.

In a later media interview, she said she drove the victim to her death.

The Boston College interviews were given on the understanding the interviews would be secret until after their death – but on Friday, a US Appeal Court ordered that the Price transcript should be handed to PSNI detectives investigating Mrs McConville’s murder.

On Friday, the court ruled: “The choice to investigate criminal activity belongs to the government and is not subject to veto by academic researchers.”

Helen McKendry, Mrs McConville’s daughter, told UTV that although she is pleased about the ruling, she wants all of the project’s tapes to be handed over.

She says her family want the whole truth about the murder – not just the IRA’s version of events.

“The woman that they are talking about is not the woman we knew and I want to clear my mother’s name.”

Ed Moloney, one of the researchers, says while he sympathises with the McConvilles, he gave his word the tapes would not be made public while the interviewees were still alive.

He says the judgment has a “very chilling effect” on academic and journalistic research.

“I think it kills off any idea that we’re going to get a truth recovery process.

He added: “I think it’s going to cause difficulties for the peace process – you can already see that in the sense that there’s tensions growing between the DUP and Sinn Féin who are supposed to be sharing government.”

He said he also feared for the life of his researcher Anthony McIntyre if the transcripts are handed over.

“There is a very, very strong possibility that the IRA will target him as well as those who took part in this enterprise as well.

“From various points of view, it’s not a good outlook.”