Police in legal push for Boston College tapes of ex-Provo McIntyre
PSNI in new move over Boston College project
By Suzanne Breen
The Public Prosecution Service and the PSNI have launched a legal bid for the taped interviews of the ex-IRA man at the centre of Boston College’s controversial Belfast Project.
A subpoena has been served on the college demanding it hand over the material relating to Anthony McIntyre. The case is due to go before a US court in 10 days’ time.
Although the lead researcher in the project, in which 40 former republican and loyalist paramilitaries spoke about their roles during the conflict, Mr McIntyre himself gave a personal interview about his own activities to a guest interviewer.
The subpoena states that the tapes are being sought as part of an investigation into attempted murder, the possession of explosives with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to cause an explosion, possession of an imitation firearm, and membership of a proscribed organisation.
Mr McIntyre, who served 18 years in jail for murdering UVF man Kenneth Lenaghan in 1976, is now an outspoken critic of the Sinn Fein leadership and opposes the republican “armed struggle”.
Originally from the lower Ormeau in south Belfast, he now lives in Drogheda, Co Louth, with his wife and two children. If the material is handed over, the PSNI may seek his extradition from the Republic. Campaigners for Mr McIntyre have already contacted acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin about the case.
Taped interviews with IRA members Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes have already been handed over to the PSNI by Boston College following a lengthy legal battle.
They had been requested by officers investigating the 1972 abduction and murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville. The current legal action is unrelated to the McConville inquiry.
Mr McIntyre last night said: “I have spent almost two decades in jail and the British authorities are looking for me about 1970s stuff. Not one police officer has spent a day in jail for the torture of people in Castlereagh in the Seventies and Eighties, torture that has been proven by numerous human rights organisations.
“The State is busy covering up their role in murder in the dirty war yet they are portraying themselves as the good guys coming after me in the name of justice. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be farcical.”
Mr McIntyre, who claimed he would challenge the subpoena through his lawyers, said he was not surprised by it. He alleged it was about “settling scores” over the resistance he had mounted to handing over any of the Boston tapes in previous legal hearings.
He said that, if he was arrested, he would refuse to co-operate with police.
“I will not speak even one word to them. I will remain totally mute,” he said.
Former loyalist and republican paramilitaries provided testimonies to Boston College researchers compiling an oral history of the Northern Ireland conflict. They made taped recordings about their activities from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Interviews were given on the understanding that the tapes would not be made public until after the interviewees’ deaths, but those assurances were dealt a blow in 2013 when detectives investigating the McConville murder secured Dolours Price’s tapes.
The tapes of Brendan Hughes and seven other republicans, who had referred to the McConville murder in their interviews, were also handed over. Veteran republican Ivor Bell is currently facing charges of aiding and abetting the murder of Mrs McConville based on material in the recordings.
Other republicans, including Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, have been arrested by detectives investigating her death but they have all been released without charge. Last year the PSNI also won a court battle to secure access to interviews given by former loyalist prisoner Winston Rea.
Mr McIntyre, who has a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast, carried out 25 of the 26 interviews with republicans for the Belfast Project. The 14 loyalist interviews were conducted by Wilson McArthur. The interviews were carried out between 2001 and 2006.
The subpoena for Mr McIntyre’s taped interview has been served under the US-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. Boston College has been ordered to appear before a court in the city on May 6 to deliver the recording and any other material relating to it.