Judge rules oral history tape release would not “materially increase the risk to his life or that of his family”

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This morning Mr Justice Treacy rejected Anthony McIntyre’s application for a judicial review in the latest attempt to prevent the PSNI from accessing republican interview transcripts from the Boston College oral history project. It is thought that the PSNI team investigating the 1972 murder of Jean McConville are behind the UK government request to get hold of the tapes of interviews with Dolours Price which are currently held in the US.

Two weeks ago, McIltyre’s fellow researcher Ed Moloney (who directed the “Belfast Project”) submitted an affidavit in which he reluctantly stated:

… in her interviews with BC researcher, Anthony McIntyre, Dolours Price did not once mention the name “Jean McConville”. The subject of that unfortunate woman’s disappearance was never mentioned, not even once. Nor so were the allegations that Dolours Price was involved in any other disappearance carried out by the IRA in Belfast, nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams or from any other IRA figure. None of this subject matter was disclosed in her taped interviews with Anthony McIntyre.

However, the PSNI still seem keen to find out what was said. UTV report that the judge’s response was (finally) issued this morning:

Mr McIntyre claimed releasing the tapes and transcripts to police would put him under greater threat of being killed by dissident republicans who would perceive it as a betrayal of the IRA’s code of silence.

However, a judge dismissed his case after a senior detective stated he was not aware of any current, increased risk to the researcher due to his work on the project.

Mr Justice Treacy said: “In light of the unequivocal response from the PSNI, supported by the threat assessment from the security authorities, I conclude that the applicant has failed to make out an arguable case that disclosure of the Boston College tapes would, as he claimed, materially increase the risk to his life or that of his family.”

Of course, Dolours Price has recently given a spate of media interviews. One appeared out of nowhere in the Sunday Telegraph, while Dolours was forthcoming in a CBS news report about her participation in IRA operations:

McConville was accused by the IRA of being an informer and one of the so-called “disappeared.” She, among many others, was driven across the border to the Irish Republic and shot. The IRA later revealed where some of the bodies were buried.

Dolours admitted she drove McConville across the border – and she knew what might happen.

“I was aware that that would possibly be her end, yes,” Dolours said. But, it doesn’t bother her.

[source: CBS online news report]

One could question why the PSNI are invoking an inter-government mutual legal assistance treaty to access taped conversations that could be difficult to use as evidence in court when the original source is singing like a canary 100 miles south of CID headquarters? It’s a theme taken up by Chris Bray on Letters Blogatory.

Joanna Harrington also offers an analysis of the use of the mutual legal assistance treaty and the background to the Belfast Project on EJIL:Talk, reminding readers that the Burns Library at Boston College also holds the records of the Decommissioning Commission (which in time might also be open to scrutiny attempts by international governments. Oddly, the PSNI/HET aren’t pursuing the oral history tape recordings of loyalist interviews, carried out as part of the Belfast Project (by a third researcher).

More legal action to prevent the disclosure of the interviews may follow in Belfast courts. And in the US, Ed Moloney & Anthony McIntyre have sought a stay of the First Circuit’s judgement in the Supreme Court with an application filed last week.

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  • ArdoyneUnionist

    “THE net continues to tighten on Gerry Adams over his repeated denials of IRA membership.

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny is ratcheting up the pressure on the Sinn Fein president, stating he believes “Gerry Adams was a member of the IRA”.

    Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan is formally requesting a Dail statement from Mr Adams on the latest allegations he was involved in ordering IRA executions.

    And the Government is throwing Mr Adams’s call for a truth enquiry for the Northern Ireland Troubles back at him.

    After a casual reference to Mr Adams’s IRA past last week, Mr Kenny upped the ante by confirming his belief that the Sinn Fein leader was a senior figure in the Provos.

    “From all the evidence I have read and from all the evidence I have heard, I believe Gerry Adams was a member of the IRA and I was led to believe he was also a member of the army council,” he said.

    Mr Kenny contrasted Mr Adams’s continual denial of being in the IRA with Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness’s admission of involvement at a senior level”.

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/adams-was-on-ira-army-council-says-taoiseach-3244321.html

  • keano10

    Ardoyne Unionist,

    That’s pretty comical stuff. Never let the facts get in the way of a good Anti-Adams rant… Ed Maloney’s recent affadavit has unfortunately taken the wind right out of one or two of the more blustery sails on this site.

    You are going to have quote a more auspicious source than either Charlie Flanagan or Enda Kenny to give any credence to whatever your argument happens to be…

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    Keano10, if you’re telling Unionists that we should not “give any credence to” what Enda Kenny has to say I will pass it on. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Rory Carr

    You would not, of course, Ardoyne Unionist, pass along to your friends, information which you yourself did not accept absolutely, which rather renders your earlier opinion, unsuprisingly, to be lacking in merit.

  • Carrickmoreman

    Are we supposed to believe that the PSNI/Brit Intelligence doesn’t already know full details of the McConville Kidnap/Killing? This charade is nuts.

  • Covenanter

    Are we supposed to believe that the PSNI/Brit Intelligence doesn’t already know full details of the McConville Kidnap/Killing? This charade is nuts.

    I think that the strong suspicion is that the evil Brit war machine was fully aware of the crimes of certain senior republicans, but that they took no action against them because they recognised the potential for doing business with them.

  • HeinzGuderian

    A ‘truth’ commision……..but not for Jean McConville.

  • Henry94

    Or a truth commission for just Jean McConville?

  • Toastedpuffin

    “Or a truth commission for just Jean McConville?”

    You mean a trial? It’s a novel idea, but not a bad one. Any chance do you think?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Toastedpuffin,

    Even if Ms.Price is reported on the tape as saying “Gerry Adams, as my C.O., ordered me to murder (well, she’d say execute, wouldn’t she?) Jean McConville, there will not be a trial. She would have to say that at a trial and she won’t. Because there’s another reason why there won’t be a trial. Whoever did order the trial is a protected creature. I’m sure you’ve heard of secret protocols.

  • Toastedpuffin

    Joe

    Indeed. I’m in two minds about this: This atrocity should result in justice dispensed by the appointed legal authorities. But, as you say, it’s unlikely that’ll ever happen. Sooooo… is the public leaking of supposedly private interviews naming the guilty really so bad? Is it the best proxy for justice we can expect? My instinct is that whilst it would maybe satisfy in the short term, it would also underline just how low we’ve sunk.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Toastedpuffin,

    No, there won’t be any justice, proxy or otherwise. I think most people and canine denizens of the street know who the “protected creature” is.

  • Toastedpuffin

    Joe

    Again, indeed. However there’s a world of difference in the DITS knowing, and having the bare facts of the deed blown in every eye via the world’s media. Admittedly, there’s also a world of difference in that and true justice delivered by a court. Like I said, I’m in two minds…

  • Alias

    “In a series of newspaper and television interviews, Price has said — absolutely plainly, in unembarrassed and detailed statements — that she participated in the kidnapping and murder of Jean McConville, and did so under orders from Gerry Adams. Admitting that she joined a conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder in two jurisdictions — the IRA took McConville from her home in Belfast, drove her south across the border, and killed her on a beach in the Republic of Ireland — Price faced immediate and devastating legal consequences: she finished her tea and went to bed. The police in the South have not arrested her; the police in the North do not appear to have sought her arrest and extradition. She said she did it, loudly and in public, and nothing happened.” – Chris Bray

    Despite appearances, Ms Price isn’t a “protected species” but she has info on a valuable state asset who is so it amounts to the same thing.

  • michael-mcivor

    ” oddly, the PSNI / HET aren’t pursuing the oral history tape recordings of loyalist interviews, carried out as part of the Belfast project ”

    Nothing odd about that as those loyalists would have named those police who helped them to kill Catholics during the 70s-80s-90s-

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Michael,

    That is true but what does it have to do with this thread?

  • michael-mcivor

    Mister Joe-

    Alan wrote about it- am i not allowed to comment about the thread?-

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Michael,

    I must be blindsighted. If so, I apologise.

  • michael-mcivor

    Mister Joe-

    No problem- manys a mistake i have made-

    Enjoy reading your comments by the way-

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    I’m getting fed up with all these allegations about Gerry Adams and the way Martin McGuinness always has to come to Gerry’s defence.

    Its time Gerry took these people to court and made them pay for their accusations.

    “FORMER Justice Minister Michael McDowell says he categorically stands over his claim that Gerry Adams was on the IRA’s army council.

    His statement will ratchet up the pressure on the Sinn Fein president after Taoiseach Enda Kenny declared at the weekend his belief that “Gerry Adams was a member of the IRA”.

    But Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness has backed Mr Adams’s claim that he was never a member of the Provos and said Mr Kenny was just trying to distract from Fine Gael’s problems”.

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/michael-mcdowell-turns-up-heat-on-gerry-adams-in-ira-army-council-row-3248650.html

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    ‘ Covenanter (profile) 2 October 2012 at 6:31 pm
    Are we supposed to believe that the PSNI/Brit Intelligence doesn’t already know full details of the McConville Kidnap/Killing? This charade is nuts.

    I think that the strong suspicion is that the evil Brit war machine was fully aware of the crimes of certain senior republicans, but that they took no action against them because they recognised the potential for doing business with them.’

    I would say this is bang on the money. Adams and Mcguiness delivered a peaceful solution to NI. Why would you pop them in prison and risk collapsing the entire house of cards?
    The question is not so much, why do the authorities not investigate them but rather why so many decent folk give guys with such a past their vote. Okay, taking a terrorist organisation away from violence is fabulous but at the end of the end, some pretty terrible deeds took place up to that point.

  • Covenanter

    “Even if Ms.Price is reported on the tape as saying “Gerry Adams, as my C.O., ordered me to murder (well, she’d say execute, wouldn’t she?) Jean McConville, there will not be a trial. She would have to say that at a trial and she won’t. Because there’s another reason why there won’t be a trial. Whoever did order the trial is a protected creature. I’m sure you’ve heard of secret protocols.”

    Mr Joe,

    Following the Omagh precedent there must surely be a very strong possibility of a civil action. That is what will be keeping the former OC of Ballymurphy PIRA awake at night.

  • ranger1640

    Gerry is getting it from all directions in the Dail.

    “Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has become the latest political figure to take a pop at Gerry Adams over his IRA past, writes Fionnan Sheahan.

    Mr Quinn hit back at the Sinn Fein president as he criticised Labour’s role in Government.

    “If I were you, I would hesitate to refer to baggage in this House,” he said yesterday.

    Although he didn’t say it directly, Mr Quinn’s comments were widely interpreted as a reference to Mr Adams’s IRA past.

    Mr Adams was also heckled by several backbenchers about his IRA connections.

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin have attacked Mr Adams on the longstanding accusation he was a member of the IRA”.

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/quinn-lashes-out-at-adams-over-baggage-as-accusations-mount-3249459.html

  • Toastedpuffin

    ranger1640:

    It’d be nice if they quit the heckling and called for some serious legal proceedings to begin against both Adams and Price. But will they I wonder?

    And is there anybody in TCD or UCD who’s interested in the nature/nurture debate surrounding psychopathy? Is so, the Price family seem to be a gift.

  • Neil

    The flag riots have been all over the US media lately. And top judges have no doubt seen reports of the potential peace process implications of the violence.

    Having a case before them in which the petitioners (Moloney and McIntyre) are warning of a separate threat to the peace process may just be enough to entice members of the Supreme Court, who pride themselves on the range of their intellects, to take on the case.

    Then again, John Kerry might beat them to the punch – if Hillary doesn’t beat him to it first.

    http://bostoncollegesubpoena.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/flag-row-could-impact-on-boston-college-tapes-saga/