With legal options winding down on the British request for Boston College records, the three largest Irish-American groups have stepped up appeals to U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The 1st circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed earlier rulings on the Attorney General’s issuance of the subpoenas but substantially reduced the scope of records which must be produced.
The National President of the Irish American Unity Conference, attorney Thomas J. Burke of Denver, CO stated: “We certainly want the Attorney General to determine first whether this request is a valid use of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and secondly to use the discretion provided under the MLAT to deny the UK the requested records. “
“It is important that Mr. Holder seek the advice of Secretary of State John Kerry”, indicated Brendan Moore, National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, “as provided for in the Treaty and for Secretary Kerry to document his concerns for the Irish peace process should any records be turned over to Great Britain.”
Concluded Sean Downes, President of the Brehon Law Society: “As has been noted recently by a review of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, there are reasons to question the British commitment to the pact especially with regard to the failure to hold an independent inquiry in to the murder of N. I. civil rights attorney Patrick Finucane. It is time for the U. S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to review not only the progress or lack thereof on the 1998 Belfast Treaty but to explore the workings of the U. S.-U. K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and the real purpose of these British subpoenas for records held at Boston College.”
The leaders remain steadfast in their belief that resolute action by the United States will demonstrate its commitment to the success of the GFA and to the integrity of the MLAT process.