Irish Republican News · September 14, 2012
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Legal actions continue against PSNI bid to seize interviews


The case of the Boston College IRA tapes is to go before the US Supreme Court as the British authorities continue their efforts to investigate those allegedly named in the interviews as IRA members.

The ‘confidential’ interviews were carried out with former republican and loyalist figures as part of a history project for Boston College. Last year, the PSNI sought access to the tapes in connection with historical actions by the Provisional IRA.

One of the interviews was with former political prisoner Dolours Price, a sister of internee Marian Price. It is alleged she may have made potentially prosecutable statements in regard to the death of Jean McConville, who was killed by the IRA in 1972 as an informer.

Lawyers are appealing the decision to hand over the tapes to the PSNI in both the US and in the north of Ireland.

Journalists Ed Moloney and Anthony Mr McIntyre have applied to the US First Circuit Court of Appeal for a rehearing of the case, but this was rejected last month.

The men said they would now apply for a hearing at the US Supreme Court because the case “addresses issues of major constitutional importance” for Americans.

They said the PSNI had applied for access to the interview transcripts under the terms of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between the US and Britain.

In a joint statement, the men said their lawyers would argue that “the MLAT bestows upon the PSNI greater powers in relation to the serving of subpoenas in the US than could be exercised by, for instance, the FBI.

“US citizens could challenge a subpoena served by the FBI on First and Fifth Amendment grounds but are precluded from doing so in the case of subpoenas served by foreign powers under an MLAT.”

They added that 62 countries have signed MLATs with the US, and said some of them had “poor human rights records”.

Boston College is also appealing against the decision to hand over the tapes in the US, but separately from the two men.

Commentators have said the best hope of safeguarding the peace process archive (and academic confidentiality) rests with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Several members of Congress -- including Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate’s powerful foreign relations committee -- have called on her to persuade Britain to withdraw its Boston College subpoena. However, Clinton hasn’t yet made any public pronouncements on the case.

Meanwhile, a third legal action, which is currently underway in Belfast, is also becoming controversial.

Speaking out today [Friday], Moloney denied Ms Price had even mentioned McConville in her interview.

“Dolours Price did not once mention the name Jean McConville,” he said. “The subject of that unfortunate woman’s disappearance is not even mentioned. Not once,” the New York-based journalist said in a statement.

“Neither are the allegations that Dolours Price was involved in any other disappearance carried out by the IRA in Belfast, nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams or any other IRA figure,” he added.

“None of this is in her interviews with Anthony McIntyre.”

Last week, the Belfast High Court granted a temporary injunction to prevent the PSNI from receiving the taped interviews until the conclusion of the legal challenge there.

However, supporters of McIntyre and Moloney fear the tapes could still be handed over following any adverse ruling in either Belfast or Boston.

Moloney’s full and detailed statement is carried below.

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© 2012 Irish Republican News