In a separate but related case, the same appeals court in July upheld a ruling by Young ordering the college to turn over an interview with convicted IRA car bomber Dolours Price.
Price and the other former IRA members were interviewed between 2001 and 2006 as part of The Belfast Project, a resource for journalists, scholars and historians studying the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland known as The Troubles.
Project director Ed Moloney and ex-IRA gunman Anthony McIntyre, who conducted the interviews, challenged the decision by U.S. authorities to subpoena the records.
In its ruling in the Price case, the 1st Circuit found that Moloney and McIntyre had no right to interfere with the police request, under the terms of a treaty between the United States and United Kingdom that requires the two to aid each other’s criminal investigations. The court also said criminal investigations take precedence over academic study.
McIntyre’s wife, Carrie Twomey, who attended the court arguments Friday, said none of the interviews should be turned over to police.
“The danger that this poses to the interviewees is too great,” she said.
McConville’s killing has received widespread media attention in Ireland because of allegations that Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams commanded the IRA unit responsible for ordering her execution and secret burial. Adams has denied that.
Moloney has said he believes the recordings are explosive enough to damage Northern Ireland’s unity government, in which Sinn Fein represents the Irish Catholic minority. Its stable coalition with the British Protestant majority is the central achievement of the 1998 U.S.-brokered peace accord.