The national presidents of the nation’s two largest Irish American organizations have expressed their disappointment with the recent decision by a federal judge in the case of Boston College and the attempt by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to get hold of records held in the Troubles archives at the university.
The decision was in favor of a request made through Attorney General Eric Holder pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with a request that the subpoena be sealed.
“The judge (U.S. District Court judge, William Young) not only ignored Boston College’s arguments,” stated Ancient Order of Hibernians National President, Seamus Boyle, “but he refused to listen to the arguments of (attorney) Eamonn Dornan that the British were misusing the MLAT treaty for political purposes.”
Dornan had sought to act as an intervener for journalists Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, the primary compilers of the oral history project. Dornan, according to the statement from the Hibernians and the Irish American Unity Conference, had also asked the judge to take note of the history of the Extradition/MLAT treaty ratification and Britain’s attempts to deceive U.S. Senator (John) Kerry and others.
National IAUC President, Thomas Burke, registered his objection to providing the British government any records of the conflict until it met “three simple requests far more serious than the taped recollections of a dissident of the Irish peace process.”
“How can Attorney General Holder, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, turn over records to the British since it (the British government) has failed to respond to requests or produce records of the murder of lawyer Patrick Finucane, a murder in which they collaborated.
“It has failed to respond to the unanimous declaration of the Irish government for British records of the mass murder of the Dublin/Monaghan bombings and it imprisonment of Gerry McGough in defiance of the intent of the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement,” said the Denver-based Burke.
Ned McGinley, former National AOH President, said in the statement that Attorney General Holder had failed to give any substantive response to letters from the presidents of the AOH, IAUC & the Brehon Law Society seeking his rejection of the British request.
Documents from the archives are currently in the possession of Judge Young with a legal tug of war between the sides – most notably Moloney and McIntyre on one side, and the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston on the other – and the next hearing in the case is set for Tuesday, Jan. 24.