Boston College: “an example of just how unhinged the dialogue has become in some quarters.”

I had mentioned in the comments on a recent post that there was little threat of the pre-emptive destruction of the Boston College archive material which is being sought by the Historical Enquiries Team.  As Thomas E Hachey and Dr Robert K O’Neill of Boston College point out in the Irish Times

There have been people who have faulted Boston College for not adopting this or that particular stratagem, and we appreciate how expressions of concern have sometimes been prompted by either an honest difference of opinion over how best to serve all concerned, or simply by the failure to understand the need to respect American law while still seeking the desired outcome.

But the suggestion by former project director Ed Moloney that Boston College, defying the court, should pre-emptively burn the transcripts is an example of just how unhinged the dialogue has become in some quarters.

Universities do not engage in either the burning of books or in the torching of transcripts. Rather, we have engaged in legal proceedings in the hope of securing a favourable outcome.

That is our plan, and we hope that it will prove successful for the sake of the peace and reconciliation process in Northern Ireland, and the enterprise of oral history in the United States and abroad.

Read the whole thing.

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  • HeinzGuderian

    Ed would rather go to prison than see the ‘truth’ come out,apparently…….
    A very strange position for a ‘journalist’ to take,one would have thought.
    Whatever happened to ‘ publish and be damned’ ?

  • SethS

    Presumably Ed’s reputation is somewhat on the line here, as he would have assured those interviewed that the content would not be made public until after their deaths.

    A failure to protect those “sources” will make his job more difficult in future I would have thought.

  • cynic2

    “A failure to protect those “sources” will make his job more difficult in future ”

    Hmm let’s weigh that against the issues of justice for those murdered. Now where does the balance lie? Let me see …….

  • Dec

    Presumably you’re all for a full inquiry into Pat finuncane’s murder then, Cynic? Of course you are…

  • sherdy

    What positions do Messrs Hachey and O’Neill hold in Boston College? If they are academics, can they be so naive as they seem to imply? A case of ‘all brains and no sense’ possibly.

  • cynic2

    “a full inquiry into Pat finuncane’s murder then, Cynic?”

    Iindeed I am. A full criminal investigation and if offences were committed they should be prosecuted – just as in the Jean McConville case.

  • Alias

    “INTERVIEWEES IN Boston College’s Belfast Project oral history undertaking understood that divulging their participation could potentially compromise the underlying premise that such testimony would remain undisclosed until the time of their demise.”

    If that is the case then there is no breach of contract in regard to its non-disclosure provision on the part of the college or its researchers. It appears to be Ms Price who negated the qualified non-disclosure provision.

    However, all PIRA members – not just the one who revealed that she was interviewed – had the non-disclosure provision set aside by the college.

    Were they told by the college that their non-disclosure provision was conditional on all of them remaining silent, and that if one mentioned it that the college would turn all of them over to the authorities?

    I very much doubt it…

  • Mick Fealty

    As the man says, read the whole thing?

  • Alias

    Was that barb was aimed at me? I read it, and even suspect the college of ‘borrowing’ my original point for their opinion piece in the Irish Times:

    “McIntyre is also spinning the seperate line that Boston College offered more content to the Court than the Court actually requested. However, he isn’t pointing out that they only did that because they had asked him to determine what content was relevant to the Court’s request but he declined to do so. Having no means to determine it, they supplied a broader range of content for the purpose of allowing the Court to determine it.” – Alias, 14 January 2012

    “No one knows more about the contents of the interviews of former IRA members than the interviewer himself, Anthony McIntyre, who declined the court’s request to disclose which of the interviews were potentially responsive, thereby requiring Boston College to provide all the IRA interviews to the court for its review.” – Boston College

    The spin there is to blame the researcher for the college’s decision to hand over all tapes related to all PIRA interviews. In fairness to McIntyre, I should have pointed out that it was not his duty to act as the college’s examiner. The duty to comply on the terms specified at all times remained with the college. The onus was on the college to examine the tapes/transcripts for the information of relevance requested by the court. The college failed to examine the tapes/transcripts for the requested relevance, deciding to go the easy route and let the court decide rather than bother to decide for itself. That was a disgraceful betrayal of the confidentiality of other interviewees.

    The point I am making above was that college used the pretext of one interviewee self-violating the non-disclosure provision to violate the non-disclosure provision for all interviewees.

    Were the interviewees informed by the college that if one hanged, they’d all hang? No, they were told that the non-disclosure provision depended on not disclosing their interview, not that it also depended on all of the interviewees not disclosing that they were interviewed. That ‘one hangs, they all hang’ clause was introduced retrospectively by the college when it handed over all of the tapes/transcripts for all of the PIRA interviewees to the state.

    And shame on the college for that…

  • sliabhluachra

    Let us remember the Nixon tapes which were, by and large, handed over.
    Contract law is a difficult area and htat is why there are professors of contract law in reputable universities.
    Boston College did have a plain disclaimer in the contract the very same way there is the infamous “as far as is practicable disclaimer/quakifier in the contract/Consititution of Ireland.
    To Boston College, this was no big deal, just a small pebble in keeping a Jesuit foot in the Irish and American doors. It is not as if the future of the Jesuits or, God preserve us, the future of the Papacy itself was at stake.
    If anything anywhere is revealed that sheds light on a notorious serial killer from Ballymurphy who likes to hog the limelight, then it behoves those with the information to cough up that information.
    Universities which are, at heart, cowardly insitutions, dependnet upon their nebulous reputations, will not go out of their way to defend the murderer, not least because the Holy Bible tells us not to.

    Would the Jesuits of Boston College cover up for Whitey Bolger? Would they f-k?

    C’mon Gerry, do the crime, do the time.

  • cynic2

    All this dancing on legal pinheads is unedifying

    These tapes allegedly contain evidence on the most dreadful murders. They should be handed over to police immediately. No ifs. No buts. Its an issue of morality

  • Billy

    If criminals want to confess, they should go to their local copshop. If they are proud of their deeds, why do they wish to hide it from certain quarters?? Where they not all claiming to be soldiers??lol

  • Alias

    Anthony McIntyre and Ed Moloney have delivered a response to the unhinged dialogue from Thomas E Hachey and Dr Robert K O’Neill: