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Thursday 19 October 2017

PSNI get tapes of IRA interviews over McConville case

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

POLICE investigating the murder of Jean McConville in 1972 have taken possession of taped interviews with former IRA members about her abduction.

Two PSNI detectives have travelled to Boston to collect the tapes and transcripts relevant to the disappearance of the mother of 10.

She was dragged from her home in Belfast by a gang of 18 IRA men and women, leaving her children orphaned. Her body was found on a beach in Louth three decades later.

She had been beaten and shot in the head. Two former IRA members later said Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams ordered her killing, an allegation he has repeatedly denied.

The recordings were conducted as part of an oral history project on the Troubles undertaken at Boston College.

Police had asked the college to release the recordings believing that they could contain relevant information about the murder and abduction of Mrs McConville. Boston College refused to release them.

A US appeal court recently ordered the college to release only the segments of interviews that were relevant to the McConville investigation. It is understood that around 11 relevant segments were identified in 85 interviews.

In a statement, the PSNI confirmed that two detectives from its serious crime branch travelled to Boston to take possession of materials relevant to their investigation into Jean McConville.

Niall Collins, Fianna Fail's justice spokesman, welcomed the news: "It is incumbent on everyone who knows anything about the circumstances of Jean McConville – widow and mother of 10 children, who was wrongly accused of being an informer, brutally murdered and taken from her children – to come forward and cooperate with the PSNI, particularly those in Sinn Fein/IRA," he said.

"It has been 10 years since her body was accidentally found in Louth and her family deserves answers and will not get full closure until Sinn Fein/IRA cooperates fully."

The taped interviews with loyalists and former IRA members were conducted between 2001 and 2006 as part of the Belfast Project, organised by Boston College. Dolours Price, the Old Bailey bomber who died in January, and another former IRA member, Brendan Hughes, claimed that Mrs McConville was murdered on the orders of Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president. Mr Adams, who is also TD for Louth, has repeatedly rejected the allegations.

Irish Independent

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