Ex-IRA prisoner questioned by Irish police (The Guardian)

Anthony McIntyre helped create Boston College’s archive of paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland, but was promised lifetime anonymity

An ex-IRA prisoner, who played a key role in piecing together the controversial Boston College archive of former paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, has been questioned by Irish police.

It is the first time the Garda Síochána has become involved in the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s investigations into the historic archive, which writers and journalists have said compromises academic freedom.

Gardai paid a visit to the home of Anthony McIntyre, one of the key researchers in the Boston College’s Belfast Project – an archive of testimonies from ex-IRA and Ulster loyalist activists about their involvement in violence during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Those who took part in the recorded archive were promised that their stories about involvement in armed struggle during the conflict would only be made public after their deaths. But the PSNI pursued the archive through the courts in the US and won access to a limited part of that archive.

The PSNI has used the tapes and recorded material to build court cases against a number of retired IRA and loyalist activists. They also used the archive to arrest Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin president, who is accused by a former Belfast IRA commander of creating a secret unit in the early 1970s to weed out, kill and bury in secret people they believed were working for the British security forces. Adams has always denied any role in the unit or indeed membership of the IRA.

Ed Moloney, the Belfast Project’s director, confirmed on his blog The Broken Elbow that two Garda detectives visited the McIntyre family home in Drogheda, Co Louth in the Irish Republic on Sunday.

Moloney said: “Citing a request from the PSNI, made under mutual legal assistance provisions between the UK and Ireland, the detectives put a number of questions to Mr McIntyre on behalf of the PSNI. The exchange was brief and polite and Mr McIntyre declined to answer the questions.”

The Garda Síochána has been asked to investigate claims by McIntyre and his wife Carrie that they were targets of an eavesdropping/spying operation last year.

Carrie Twomey, McIntyre’s wife, claimed her phone calls and emails to US diplomatic staff in Dublin and Belfast were illegally intercepted. Twomey has reported her concerns to the Garda Síochána.

Last year, the Sunday World newspaper in Belfast reported that Twomey had written to the embassy and the US consulate in Belfast seeking political asylum for herself, her children and her husband. She has denied reports that her family are seeking asylum and that she ever worked on the Boston College project.

Twomey and McIntyre believe a “dirty tricks department” connected to former members of the IRA illegally hacked and recorded her emails to the US embassy in Dublin. The communications published in the Sunday World’s northern edition were a near verbatim copy of the emails she had sent to the American diplomats.

The couple have lodged a complaint to the Garda Síochána about the alleged hacking incident stating that there was no other way the paper could have obtained the material.


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