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.