College to Return Tapes That Implicated Sinn Fein

History project goes awry as police use old interviews for investigations
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2014 8:15 AM CDT
College to Return Tapes That Implicated Sinn Fein
Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams speaks to the media in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, on May 4.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Boston College is conceding that a years-long project intended to chronicle the violence in Northern Ireland is pretty much a bust. The university says it will return the interviews of any members of the IRA or of the pro-British paramilitary group who participated in the project from 2001 to 2006, reports the New York Times. Nearly 50 people in all were interviewed, with the idea being that their recollections would be kept sealed in their lifetimes and preserved for posterity.

But the project began unraveling when the Justice Department, acting on the request of the British government, forced Boston College to hand over some of the recordings, explains the Boston Globe. It was that development that led to the recent questioning of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in a decades-old murder. Adams insists that he's innocent, and that the two project coordinators were biased because they interviewed mostly opponents of Sinn Fein. A BC spokesperson now agrees that the research appears to be one-sided, while the interviewers in turn fault the school for not fighting hard enough to keep the tapes sealed. (More Northern Ireland stories.)

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