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Boston College tapes: PSNI legal bid to obtain full transcripts of all 80 interviews 'proof of a vendetta against Sinn Fein'


High-profile republicans Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes gave interviews to the Boston College project

High-profile republicans Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes gave interviews to the Boston College project

Anthony McIntyre

Anthony McIntyre

High-profile republicans Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes gave interviews to the Boston College project

A researcher behind some of the Boston College interviews has blasted the PSNI after it announced a legal bid to seize all material from the project.

The Belfast Project includes an archive of 80 interviews with former republican and loyalist paramilitaries speaking about their actions during the Troubles.

The PSNI obtained sections of 11 tapes following a lengthy legal battle.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams was arrested and questioned for almost a week on the basis of that information with regard to the murder of 'Disappeared' mother-of-10 Jean McConville.

She was taken from her home in Belfast and shot dead by the IRA before being secretly buried on a Co Louth beach.

Her children are now campaigning for those responsible for her murder to be brought to justice and have called on Mr Adams to provide answers.

The 65-year-old republican leader vehemently denies any involvement in the crime or that he was ever a member of the IRA.

Last night, the PSNI announced it has started a bid to obtain all the material from the Boston College initiative held by the institution.

A police spokeswoman said the move was "in line with PSNI's statutory duty to investigate fully all matters of serious crime, including murder".

Anthony McIntyre, who was a researcher on the Belfast Project, has slammed both Boston College over the development and criticised the PSNI, accusing it of "political policing" in an attempt to deflect attention from state-sponsored murders and bomb attacks.

Mr McIntyre, who also gave an interview to the college about his own past in the IRA, told the Belfast Telegraph that he intends to consult with his lawyer about the PSNI's statement.

"This is the first I have been told about this, but Boston College did flag up that they were going to hand them over.

"They allowed this to happen," he said.

"Boston College flagged up that they were going to hand them back so it was obvious they were going to make this move. I have always been angry about this, I made a tape myself, I am not angry over that.

"I made my tape, I never allowed anyone to be exposed to something that I might not be exposed to and we trusted implicitly the college's assurances."

He accused the PSNI of political policing in response to recent calls for justice over state murders.

"They are not seizing the tapes from Bloody Sunday or the Dublin and Monaghan bombs, they are not sending subpoenas off to get the tapes from them. It's political policing," he said.

"I think they are doing this now to put pressure on Sinn Fein over the past.

"It's like a response to say, if you want something on Pat Finucane, we will get what we have on you."

A spokesman from Sinn Fein declined to comment yesterday on the latest twist in the international legal wrangle over the controversial tapes.

On Wednesday Belfast Telegraph's website reported that US broadcaster NBC News is asking Boston Federal District Court in the United States to unseal all "transcripts, audio recordings and documents" handed over to the PSNI following subpoenas served on Boston College in relation to the Belfast Project oral history archives.

The major US news channel has written to Judge William Young requesting the material is handed over "as soon as possible" as "a matter of great public interest".

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Belfast Telegraph