The Massachusetts Senator wants to prevent the British government from getting hold of tapes at Boston College
John Kerry / Reuters
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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., has jumped into a complex legal dispute involving Boston College and the United Kingdom this week, asking the State Department to urge the British to back off a push for the university to release tapes that might help prosecute former Irish Republican Army members for murder.
Boston College compiled recordings of interviews with former members of the IRA and related documents as part of an oral-history project on "the troubles" in Northern Ireland. Participants, including former IRA members, were promised anonymity that the British government now contends the school had no right to give.
British authorities want material regarding two cases. However, attention has focused on the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, a Belfast mother of 10, because Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams--a key architect in the Northern Ireland peace accords--is accused of commanding the IRA unit thought to be responsible. Adams denies any involvement.