Statement from Ed Moloney, Anthony McIntyre & Wilson McArthur:
Following the disclosure in the current edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education that Boston College misled ourselves and the participants in the oral history project into believing that the donor contract or agreement for interviewees had been vetted by the college’s legal advisers when it had not been, we are consulting our attorneys about the legal implications.
During the preparation of the project in 2001, the putative project director, Ed Moloney wrote to Bob O’Neill, the Burns librarian at the college outlining the possible wording for the donor agreement but asking him to run it past the college’s lawyer. O’Neill replied in an email: “I am working on the wording of the contract to be signed by the interview[ee], and I’ll run this by Tom [Hachey] and university counsel.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education reported today that O’Neill has now admitted that he never did check with a lawyer and instead issued a contract to us that gave the interviewees complete control and ownership of the interviews until they died. Instead the contract should have warned participants that the interview could be seized by the authorities.
The article, quotes Dr O’Neill as saying: “In retrospect, that was my mistake.”
Mr Moloney commented: “We went ahead on the basis that we believed O’Neill had cleared the contract with lawyers and that it was safe for the participants to give interviews. Had we known the true position the project would have been stillborn.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education report can be read here: http://chronicle.com/article/Secrets-from-Belfast/144059/
The mistakes made by BC are too numerous to cite-this with the sloppiness of BC librarian Robert O’Neill & Hachey’s failure to follow-up on creating a university oversight committee( he had to have known better)…followed by BC’s cowardly abandonment of both you & McIntyre is mind boggling. That the archives are now lost to history and future generations is such a waste. If there is anyway to undo this-and salvage the viability of the archives, that would be my priority. With all these missteps-and the false premise from the start & O’Neill’s word about the BC attorneys vetting everything-when in fact this did not happen–the PSNI should be precluded from proceeding with using the archives for any criminal investigation–since the proper safeguards were never in place.