Former IRA man Anthony McIntyre loses Dolours Price case

The tapes are being held at Boston College The interviews were carried out for a Boston College project

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A former IRA man turned-writer has lost a High Court bid to prevent police taking possession of his interviews with a convicted bomber.

Anthony McIntyre was seeking to restrain disclosure of confidential archived material compiled for a history project at Boston College.

PSNI detectives wanted access to all his interviews with Dolours Price.

It is part of their investigation into the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, one of the so-called Disappeared.

Mr McIntyre claimed releasing the tapes and transcripts to police would put him under greater threat of being killed by dissident republicans who would perceive it as a betrayal of the IRA's code of silence.

However, on Tuesday a judge dismissed his case after a senior detective stated he was not aware of any current, increased risk to the researcher due to his work on the project.

Mr Justice Treacy said: "In light of the unequivocal response from the PSNI, supported by the threat assessment from the security authorities, I conclude that the applicant has failed to make out an arguable case that disclosure of the Boston College tapes would, as he claimed, materially increase the risk to his life or that of his family."

Loyalist and republican paramilitaries gave interviews for the college's Belfast Project, an examination of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Those who took part included Price, who was jailed for her part in a bomb attack on the Old Bailey in London in 1973.

Recordings were carried out on the understanding that they would only be made public once interviewees had died.

However, the US courts have ruled that the Price interviews should be handed over to the PSNI.

The court heard journalist Ed Moloney, who also conducted interviews for the project, has stated that his research colleague's interviews with Price contain nothing relevant to the Jean McConville murder investigation.

Lawyers for Mr McIntyre argued that his Article 2 right to life under the European Convention on Human Rights trumped the PSNI's legal obligation to investigate murder.

But Mr Justice Treacy ruled that the former IRA man's rights cannot prohibit police from seeking or receiving material relevant to a serious, live criminal inquiry.

Despite the ruling, the PSNI will not yet automatically gain access to the tapes.

Lawyers for Mr McIntyre are expected to lodge an appeal against Mr Justice Treacy's decision.

And any handover of the material has also been put on hold by the courts in America, pending a further hearing before the US Supreme Court.

Mr McIntyre's solicitor, Kevin Winters, said: "We have consulted with our client and we are set to appeal.

"We also welcome the stay that has been granted in the American courts because it prevents the handover of the tapes.

"That decision assists Mr McIntyre while he deals with the outstanding appeal issues arising from today's judgment."

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