Ed Moloney: State controlling how history of NI conflict told

The state is controlling how the history of the Northern Ireland conflict is told, author Ed Moloney said.

He produced a new film about the Troubles - I, Dolours - which focuses on the story former IRA prisoner Dolours Price told him.

Mr Moloney was involved in a long-running legal battle after detectives took action to secure the release of interviews he conducted with former republican and loyalist paramilitaries.

Conversations recorded on the Boston College Tapes were supposed to be secret until the contributors died.

Mr Moloney said: "Essentially what they were saying to people was, no, no, the state does this, the state are the people... who will decide how history is told.

"Freelance efforts like this are not going to be allowed and that has been the major effect of them moving against Boston College.

"(It) is to prevent and inhibit other people from following in our footsteps in a real way, telling the real story, telling truthful stories and painful stories and violent stories, which are the ones that have to be told at the end of the day."

Ms Price, who died in 2013, was one of the IRA gang that bombed the Old Bailey in 1973.

She was adamantly opposed to the very existence of Stormont and steeped in traditional republicanism, Mr Moloney said.

The film provided a disturbing account of how one of the Disappeared, Jean McConville, was abducted, shot dead and secretly buried by the IRA.

Ms Price described how she and two other IRA members were involved in murdering the Belfast mother-of-10 at a beach in Co Louth in the Irish Republic in 1972.

Ms Price has said Ms McConville was abducted because she was an informer - denied by her family and former police ombudsman Baroness Nuala O'Loan.

Mr Moloney acknowledged Ms McConville's family's concerns but said some others had seen the film for what it was about, Ms Price's "futile" and "failed" life which left her a victim.

"In a sense it is a very sad story, of a life wasted, a life unfulfilled."

Film director Maurice Sweeney said audiences would be conflicted and there had been very different reactions.

He said they had not shied away from uncomfortable subjects and using Ms Price's words gave the film a ring of authenticity.

"I would urge people not to judge but to try and understand why people made decisions in their lives and the consequences when a person gives themselves to violence of some form or another - there is a pay-off to that.

"Dolours found that in a very emotional way."

The film will be shown at the Belfast Film Festival on August 13 and will be released on August 31.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Detective Chief Superintendent Sean Wright said: "The PSNI have had no involvement with this film and its content will be considered in due course after its release."

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