Boston tapes ‘could lift lid on IRA’

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SENIOR IRA members could be unmasked after a court agreed to hand over top secret interviews with a convicted Old Bailey car bomber to the authorities, a DUP MP claimed.

Boston College must hand over the recordings with Dolours Price to police – who are investigating the murder of Jean McConville – by next month, after an appeals court in the US rejected an effort to stop their release.

The British Government has been seeking the interviews.

In one of the Boston interviews published after his death three years ago, Brendan Hughes, the IRA’s former commander in Belfast, claimed Gerry Adams set up the unit that abducted Mrs McConville, a claim denied by the Sinn Fein president who says he was never in the IRA.

Speaking after the ruling by the US court at the weekend, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said: “This is a step closer to establishing if there is information in the tapes that might be of assistance to the authorities in Northern Ireland.

“This could lead to the investigation of many senior personnel within the IRA and other groups about matters they were involved in, and if that is the case it would be welcome.”

Price participated in the car bombing of the Old Bailey in London on March 8 1973.

The explosion injured more than 200 people and likely caused another person’s death of heart failure.

She and sister Marian Price were arrested along with senior Sinn Fein member and former junior minister Gerry Kelly and others. They were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, but later released.

Friday’s ruling by the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals means the interview with bomber Dolours Price will be given to police next month.

Boston College in Massachusetts is still trying to quash a broader order for other materials from its project.

The College’s Belfast Project participants say the interviews were supposed to be secret until their deaths.

But Northern Ireland police probing the IRA’s 1972 killing of Belfast woman Jean McConville, a mother of 10 branded as a British Army spy by the IRA, want the recordings.

The university did not appeal against a district court order last year to turn over the Price interviews, though project director Ed Moloney and ex-IRA member Anthony McIntyre did.

The appeal court ruled they had no right to stop the release.

DUP peer Lord Maurice Morrow said: “Mrs McConville was abducted and murdered on the alleged charge of being a British spy and her blood remains on the hands of those who ordered and committed this repulsive crime.

“At a time when, amongst others, republicans rejoice in the announcement of a PSNI investigation into Bloody Sunday, the release of these tapes for a separate incident which has haunted Northern Ireland for almost as long, must be welcomed by all right thinking people.

“It will be interesting to see if Sinn Fein are as vociferous in their support of this PSNI investigation as they are with that of Bloody Sunday.”

A Sinn Fein spokesman dismissed the comments of Lord Morrow.

“This has nothing to do with Sinn Fein, it is a matter for Anthony McIntyre, Ed Moloney, Boston College and the PSNI,” the party spokesman told the News Letter.

Mrs McConville was abducted from her Belfast home in December 1972 by a gang of up to 12 IRA members on suspicion of passing information to the British Army - a claim her family deny.

She was shot in the back of the head, after being tortured and buried on a beach across the border on Shelling Hill beach, where her body lay undiscovered until 2003.