US Supreme Court to hear IRA tapes case

US Supreme Court to hear IRA tapes case
Emily Payne
Sunday Times

TWO Boston College researchers who interviewed IRA members for an oral history project have announced their intention to ask the United States Supreme Court to prevent the tapes from being handed over to the British authorities.

On Friday, the First US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, who had previously rejected their case in July 2012, made the decision not to rehear their case.

In a joint statement, Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre said their lawyers would argue that “the MLAT [Mutual legal assistance treaty] bestows upon the PSNI [Police Service of Northern Ireland] greater powers in relation to the serving of subpoenas in the US than could be exercised by, for instance, the FBI.

The BBC reported that US citizens could challenge a subpoena served by the FBI on First and Fifth Amendment grounds but are precluded from doing so in the case of subpoenas served by foreign powers under an MLAT.

Prosecutors representing the British authorities in the UK have issued subpoenas seeking information on the murder of Jean McConville in 1972, at the hand of the IRA. They have admitted involvement.

The Belfast Project tapes include interviews with convicted bomber Delores Price. In a separate interview with a newspaper Price claimed that she drove McConville, a mother of ten, to her death.

These subpoenas were issued under a Mutual Legal Assistance treaty between the United States and Britain.

The Belfast Project’s aim was to document “The Troubles”. The researchers had promised their sources that the information from interviews recorded between 2001 and 2006 would not be released until their death.

Moloney, the director of the project, and McIntyre, a former IRA member, believe they could be in danger if the interviews are released. They also say that the release of these interviews would have a negative effect on the future of academic research.

A spokesperson for Boston College, Jack Dunn, had no comment.

Separately, the Boston College is the midst of a legal battle over a second subpoena. They will argue their appeal in court next Friday.