Boston College Opinion Shows Holder Way to Reject UK Request

Boston College Opinion Shows Holder Way to Reject UK Request
U.S. Policy and Legal Concerns Can be Weighed
Philadelphia, PA, New York, NY & Denver, CO
July 15th

The federal 1st Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion on the Boston Irish Archives case in which Attorney General Holder has subpoenaed taped interviews at the request of the British government. While dismissing the standing of litigants Moloney & McIntyre and the confidentiality arguments made, Judge Torruella in a concurring opinion affirmed the U.S. government’s right to deny such requests for policy reasons like U.S. support for the 1998 Belfast Agreement or for “political offense” exceptions which were provided for in UK law at the time of the Army crackdown on N.I. civil rights marchers in 1972.

Twelve hundred delegates from the nation’s largest and oldest Irish Catholic organization convened in Verona, New York and their National Board restated its vigorous objection to Britain’s twisting of law to suit its own political agenda. Stated AOH National President Seamus Boyle: “It seems clear to us that this misuse of the MLAT and now the ‘secret evidence’ claims invoked to continue imprisonment of Marian Price, Gerry McGeough and Martin Corey suggest that the British are backtracking on not only the letter but the spirit of the Belfast Agreement and corrupting the rule of law even as it demands the U.S. comply with its request of Boston College.”

Robert Dunne, President of the Brehon Law Society expressed concern for Moloney & McIntyre and the confidentiality and 1st amendment issues they raised but welcomed the Torruella opinion. “We would add to his list of reasons for rejecting the British appeal the fact that the nation’s chief law enforcement officer should feel under no obligation to join hands with a country that colluded in the killing of an officer of the court (Patrick Finucane) and is working to make sure it will never be held accountable.”

“It is time for Attorney General Holder,” stated National IAUC President Thomas J. Burke Jr., “to ask hard questions of our British friends. Why does a never investigated case require MLAT priority while they obstruct the Irish inquiry into the Dublin Monaghan bombings and let languish the murders of hundreds of Catholics including the 11 victims of the 1971 Ballmurphy massacre? This case has politics written all over it. A true sign of our ‘special relationship’ with England would be to help them get their priorities straight by denying this request.”

A meeting with Senator Kerry, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations is contemplated (see below).


July 11, 2012

Honorable John Kerry
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, D. C. 20510

Dear Chairman Kerry:

We wished to bring you up to date since our last meeting in January. As you know we have been slowly convincing other members of Congress of the merit of our opposition to the subpoenas of Attorney General Holder which he issued pursuant to a MLAT request. This education effort has been painstaking because few lawmakers are familiar with the Anglo-Irish conflict and fewer still with the U. S.-U. K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. A bi-partisan group of 18 Members of Congress have followed your example and raised their opposition to the British move in letters to Attorney General Holder or Secretary of State Clinton or both.

The matter has regularly appeared in the Irish-American press and, when events warrant, the general press. For example, the decision by the federal 1st Circuit Court of Appeals was the focus of stories in English and Irish papers, the AP wire service, and several major American newspapers, blogs and cable news programs. It is the court’s decision which prompts this request. Our major concerns in opposition to this misuse of MLAT, and yours, are addressed in a minor but positive way by Judge Torruella’s concurring opinion. We wish to meet with you to discuss your understanding of the opinion and the results of consultations you may have had with Secretary Clinton, Attorney General Holder and others.

Nothing has transpired in the intervening months since our meeting to change our conclusion that this request for Boston College records is without substantive merit, politically motivated, potentially disruptive of the Irish peace process, has the potential of appearing to reward British transgressions of the Belfast Agreement and would most certainly bring disfavor on the office of the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.

May we please meet with you to discuss this further for its implication for American law enforcement and foreign policy. We have made Mr. O’Brien aware of our willingness to meet at your convenience. Thank you for your consideration.


Seamus Boyle, National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Robert Dunne, President
Brehon Law Society

Thomas J. Burke Jr., National President
Irish American Unity Conference