TWO detectives from PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch have travelled to Boston to collect taped conversations with former IRA members.
The recordings contain information on the Disappeared from former IRA members.
It comes after a US Supreme Court judge upheld a ruling in April that the material should be handed over to the authorities investigating the murder of Jean McConville.
“The officers will return to Northern Ireland to assess the material and continue with their inquiries,” a PSNI spokesperson confirmed.
The recordings were carried out under the supervision of the Boston College researchers Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre.
The discussions known as the ‘Boston College tapes’ began in 2001 with republican and loyalist paramilitaries to form part of an oral history of the Troubles.
Ex-IRA member Dolours Price was one of the interviewees, and it is claimed the former prisoner discussed the disappearance of Jean McConville.
The mother of ten was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972. Her body was recovered more than 30 years later.
The interviews were conducted under the assurance that the tapes would not be made public while the subjects were still alive. Price was found dead at her home in Dublin in January this year.
Former IRA member Brendan Hughes, who also took part in the project, died in 2008.
Authorities investigating Mrs McConville’s disappearance had called for the US government to subpoena the documents, invoking a treaty between the UK and USA.
But Moloney and McIntyre – himself a former IRA volunteer-turned-writer – had argued that the tapes should be withheld under the First Amendment.
An American court refused to hear an appeal lodged by Moloney and McIntyre in April.
The project was supposed to provide a reference for students and academics studying the conflict.
It was done on the condition that no interview would be released until after the contributor had died.
Interviews with one loyalist, and one republican contributor formed the backbone of a book and television documentary following their deaths.
David Ervine and Brendan Hughes spoke candidly about their time in the UVF and IRA, and Hughes claimed Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams gave the order for Jean McConville to be abducted and murdered.
Following a newspaper report on Dolours Price, in which she allegedly claimed to have been involved in the disappearances, the PSNI began proceedings in the US courts to obtain her interviews, and any others relating to the disappeared.
The project director, Ed Moloney, and his researcher, Anthony McIntyre, resisted the attempts, and had hoped that the Supreme Court would overturn a Boston Federal Court decision to hand the tapes over.
Mr Moloney has said that Ms Price, who was part of the cell that bombed the Old bailey in 1973, did not make claims about the Disappeared in the interviews in any case.