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What's right for Boston is right for Belfast


The decision of the US Circuit Court of Appeal to order Boston College to hand over recordings of interviews with former IRA and UVF members poses a threat to the safety of those involved.

These interviews were recorded for Boston College's Belfast Project and participants were assured that they would not be published while they were alive.

British prosecutors, in collaboration with the US Justice Department, want access to the tapes to aid their efforts to investigate past crimes in Northern Ireland.

Perhaps the British Government might display unequivocal moral leadership on this issue and lead by example.

In 1984, following a string of allegations about a 'shoot-to-kill' policy in Northern Ireland, the Government set up the Stalker/Sampson Inquiry. Families of those killed in this alleged shoot-to-kill policy are still awaiting justice. In spite of a four-year investigation into these allegations, the final report has never been published.

Furthermore, there have been three joint Oireachtas committee reports in the Republic into the 1974 Dublin/Monaghan bombings. But the democratic pursuit of justice for the 33 innocent people killed has led to dead-ends.

If the British Government is to be seen to be consistent, fair and open in its standards of justice, why does it not apply equally the judicial principles it demands from Boston to Belfast, London and Dublin?

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