Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Consent Agenda

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Consent Agenda

Article excerpt

The story of the Boston College subpoenas is a complicated one and understandably THE's account is incomplete ("Law and academy clash in the long shadow of the gun", 16 February). For instance, the article states: "Participants were told that the (Belfast Project) tapes would not be released until after their deaths, though affidavits submitted in the legal case show that the university warned Moloney that it could not guarantee this in the case of a court order."

Missing from the report is reference to the rest of that paragraph, which came from a fax to me from Boston College librarian Bob O'Neill: "Nevertheless the First Amendment to our Constitution is greatly cherished here, and I suspect the courts would look upon these interviews as privileged information. But I am not an attorney." This was the opening shot in negotiations that later produced an assurance from O'Neill that no interviews would be lodged at Boston College if there were any legal risk attached to them.

When the Ulster Volunteer Force later agreed to participate alongside the IRA in the Belfast Project, its representatives met in Belfast with Boston College staff and were assured that the police in Northern Ireland could not get their hands on the interviews. …

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