Northern Ireland

Boston College tapes: PPS and police seek Anthony McIntyre interviews

Anthony McIntyre
Image caption Anthony McIntyre was the lead researcher for the Boston College oral project

The Public Prosecution Service and the PSNI have launched a legal bid to gain access to all interviews and notes by a former IRA member who was one of the main researchers for a Troubles history project at Boston College.

Anthony McIntyre conducted a series of interviews with former IRA members, on the understanding that the contents would not be made public until after their deaths.

Boston College has been issued with a subpoena instructing it to hand over the material on 6 May.

Mr McIntyre said he had engaged a lawyer to "resist the efforts to raid his personal memoirs".

Image caption The tapes are being held at Boston College

Dozens of loyalists and republicans provided testimonies to Boston College staff compiling an oral history of the Northern Ireland conflict.


What are the 'Boston tapes'?

Dozens of former paramilitaries were interviewed in Belfast and other cities and towns from 2001-2006 as part of an oral history project known as the Belfast Project.

Details about internal politics and activities of the IRA were revealed on tape, including accounts of a hunger strike in prison in the 1980s.

Overall, the project cost about $200,000 (£118,520), mostly provided by an Irish-American businessman.

Each interview was transcribed, sent by encrypted email to New York and then the material was sent to Boston College, where it was placed under lock and key at Burns Library.

Following a lengthy legal battle with the college, the Police Service of Northern Ireland gained access to a small number of the interviews in 2013.


Interviews were given on the understanding that tapes would not be made public until after their deaths.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption In June last year, police were given access to interviews given by former loyalist prisoner Winston Rea

Detectives want to access the recordings as part of their investigations into murder and other paramilitary crimes from the 1970s to 1990s.

In June last year, police were given access to interviews given by former loyalist prisoner Winston Rea.

It followed a decision by senior judges in Belfast to lift an injunction on the PSNI taking possession of Mr Rea's recorded account to Boston College researchers.

In 2013, detectives investigating the abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville in 1972 secured the transcripts of former IRA woman Dolours Price's account.

That material was handed over following court battles on both sides of the Atlantic.

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