Dramatic move as Senator John Kerry steps into Boston College dispute
Says he is concerned release of tapes will impact Irish peace process
Senator John Kerry has made a dramatic intervention in the Boston College IRA tapes controversy.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kerry (D-Mass.) urged the State Department to “work with the British authorities” in the hope that they will “reconsider the path they have chosen” with regard to Boston College’s Belfast Project.
Saying the subpoenas had “implications for the confidentiality of other research projects of this nature,” Senator Kerry also said in the letter that he is “obviously concerned about the impact that it may have on the continued success of the Northern Ireland peace process.”
The letter also sees Senator Kerry point out how he spoke with Attorney General Eric Holder on the matter late last year.
In a recent conference call with a number of Irish-American organizations, it is understood Senator Kerry indicated he would speak personally with British Foreign Secretary William Hague on the issue. On the same call, he is said to have not ruled out the possibility of a hearing on the matter in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he chairs.
Speaking with The Irish Emigrant, Boston-based attorney John Foley, who has been actively lobbying on behalf of the Belfast Project’s directors McIntyre and Moloney, said a lot of hard work had gone into getting Senator Kerry on board, and hoped that “we can finally end this waste of time and effort.”
“Drew O’Brien at Senator Kerry’s office has been instrumental in getting things to this stage,” Foley said. “He’s been a great help in terms of getting on top of the issues at hand, and getting us the political response we need.”
In total the Belfast Project included interviews with around 50 republican and loyalist paramilitaries gathered between 2001 and 2006, under the condition that they would not be released until the interviewees had passed away.At present, sensitive interview tapes relating to former IRA operative Dolours Price lie in the hands of US prosecutors, with a Boston appeal hearing set to decide in March if they should be handed to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
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