Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Boston Makes 11th-Hour Belfast Project Appeal

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Boston Makes 11th-Hour Belfast Project Appeal

Article excerpt

Boston College has appealed against part of a US court decision forcing it to turn over transcripts of oral histories of sectarian violence to police in Northern Ireland after weeks of international criticism.

The interviews, conducted with Northern Irish Republicans and Loyalists under a promise of confidentiality, were subpoenaed at the request of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which is investigating the murder 40 years ago of Jean McConville, a Belfast mother of 10.

Boston College said it wanted further judicial review to confirm that the series of tapes, titled the Belfast Project, genuinely cast enough light on the 1972 abduction and killing of Ms McConville - whom the IRA believed to have been an informant - to outweigh any threat to academic freedom posed by the case.

"The university is seeking further review of the court's order to ensure that the value of the interviews to the underlying criminal investigation ... outweighs the interests in protecting the confidentiality of academic research materials," Jack Dunn, spokesman for Boston College, said in a statement.

The university fought the original subpoena, which was issued by the US government on behalf of Northern Irish investigators under a legal- assistance treaty. …

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