Boston College: Project Director and Researchers Statement

Statement from Ed Moloney, Anthony McIntyre & Wilson McArthur:

Following the disclosure in the current edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education that Boston College misled ourselves and the participants in the oral history project into believing that the donor contract or agreement for interviewees had been vetted by the college’s legal advisers when it had not been, we are consulting our attorneys about the legal implications.

During the preparation of the project in 2001, the putative project director, Ed Moloney wrote to Bob O’Neill, the Burns librarian at the college outlining the possible wording for the donor agreement but asking him to run it past the college’s lawyer. O’Neill replied in an email: “I am working on the wording of the contract to be signed by the interview[ee], and I’ll run this by Tom [Hachey] and university counsel.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote in its article published today that O’Neill has now admitted that he never did check with a lawyer and instead issued a contract to us that gave the interviewees complete control and ownership of the interviewees until they died. Instead the contract should have warned participants that the interview could be seized by the authorities.

The article, quotes Mr O’Neill as saying: “In retrospect, that was my mistake.”

Mr Moloney commented: “We went ahead on the basis that we believed O’Neill had cleared the contract with lawyers and that it was safe for the participants to give interviews. Had we known the true position the project would have been stillborn.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education report can be read here: http://chronicle.com/article/Secrets-from-Belfast/144059/