Boston College tapes: ‘writer not making big profit’
21 September 2012
A former IRA volunteer-turned-writer has made no big profit from his interviews with a convicted bomber, the High Court has heard.
Counsel for Anthony McIntyre also accused police of being “passive, bordering on cavalier” over the alleged increased threat to him.
Police are seeking access to his interviews with Dolours Price.
They are investigating the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, one of the so-called Disappeared.
Mr McIntyre spoke to Old Bailey bomber Price for a history project at Boston College in the United States.
He is challenging the legal bid to obtain the transcripts of interview tapes, claiming it will put his life in greater danger from dissident republicans.
A PSNI lawyer had argued that releasing the recordings and transcripts would not heighten the risk to Mr McIntyre.
Mr Justice Treacy was told threat assessments were carried out and came back negative.
But Mr McIntyre’s barrister, David Scoffield QC, contended that the PSNI position was “completely untenable”.
He said: “It shows the extremely passive approach taken by the police on this issue, bordering on a cavalier approach.
“They have a single approach and really are intent on proceeding with their (application) without any proper regard for the consequences.”
Loyalist and republican paramilitaries gave interviews to Mr McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney for Boston College’s Belfast Project, an examination of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Recordings were carried out on the understanding that they would only be made public once interviewees had died.
However, the US courts have ruled that the Price interviews should be handed over to the PSNI.
During the hearing in Belfast Mr McIntyre’s resistance to disclosing the tapes was questioned, given that a book has already been published by Mr Moloney, Voices From The Grave, based in interviews with other ex-paramilitaries for the same project.
Mr Scoffield contended that a number of “assumptions” have been wrongly made.
He said: “Firstly that Mr McIntyre was directly involved in the Voices From The Grave publication. That is not correct.
“And that he is in some way making a large amount of money from this endeavour. That is not correct.”
At one point the judge questioned whether it was open to the court to rule against the police if it would impede on their legal obligation to investigate a murder.
Mr Scoffield responded that the competing rights had to be balanced.
“The right of someone continuing to live here and now must trump the investigation into a past death,” he argued.
Judgment on the preliminary stage of Mr McIntyre’s application for judicial review was reserved.
A temporary injunction restraining the PSNI from taking possession of the interviews remains in place pending the outcome of the case.