In an apparent change of heart, Boston College will not willingly hand over taped interviews with IRA leaders to British authorities. The College is now challenging an order from the court to provide seven tapes to British authorities looking to investigate the kidnapping and murder of Jean McConville in 1972.
Boston.com reports that “US District Court Judge William G. Young wrote that he reviewed 176 transcripts compiled from interviews with 24 people, but only a handful even mention Jean McConville.” British authorities have been investigating the death of McConville, a mother of ten, after her body was recovered in 2003. McConville was murdered in 1972 by the IRA.
Judge Young also noted that there was only one person who “provides information responsive’’ to the incident that British authorities have been investigating for nearly ten years in the tapes. According to Young, “six other interviews make references to McConville and some even mention a ‘shadowy sub-organization with the Irish Republican Army that may or not have had anything to do with the disappearance.’”
Judge Young decided that these seven tapes should be turned over to British authorities for investigation.
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“No other materials from Boston College’s archive need to be produced,” said Judge Young. “And in view of the paucity of information unearthed after extensive review by this Court, it declines to review the ‘very few’ audiotapes not yet transcribed.”
While Boston College initially agreed, there is now an apparent change of heart in that they are attempting to challenge the order.
Jack Dunn, a spokesman for Boston College, said that, “The University is seeking further review of the court’s order to ensure that the value of the interviews to the underlying criminal investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland outweighs the interests in protecting the confidentiality of academic research materials.”
Anthony McIntyre and Ed Moloney, the journalists behind The Belfast Project, said in a statement that, “We would like to welcome Boston College’s decision to lodge an appeal against the subpoenas served against seven of our interviewees but regret that the college finally took this decision too late to include the interviews of Dolours Price.”
Jean McConville was kidnapped and killed by the IRA, who have claimed responsibility for her death, in 1972 in Belfast under suspicion of being an informant. Some former IRA members, including one subject of The Belfast Project, Dolours Price, have said that Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams ordered the murder. Adams denies the allegations.