Decision on IRA interviews 'imminent'
A DECISION on whether a Boston university must hand over to the PSNI highly sensitive information relating to the Troubles is expected within days.
Belfast solicitor Kevin Winters told The Irish Times that an American appeal court ruling on whether no-holds-barred interviews with former IRA members, carried out on the understanding they would remain confidential until after their deaths, was “imminent”.
He also said his client, the IRA prisoner turned writer Anthony McIntyre, who conducted the interviews, has filed for a judicial review of the PSNI’s actions in the North, should the US appeal fail, as is widely expected.
Mr McIntyre is taking the new legal action along with his colleague on the project, political journalist Ed Moloney, who was based in Belfast during the Troubles and now lives in New York.
The case has created ripples through the Irish, British and US justice systems since US prosecutors, acting on behalf of the British authorities, demanded the release of information relating to the 1972 IRA murder of Jean McConville, one of the so-called disappeared.
At least two of the 26 former IRA members interviewed for the project accused the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, of giving the order to kill McConville, a charge Mr Adams has always denied.
But Moloney and McIntyre have assembled a strong lobby in opposition to the subpoenas, including Senator John Kerry, who has asked Hillary Clinton for support on the basis that turning over the records undermines US foreign policy.
The latest legal moves in Belfast will attempt to stall the handover of material under European and British human rights legislation. McIntyre, who lives in the Republic, has argued that his life would be endangered if the interviews were handed over.
“My client’s life has already been threatened. The PSNI, by persisting with this request for information, is potentially putting his life even further at risk,” said Mr Winters.