Irish-American leaders are expanding opposition campaign to the Boston College subpoenas being pursured by the U.S. Justice Department. After a meeting in New York, leaders of the Ancient Order of Hibernian, Brehon Law Society and Irish American Unity Conference said in a joint statement that appeals will be directed at British consulates, additional members of Congress and to President Obama “to halt British abuse of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.”
The leaders also announced the support of key members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Casey of Peensylvania and Senator Ben Cardin, who is also co-chair of the Committee on the Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission).
Rep. Richard Neal, former chairman of the Friends of Ireland in Congress has also raised questions about the subpoenas.
“The Department of State and the Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer of this nation have failed to acknowledge the legal flaws and policy questions in this request of the British government. The UK’s actions in dismissing an Irish peace pact requirement of a public inquiry into the Finucane murder calls into question why the U.S. should honor this politically suspect MLAT request,” said Seamus Byole, National President of the AOH.
The National President of the Irish American Unity Conference, Thomas J. Burke Jr., stated: “The Committee on Security and Cooperation in Europe documented as recently as this past March the efforts of the British government to undermine the rule of law and the work of justice in Northern Ireland. If the U.S. turns over the records from the Boston College Irish archives to this most discredited Police Service of Northern Ireland one must ask how committed is the United States to the Irish peace process.”
Stated Robert Dunne, president of the Brehon Law Society in New York City: “We are frankly appalled that the same Department of State that scrambled mightily to rescue a Chinese human rights lawyer will not insist the British should abide by the Weston Park agreements and hold a public inquiry into the murder of Irish civil and human rights attorney Patrick Finucane.”
The leaders have asked the members of congress who have supported their opposition to the subpoenas to demand of the Department of State and the attorney general an explanation as to why the U.S. should be a part of a British effort “to collude yet again with loyalist dissidents in impeding justice and adding more uncertainty to the Irish peace process.”