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The interviews given by former paramilitaries were not intended to be accessed until after their deaths. This graffiti was on the Falls Road, Belfast, last week. Peter Morrison/AP/Press Association Images

Boston College says it will hand back Troubles tapes... to interviewees

After the PSNI gained access to the tapes, leading to arrests, the college says it will return the material to former paramilitaries if they want.

STATEMENTS FROM THE so-called ‘Belfast Project’ which are currently held at Boston College in the US will be returned to the interviewees if they so wish.

Information on some of the tapes, later transcribed into documents – which contain interviews with former paramilitaries – has been accessed by the PSNI and used to secure several arrests. These include the arrest of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who was questioned for four days last week over the abduction and murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville in 1972.

The BBC is reporting that Boston College is saying that it will return the tapes to the former paramilitaries who agreed to have their stories of the Troubles in Northern Ireland recorded for posterity. These interviews had not been meant to be heard in the lifetime of any of the interviewees, and it was under this stipulation that many agreed to participate.

Jack Dunn, spokesperson for the college said:

Obviously we’d have to verify that they were the individuals that took part in the process. If they wanted those documents returned, we’d be prepared to return those documents.

The interviews were collected by journalist Ed Moloney and former IRA member Anthony McIntyre, who spoke about his experiences in the project on RTÉ Radio 1′s Marian Finucane Show on Saturday. You can listen to that interview here.

Gerry Adams was released without charge on Sunday but a file will be sent to the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland. Last night, a Sinn Féin spokesperson said that the PSNI visited the homes of Adams and fellow republican and Maze Prison escapee Bobby Storey to tell them that a “credible threat” had been made against their lives.

‘I am innocent’: What Gerry Adams had to say on his release>

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