Dolours Price interviews received by US officials

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US officials have received transcripts of interviews that former IRA member Dolours Price gave to an oral history project at Boston College.

The BBC has learned that 13 transcripts have been received by US officials and the material is being held by the Office of the Assistant US Attorney.

It follows ongoing legal action in the United States on behalf of British authorities who want the material.

The court asked that US government officials file a response by 9 January.

US prosecutors have demanded anything in the Boston College archive related to the 1972 IRA abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-10, Jean McConville.

In a statement, the PSNI said: "This is a ruling by the US Court of Appeal. The police investigation remains ongoing.

"We look forward to an early conclusion with respect to this judicial decision."

Dolours Price was one of 26 former IRA members to give a series of interviews - between 2001 and 2006 - as part of a research study, called the Belfast Project.

The project was funded by Boston College, which hired three researchers, including journalist Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, a former republican prisoner.

Start Quote

We are determined to fight this all the way”

End Quote Ed Moloney Journalist

In return for honest accounts, former republican and loyalist paramilitaries were promised that their identities would be kept confidential and that the interviews would be released only after their deaths.

Mr Moloney told the BBC said he is hopeful the interviews will be returned to Boston College but insisted he won't co-operate with any future criminal prosecution.

"We are determined to fight this all the way," he said.

"If whoever has intitiated this action inside the policing structures persists in any sort of attempt to bring criminal charges, then they can expect absolutely no co-operation from me or the interviewers."

He claimed he has information that the British government "does not want to own this... quite the reverse, there's a wish this thing would go away".

However, the DUP's Ian Paisley said: "There is an important distinction between this case and others that must be borne in mind.

"What we are dealing with here is not the protection of an anonymous source. We know who the interviewees were - this has been put into the public domain.

"There is no issue of source protection at stake, rather the withholding of evidential material."

In December, Boston College was ordered by a federal judge to turn over recordings, transcripts and other items related to Dolours Price to federal prosecutors acting on behalf of British authorities.

An appeals court decision last Thursday temporarily prevented US officials from handing the documents over to British authorities.

Three DVDs of interviews conducted by Ed Moloney in 2010 which were not part of the Belfast Project have also been received by US officials.

US prosecutors have demanded anything in the Boston College archive related to the 1972 IRA abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-10, Jean McConville.

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