Boston College Ruling: “These are serious allegations, and they weigh strongly in favor of disclosing the confidential information.”

Via Newshound.  The Boston Globe reports the long awaited US court ruling on the release of the Boston College archive material.  And it’s something of a half-way house.  For now.  From the Boston Globe report

A federal judge rejected yesterday a motion by the trustees of Boston College to quash subpoenas that order them to turn over recordings of former members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and other items to British officials investigating crimes including murder and kidnapping.

But Judge William G. Young did not order BC to immediately turn over the materials to federal prosecutors in Boston, who issued the subpoenas on behalf of British authorities.

Instead, Young said in his 48-page ruling that he would review the materials and decide on the next step, writing that the subpoenas were made “in good faith, and relevant to a nonfrivolous criminal inquiry. Nor are the materials readily available from a less sensitive source’’ than the recordings at BC.

But it seems that almost everyone can claim victory…

Jack Dunn, a spokesman for BC, said by phone that the university was pleased with the ruling: “While the motion to quash the subpoenas was denied, the court, in agreeing to review the research materials . . . granted [the college] what it was seeking by promising to determine what materials, if any, are relevant’’ to the criminal investigations.

Assistant US Attorney John McNeil, also hailed the ruling. He said that Young affirmed that the recordings are relevant to a criminal inquiry. Also, he said, the ruling indicates that “the US government’s obligation [under the treaty with Britain and] the public interest in this criminal inquiry are compelling.’’

BC must turn over the materials to Young by Wednesday.

Adds Those not claiming victory have responded to the ruling here.

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  • Cynic2

    That’s a defeat for Boston College then. If there is evdience there then the police and prosecutors get it.

    Now that principle has been establsihed, will that soon leave a few seats in the Assembly and Dail then or will the PPS deciede that its ‘not in the public interest’ to rake over old murders or alleagtions – except those against soldiers and cops of course?

  • galloglaigh


    If there is evidence there, then the police and prosecutors should get it right. So that applies to the MOD in relation to Britain’s dirty war over the last 40 years?

  • Pete Baker

    Adds Those not claiming victory have responded to the ruling here.

  • Mary Anna

    Its about time -why wait -for everyone to die- wish i was that fly on the wall. Fair play to Darkie Hughes -Dolores Price- you all deserve a medal. Heros! They are all sitting pretty up in Stromont making money out of the dead – I believe that the sinners honeymoon with dup is coming to a shared ending (All is fair in love and war)

  • While it is understandable why the police wish to get their hands on the information, it will be a pity if it prevents others confessing their misdeeds even if it’s only posthumously.

  • Cynic2


    I assume you have been able to read my other posts on that issue. Yes.

  • Cynic2

    “Those not claiming victory have responded to the ruling here.”

    Seeing Ed subpoenaed as a witness should be fun!

  • Alias

    It would be a poor outcome for investigative research if the work of journalists and academics should be held to be simply another form of police investigation.

    Besides, how could Judge Young fully understand the significance of what he will be listening to on the tapes? Without someone from the NIO advising him, it is unlikely he will understand the significance and therefore unlikely that he is the best person to make the relevant judgement.

  • Alias

    Just to add that while that ‘poor outcome’ has already befallen the work of Mr Moloney and Mr McIntyre (wih the judge merely adding the proviso that the work must be actually relevant to the police before they have the right to access it), there would still be a big difference between handing the work over to the police and refusing to do so in terms of the worth of the assurance of confidentiality that would be placed in such work by others in future.

  • Maradona

    Boston College have a tape on which a convicted bomber admits to driving people to their murders who were then Disappeared.
    But Ed Moloney thinks building up a historical archive of these confessions is more important than these killers being prosecuted.
    Hand the tapes over.

  • Digital History

    Maradona how do you know what is in the Boston tapes? Those are confidential and it is pure speculation what is on those tapes. They have not been released yet so how can anyone know what is on them.

    Why does the Irish News or Sunday Life not hand over their tapes?

    Why doesn’t Ciaran Barnes give the PSNI the tapes he heard and based his tabloid reports on? Does he think writing sensationalist tabloid reports is more important than “these killers being prosecuted”? He should hand the tapes he based his Sunday Life reports on over, don’t you agree?

  • Maradona

    If you read Moloneys rants it is very clear he knows that Price is on tape admitting involvement in the disppaeared. There is no denial about that.
    If the child killer Robert Black admitted murdering another kid in the 80s to a reporter on tape do you think that tape should be held in an acrchive and not released until he died.
    Whats the difference between that and Price’s tapes?
    Murder is murder.
    Moloney is playing the victim here. Spare me. The real victim in Jean McConville and her 10 kids.

  • Digital History

    So you are still speculating about both what Moloney knows and about what is on the Boston tapes – how could you possibly know either?

    You appear to agree that Ciaran Barnes should give the tapes he heard to the PSNI – after all those were the tapes the US Attorney used to justify their subpoena. And you are not denying that is what he should do, are you?

    I mean otherwise he is guilty of exploiting Jean McConville and her 10 kids all for the sake of sensationalist stories in the Sunday Life.

    How pleasant for Helen McKendry to receive a phone call from Ciaran Barnes asking her how she feels about Dolours Price’s comments – which he got, where, exactly? Not from her Boston College tapes, surely. But it made for good copy that week, didn’t it just.

    Why has it taken this long for Barnes to do the right thing, do you think? What do you think he believes the right thing to do is? Do you think he holds himself to the same standard as you are holding Moloney?

  • Maradona

    From reading the various stories online it is apparent that Moloney and Boston College is the only person/group with a tape filled with admissions to murder.
    No one else does, not the Irish News, not the Sunday Life.
    Even Moloney doesnt dispute that.
    Is it any wonder the cops want that tape.
    If Boston College was so concerned about the Sunday Life and Irish News reporting why didnt it pull them about it at the time?
    Why did it wait until over a year later when the court action had started?

  • Digital History

    “Sunday Life has heard tape recordings made by Price in which she details the allegations against Adams and confesses her own involvement in a series of murders and secret burials.”
    Are these the stories you are referring to?

    Why, that is Ciaran Barnes of the Sunday Life who describes hearing ‘a tape filled with admissions to murder’! It’s not Ed Moloney writing that.

    And reading Moloney’s articles online, he does vehemently dispute all speculation about what is on the Boston College tapes.

    It IS a wonder why the cops don’t want Barnes’ tape, though! If the PSNI were so concerned about “recordings made by Price in which she details the allegations against Adams and confesses her own involvement in a series of murders and secret burials” why, as you ask, have they not pulled Barnes about it, either at the time of publication, or now?

    Why did they wait until after they initiated court action in a foreign jurisdiction, activating an international treaty to do so, and after court papers rebutting their request were filed, before they contacted the Irish News to ask for Allison Morris’ tape? Over a year after her interview was published?

    And why were they satisfied with the answer that the tapes were no longer in Morris’ possession? That seems rather simple, compared to the lengths they went to attempting to get the Boston College tapes.

    It is funny that the only reason they knew of the existence of the Boston College tapes was because of Ciaran Barnes’ stories in the Sunday Life, and yet — they have not sought Barnes’ tapes. Even though he writes so strongly about the content of the tapes he heard. He even goes so far to write: “In her tape recorded confession, which Sunday Life has heard, Price claims that Adams played a key role in disappearing victims.”

    Imagine the feather in the cap of the PSNI/HET team that landed Adams in court charged with disappearing people!

    Isn’t it strange that Barnes was never approached to give the tapes he wrote about hearing, the tapes whose contents he so sensationally detailed in his stories!

    The cops went all the way to Boston – but never went as far as Belfast.

    Why do you think that is?

  • Alias

    “Why doesn’t Ciaran Barnes give the PSNI the tapes he heard and based his tabloid reports on?”

    The more interesting question is why the PSNI haven’t asked him to hand them over. The answer is rather obviously that they already know that the Boston tapes don’t exist in his possession, and never did. Hence, to ask him for the tapes is to prove that the PSNI never had a case in asking the college for them.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, given that the PSNI didn’t seek to establish that Cairan Barnes had listened to the college tape prior to claiming to the US authorities that the confidentiality agreement had already been breeched by the college and therefore was no longer a valid reason not to hand over the tapes, then it is either an act of bad faith or gross incompetence on the part of the PSNI.

    I suspect the former, and that the attempt to secure the tape from Barnes only some considerable time after claiming to the US authorities that it actually existed was more of the same.

    If the tape was actually the college tape then you would think the PSNI would be at least a little suspicious that the Irish News wouldn’t destroy something that valuable as they claimed and might have made further enquiries. At the very least, they could have requested a statement from Barnes or Dolan that the tape contained the recording of Price as it existed on the college tape in order to support their claim to the US authorities.

    The fact that they didn’t look for the tape that they based their bogus claims on shows that they knew the claim was bogus. That bad faith should earn them a severe rebuke from the US authorities…

  • Cynic2

    Where are all the usual suspects? Has Party Central Office not yet decided a line to take?

  • Cynic2

    “an act of bad faith or gross incompetence on the part of the PSNI.”

    I ddint notice the Judge worry about that

    “I suspect the former”

    Well you would, wouldn’t you”

    ” That bad faith should earn them a severe rebuke from the US authorities”

    But rather the Authorities have decvided they must have all relevant matterail. Which sort of means that your entire argiument is wrong

  • Jimmy Sands

    Wasn’t Barnes late of the VB?

  • Decimus


    Would that be the “Völkischer Beobachter” aka the Daily Ireland?