Dáil Questions: Irish Government Protection of Irish History

Dáil Éireann Debate: Oral Answers
Ceist Pharlaiminte
28 May 2014

Addressed to the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mr. Gilmore) by Deputy Clare Daly for ORAL on Wednesday, 28th May, 2014

Question No. 24

Parliamentary Question – Oireachtas
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has made any approaches to acquire the Boston Tapes archives from Boston College and secure them under a confidentiality and embargoed agreement in order to protect an important part of our history.
– Clare Daly

* For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 28th May, 2014.
Ref No: 23123/14
REPLY from the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mr. Gilmore)

In March 2011 the British Government, acting on behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, initiated proceedings with the US Department of Justice under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the two countries for the release of selected archived interviews held in Boston College. The archives are part of the Belfast Project, an oral history of Republican and Loyalist former paramilitaries compiled by Mr Anthony McIntyre and Mr Ed Moloney and deposited in the College.

Some of those whose testimony is included in the project have since died.
Legal challenges were launched by Boston College, and separately by Mr McIntyre and Mr Moloney, to prevent the release of the material. In December 2011, these challenges were dismissed by US District Court Judge William Young. A further legal challenge was made by Mr McIntyre and Mr Moloney. On 6 July 2013, the US Federal Court of Appeal turned down their appeal.
In accordance with the court ruling, archived material was handed over by Boston College to the US authorities for onward transmission to their British counterparts.

Issues arising from this matter are currently the subject of legal proceedings and in these circumstances I do not wish to comment any further.