Boston College sued over tapes project

Published Tuesday, 13 May 2014
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Boston College is being sued by participants in the 'Belfast Project'.

Boston College sued over tapes project
Mr O'Rawe plans to take the case to the High Court in Belfast. (© UTV)

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.

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Davey in Antrim wrote (70 days ago):
If you have not committed any offences then you have nothing to worry about. Stop wasting tax payers money on legal aid challenges. Get your Political Party to represent you and use their money in the action.
Survivor in NI wrote (70 days ago):
What a surprise this is? Not!! A friend of Gerry Adams is suing Boston College. Nothing but an attempt to discredit whatever evidence the PSNI has found on the tapes.
jackie in belfast wrote (70 days ago):
Hope Mr O`Rawe is paying for this high court case ! Don`t know why he feels threatened as Mr Adams said only two weeks ago that the IRA have gone ! Could it be Mr O`Rawe doesn`t believe Gerry ?
joan preswood in Larne wrote (70 days ago):
I find this ridicious that terrorist think they can make money out of their involvement in the troubles. Before these individuals went to Boston and done the interviews, they should have got private legal advice on this issues. They should have known better that governments can go through the courts to gain access to documents, tapes etc they may need to gain information on certain things
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