Secret Archive of Ulster Troubles Faces Subpoena

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As the war in Northern Ireland was reaching its end in the late 1990s, two interviewers set out to collect memories of the conflict from men and women who had been involved as paramilitary fighters in some of the era’s most violent and grim episodes.


The interviewers, working for an oral history project at Boston College, brought two tools: a digital minidisk recorder and a promise of confidentiality. In exchange for candor, the people being interviewed were assured that the contents would remain sealed until they were dead.

Now, however, authorities in the United Kingdom want oral histories that were given to Boston College by two members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army for an investigation into murders and kidnappings committed nearly 40 years ago.

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