Senator intervenes in Boston tapes case

Published Tuesday, 09 July 2013
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US Senator Robert Menendez has outlined certain conditions he wants to see imposed on any future handover of Boston College tapes to PSNI.

Senator intervenes in Boston tapes case
Mr Menendez is seeking conditions be imposed on any future handover. (© Getty)

It comes after two PSNI detectives travelled to collect interviews connected to their investigation into the murder of one of the so-called Disappeared, Jean McConville.

A US Court of Appeal ordered that 11 interviews out of 85 be handed over to Northern Irish authorities, after it found a lower court ordered the release of more information than legally required.

In a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he was concerned the material's release could threaten the peace process.

Mr Menendez demanded that the State department should vet the interviews to be handed over to determine whether their release would damage relations or counter US interest.

The New Jersey Democrat also said the US should invoke a clause in the Treaty with Britain to allow for the transfer of the interviews only for purposes which the US approves and has given consent to - which would allow the American government to bar the use of the interviews in civil proceedings.

"Our country made a significant diplomatic investment in resolving "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland," Mr Menendez said in the letter.

"It would be a terrible error in judgement if the United States was to not engage now in the due diligence necessary to protest our investment in this hard-won peace."

The letter was published on Boston College campaigner Ed Moloney's website.

He and Mr McIntyre have welcomed the senator's intervention and say they hope to see his requests translated into action.

The men carried out the interviews as part of the 'Belfast Project' which began in 2001 with republican and loyalist paramilitaries to form part of an oral history of the Troubles.

Ex-IRA member Dolours Price was one of the interviewees, and it is claimed the former prisoner discussed the disappearance of Ms McConville.

The mother of ten was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972. Her body was recovered more than 30 years later.

The interviews were conducted under the assurance that the tapes would not be made public while the subjects were still alive. Price was found dead at her home in Dublin in January this year.

Former IRA member Brendan Hughes, who also took part in the project, died in 2008.

© UTV News
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10 Comments
Tommy atkins in London, England wrote (405 days ago):
OK I disagree with Mendez and the withholding of the tapes. But I do think Mendez knows the N Ireland well enough and feels that there are those who simply cannot ever handle the truth
Iain in Belfast wrote (407 days ago):
"This can only be a good thing". Ok genius explain how? Oh lets guess its because you are selective in seeing justice done (its only the big bad state that hides secrets). Clear off back to the dark ages Eamo.
Robert in Belfast wrote (407 days ago):
To much can upset to many people in this so called peace process........for goodness sake put the victims first to many people have got away with to much for to long time for people to grow a set in this country especially the police truth and justice is what our country has to be built on orherwise it will just end up like the past....
Marco1690 in Lisburn wrote (407 days ago):
American 'investment' in resolving 'the troubles'..... Lets talk about the investment Americans made in keeping the troubles going through their funding of the scum of the IRA!!!! Who is a US Senator to interfere in OUR business!!! I wonder would they be so keen to interfere if this was Loyalist tapes being released...????
Eamo in Belfast wrote (407 days ago):
This can only be a good thing for to long Britiannia thought she ruled tge waves but now maybe not the airwaves.
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