Boston College sued over tapes project

Boston College sued over tapes project

Boston College is being sued by participants in the 'Belfast Project'.

The legal action is being led by Richard O'Rawe, one of a number of former paramilitaries who gave interviews about their past as part of the controversial oral history project.It was intended that the information would not be made public during their lifetime, however some of the details were released to the PSNI following a court case.Mr O'Rawe alleges that the contract he entered into with Boston College did not warn him that his testimony might be subject to release under a court order as part of other investigations.He said he has, as a result, suffered from "serious intimidation and distress together with reputational damage as is evidenced by recent widespread graffiti appearing in west Belfast."Mr O'Rawe now intends to bring the case before the High Court in Belfast.A statement released through his lawyers added: "I entered into the project in good faith in order to contribute to an important historical narrative of the conflict. My contribution never mentioned anything about the disappearance and murder of Jean McConville because I knew nothing about it."Despite that the police were still able to get my recordings."They should never have been allowed to do that. I blame Boston College for the mess and I want them held accountable for putting me in this position."The Boston recordings are known to include accounts from high-profile figures like IRA members Brendan Hughes, Ivor Bell and Dolours Price, and UVF man turned PUP leader David Ervine.Some of the details which have been revealed include accusations against Gerry Adams - which he was questioned about following his arrest over the 1972 murder of Jean McConville. The Sinn Féin leader was detained for four days before being released pending report to the PPS.Earlier this month Boston College moved to distance itself from the tapes project.A statement said: "The interviews that make up the archive were conducted by former members of the paramilitary organisations, who were hired by the journalist Ed Moloney."Neither the interviewers, Anthony McIntyre and Wilson McArthur, nor Mr Moloney were employed in or by the History Department at Boston College. They were subcontracted to do the job by people acting outside the department and without the involvement of the department."Mr O'Rawe said Boston College has a subsidiary company based in Dublin and under European law he is therefore entitled to bring his case to the High Court in Belfast.

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