Gerry Adams, one of the chief architects of the peace process in the north of Ireland, may soon find himself on trial over his IRA past.
Police in the north want to controversially seize taped interviews with former IRA members that were recorded by Boston College in a project they vowed would never be released to the authorities.
In particular, police want to examine comments made in relation to the Irish Republican Army's killing of Jean McConville, a Belfast mother of 10, in 1972.
Researchers at the college are fighting the request for a handover of the tapes, fearing that the unguarded revelations contained in them could well trigger new attacks against IRA veterans and thereby undermine the peace peace.
McConville, who was a 37-year-old widow, is receiving special attention because of allegations that Adams commanded the IRA unit responsible for ordering her execution. Adams however, denies this.
'Imagine if these interviews are delivered to the police and their contents come out in court,' Ed Moloney, a former Belfast journalist who directed Boston College's oral history project told ABC News. 'There'll be a hue and cry for Gerry Adams' political scalp.'
Moloney and Anthony McIntyre (the former IRA member who collected the interviews) will go to court next Tuesday in Boston in the hope of persuading the judge to prevent the audio tapes from being delivered to Belfast police.
McIntyre originally won the IRA veterans' confidence by insisting their confessions would remain confidential and beyond the reach of British law as long as they lived. However a judge last month ruled that the interviews of one living IRA veteran should be surrendered to the police because she discusses her role in the McConville killing.
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Moloney and McIntyre claim they were appalled when Boston College complied with the judge's ruling.
'If they weren't prepared to fight to the bitter end like us, then why did Boston College get involved in this kind of project at all?' Moloney asked.
In response, Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn told the press that their response was hardly surprising, given that some of the tapes include confessions of involvement in crimes.
'We would never want anyone to think that Boston College was obstructing a murder investigation,' Dunn said.
Meanwhile, a Boston appeals court has blocked the handover of any IRA material to British authorities pending the resolution of two Moloney-McIntyre lawsuits.
Clarifying Boston College's position on the issue, Dunn told the press that ten years ago the researchers and key university staff naively presumed that the risk of any British legal action was low, given that the Good Friday agreement emphasized the need to draw a line under a conflict.
Boston College has already surrendered the tapes and transcripts of IRA member Brendan Hughes, a long-time Adams confidante who died in 2008.
Hughes told McIntyre that he had overseen McConville's arrest for allegedly being a British Army spy.
'There was only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed,' Hughes said. 'That man is now the head of Sinn Fein. I did not give the order to execute that woman. He did.'
Meanwhile, Adams' spokesman Richard McAuley told the press that Adams has nothing to hide.
'As to the specific allegations against Gerry, he's consistently denied them,' McAuley said. 'The truth is nobody knows what's on the tapes. We only know the innuendo and insinuation.'
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