Tapes wanted by PSNI ‘do not mention murder’

Tapes wanted by PSNI ‘do not mention murder’
Suzanne Breen
Belfast Telegraph
September 21, 2012

A former Boston College researcher will today tell a court that no mention was made of murder victim Jean McConville in the taped interview at the centre of a massive legal row.

The PSNI has launched a transatlantic courtroom battle to obtain the tape in which ex-IRA bomber Dolours Price allegedly admitted involvement in Mrs McConville’s disappearance and claimed the killing was ordered by Gerry Adams.

But Anthony McIntyre, the ex-IRA member who interviewed Price for the Boston project, will today tell Belfast High Court that she never even mentioned the murdered mother of ten’s name once.

In an affidavit lodged in the court and seen by the Belfast Telegraph, Mr McIntyre states: “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Ms Price did not mention the case of Jean McConville during the interviews I conducted with her.”

The PSNI legal bid began last year after allegations that Price had recorded admissions regarding the murder in her Boston College interview.

Mr McIntyre said when he read the report, “I was astounded as I know that she had made no such record.”

The Price tape is currently in the possession of the US courts. Subpoenas were served on Boston College in May 2011 by the US Attorney General on behalf of the PSNI.

McIntyre’s claim raises questions that the PSNI’s costly legal battle pursuing the tape may turn out to be a wild goose chase.

It could mean the McConville family’s hopes that securing the tape will bring justice for their mother, and see her killers’ prosecuted, may also be dashed.

Mrs McConville, a widow, was abducted from her West Belfast home in 1972 and driven across the border where she was shot dead and secretly buried by the IRA as an alleged “informer”.

Mr McIntyre’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, said: “Very serious and sensitive issues have been raised by this case and we hope that further scrutiny at today’s hearing will assist in resolving these.”

Mr McIntyre’s evidence supports that of former Boston College project director, journalist Ed Moloney.

In an affidavit presented to the court, which has been seen by the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Moloney said the project’s interviewees were promised nothing they said would be revealed until after their deaths.

“However, I believe (it is) time to reveal what the interviews did not disclose,” the journalist stated. “In her interviews with Anthony McIntyre, Dolours Price did not once mention the name ‘Jean McConville’.

“The subject of that unfortunate woman’s disappearance was never mentioned. Nor so were the allegations that Dolours Price was involved in any other disappearance carried out by the IRA in Belfast, nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams.”

Mr Moloney stated that the interviews with Price lacked “any material that could ever have justified the subpoenas”.

The journalist claimed the PSNI’s actions “may well amount to an abuse of process”. Dozens of ex-loyalist and republican paramilitaries were interviewed for the Boston College oral history project between 2001 and 2006.

They were promised their interviews wouldn’t be released until after their death and the tapes were stored in the college.

The only two interviews so far published have been those of ex-Belfast Brigade IRA commander Brendan Hughes and former UVF member and PUP leader David Ervine. The republicans were interviewed by Anthony McIntyre and the loyalists by Wilson McArthur.