Concerns raised over case of Boston papers

Concerns raised over case of Boston papers
GENEVIEVE CARBERY
The Irish Times
Friday, February 17, 2012

THE COMMISSION to find the North’s “disappeared” has expressed concern about the effect on potential sources of Boston College’s release of IRA interviews to authorities.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains yesterday assured an Oireachtas committee that information it received would never be passed on to authorities.

The commission will come to the end of its planned searches in April, it told the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Commission investigator Geoff Knupfer said the Boston College issue had been flagged by republican intermediaries who told them it was going to cause “enormous problems”.

In December Boston College was ordered by a judge to turn over some interviews with former IRA members which were part of an oral history project on the Troubles. The US prosecutors were acting on behalf of British authorities investigating Jean McConville’s disappearance.

Mr Knupfer said the commission’s archives and records would “always” be maintained by it and “never passed on to any other body”. Records were ”absolutely safe and secure for the future”, he added.

Commissioner Sir Ken Bloomfield said “our business is our business”, and people should be in no doubt about that. “We don’t prepare files or papers for DPP,” Commissioner Frank Murray added.

The commission has located 10 bodies since it was established in 1998, with seven of “the disappeared” still missing.

Commissioner Bloomfield said he had received assurances from Minister for Justice Alan Shatter that there was “no question” of a cutback in the body’s resources. The commission had cost some €4 million in the past four years.

Once the commission finished its “active phase” of work, the structure would remain in place to continue investigations in the future, Mr Knupfer said.