US college agrees to give interviews with Dolours Price to prosecutors

 

IN A case being watched closely by academics worldwide, Boston College has accepted a judge’s order that it turn over to US prosecutors in Boston the recorded interviews of Dolours Price, a former member of the IRA who was among 26 republican paramilitaries who took part in an oral history project on the Troubles.

College officials said Ms Price’s interviews will be turned over to US prosecutors acting on behalf of British authorities, believed to be the PSNI, by today.

US district court judge William Young ordered the disclosure on Tuesday as he continued an in-camera review of interviews that were part of the Belfast Project, an oral history endeavour sponsored by Boston College.

The college’s decision not to appeal Judge Young’s order has led to a bitter rift between the college and two of the men who did much of the research in Ireland, the journalist and author Ed Moloney, who was the project director, and Anthony McIntyre, a writer and former IRA prisoner, who carried out the interviews of former republican paramilitaries.

Mr Moloney and Mr McIntyre have accused the college of betraying them and those who agreed to participate in the project after being promised their interviews would not be made public until after their deaths. But Jack Dunn, a Boston College spokesman, said the college’s lawyers concluded they were not in a strong position to appeal the order because Ms Price had given at least one interview in Northern Ireland, acknowledging her participation in the Belfast Project.

Lawyers representing Moloney and McIntyre filed an appeal in US district court yesterday saying Judge Young’s order violates academic freedom and hurts US interests by threatening to undo American policies that boosted the peace process.

They said the original subpoena seeking the interviews of Ms Price and Brendan Hughes, a former IRA member who died in 2008, were based on misleading articles in the North that wrongly implied that at least one reporter had been given access to the Boston College archive. Mr Moloney and Mr McIntyre said that led the PSNI to ask US justice department officials to demand the college’s interviews.

US prosecutors have demanded anything in the college archive related to the 1972 abduction and murder of Belfast mother of 10 Jean McConville, whom the IRA admitted to killing and secretly burying, claiming she was an informer.

Mr Hughes’s interviews were turned over to authorities earlier this year because, college officials said, any promise of confidentiality ended with his death.