Robert Menendez voices strong opposition to IRA Boston College tapes handover
Interviews could run counter to US national interests Menendez claims
The Chairperson of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez raised his concerns yesterday over the release of interview tapes of former IRA paramilitaries from the Boston College archive.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Menendez said he is concerned that the release of material from the archive could ‘still have the effect of threatening the precious peace won by the Good Friday Agreement.’
In his letter Menendez appealed for State Department experts on Northern Ireland to examine whether the details contained in the interviews could damage reconciliation or ‘run counter to our national interests.’
If the material is handed over Menendez asked that a section of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty be invoked, which would block the material contained on the tapes from being used in civil proceedings.
In his letter Menendez tells Kerry that the U.S. government should 'impress upon the British government' that the release of the material is conditioned on the fact that it would not be used in a civil case.
Concluding his letter, Menendez said it would be a 'terrible error in judgment' if the U.S. did not engage in what he called 'due diligence' to protect 'our investment in this hard-won peace.'
A report by the Associated Press at the weekend claimed the Boston College tapes are now in the possession of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. However Jack Dunn, director of public affairs at Boston College, told IrishCentral that Boston College itself has had no part in the alleged handover.
‘The Dolours Price tapes have not been handed over to the PSNI by Boston College,’ Dunn told IrishCentral. ‘If they have been given to the PSNI they have been supplied by the Department of Justice. It has been inaccurately reported that PSNI detectives came to Boston over the weekend and took tapes from us. That is completely untrue.’
Two sets of tapes are in question, the first set contain the interviews given by Dolours Price, a former member of the IRA who passed away in January. The second set of tapes were conducted with other former paramilitaries and have been edited into segments that are unlikely to aid criminal prosecutions sources say.
‘The tapes at Boston College from the second subpoena are still here at Boston College and will remain here until we make a determination of what we will do regarding the favorable court ruling in June,’ Dunn explained.
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