Who Killed Jean McConville? a Battle for IRA Secrets : NPR
A legal showdown is evolving. It affects an American university, the British government, a brutal Irish paramilitary organization and the murdered mother of 10 children.
Journalist Ed Moloney is fighting to keep secret interviews with former paramilitary members of the Irish Republican Army out of the British government’s hands. Those interviews are kept under lock and key at Boston College as part of an oral history project that Moloney started in 2001.
On July 6, the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled in favor of the British government’s request to get transcripts of those secret interviews. But Moloney says the former militants only agreed to talk because they were assured the interviews wouldn’t be released until after they died.
“The idea was to build up an archive that would provide a unique insight into the minds of people that took part in this huge, momentous conflict — one of the most searing conflicts in Irish history,” Moloney tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.
The Belfast Project
Several dozen former IRA militants and also militants who carried out terror attacks for the pro-British Ulster Volunteer Force have been interviewed for the Boston College project, called The Belfast Project. But none of the interviews were authorized by the IRA, and only one person involved in the project knows the identities of those who cooperated.
“The IRA is a very controlling organization,” Moloney says. “It has very strict rules about disclosure of information. Its members are not permitted to talk to anyone about IRA business.”
Boston College was meant to be the guarantor that those interviews would remain confidential. The problem is that Boston College may not have that right.
“The court ruled that the universities don’t get to decide where crimes are investigated — governments do,” Shawn Pogatchnik says. He’s covered Ireland for The Associated Press for more than a quarter-century.