US court says IRA member's secret testimony can be handed over to police

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US court says IRA member's secret testimony can be handed over to police

Secret testimony from an IRA woman who bombed the Old Bailey can now be handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland as part of its investigations into one of the most controversial murders during the Troubles, a US court has ruled.

In the ongoing battle between academic freedom and demands for justice from the families of those killed by the IRA in the conflict, a United States appeal court has found that the PSNI can seize tapes from the ex-IRA bomber Dolours Price.

The ruling over the weekend has sparked fears among historians and journalists behind the Belfast Project for Boston College that all of their confidential archive of IRA and loyalist paramilitary activists is now vulnerable.

Ex-IRA and loyalist paramilitaries agreed to give open and frank accounts of what they did during the Troubles – including murders – on the understanding that the material would only be released when they died.

Those behind the project including its director, the award-winning journalist and authority on the IRA Ed Moloney, expressed concern that the latest decision puts the life of his key researcher, ex-IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre, at grave risk.

McConville's daughter Helen McKendry and her husband, Seamus, have welcomed the PSNI's attempt to use the extradition arrangements between the UK and the US to obtain the material, and the latest court ruling that brings the material closer to the inquiry on this side of the Atlantic.

"If it helps build a case that came to court and reveal the truth about what happened to Jean we support that," the couple told the Guardian.

"How would Americans feel if a college in Oxford or Cambridge had interviewed al-Qaida members about the murder of American citizens or soldiers, and then this institution resisted handing over that intelligence to the US authorities? That is the argument we are making on the American airwaves this week," they added.



'The Oul' Alarm Clock'  - by  Dominic Behan



"In the ongoing battle between academic freedom and demands for justice . . . ."

The conflict seems also to be between truth and reconciliation and justice


Ken Burch

I'm a bit torn on this one.

One the one hand, you need to be able to maintain confidentiality agreements on things like this wherever possible.

On the other hand, there was simply no excuse whatsoever for the period when the IRA started "disappearing" people because they were supposedly British informers-or, in the case of Jean McConville, an impoverished Protestant woman who'd married a Catholic, had ten children with him, lived across the sectarian divide in a Catholic/nationalist council estate, simply for having comforted a British soldier as he lay dying after a firefight between the army and the Provos.  Ms. McConville did nothing whatsoever to deserve being killed and then having her body hidden on a deserted beach for decades.  Her children did nothing to deserve losing their mother, and her husband did nothing to deserve losing his spouse.

So yes, I'm torn.  History is important, but so is getting justice for the innocent.