PSNI confirm securing Boston College tapes on Jean McConville’s murder

PSNI confirm securing Boston College tapes on Jean McConville’s murder
by Gemma Murray
News Letter
Published on the 07 July 2013

THE PSNI have confirmed that transcripts of interviews relating to the murder of IRA victim Jean McConville, carried out as part of a project at Boston College, are being handed over.

The PSNI had been attempting to obtain the transcripts of tapes recorded with IRA member Dolours Price, who died in January.

The transcripts are understood to contain information about the death and disappearance of the Belfast mother-of-10.

In a statement the PSNI said: “Two detectives from Serious Crime Branch have travelled to Boston to take possession of materials authorised by the United States appeal court as part of their investigation into the murder of Jean McConville.

The west Belfast mother was among dozens of people – later known as the Disappeared – who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republican militants during the Troubles.

The officers will return to Northern Ireland to assess the material and continue with their inquiries.”

The transcripts were made as part of Boston College’s ‘Belfast Project’, which was designed to be an oral history of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

Project director, Ed Moloney, and his researcher, Anthony McIntyre, had resisted attempts by the PSNI to obtain the transcripts, and had hoped that the US Supreme Court would overturn a Boston Federal Court decision to hand the tapes over.

Ms Price was an unrepentant republican hard-liner who became a bitter critic of Sinn Fein when the party endorsed the Good Friday Agreement and encouraged the IRA to give up its weapons.

She clashed with party leader Gerry Adams in recent years over her allegations that he had been her IRA Officer Commanding during the early 1970s.

The 62-year-old consistently claimed that Mr Adams, now a Louth TD, had ordered the kidnap and killing of Mrs McConville in 1972.

Mr Adams has always denied being a member of the IRA.

She said she had made the claims in an interview with the American university academics who have compiled an oral history on Northern Ireland’s 40-year conflict.

The recordings were started in 2001 and were made on the condition that confidentiality would be guaranteed until after the death of the republican and loyalist paramilitaries who took part.

Price, the former wife of actor Stephen Rea, was convicted and jailed along with her sister Marian for the 1973 attack on London’s Old Bailey courts in which one man died and more than 200 people were injured.

She spent eight years in jail including several weeks on hunger strike before being released in 1980.