Writer welcomes US college's condemnation of alleged IRA threat

 

WRITER AND commentator Anthony McIntyre has welcome a statement by Boston College condemning alleged death threats made against him arising from interviews he carried out for the US university.

Former IRA prisoner Mr McIntyre said that he learned of the threats this month from what he said were “informed” sources.

He said he was told the threats emanated from Provisional republicans. “People have been telling me that the talk in the undergrowth is that they want to stab me or run me over by a car,” he said.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said there were no threats from republicans against Mr McIntyre.

“There are no threats against Anthony McIntyre or against anyone else, emanating from republicans. The IRA has left the stage,” he added.

The threats are believed to have been triggered by interviews Mr McIntyre conducted on behalf of Boston College with the late senior IRA figure Brendan “The Dark” Hughes, and with the late UVF member and Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine.

This material was used in Ed Moloney’s recently published book, Voices From the Grave, which most controversially contained allegations by Hughes that Gerry Adams was IRA leader in Belfast in the 1970s when the IRA carried out many killings and attacks, including the murder and secret burial of Jean McConville.

The interviews were carried out on condition that the information would not be used until after the deaths of Hughes and Ervine or of any other subjects who gave interviews.

Mr McIntyre, originally from west Belfast but who now lives in Drogheda, said after The Sunday Times published extracts from Mr Moloney’s book at the end of March that a neighbouring house was targeted. Excrement was daubed on the house and on the car belonging to the couple who owned the house.

The couple believed they were the victims of mistaken identity while Mr McIntyre believed he was the intended target.

While neither the Garda nor the PSNI have formally warned him about any threats he believed the reports he received were genuine. “When you hear these things you have to be cautious without being alarmist,” said Mr McIntyre, who is married with two young children.

Mr McIntyre is a longstanding critic of Mr Adams and the Sinn Féin and IRA leaderships. His home in west Belfast was picketed by Sinn Féin in 2000 after he blamed the IRA for the murder of a west Belfast dissident republican Joe O’Connor.

Prof Thomas E Hachey, history professor at Boston College and executive director of its Centre for Irish Programs, said the college viewed with “grave concern” the threats against Mr McIntyre.

“We affirm our support for, and confidence in, Anthony McIntyre, a skilled reporter and trained historian, whose own assignment was simply to record recollections of the Troubles voluntarily afforded by IRA participants, including Brendan Hughes,” he said.