Friday 22 September 2017

Painful truth of Troubles will out

Madam -- The Irish Studies department in Boston College decided to interview more than 20 IRA and 20 loyalist paramilitaries about the activities they were involved in during the conflict in Northern Ireland. The interviewees were promised that these sensitive interviews would be released after their death or before if they gave permission. The Belfast Project, as it is known, was completed by 2006, but by 2010 the British government asked to be allowed access to the one with Dolours Price in their attempts to solve 'cold cases'.

In one of the interviews Dolours Price claimed to be the driver on the night that Jean McConville was taken from her Belfast home and driven to her death. Price claimed that Gerry Adams was her officer commanding. She later gave an interview to a newspaper in Northern Ireland about it, also saying she had given an interview to the Boston College project, breaking the confidentiality aspect of the interview she'd already given to Boston College, therefore enabling the British government to ask for access to the college's interview with her. Jean was killed, because allegedly she was an informer. There was no proof she was ever an informer. She was the mother of a large young family with most put into care after her death. Her body was finally recovered by her family and the authorities in Co Louth over the border in our Republic in 2003. Her family wanted to give their mother a Christian burial. The year of her death, 1972, was one of the most brutal in Northern Ireland with about 500 killings.

The question that has been raised in the British government's successful request to Boston College for the Price interview and upheld by the American courts is this: was Boston College wise to do such research when a lot of the interviews were about live issues and unresolved cases of people killed?

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