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The Troubles

Ex-IRA man granted UK Supreme Court hearing over Boston College tapes

The tapes which contain interviews with former paramilitaries were not meant to be heard in public until after their deaths.

A FORMER IRA member has been granted a Supreme Court hearing in a bid to stop police gaining access to interviews given as part of an oral history project known as the Boston College tapes.

Anthony McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney started the project in 2001, interviewing former paramilitaries about their experiences during the Troubles and their involvement in the conflict.

McIntyre himself is among those who gave confidential testimonies to Boston College. 

The interviews were not meant to be heard in public until after the death those who took part. However the PSNI has sought since 2011 to examine the recordings which are now being held in a secure storage building in Belfast. 

In 2014, Sinn Féin accused those behind the project of compiling the tapes “maliciously”, claiming they were the basis for the arrest of then President Gerry Adams (he was later released). 

Police have already been given transcripts of some interviews but McIntyre is challenging their bid to gain access to his testimony.

He is arguing that the International Letter of Request (ILOR) setting out a list of alleged offences officers are investigating, issued by the PSNI in 2014, contains “a number of errors”. 

He issued legal proceedings in 2016 to prevent the DPP and PSNI from taking further steps in using interview materials requested from the US.

Following his failed High Court challenge last year, he has now been granted permission by the UK Supreme Court to have an oral hearing.

Commenting today, he said the tapes had been made “solely for academic purposes”. 

“They were never intended to be used for criminal investigations. I welcome the fact that the Supreme Court will now hear this case given the important issues at hand,” he said.