Boston College Must Release Oral-History Records, but Court Will Review Them First

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A federal court has denied Boston College's motion to thwart a government request for sensitive oral-history records. But the court will review those records confidentially on Wednesday before it decides what, if anything, must be handed over to federal authorities.

A spokesman for the college said it was happy with the decision because the court acknowledged the need to protect confidential research.

Friday's ruling, by the U.S. District Court in Boston, rejected the college's request to quash the subpoenas for material from what's known as the Belfast Project. In the project, from 2001 to 2006, researchers and journalists conducted interviews with paramilitary fighters and others who lived through the decades-long sectarian conflict Northern Ireland, always with the promise that the talks would be confidential until they died.

Boston College holds the tapes and transcripts of the project, including interviews with two members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes. They alleged that Gerry Adams, head of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political arm, ran a kidnapping ring suspected of involvement in the death of Jean McConville, a Protestant mother of 10 who was kidnapped and killed in 1972. Mr. Hughes died in 2008, and the college has turned over the records of his interviews....

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