Judge Says He Will Not Unseal Records of Boston College’s Belfast Project

Judge Says He Will Not Unseal Records of Boston College’s Belfast Project
Andy Thomason
Chronicle of Higher Education
June 4, 2014

A federal judge said on Tuesday that he would not unseal records related to the Belfast Project, Boston College’s oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland, The Boston Globe reported.

Judge William G. Young of the U.S. District Court in Boston said during a hearing that he did not have transcripts from the project but had only reviewed them and returned them to the college. NBC News sought the release of the documents in May.

The project has been the subject of controversy since the U.S. Justice Department demanded some interviews, which had been conducted anonymously, on behalf of the police in Northern Ireland, who were investigating a decades-old murder. Researchers involved in the project fought the release of those records, saying that they would expose sources who had participated only after being guaranteed that the interviews would not be released until after they died. Some records were turned over in 2012 as a result of a court order.

The researchers also opposed NBC News’s request to unseal the records, citing the same concern. Justice Department officials also opposed the release of some records, including affidavits and other information about the continuing investigation into the murder.

Judge Young said on Tuesday that he would release some sealed documents unrelated to the investigation, mostly legal arguments.