Burns Librarian Robert O’Neill, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, claims “the materials [donation agreements/key to archive] were not lost; rather, they were never received, in clear violation of [Ed Moloney’s] contractual obligation.”
The contract reference is found in Agreement A , aka the Moloney Agreement, on page 2:
“The Project Director will develop a standard coding system for all interviews.
The transcribed and tape/video recorded interviews will be given an anonymous numerical/alphabetical identity and stored both in Belfast and at Boston College.
A separate key to this code shall be kept and be accessible only to the Project Director and to the Burns Librarian.
The key should be kept only in Boston and should only be transported to Boston by hand (i.e., during the Burns Librarian’s visits to Ireland).
The statements of authenticity should also be kept separate from the transcripts/tapes and stored alongside the key to the codes at Boston College.”
The standard practice was for the Burns Librarian to collect the donor agreements from the researchers during his visits to Ireland.
The Burns Librarian was to bring the hand-collected agreements, identified with their code as seen in the Brendan Hughes agreement, back to Boston College with him, where the material would be archived.
The codified transcripts/interviews were sent separately, directly to Boston College.
The Project Director was not involved whatsoever in this procedure, nor does the contract state he should be.
Note: “While that Agreement refers to interview materials being stored both in Belfast and at Boston College, in fact all of the materials were sent for deposit in the Burns Library, to assure their security and confidentiality.”
– Robert K O’Neill affidavit;
“Although that Agreement provides that interview materials would be stored in both Belfast and in the Burns Library at Boston College, it was decided from the outset that for security reasons that the sole repository for the materials would be the Burns Library at Boston College”
– Ed Moloney affidavit
In regards to the Dolours Price donor agreement, Robert O’Neill’s affidavit states:
“I understand that the person who interviewed Dolours Price, Anthony McIntyre, recalls that she signed a donation agreement in the form of O’Neill Attachment 2, and that he sent the form she had executed to the Burns Library. We have conducted a search of the archives of the Belfast Project and have been unable to find the form executed by Dolours Price, but we have no reason to doubt that she did sign one, just as the same donation agreement was signed by most of the other interviewees in the Belfast Project.”