A COURT in the United States is set to rule in two weeks’ time on whether a college will be forced to release copies of interviews with former terrorists, including members of the IRA.
A federal court will decide on January 24 whether it will grant a request from the PSNI in asking Boston College to release a collection of interviews from its oral history project which spoke to two convicted IRA members between 2001 and 2006.
The PSNI has requested the release of the interviews as part of its investigation into the 1972 murder of Jean McConville – the first of the IRA’s so-called ‘Disappeared’ victims.
The federal court in Boston had originally ruled on December 27 that the interviews should be surrendered, though the Belfast Telegraph reports that the court yesterday heard that two researchers from the project were opposing its release to the PSNI.
They said that releasing the interviews could damage the peace process, and put the lives of the IRA interviewees – and their interviewer, Anthony McIntyre, himself a former IRA member – in danger.
Journalist Ed Moloney, who directed the Boston College ‘Belfast Project’ and conducted the interviews with McIntyre, told the Guardian that those with paramilitary backgrounds were not likely to speak truthfully if the College’s material was used to help the PSNI build a case.
The BBC also adds that the people who participated in the interviews spoke on the condition that the material would only be released to the public after they had died.
The US Department of Justice did not oppose their motion to resist the release of the materials. Victims groups claim the college has a moral duty to hand over the material.