Irish Americans meet Paterson in NY
NEWS & VIEWS
NOVEMBER 9TH, 2011
A delegation of “concerned Irish Americans” held talks in New York with Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Paterson.
The five member delegation, according to a statement, “expressed concern and disappointment” at the British government’s recent announcement that a full public and open inquiry into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was off the table and would be replaced “by yet another review of the case by a solicitor chosen by the British authorities.”
Also discussed was the ongoing controversy surrounding the issuance of subpoenas to Boston College seeking to obtain oral histories given to the college under a promise of confidentiality.
The delegation pointed out the possible political motivations behind the subpoenas, as well as the potential harm to oral history projects, and to confidentiality promises given by the media to sources.
The group additionally expressed unhappiness with the performance of Al Hutchinson as the police ombudsman in Northern Ireland, this following upon the “acclaimed tenure” of his predecessor, Nuala O’Loan.
“The need for someone in her image as the next ombudsman was stressed after Mr. Hutchinson steps down at year’s end,” the delegation statement said.
It added that Patterson had assured the delegation that the review in the Finucane case would be fair and above board. Regarding the Boston College and the ombudsman questions, he had indicated that the concerns expressed would be considered when decisions were made.
The delegation was made up of Thomas J. Burke, Jr., national president of The Irish American Unity Conference, James Cullen of the Brehon Law Society, Ned McGinley, past national president of The Ancient Order of Hibernians, Domhnall O’Cathain, president of the Irish American Bar Association, and Stephen McCabe, past president of the Brehon Law Society of Nassau County and the Irish Parades Emergency Committee.
King briefed on BC case
NEWS & VIEWS
OCTOBER 26TH, 2011
Details of the Boston College archives case, set to go to court in Massachusetts, were outlined to New York congressman Peter King last week in a briefing carried out by Ned McGinley, past AOH national president and Steve McCabe of The Brehon Law Society and Irish Parades Emergency Committee.
Representative King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, was briefed on the background of the situation and brought up to date on developments.
Said McGinley and McCabe after the meeting: “It was pointed out (to Rep. King) that not only are there broad implications for the ongoing and sometimes fragile peace process in the north of Ireland, but that important issues have been raised about the stifling of oral history programs in academia, and First Amendment issues regarding confidentiality promised by journalists.
“That this would set a bad precedent was pointed out to Mr. King, who showed great interest and expressed concern.”
Meanwhile, Thomas J. Burke, Jr., national president of The Irish American Unity Conference, has written to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calling her attention to the BC case and requesting her assistance.