Confidential interviews with senior IRA figure Dolours Price have been handed over to British security forces, it has been confirmed.
The PSNI police in the north of Ireland said two detectives had e travelled to Boston to take possession of materials authorised by the United States Supreme Court.
“The officers will return to Northern Ireland to assess the material and continue with their inquiries,” a spokesman added.
It is thought the interviews may contain information which might be used by the PSNI against a number of republicans, including senior Sinn Fein figures.
Dolours was a former republican hunger-striker who became a bitter critic of Sinn Fein when the party encouraged the IRA to give up its weapons and joined a local devolved administration under British rule.
She clashed with party leader Gerry Adams in recent years over his denials that he had never been a member of the IRA.
The 62-year-old consistently had claimed that Mr Adams, now a Louth TD, had played a significant role in IRA actions, including the controversial killing of alleged informer Jean McConville.
She who died in January amid a trans-Atlantic legal battle over her interviews and after a long battle with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
The allegations are among those believed to be contained in an interview with Irish ‘researchers’ Anthony McIntyre and Ed Moloney, who were hired for the purpose by the American university.
The recordings were started in 2001 and were made on the condition that confidentiality would be guaranteed until after the death of the republicans and loyalists who took part.
McIntyre and Moloney failed to block the release of the tapes after the PSNI launched a high profile legal challenge to obtain the testimony. However, they said the eleven interviews which were ordered to be released to the PSNI are of limited value, and significantly reduced from a previous demand for 85 interviews.
The PSNI’s move to take possession of the tapes this weekend appeared designed to pre-empt a new legal challenge based on an internal British police report which found bias in the handling of historical cases by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET).
The Policing Board in the North has said it has no confidence in the leadership of the HET Team on foot of the damning report, which found British soldiers had received preferential treatment from investigators.
In a statement on Saturday, Moloney and McIntyre urged the Dublin and London governments “to suspend all criminal and non-criminal inquiries into the past until agreement has been reached by all parties on a credible way forward and a mechanism to deal with the past has been created in such a way that it commands widespread confidence and support”.