Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Boston College tapes: IRA recordings on Jean McConville death 'may bring about Gerry Adams' downfall'

US ruling clears way for PSNI to get tapes

Jean McConville's funeral
Jean McConville's funeral
Jean McConville
Jean McConville
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has reiterated that he had no involvement in Jean McConville's killing
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has reiterated that he had no involvement in Jean McConville's killing

The PSNI has begun making plans to take possession of the controversial Boston College interviews with former IRA members after a US Supreme Court ruling.

The Irish government is understood to be concerned that the release of the tapes could destabilise the peace process in Northern Ireland and the power-sharing government.

The pressure is mounting on Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, after one of the interviewers at the centre of the Northern Ireland's Troubles project, predicted it could bring about the politician's downfall.

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: "We are making plans to take possession of the material and proceed with our inquiry."

The discussions with republican and loyalist paramilitaries formed part of an oral history of the Troubles.

Ex-IRA member Dolours Price, now dead, was one of the interviewees, and it is claimed she discussed the disappearance of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville.

Authorities investigating Ms McConville's disappearance had called for the US government to subpoena the documents, invoking a treaty between Britain and the USA. The Republic's department of foreign affairs and the Irish Embassy are monitoring the matter.

But an Irish government source said the coalition government was worried about what way the tapes would be made public.

"We'd have a concern about what might happen when they are released," a source said.

Former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney, who compiled the interviews, had appealed to halt the release of the interviews with the late Ms Price to the PSNI.

But their appeal was rejected when the US Supreme Court declined to hear it.

It is believed Ms Price, who died in January and had been a vocal critic of Sinn Fein for accepting the Good Friday Agreement, may have implicated Mr Adams in the McConville killing.

Mr Adams has continuously denied membership of the IRA and any involvement in the mother's abduction and killing.

The Sinn Fein president has insisted both former IRA member Brendan Hughes and the late Ms Price "were telling lies" when they claimed he was responsible for Mrs McConville's disappearance.

In a heated interview with Miriam O'Callaghan on RTE's 'Prime Time', Mr Adams insisted they were both people who had gone on in their lives to become "opponents", felt he had "sold out" and allied themselves with "various so-called dissident groups".

Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said the agreement with the Belfast project was that the tapes would be kept confidential to the extent American law would allow until the death of the participants.

"Dolours Price's death makes the issue moot," he said.

Mr Dunn said the release of the tapes was now a matter for the US Department of Justice.

However, Boston College is still awaiting a ruling from the US First Circuit Court of Appeals on its appeal in relation to some of the other tapes.

Mr Moloney said that the contents of some of the interviews could bring about the downfall of Mr Adams.

"With Gerry Adams will also fall the peace process," he stated.

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