Irish Republican News · December 30, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
University to give up confidential IRA files

Boston College has agreed to turn over research interviews recorded in confidence by a former IRA member to the PSNI police.

The move came after a ruling issued in a federal court in Boston directed the US university to turn over the materials.

They include recordings, transcripts and other items related to former IRA Volunteer Dolours Price, who spoke about IRA activity as part of a major oral history project operated by Boston College.

The interviews were organised by journalist Ed Moloney and former IRA Volunteer Anthony McIntyre in conjunction with the university. Participants in the project were told their identities and the material they provided would remain confidential until after their death.

Boston College caused considerable surprise when it said it would not appeal the decision, raising a controversy over academic freedom and the efforts of US government agencies to gather intelligence under the guise of academic research.

The university faced condemnation within academic circles for its role in the matter.

UCLA historian Chris Bray said the college “has shamed itself as an institution, and has unnecessarily broken a set of extraordinarily serious promises”.

The prominent university has already provided the PSNI police with materials from Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes, who died in 2008. His interviews were used extensively by Moloney in a 2010 book about the conflict.

About 180 transcripts of interviews with more than 20 former IRA members or associates may now be passed to British Crown prosecutors and the PSNI.

Some reports have claimed that among those facing potential prosecution as a result of the interviews is Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, while others have suggested that the PSNI’s goal is merely to embarrass the Sinn Fein leadership.

The PSNI may also be hoping to secure the imprisonment of a number of republican ‘dissidents’. Gerry McGeough, a former member of the Sinn Fein leadership who opposed the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, was jailed earlier this year over an IRA action carried out in 1981.

A lawyer for Moloney and McIntyre said they are working to prevent any further revelations from the files.

Eamonn Dornan said they are “determined to employ every legal means available to them to prevent the disclosure of any and all information contributed in the strictest confidence and in good faith to the Boston College archives.”

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