Boston College is set to return the original tapes to the interviewees after the Gerry Adams arrest fallout.
It now appears there were 26 tapes of leaders from The Troubles of whom 24 were anti-Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams.
A spokesman for Boston College, Jack Dunn, has confirmed that it is prepared to hand back interviews to those involved.
"Obviously we'd have to verify that they were the individuals that took part in the process," he said.
"If they wanted those documents returned, we'd be prepared to return those documents."
Dunn also has made an extraordinary attack on his own college's choice of researchers. “Gerry Adams and others have accused Anthony McIntyre of interviewing individuals who had animus towards Adams and the Sinn Fein leadership. Gerry Adams’ criticism of Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre is shared by many on both sides of the Atlantic,” Dunn said yesterday. “While some mistakes were made by Burns librarian Bob O’Neill, his sentiment is that the biggest mistake was in hiring Ed Moloney, who ultimately hired Anthony McIntyre ... He did not vet them enough.”
By so doing the Boston College oral history project will officially come to a complete end with nothing to show for it but lawsuits and infighting with project managers, journalist Ed Moloney and researcher Anthony McIntyre, both hardline anti-Gerry Adams critics. Anti-Boston College graffiti has begun appearing in Belfast.
Several loyalists have already stated their intention to seek the return of their transcripts.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, commenting on the announcement that Boston College is to return the tapes to those who made them, said:
“Everyone has the right to record their history but not at the expense of the lives of others.
"The Boston College Belfast Project was flawed from the beginning. It was conceived by Lord Paul Bew. (A former aide to Unionist leader David Trimble and former scholar in residence at Boston College-Ed.) He proposed Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre despite the fact that both individuals were extremely hostile to myself, Sinn Fein, the peace process and the political process.
"I was not and am not aware of any republican or member of Sinn Fein in support of the peace process who were approached by Anthony McIntyre to be interviewed. On the contrary, the individuals so far revealed as having participated are all hostile to Sinn Fein. On RTE last Sunday Anthony McIntyre was forced to concede that perhaps two out of the twenty-six people he interviewed were not anti-Sinn Fein.
“This flawed project was exposed when Ed Moloney chose to capitalise on the death of Brendan Hughes and write a book called, ‘Voices From The Grave.’
“No republicans, including myself, who were slandered in that book were offered the opportunity before publication to rebut the allegations made against them. Ed Moloney needs to explain that decision.
“He also needs to explain why, after the project officially closed, he returned to Ireland in 2011 and asked Dolours Price, whom he had currently described as mentally unwell and suffering from PTSD, to be interviewed on DVD, a DVD which he then lodged in the archive. It is that interview, Anthony McIntyre’s interview with the late Brendan Hughes and his interview with Ivor Bell, which formed the mainstay for my arrest last week.
“I welcome the end of the Boston Belfast Project, indicated by the College’s offer to now return the interviews to the interviewees before the securocrats who cannot live with the peace seek to seize the rest of the archive and do mischief.
“Two standards are operating here. No British soldiers or former RUC officers involved in killings or conspiracies or collusion are subject to the same treatment as republicans. Once again this emphasizes why we need to deal holistically with our past and why we need a process such as those proposed by Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan.”
Jack Dunn, the BC spokesman said Moloney should have known about the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) under which the PSNI obtained access to the tapes
Dunn said that those involved in the project "were convinced that would never happen, given the goodwill that emanated from the Good Friday Agreement in 1998."
He said while the "assumption was that British law enforcement would never invoke MLAT," they had done so and the college now had to deal with the fallout.
Moloney denied there was any reason why he should have known about such a treaty.
"We were doing the spadework of trying to get this thing off the ground and we were leaving the legal side to the American lawyers who knew what the legal situation was," he said.
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