18 October 2012

Supreme Court extends block of IRA tapes

Lawyers Eamonn Dornan and James Cotter declared victory yesterday in a US Supreme Court case that will temporarily deny access to the British government of recorded interviews of former IRA and loyalist paramilitaries.

By Megan Malloy

Belfast: 30 years of 'The Troubles'

The recordings concern one of the most brutal murders of the past conflict in Northern Ireland -- that of a mother of 10, Jean McConville -- and British officials maintain the tapes are relevant to a criminal investigation.

Fear of incrimination

The interviews were recorded on the understanding that the tapes would not be released until after the interviewees died, the Boston Globe reports. Boston College researchers for the project, Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, allege that turning over the tapes would obfuscate the truth because certain players in the conflict will never speak frankly again for fear of incrimination.
‘My clients have raised issues of exceptional importance, including the constitutional right to free flow of information to the American public in the face of a foreign subpoena, the protection of important academic research, and the harm which the release of these materials would cause,’ said Mr Dornan, one of the lawyers representing the researchers.
The tapes are currently in the hands of the US Department of Justice until the legal battle is fully resolved. The decision on Wednesday extends a previous stay granted by Justice Stephen Breyer until 16 November.

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