A coalition of the largest and most active Irish American organizations are seeking big name help in the battle to roll back the subpoena directed at Boston College’s Irish oral history archive.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians, Brehon Law Society and Irish American Unity Conference are reaching out to former president Bill Clinton, former senator Chris Dodd, who now heads the Motion Picture Association and Congressman Peter King, currently Friends of Ireland chairman and also chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
The organizations are hoping that the three will help them in their fight against what a statement described as “the unprecedented request of the British government to conduct a fishing expedition of the oral history records held in the Burns Archives of Boston College.”
They stated that the college was fighting the subpoena for these records which was issued by Attorney General Holder pursuant to the U.S./UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).
“Our careful consideration of this action by her majesty’s government has concluded that those opposed to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement are the principal beneficiaries of this unprecedented corruption of the purpose of the MLAT,” said Ned McGinley, former national president of the AOH.
General Jim Cullen, a member of the legal team that recently met with Senator John Kerry’s staff to discuss the subpoena said: “Even as the litigation follows its course, we are united in our belief that the subpoena should be withdrawn for reasons permitted in the language of the treaty documents.”
Cullen, whose rank is as a result of his service with the army’s JAG corps, said that to respond to the request “would be detrimental to public policy supporting the peace process and in contradiction to America’s legal principles and justice values.”
Cullen said that the British refusal to publicly disclose information on their security services’ role in the Dublin/Monaghan bombings and the assassination of Patrick Finucane and Rosemary Nelson should give pause to Attorney General Holder’s enforcement of the subpoena.
“We have in these three individuals, Dodd, King and Clinton, key players in the process leading to the Belfast agreement,” said Tom Fox of the IAUC.
He said he believed the three remain interested in assuring that the work of justice was pivotal to peace.
“In this instance, elements within the RUC/PSNI have attempted to politicize the legal process in an apparent attempt to interfere in the elections of a sovereign nation. No good can come from this maneuver and it should be stopped,” said Fox.