Boston College to challenge handover of interviews

Boston College to challenge handover of interviews
Irish Times
GERRY MORIARTY Northern Editor
Thu, Feb 23, 2012

BOSTON COLLEGE has decided to appeal the decision of the US district court requiring the college to hand over interviews from seven republicans who participated in its oral history project on the Troubles.

The college, however, is not appealing a ruling that tapes of interviews with former IRA prisoner Dolours Price be handed over to the British authorities.

In a statement the college confirmed that on Friday it filed an appeal against the requirement that it turn over all or parts of the interviews with the seven republicans which were carried out by writer and former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre.

“The university is seeking further review of the court’s order to ensure that the value of the interviews to the underlying criminal investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland outweighs the interests in protecting the confidentiality of academic research materials,” Boston College said in its statement.

The so-called Belfast Project was directed by author and journalist Ed Moloney and involved interviews with former IRA and loyalist paramilitaries based on guarantees that the information would not be disclosed until after they died.

Dr McIntyre carried out interviews with 26 former IRA members. Challenging the demand for the interviews to be released, Moloney and Dr McIntyre said such action would endanger the life of Dr McIntyre and his family and the lives of those who gave the interviews. Moloney, Dr McIntyre and Wilson McArthur – who interviewed loyalists who engaged with the project – issued a qualified welcome for the Boston College appeal, but again called on the university to take action to try to safeguard the tapes of Ms Price.

“With respect to the standard of review of the materials, we can see absolutely no difference between the seven cases now to be appealed by Boston College and that of Dolours Price. For our part, we will continue our fight to protect all our interviewees, republican and loyalist, including Dolours Price,” they added.

Dr McIntyre said last night there was no reason why the college couldn’t also seek to protect Ms Price’s tapes. “They are covering their tracks and have abandoned Dolours. There is no rhyme, reason or consistency or logic to it. We are still in the fight to protect Dolours and everybody else, and Boston College should do the same,” he added.

None of the tapes has been handed over to the British authorities yet pending the outcomes of the appeals. Tapes have been given to a US commissioner acting on behalf of the US justice department.