Sunday, May 15, 2011

Boston College Asked to Give Up Recordings

Oral history recordings for a project at Boston College are at the center of a controversy, according to the New York Times.

The recordings were made of paramilitary fighters from both cultural traditions on a promise of confidentiality of each interview until the subject person interviewed became deceased. Now authorities in the United Kingdom have subpoened the accounts of two former republican fighters who apparently accused Gerry Adams, the president of the republican political party Sinn Fein, of directing a hidden group within the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that carried out certain kidnappings and disappearances. Gerry Adams has long denied having been a member of the IRA, let alone having any involvement in the kidnappings and disappearances.

The recordings are held in the Boston College library and were used in the efforts of the Center for Irish Programs. The site of the program at Boston College was chosen in March, approximately two months ago, to hold the archive of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning. A site in the United States was seen as a compromise given chosing a university in Belfast or Dublin would carry a potentially negative association for one or the other cultural traditions in Ireland. The records of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning are sealed for thirty years.

While concerns have been expressed about the ability of universities to research such conflict and resolutions if the confidentiality of such interviews is not maintained, a basis under the United States constitution for resisting the subpoena has not been articulated publicly.

Subsequent Posting On Boston College's Resistance to the Subpoena

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