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By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
30 April 2014
DUBLIN — Police in Northern Ireland arrested Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams on Wednesday over his alleged involvement in the Irish Republican Army’s 1972 abduction, killing and secret burial of a Belfast widow.
Adams, 65, confirmed his own arrest in a prepared statement and described it as a voluntary, prearranged interview.
Police long had been expected to question Adams about the killing of Jean McConville, a 38-year-old mother of 10 whom the IRA killed with a single gunshot to the head as an alleged spy.
According to all authoritative histories of the Sinn Fein-IRA movement, Adams served as an IRA commander for decades, but he has always denied holding any position in the outlawed group.
“I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family,” Adams said. “Well publicized, malicious allegations have been made against me. I reject these. While I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will, I am innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs. McConville.”
Reflecting the embarrassment associated with killing a widowed mother, the IRA did not admit the killing until 1999, when it claimed responsibility for nearly a dozen slayings of long-vanished civilians and offered to try to pinpoint their unmarked graves. McConville’s children had been told she abandoned them, and they were divided into different foster homes.
Her remains were discovered only by accident near a Republic of Ireland beach in 2003. The woman’s skull bore a single bullet mark through the back of the skull, and forensics officer determined she’d been shot once through back of the head with a rifle.
Jean McConville and children
Adams was implicated in the killing by two IRA veterans, who gave taped interviews to researchers for a Boston College history archive on the four-decade Northern Ireland conflict. Belfast police waged a two-year legal fight in the United States to acquire the interviews, parts of which already were published after the 2008 death of one IRA interviewee, Brendan Hughes.
Boston College immediately handed over the Hughes tapes. The college and researchers fought unsuccessfully to avoid handover tapes of the second IRA interviewee, Dolours Price, who died last year.
Both Hughes and Price agreed to be interviewed on condition that their contents were kept confidential until their deaths.
In his interviews Hughes, a reputed 1970s deputy to Adams within the Belfast IRA, said McConville was killed on Adams’ orders. Hughes said Adams oversaw a special IRA unit called “The Unknowns” that was committed to identifying, killing and secretly burying Belfast Catholic civilians suspected of spying on behalf of the police or British Army. An independent investigation by Northern Ireland’s police complaints watchdog in 2006 found no evidence that McConville had been a spy.
Hughes told the researchers he led the IRA team that “arrested” McConville, but her fate was sealed following a policy argument between Adams and the man he succeeded as Belfast commander, Ivor Bell.
He said Bell wanted McConville’s body to be put on public display to intimidate other people from helping the British, but Adams wanted her killing kept mysterious.
“There was only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed,” Hughes said in the audio recording, which was broadcast on British and Irish television in 2010. “That man is now the head of Sinn Fein. I did not give the order to execute that woman. He did.”
A 2010 book written by the lead researcher, journalist Ed Moloney, “Voices From the Grave,” also quoted Hughes as describing Adams as the IRA’s “Belfast Brigade” commander who oversaw planning of the first car-bomb attacks in London in March 1973.
Adams and Hughes were arrested together in July 1973, when the British Army pounced on an IRA commanders’ meeting in West Belfast. Both were interned without trial. Adams was repeatedly interrogated for suspected involvement in IRA bombings and shootings, but was never convicted of any IRA offense besides a failed prison escape during his mid-1970s internment.
Last month Belfast detectives investigating the McConville killing arrested and charged Bell, now 77, with IRA membership and aiding McConville’s murder.
Price, who was a member of the IRA’s 1973 London car-bombing unit, died last year of a suspected drug overdose. She gave interviews to journalists admitting she had driven McConville across the Irish border, where another IRA member shot McConville once through the back of the head. It remains unclear what precisely she told the Boston College project.
Adams was the longtime British Parliament member for West Belfast, although like all Sinn Fein politicians he refused to take his seat in London, citing the required oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II.
He never held a post in Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government, the central peacemaking institution established in the wake of the Good Friday accord of 1998. He stepped down as West Belfast’s MP in 2011 and won election to the Republic of Ireland parliament, where he represents the same border area, County Louth, where McConville’s body was found.
Could we launch ANOTHER investigation about WHO ELSE might be a paid British informant of many, many years?
And THEN, could we launch an investigation to make sure that the passing of Dolours Price was, you know, an actual accident?
28 Jan 2013
Up to 500 republicans from across Ireland attended the funeral of Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price today.
Her sister, Marian, who is in prison accused of dissident republican activity, was not at the service at St Agnes Church in Andersonstown, west Belfast.
Price, 62, was an unrepentant republican hard-liner who fell out with Sinn Féin after the party endorsed the peace process, encouraged the IRA to give up its guns and embraced power-sharing with unionists at Stormont.
No public representatives from the mainstream republican movement were at the ceremony.
In his address, Father Raymond Murray, who had been prison chaplain at Armagh jail, told mourners that Price and her sister were like bosom twins.
He said: “Dolours’ family can relate her nature and her talent, both of which is outside the knowledge and understanding of those who did not know her personally.
“She was clever and witty, full of fun and held people enthralled by her conversation.
“She was very devoted to her parents. Her mother, Chrissie, died on February 1, 1975.
“Their mother never saw Dolours or Marian back in Ireland. They did not get compassionate leave from prison in England to attend her funeral.
“A week afterwards they were repatriated to Ireland but that grief of not seeing her mother meant she never found closure.”
Price’s father, Albert, had also been a prominent IRA member and was interned by the Irish Government at the Curragh Camp during the 1950s.
Black flags were erected on lampposts across Andersonstown today.
There was also a visible police presence in the area.
Price, the former wife of actor Stephen Rea, was convicted and jailed along with her sister for the 1973 car bomb attack on London’s Central Criminal Court in which one man died and more than 200 people were injured.
She spent eight years in jail including several weeks on hunger strike before being released in 1980.
In recent years she clashed with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams over her allegations that he had been her IRA Officer Commanding during the early 1970s.
Among those who took part in today’s funeral service was Hugh Feeney, who was also jailed in connection with the Old Bailey bombing.
Price consistently claimed that Mr Adams, now a Louth TD, ordered the kidnap and killing of Jean McConville in 1972.
The Catholic mother-of-10 was among dozens of people – later known as the Disappeared – who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republican militants during the Troubles.
Mr Adams has always denied being a member of the IRA. He said he was saddened by Price’s death.
Although Ed Moloney maintains that Dolours Price never once mentioned Jean McConville by name in her Boston College taped interviews, as the following link from Slugger O’Toole explains:
‘Dolours Price’s death does offers the opportunity for her taped testimony and interviews with Anthony McIntyre to finally be released and published in book or documentary form in the short to medium term.’
For the article with many relevant links to other sources, please go here:
Gardaí investigate after former IRA veteran, 62, dies at home
24 Jan 2013
Dolours Price, left, with her sister Marion in Belfast in 1972. (Photograph: PA Archive/Press Association Image)
Dolours Price, the IRA Old Bailey bomber who later became a bitter critic of Sinn Féin’s peace strategy, has been found dead at her home in north Dublin.
The Garda Síochána are investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of the former Irish republican icon in her apartment in Malahide, although she had been in general ill health.
Republican sources confirmed to the Guardian that the former IRA veteran, 62, who was once married to the Hollywood actor Stephen Rea, had died at her home.
Price was involved in a car bombing at the Old Bailey in 1973, which injured more than 200 people and may have led to one person’s death of heart failure. The ex-IRA prisoner, who went on hunger strike with her sister Marion in the 1970s and was subjected to force feeding in English prisons, had struggled with alcohol problems later in life.
She became an arch critic of Gerry Adams, claiming the Sinn Féin president had ordered her to have one of the most famous victims of the IRA – Jean McConville – abducted from her west Belfast home, murdered across the border in the Republic and buried in secret in 1972.
Price alleged that she was given the task of driving McConville, a widow, away from her 10 children in the Divis flats complex to her death on the Co Louth coast. McConville became the most famous of the “Disappeared” – IRA victims whom the organisation killed and buried in secret during the Troubles.
Price claimed Adams had set up a secret IRA unit in Belfast to weed out informers both in its ranks and within the nationalist community who were helping the security forces. The Sinn Féin Louth TD, one of the key architects of the Northern Ireland peace process, has consistently denied her allegations.
In an interview with CBS television in the United States last year, Price repeated her claims about Adams and McConville. She said: “I drove away Jean McConville. I don’t know who gave the instructions to execute her. Obviously it was decided between the general headquarters staff and the people in Belfast. Gerry Adams would have been part of that negotiation as to what was to happen to her.
“I had a call one night and Adams was in a house down the Falls Road and she had been arrested by Cumann [the IRA’s female unit] women and held for a couple of days. She got into my car and as far as she was concerned she was being taken away by the Legion of Mary to a place of safety.
“It wasn’t my decision to disappear her, thank God. All I had to do was drive her from Belfast to Dundalk. I even got her fish and chips and cigarettes before I left her.”
Price was unrepentant about her alleged role in the disappearance and death of McConville.
Marion Price, also a fierce critic of the direction the IRA and Sinn Féin took during the peace process, is in Maghaberry prison in Northern Ireland, where she is facing terrorist-related charges.
By Ken Foy and Cormac Murphy
24 January 2013
CONVICTED republican terrorist Dolours Price has died suddenly at her Co Dublin home.
Gardai are investigating after the veteran republican – and former wife of well known actor Stephen Rea – was found dead from a suspected drugs overdose in Malahide, north Co Dublin.
It is understood that the body of Ms Price (62) – was found at her home on St Margaret’s Road in Malahide at around 10pm.
Gardai say that there is nothing to indicate suspicious circumstances in relation to the sudden death of the well known Republican activist who had been in bad health for some time.
Price – who is believed to have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder – was a convicted IRA car bomber who took part in a bombing attack on London’s famous Old Bailey Court in 1973 in which more than 200 people were injured.
A senior source said: “She was found unconscious on her bed last night by her son. She has taken overdoses before so that is what is being looked at.”
A post mortem is due to take place on her body at the Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown later today.
Dolours’ sister, Marian Price, is a known associate of murdered Real IRA boss Alan Ryan.
The two sisters joined the IRA following the reintroduction of internment in 1971.
Marian Price (58) served seven years in prison for the 1973 Old Bailey bombings but was released in 1980.
Dolours was sentenced to life in 1973, but released on compassionate grounds in 1980.
In 1983, Dolours married the actor Stephen Rea, who was one of the voices dubbed over that of Gerry Adams during the 1980s broadcasting ban in Britain.
The couple, who have two sons together, divorced in 2003.
She remained politically active and during the late 1990s spoke out against the Good Friday Agreement.
Price later claimed to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being force-fed in jail and attempted suicide on a number of occasions.
Dolours herself was a convicted IRA bomber who more recently accused Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams of personally ordering abductions.
She had made numerous claims relating to Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams alleged IRA membership and terrorist activities.
Mr Adams was forced to deny claims made by her that he was a central figure in an IRA decision in the early 1970s to launch a bombing campaign in Britain.
She believed the Louth TD betrayed the republic movement by supporting the Northern Ireland peace process.
Former IRA bomber Dolours Price described how Mr Adams ordered her to ferry captives, including Ms McConville, across the Border to be murdered.
Though Mr Adams vehemently denied the claims, Ms Price also spoke about how he approved the IRA’s bombing campaign in mainland Britain.
Ms Price came from a staunch republican background — her father Albert was interned by the Irish government in the Curragh Camp in the 1950s for IRA activity.
Her aunt, Bridie Dolan, was also an active republican who was blinded when explosives she was handling went off prematurely.
23 Sept 2012
**See article below this one.
”A convicted IRA bomber (Dolours Price) claimed that Adams had sanctioned a series of attacks on London in 1972, including the bombing of the Old Bailey, which killed one man and injured 200 more, according to the Telegraph.
Price has given a fresh series of interviews in which she makes claims about Adams, which she says are the same as she made in the tapes being sought by the police. The bomber, who served eight years in prison for playing a leading role in the Old Bailey bomb plot, alleged that:
Adams was her “Officer Commanding” in the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional IRA
He was involved in approving an IRA bombing campaign on mainland Britain and asked for people to volunteer for it, stating it would be a “hanging offence” if they were captured;
Adams ordered her to drive alleged informers across the border from Northern Ireland into the Republic, where they would later be executed.
Adams denies each of the allegations. A spokesman for Sinn Féin said last night: “The allegations purportedly made by Dolours Price are not new and have been vehemently denied by Mr Adams before. Mr Adams entirely rejects these unsubstantiated allegations
Price has agreed to be interviewed about what she told the Boston College researchers, and her claims of the contents of the tapes are published by The Sunday Telegraph today. They put her at odds with Ed Moloney, a documentary-maker who was commissioned to carry out the research for the college. Earlier this month, he issued a statement in which he claimed that there was no mention of Adams or Mrs McConville in Price’s testimony.
In a series of interviews at her home in a suburb of Dublin, she outlined what she said she told the researchers and outlined allegations about Adams being a key figure in the IRA during the early 1970s.
By Patrick Sawer, in London, and Bob Graham, in Dublin
23 Sept 2012
For former IRA bomber Dolours Price, who has accused Gerry Adams of betraying the cause of a united Ireland, republicanism runs in the blood.
Dolours Price pictured at home in Dublin (Photo: PACEMAKER BELFAST)
Today she looks like any other 61-year-old, the type you might pass in the street without noticing, should you be walking through the quiet Dublin suburb where she lives.
But the story which Dolours Price has come forward to tell has the potential to derail the process which has brought peace to Northern Ireland for the past 15 years.
She claims Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein who helped bring about the IRA’s ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement, has not always been a man of peace.
In fact Price, herself a convicted IRA bomber, accuses him not only of having approved the bombing of targets on mainland Britain – including the Old Bailey – but of personally ordering the abduction of several people the IRA considered to be traitors. Adams categorically denies her claims.
It is an extraordinary charge sheet, which has a deep personal motive behind it: she feels that Adams has “betrayed” the Republican cause by being involved in the peace process, and that he has betrayed her and other IRA members by denying he was one of their number.
The Price Sisters, Marion, Left, and Dolores, right outside 10 Downing Street in London (Camera Press/Colman Doyle)
It would be easy, therefore, to say that these are the words of an embittered woman, out for revenge – and indeed, that may be true.
But these are claims which she says are contained in recordings which the Police Service of Northern Ireland has gone to extraordinary lengths to obtain, invoking a legal “mutual aid” agreement with the American government to obtain the testimony she – and other former terrorists – gave to researchers working for Boston College in the United States.
The college made the recordings with an offer that their contents would be kept secret until the death of the 28 former terrorists from the IRA and its Loyalist equivalent, the Ulster Volunteer Force to whom they spoke.
The belief was that the offer would guarantee candour – but it also piqued the interest of the police, when a book based on the recordings of two dead terrorists was published by Ed Moloney, the documentary maker who led the research.
It disclosed that Brendan Hughes, who had been an IRA commander, spoke of the “disappeared”, the group of people killed by the IRA and buried in secret graves. He said that Jean McConville, the most high-profile of the victims, was killed by a squad called the “unknowns” and added: “Gerry had control over this particular squad.”
The allegation prompted the lengthy legal action.
However, Price has agreed to be interviewed about her knowledge of the “disappeared” and The Sunday Telegraph today publishes what she said.
Price and her younger sister, Marian, now 59, followed a family tradition of Republicanism.
“It is not enough to say we were born to be Republicans, it’s more precise to say Republicanism is part of our DNA,” she said.
“My father used to sit us on his knee and tell us stories about how he’d gone off to war in 1939 at the age of 19 to bomb the English.”
It was the reintroduction of internment in 1971, when hundreds of Republican activists, along with many who had no involvement with the IRA, were arrested and imprisoned without trial, which led Dolours and her younger sister to join the organisation.
Jean McConville , left, with three of her children (PA)
She approached Seán MacStiofáin, one of the founders of the Provisional IRA and said she wanted to be a “fighting soldier”, not part of Cumann na mBan, the women’s wing of the republican movement. An IRA Army Council was convened and Price was sworn into the organisation, followed by her sister.
Marian Price later boasted how she also used the fact she was wearing a miniskirt to talk her way through a British Army checkpoint after being stopped in a car packed full of explosives.
Speaking of the period, Dolours said: “It was an exciting time, there was no real order or structure to everyday life, the war had taken away all normal routine . . . I should be ashamed to admit there was fun in it in those days.”
In 1972 the Price sisters rose to prominence in the single bloodiest year of the Troubles.
In 1972 alone, 249 civilians were killed as a result of the conflict, among them the 13 victims of Bloody Sunday, along with 148 British security personnel, 70 Republican paramilitaries, 11 Loyalist paramilitaries and one Irish security forces member.
Price was adamant that the IRA should target mainland Britain and in particular London.
She claims the plan to bomb London was hers and was explicitly approved by Adams, in what she claims was his role as “Officer Commanding” of the organisation’s Belfast brigade.
She said: “I was convinced that a short, sharp shock, an incursion into the heart of the Empire would be more effective than 20 car bombs in any part of the north of Ireland.”
Her plan was presented to Gerry Adams and, she said, discussed and agreed by IRA commanders, before Adams convened a meeting to find volunteers.
She went on: “Adams started talking and said it was a big, dangerous operation. He said ‘This could be a hanging job’. He said ‘ If anyone doesn’t want to go they should up and leave now through the back door at ten minute intervals.’ The ones that were left were the ones that went. I was left organising it, to be the OC of the whole shebang.”
First there was a botched attempt to firebomb Oxford Street, but then came the serious attack, four car bombs targeting symbols of the British state: Old Bailey, New Scotland Yard, an Army recruiting office in Westminster, and Whitehall.
The 300lb bomb outside the Old Bailey went off at 3pm on March 8, 1973, as police evacuated the area. One man, Frederick Milton, 60, died of a heart attack and more than 200 were injured. In Whitehall, 33 were injured; the other two were found and defused.
Price and the rest of the terror gang were arrested before the bombs went off, as they tried to board flights and ferries back to Ireland, as police were already hunting them.
A police officer later recalled how, at 3pm, Marian Price looked at her watch and smiled.
Price remains unapologetic about the use of violence, stating in her memoir: “There were warnings phoned in but people had stood about curious to see, some had even stood at office windows and been sprayed by broken glass when the car went up.
“In Belfast we gave 15 minute warnings, in London we’d given them an hour.”
At their trial at Winchester Castle in November 1973, the Price sisters, along with Gerry Kelly – who went on to serve as a Sinn Fein minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly – were jailed for life.
The Prices, Kelly and fellow conspirator Hugh Feeney immediately began a 203-day hunger strike, demanding to be transferred to prisons in Northern Ireland.
Price says: “Make no mistake about it, when I made the decision we’d be on hunger-strike, I had a vision we’d starve to death, it was that simple.”
They were eventually moved to Northern Ireland, as part of an agreement struck with the IRA during its truce of February 1975 to January 1976.
In 1980 Price was granted the royal prerogative of mercy and the following year was freed on humanitarian grounds, suffering from anorexia nervosa. She had served eight years of the “minimum” 20 years of her life sentence.
However, she remained committed to her cause and during the late 1990s spoke out against the Good Friday Agreement.
Until now Price, who claims to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of being force fed, and has attempted suicide on a number of occasions, has said little publicly about her role in the IRA. Between 2001 and 2006 she agreed to be interviewed for the college’s oral history Belfast Project.
In 2010, she offered to help the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains to find the graves of three men abducted and killed by the IRA, Joe Lynskey, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee – although she has not offered to co-operate with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Dolours’s sister Marian is currently in prison hospital in Northern Ireland after falling ill while on remand for charges relating to aiding the dissident Real IRA’s campaign of violence.
Adams denies Price’s claims. He said: “I reject again, as I have consistently rejected, the allegations contained in The Sunday Telegraph interview.”
Price herself remains unrepentant about her role. Asked if she is happy that what she now says may disrupt the peace process, she says: “I don’t believe in the process. ,” she said. “I think the process should be undermined, I think the process should be destroyed in some way and I think Gerry Adams, deserves to admit to his part, in all of the things that happened.”
By Liam Clarke
4 January 2012
**Poster’s note: I have a simple question: Why should the truth of the Troubles be covered up? Who gives anyone the right to keep silent when they know such things? The whole premise of this project is faulty as far as I am concerned. First we have the originators going on about how sacrosanct these oral histories are. Now they want them destroyed so the information contained in them will not get out. What and who does this remind you of?
A controversial US project which contains the testimonies of Troubles era terrorists should now be wound up, according to the men who founded it.
The three men involved in the oral history project have said Boston College’s decision to hand over material to the US authorities after requests from the PSNI has betrayed the trust of those involved.
Investigative journalist Ed Moloney is the former director of the project that aimed to document the conflict through the eyes of those involved.
Dr Anthony McIntyre interviewed former IRA members, while Wilson McArthur spoke to former loyalist paramilitaries for the archive under promise of confidentiality until death.
They said: “We are, all three of us, now strongly of the view that the archive must now be closed down and the interviews be either returned or shredded since Boston College is no longer a safe nor fit and proper place for them to be kept.
“We made a pledge to our interviewees to protect them to the utmost of our ability and we will stand by that pledge firmly and unalterably.”
All three are bitterly resentful of Boston College for releasing incriminating tapes, transcripts and DVDs without exhausting all possible legal channels.
The material was requested by the British Government on behalf of the PSNI after a Historical Enquiries Team review of the murder and secret burial of Jean McConville by the IRA in 1972.
Mr Moloney and Mr McIntyre have now won a stay of execution while the American courts consider whether to hand the tapes over to US attorneys, who will give it to the British.
They are arguing that doing so would endanger the researchers’ lives and impact on the peace process.
They also believe it could breach laws which prohibit the extradition of people accused of Troubles era offences from the US.
William ‘Plum’ Smith and Winston Rea, two former loyalist prisoners, have already said that they want their testimonies back.
However, the Belfast Telegraph has learned that Boston College has already handed the entire archive over to the US courts to decide what is relevant to the McConville investigation.
“I was appalled,” Mr Moloney said.
“The college was asked for relevant material and said that the librarian had not read it. So the court got everything.”
He hit out at Boston College for not going far enough to protect the material in his view.
“Implicit in the pledge of confidentiality was that it was non-negotiable,” he said.
“Boston College therefore had a duty to fight to preserve it to the utmost, in effect to challenge any adverse legal decisions all the way up the legal chain, as far as the Supreme Court if necessary.
“BC’s failure to appeal in my mind robs the college of any moral right to hold on to the archive.”
Boston College Belfast Project controversy …
Your questions answered.
Q What is Boston College’s ‘Belfast Project’?
A The archive contains the testimonies of around 30 former Northern Ireland terrorists in which they recounted their careers in the belief that it would not be made public until after their deaths.
The project was an initiative of journalist Ed Moloney and Lord Bew, a Queen’s University professor of history.
It was funded by Boston College and is housed in the college’s Thomas Burns Library.
The republican interviews were carried out by Dr Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA prisoner, while Wilson McArthur carried out the loyalist interviews.
Mr Moloney also carried out some video interviews, for instance with the former IRA bomber Dolours Price, which were not formally part of the archive.
Q Why is it in the news at all?
A Boston College has handed over parts of the archive relating to the murder of Jean Mc Conville to US attorneys acting, ultimately, on a warrant issued by the PSNI.
Mrs McConville was a west Belfast mother-of-10 abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1972 on suspicion of being an informer.
The material handed over included the testimony of Brendan ‘the Dark’ Hughes, a local IRA commander now dead, and Dolours Price, an IRA activist at the time.
Both accuse Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, of involvement in the planning of the murder and the decision to secretly bury her, though Mr Adams has consistently denied this, just as he denies ever being in the IRA. He says Mr Hughes was a friend and fellow republican, nothing more.
Q Wasn’t it meant to be confidential?
A Dr Mc Intyre said: “People spoke frankly to me on the strict understanding that nothing they said would be revealed in their lifetimes without their written authorisation. I wouldn’t have been involved without legal assurances.”
Interviewers and interviewees signed an undertaking not to “disclose to third parties the existence of the project without the permission of the sponsor”.
Q How did the news leak out?
A There were rumours about the project when the interviews were being carried out.
After Brendan Hughes, the IRA leader, and David Ervine, a loyalist politician and former UVF bomber, died Mr Moloney wrote a book entitled Voices From The Grave based on their testimonies.
Later, Dolours Price gave an interview in which she revealed that she had made a tape which was in the archive.
Q Who could be affected by this?
A If reports of the contents of the archive are correct, then Gerry Adams and others could face police questioning.
3 Jan 2012
Author and researcher Ed Moloney has said Dolours Price has been “badly let down” after Boston College handed over transcripts of interviews carried out with the former IRA member to the police.
Along with 25 other IRA members, Dolours Price spoke at the US school as part of an oral history project.
Now prosecutors in America have demanded access to any information contained in the interviews which relates to the murder of mother-of-ten Jean McConville, who was disappeared by the IRA in 1972.
At a recent court hearing the judge recommended Boston College appeal the decision to allow police to gain access to the transcripts, however the college did not continue with an appeal.
“From our point of view that was astonishing and deeply disturbing because it was not what we expected or wanted and we feel very badly let down as a result.”
He added that the interviewers and their subjects are “deeply alarmed” by the consequences of revealing the texts to authorities.
Mr Moloney, whose discussions with Brendan Hughes and David Ervine formed his book Voices from the Grave, said the interviews were only carried out on the basis that it was legally safe, and the subjects had a “pledge of confidentiality [that] is utterly non-negotiable”.
“We’re reassuring them that if there is any attempt to groom any of us into any sort of criminal process by the PSNI, or whoever is behind this, then they can go and knock on other doors because they’re going to get no satisfaction and no joy from us.
“Our cooperation with the authorities on this will be non-existent and zero,” he added.
Speaking to UTV, Mr Moloney said the action taken by the PSNI has “destroyed all possibility now of any truth-telling process”.
“There is no way that anyone with sane mind is going to take part in any sort of process of truth recovery about the past while the PSNI are behaving like this.
“Whoever did this within the PSNI should now reflect on the foolishness of their actions.”
Mr Moloney denied claims that the publication of his book, in which Brendan Hughes claimed Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was implicated in Jean McConville’s murder, led to police demanding access to the other interviews.
“It was the culmination of a promise that was made by ourselves to Brendan Hughes that we would, as soon as possible after his death, make his interviews publicly available.
“In my view it wasn’t this that led to the subpoenas, it was something entirely different, another event involving other newspapers which led to this and we’ll talk about this at some other stage,” he said.
“At this point, we’re intent on putting all our energies into the process, we’ve got a stay and some very good lawyers working on this.”
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said Ed Moloney’s decision not to pass evidence to authorities is “unacceptable [and] intolerable”.
“Those who practice journalism are like professionals in any other field whether it is doctors, nurses, lawyers or anyone else. Any assurances given to people that their interviews would not be shared with the lawful authorities have no legal force whatever.
“If Ed Moloney has information that could assist in securing justice for innocent victims he has a moral as well as legal obligation to hand the same over.”
“We must remember that this involves the withholding of information relating to terrorism. These are crimes of the most serious nature,” the DUP MP said.
UUP Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea says US authorities should hand material contained in the archives of Boston College over to the PSNI.
“If we must confront the past in order to clear the pathway to the future, then the material contained in the Boston College archive is extremely relevant and not part of some abstract or historical academic exercise and several implications flow from this,” he said.
“There are serious implications for certain individuals, as to who was really a member of which terrorist organisation, what role they played, who gave who orders and what those orders were.
“I have no doubt that the PSNI will be extremely interested in the information contained in the Boston College archive.”
4 January 2012
POLICE are confident of putting at least some of those responsible for the murder of Jean McConville before a court, her family said last night.
The potential breakthrough — which comes after police won a US court battle to access secret recordings by senior IRA figures — comes almost four decades since republicans abducted, murdered and secretly buried Mrs McConville.
The recordings of interviews with scores of senior loyalist and republican terrorists are believed to be explosive and were only to be released from a vault in Boston College when each terrorist died.
However, a PSNI court case to access all material in the archive which may help put Mrs McConville’s killers behind bars could see those candid private testimonies released.
The journalist Ed Moloney and former IRA man and writer Anthony McIntyre, who conducted the interviews, have now accused Boston College of not doing enough to stop the tapes’ release and lodged their own appeal after the college declined to appeal a court judgment which ordered the tapes be released. They have warned of reprisals and a threat to the “peace process” if the recordings are made public.
But last night Mrs McConville’s son-in-law, Seamus McKendry, disagreed. The McKendrys, who formed the group Families of the Disappeared back in 1995, have been helping police with their investigation.
In 2010, former IRA bomber Dolours Price told The Irish News that she drove Mrs McConville to her death, under orders from Gerry Adams. The Sinn Fein president has always denied any part in the murder.
Mr McKendry told the News Letter: “The police are confident that they can bring a prosecution and we would dearly love to see the prosecution being bigger than Dolours Price, of course.”
Asked if the police had given indication about examining the actions of those beyond Dolours Price, Mr McKendry said: “Obviously they aren’t going to say too much. Privately they have told me stuff but I wouldn’t be at liberty to divulge it.”
In 2006 the then Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said that a successful prosecution “in any case of that age” would be “highly unlikely”.
Mr McKendry, who has worked as a freelance journalist, said that the case to release the tapes went against his instincts to protect sources but added: “From that point of view I was a bit concerned but having said that we’re not talking here about someone stealing a handbag; we’re talking about murder and they still should face the full wrath of the law.”
Mr McKendry said that his wife, who was just 15 when her mother was abducted, has been “really upset” in recent days as debate over the tapes raged.
Two years ago the man in charge of the vault which holds the recordings, Professor Thomas Hachey, told the News Letter that it contained scores of interviews with loyalist and republican paramilitaries which had been conducted over a nine-year period.
Professor Hachey, who is director of the Jesuit-founded college’s Irish Institute, said that no one other than those involved in the interviews knew the identities of paramilitaries who spoke to the college.
“The people that we went out and interviewed were not gophers – people who were simply sent out on missions and had no idea who was sending them or why – nor was it the upper echelon, which is to say whomever the leadership may have been on the loyalist side or nationalist side.
“That sort of thing has been done by the BBC, NBC…this was really about the operational level.”
No one other than those involved in the interviews knows who spoke to the academics, with the exception of three people — Ms Price and both senior IRA member Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes and UVF commander David Ervine, whose accounts were published in 2010 in Mr Moloney’s book Voices From The Grave.
By Jennifer O’Leary
3 Jan 2012
US officials have received transcripts of interviews that former IRA member Dolours Price gave to an oral history project at Boston College.
The BBC has learned that 13 transcripts have been received by US officials and the material is being held by the Office of the Assistant US Attorney.
It follows ongoing legal action in the United States on behalf of British authorities who want the material.
The court asked that US government officials file a response by 9 January.
US prosecutors have demanded anything in the Boston College archive related to the 1972 IRA abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-10, Jean McConville.
In a statement, the PSNI said: “This is a ruling by the US Court of Appeal. The police investigation remains ongoing.
“We look forward to an early conclusion with respect to this judicial decision.”
Dolours Price was one of 26 former IRA members to give a series of interviews – between 2001 and 2006 – as part of a research study, called the Belfast Project.
The project was funded by Boston College, which hired three researchers, including journalist Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, a former republican prisoner.
In return for honest accounts, former republican and loyalist paramilitaries were promised that their identities would be kept confidential and that the interviews would be released only after their deaths.
Mr Moloney told the BBC said he is hopeful the interviews will be returned to Boston College but insisted he won’t co-operate with any future criminal prosecution.
“We are determined to fight this all the way,” he said.
“If whoever has intitiated this action inside the policing structures persists in any sort of attempt to bring criminal charges, then they can expect absolutely no co-operation from me or the interviewers.”
He claimed he has information that the British government “does not want to own this… quite the reverse, there’s a wish this thing would go away”.
However, the DUP’s Ian Paisley said: “There is an important distinction between this case and others that must be borne in mind.
“What we are dealing with here is not the protection of an anonymous source. We know who the interviewees were – this has been put into the public domain.
“There is no issue of source protection at stake, rather the withholding of evidential material.”
In December, Boston College was ordered by a federal judge to turn over recordings, transcripts and other items related to Dolours Price to federal prosecutors acting on behalf of British authorities.
An appeals court decision last Thursday temporarily prevented US officials from handing the documents over to British authorities.
Three DVDs of interviews conducted by Ed Moloney in 2010 which were not part of the Belfast Project have also been received by US officials.
US prosecutors have demanded anything in the Boston College archive related to the 1972 IRA abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-10, Jean McConville.
2 Jan 2012
Today’s Belfast Telegraph splash headline, “Fury as IRA tapes turned over” (not online) follows a piece in yesterday’s Irish edition of the Sunday Times, “Tale of the tapes” (behind a paywall).
Yet the story deserves wide readership by journalists and journalism academics because of its ethical ramifications.
As so often with matters related to the Northern Ireland conflict it is complicated to unravel, not least because of the underlying politics.
Let’s begin at the end, so to speak. A federal judge in the United States has ordered Boston College to surrender taped interviews with an ex-IRA member, Dolours Price.
She was one of 26 former IRA volunteers to give a series of interviews – between 2001 and 2006 – as part of a research study, called the Belfast Project.
The interviewees, who signed confidentiality agreements, were given an assurance that the tapes would not be released until after their deaths.
What they were not told is that there was no guarantee that the interviews could be protected from court orders. Boston College would have to comply with the law.
It is thought that many of the interviewees who, naturally, have many secrets to tell, were unusually candid about their activities on behalf of the republican movement.
Even so, as one would expect, there was no assurance that they were telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They did not speak under oath.
It means that some may have made allegations about named, living people being guilty of criminal offences. None of these accusations were able to be independently verified by the researchers.
The interviewees could, in effect, say what they liked about anyone. That is not to devalue oral histories as such, but given the nature of a conflict in which so many people were killed in secret operations in what everyone regards as having been a “dirty war”, the project was bound to be of questionable merit.
The 26 probably had different reasons for giving interviews. Some may simply have wanted to get things off their chests. Some may have regarded it as a valuable historical academic exercise. Some, motivated by malice, may have wished to settle accounts with the former IRA leadership they now despise.
Price, for example, was a noted critic of the peace process and, particularly, of one of its main architects, the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
Similarly, so were two of the project’s key participants and interviewers – the journalist Ed Moloney and a former republican prisoner, Anthony McIntyre.
That very salient fact has not gone unnoticed. See, for instance, Danny Morrison’s pieces – ‘Baloney College Archive’ and ‘Why the Boston College Irish oral history project should be discontinued’ – in which he points to the political bias of Moloney and McIntyre.
He finds it blackly ironic that the two men, having created the project, are now screaming about the US court’s decision.
They have been critical of Boston College for its willingness to comply with the court order. However, some US academics have been just as critical of the researchers, arguing that it was, at best, naive and, at worst, manipulative, to give interviewees a guarantee of confidentiality.
One quoted by the Sunday Times – John Neuenschwander, professor of history at Carthage College in Wisconsin – said: “You need to alert the people who you seal the interview for that you may not be able to prevent it from being picked up by a subpoena and going to court.”
The drama began when Price told a Belfast newspaper that she had been involved in the “disappearance” of several IRA victims, including Jean McConville, and – in so doing – incriminated Adams.
The Northern Ireland police (PSNI) decided to act, and the British government agreed. It began a legal action in the States to order Boston College to surrender the Price interview tapes and any others relevant to the murder of McConville.
Leaving aside the obvious dispute about the motives of Moloney and McIntyre in obtaining the interviews and whether they acted properly, the case raises a hugely important question about the validity of academics giving people guarantees of confidentiality in order to persuade them to speak.
It touches directly on the problem all journalists face in protecting confidential sources and, in my opinion, we journalists ought to condemn both the British government for pursuing the action and the US judge for acceding to its request.
By Jim Dee
Saturday, 31 December 2011
Initiated in 2001 as a collaborative process between Belfast-based researchers and Boston College Irish studies experts, Boston College’s Belfast Project oral history endeavour raised hackles from the outset.
Belfast-based author Danny Morrison was among the most vocal early critics.
The former Sinn Fein publicity officer accused the project’s overseer, Boston College historian Thomas Hachey, of running a politically-biased project because its two main co-ordinators – journalist Ed Moloney and former IRA member Anthony McIntyre – were critics of Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein’s peace process strategy.
Both reject claims that they pursued an anti-Adams agenda.
The only interviews yet to see the light of day were published in the Moloney-edited book Voices From The Grave (2010), in which former UVF prisoner David Ervine and former IRA man Brendan Hughes, both deceased, were interviewed extensively.
Those taped interviews included a claim by Hughes that Adams ordered the 1972 killing of mother-of-10 Jean McConville – a claim Adams has repeatedly denied.
The current effort to obtain the Belfast Project’s interviews with Dolours Price began when a Belfast newspaper published an interview with her last February in which she claimed that Adams had been her IRA commanding officer, and that he’d ordered Mrs McConville killed and secretly buried. In May the US Justice Department served Boston College a subpoena on behalf of the British Government demanding the surrender of all interview material relating to McConville. However, the former republican and loyalist paramilitaries who took part in the Belfast project were assured their interviews wouldn’t be published until after they died.
Two weeks ago a US judge rejected an effort by Moloney and McIntyre to have the case dismissed.
On Tuesday, the college was ordered to surrender its interviews with Dolours Price by yesterday. It indicated that it would.
31 Dec 2011
An appeals court in Boston yesterday blocked the release to US prosecutors of interviews former IRA member Dolours Price gave an oral history project at Boston College after a researcher said that he and his family in Ireland would be in danger if the interviews were made public.
Acting on a last-minute legal intervention by author and journalist Ed Moloney, who directed the project, and Anthony McIntyre, the writer and former IRA prisoner who interviewed former IRA members for it, the First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay and scheduled a hearing for Friday. It put on hold the order that the college give records to prosecutors seeking them for British authorities.
By Anne Madden
Friday, 30 December 2011
Jean McConville (left) with three of her children before she was abducted and killed by the IRA in 1972. Her body was found in 2003. (Photograph: PA)
An American university has until today to hand over recorded interviews with a former IRA member to assist the investigation into the murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville.
Boston College was ordered by a federal judge to turn over recordings, transcripts and other items related to Dolours Price to federal prosecutors in Boston.
The material which was collected for the Belfast Project, an oral history project about the Troubles, was subpoenaed on behalf of the British Government.
Judge William Young of the federal court in Boston noted in his ruling earlier this week that a treaty between the USA and the UK requires the two nations to share information relevant to ongoing criminal investigations.
Boston College said it is disappointed by Judge Young’s ruling, arguing it “could have a chilling effect because people could be reluctant to participate in oral history projects moving forward”.
The Belfast Project’s organisers, which included author Ed Moloney and former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre, had promised their subjects they would keep identities and material confidential until the person had died.
The college is not appealing the decision. Prosecutors had asserted in court filings that the material sought is relevant to a probe into Mrs McConville’s death. She disappeared in 1972. Her body was found in 2003.
The IRA said it killed McConville because she was suspected of being an informer.
Price and another former IRA member, Brendan Hughes, have said that her abduction, execution and burial was ordered by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
According to court documents, Price admitted in news reports in Northern Ireland that she had driven the abducted McConville to the place of her murder.
Mr Adams, who was elected TD for Louth earlier this year, has repeatedly denied the allegations that he ordered the killing.
A Sinn Fein spokesman said it had no comment to make.
“It doesn’t concern Sinn Fein at all,” he said. “It is a matter between Anthony McIntyre, Ed Moloney, the PSNI and Boston College.”
However, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he welcomed the finding of the court, adding it is up to police alone to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring a public prosecution.
Story so far
Police believe the material held by Boston College will assist an ongoing investigation into the 1972 abduction and murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville. The US federal judge who made the decision, William G Young, ruled he will make further orders for the release of information from the oral history project of the Troubles.
17 Dec 2011
A federal judge rejected yesterday a motion by the trustees of Boston College to quash subpoenas that order them to turn over recordings of former members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and other items to British officials investigating crimes including murder and kidnapping.
But Judge William G. Young did not order BC to immediately turn over the materials to federal prosecutors in Boston, who issued the subpoenas on behalf of British authorities.
Instead, Young said in his 48-page ruling that he would review the materials and decide on the next step, writing that the subpoenas were made “in good faith, and relevant to a nonfrivolous criminal inquiry. Nor are the materials readily available from a less sensitive source’’ than the recordings at BC.
The materials were collected between 2001 and 2006 for a BC oral history project about the period known as the Troubles, when more than 3,000 people were killed in the struggle between the IRA and British authorities over control of Northern Ireland.
The project developers promised their interview subjects anonymity until they died, an offer they could not legally make, prosecutors have argued.
BC has said that turning over the materials – which include interview transcripts and other items related to former IRA member Dolours Price – would have a chilling effect on academic freedom and, in some cases, endanger the safety of people involved in the project.
The university has turned over materials pertaining to a deceased former IRA member, Brendan Hughes, Young wrote. He also wrote that Price’s participation in the project has been widely reported by news media in Northern Ireland.
He acknowledged some of BC’s concerns, but added that the recordings are relevant to investigations of crimes including murder and kidnapping. He also said the United States has an obligation under a treaty with Britain to turn over the materials.
“These are serious allegations, and they weigh strongly in favor of disclosing the confidential information,’’ Young wrote.
Jack Dunn, a spokesman for BC, said by phone that the university was pleased with the ruling: “While the motion to quash the subpoenas was denied, the court, in agreeing to review the research materials . . . granted [the college] what it was seeking by promising to determine what materials, if any, are relevant’’ to the criminal investigations.
Assistant US Attorney John McNeil, also hailed the ruling. He said that Young affirmed that the recordings are relevant to a criminal inquiry. Also, he said, the ruling indicates that “the US government’s obligation [under the treaty with Britain and] the public interest in this criminal inquiry are compelling.’’
BC must turn over the materials to Young by Wednesday.